December couldn't have come faster huh? Since everyone has plans for the holidays, you probably think that it won’t hurt if you don't publish any content for a week or two during this most wonderful time of the year.
And okay, maybe it won't hurt that much for us B2B peeps as much as it would for the e-commerce and B2C guys.
Online shops and online customer support are in full swing over the holidays as people turn to their mobile phones to shop, find nice restaurants, book plane tickets, or seek customer support. B2B marketers, on the other hand, don't have as much pressure. However, that doesn't mean you can be lenient.
Because God knows your next major client is spending his holiday break mulling over important business decisions and having a moment of truth while munching on his turkey sandwich.
Or he may be wistfully scrolling through his phone while his children run around the Christmas tree when he finally realizes that he wants more time with his family next year, and that he needs help from a credible company doing digital marketing in Nottingham, UK or the Philippines to grow his business fast. (Ehem.)
You want to be present for those micro moments. And just in case your competition are enjoying their holiday break too much, you can be confident that you faced the holiday music prepared.
That said, here's a quick holiday content marketing checklist for us B2B marketers!
(Annnnd excuse me but I had too much fun writing these subtitles.)
1. Schedule blog and email content all the way
Before the whole team goes on vacation, make sure that you have some content scheduled for posting. Whether you're using Hubspot, Wordpress or Squarespace, make a habit of using your CMS' built-in scheduling functionality. Make use of your automation tools also if you need to send out email newsletters.
Yes, you might want to send out a "Happy Thanksgiving" or "Merry Christmas" e-card to your email subscribers. This may not generate you sales but it's a good way to engage and an opportunity to build rapport with people in your list.
2. Have yourself a merry SEO audit
You need to make it easy for potential clients to find you this holiday season. If you can, brainstorm keyword lists for the holidays before hand. Consider popular ranking holiday terms from the previous year. Create content or optimize existing content for these terms, for good measure.
3. You better watch out for website downtimes
Make sure your bandwidth is able to accomodate any surge of traffic so that you won't experience any downtimes while no one is manning the servers. Just to be sure, set up a notifier in case your website does experience downtime over the break. You can try this one.
4. It's the season for auto responders, falalalala
Don't forget to set up auto responders, because well, that's just the right thing to do.
And while you're at it, try to be creative. We love this classic auto responder by Josh Kopelman. I think i haven't seen a more clever auto responder since 2011.
I am currently out of the office on vacation.
I know I'm supposed to say that I'll have limited access to email and won't be able to respond until I return -- but that's not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I'll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.
That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I'm going to experiment with something new. I'm going to leave the decision in your hands:
If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I'm on vacation, please resend it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to respond to it promptly.
If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona (email@example.com) and she'll try to point you in the right direction.
Otherwise, I'll respond when I return…
Copy paste, then revise to fit your conditions.
Better yet, come up with something more funny and more creative.
5. Deck your social media with boughs of holly
You all may be out of the office, but someone has to check in your social media accounts every now and then during the break. The holiday is one of the best times (if not the best) of the year to pump up your social media promotions.
Be aggressive with cross-channel campaigns. According to CMO.com, 62% of consumers peruse Facebook for holiday shopping help. Pinterest is a widely-used platform this season when looking for gift inspiration and holiday decorations. Twitter might be a good place to interact with people. Some may find it a good time to start using Instagram stories, Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook live.
Have your employees share photos of themselves with their loved ones. Share photos of your company Christmas party or your office decorations. Post a photo of your boss with Santa Claus.
There are a lot of ways to be creative and to spread the holiday cheer. Again, this doesn't exactly convert to sales, but it humanizes your brand and gives people a glimpse of your company culture. I hope you have fun doing it! :)
Also, if you're not publishing blog content or email campaigns over the holiday break, at the very least schedule some social media posts. Use Buffer or CoSchedule or whatever social media scheduling tool you're familiar with, to schedule posts or maybe repromote old blog content. Be creative, use Twitter's arsenal of funny .gifs. Take this as an opportunity to humanize your brand and to spark interest of potential clients.
6. Mobile traffic is coming to town
Most people won't be sitting in front of their laptops during the holidays, but they will be on their smart phones and tablets quite a lot. So make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Check out these SEO trends for 2017 to know how to optimize your website for local and mobile search.
7. Wish them a Merry Christmas (3x) and a Happy New Year
The holiday season may be a slow period for B2B, but it's an ideal time to lay the groundwork for the coming year. It's also the perfect time to get personal and to show acts of kindness to your clients.
Send them gifts, prepare a nice end-of-year marketing report to remind them of your good working relationship, or if you're feeling generous, invite them to dinner or your company Christmas party.
Doing this might increase the chances of them putting in a good word for you, or referring you to their family and friends, say, over wine or dessert. Put in mind that there's no better marketing campaign than a satisfied customer.
8. Most of all, enjoy the most wonderful time of the year
Take this time to rest and recharge for the work ahead. Do something that you can talk about on your blog later on. (By the way, #TBT to Spiralytics' first ever Christmas party—oohhh look how small we were).
And get yourself a nice Christmas gift! Reward yourself for a whole year of hard work. Enjoy the company of your family and friends, put your feet up and binge watch on the TV shows that you missed (because you worked too hard), and get that much needed rest because heads up, there's a lot of work to do—and lots of content to create—when 2017 comes around! ;)
Let's go beyond the holidays.. is your Content Marketing Strategy ready for 2017?
Message us. Let's talk!