How to Attract New Customers and Build Brand Loyalty During the Holidays
The holiday season is fast approaching, which means kids are thinking about what they want to receive this year, parents are thinking about where they’ll get all of these wonderful gifts, and businesses are stressing as their annual make-or-break season begins.
The holidays can be a stressful time for a business, but also one of great reward as hordes of loyal customers pour into stores the world over, ready to spend. But if your business lacks customer loyalty, it’s possible that you will have a lackluster season that will have negative repercussions throughout your entire financial year.
The holiday season’s approach is always associated with joy and positive emotions. What better way to build customer loyalty than to live up to their expectations and create a festive mood?
But that’s easier said than done. Just about every other B2C business on the planet is vying for the hearts and minds of customers once November hits, and if you’re not giving them something special, then you’ll just be lost in the shuffle.
But what even is brand loyalty? Why is it so important, specifically for the holiday season? And how can you, as an up-and-coming business, improve that loyalty during the Most Wonderful Time of The Year?
In this article, we’re going to be answering all of these questions and more. Read on to discover how you can make the most of your holiday season and improve your brand loyalty and holiday profits.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when customers have an emotional attachment to a brand and frequent it consistently. Customers who are loyal to a brand tend to be a lot more forgiving of issues with customer service or pricing.
Businesses strive to create loyal customers because they’re a reliable source of income. Not only that, but loyal customers can also become brand advocates who recommend your products or services to others in their social circles. Advocate supporters will go above and beyond, creating user-generated content, leaving excellent reviews, and bringing you referrals if they’ve been with you long enough.
Loyal returning customers are also far more cost-effective. It’s infinitely more expensive to bring in new customers than it is to market to the customers you already have.
That doesn’t mean loyal customers will present you with an opportunity to stop all new customer outreach. It just means that the new customers you bring on will build upon an already strong foundation as you work to gain their loyalty.
Businesses with high levels of customer churn have a desperate need for new customers, as they’re needed to replace those who have left in droves. These companies have a much harder time staying in the black and feeling any kind of comfort. Their lives are a constant cycle of replacement business.
Why is Brand Loyalty so Important During the Holidays?
Loyal customers are significant during the holiday season. This is a time when you want guaranteed money, where you need to be able to predict what’s coming through the door accurately.
Holiday ad campaigns are massive in scale and costly, and your projections are easier to map out when you know that you have a base of loyal customers. From Thanksgiving through to the end of the year, the public is going to be shopping non-stop, which is why you, as a retailer, need to have loyal customers who form the foundation of your holiday profits.
But that’s not all.
You also have an excellent opportunity to bring in new business and create loyal customers that will pile on top of that foundation, creating a stronger and more profitable company as you move into an entirely new year.
How to Improve Brand Loyalty for the Holidays
If you’re starting to think about your holiday loyalty plans near the end of November, you’ve done something wrong.
Your holiday season strategy can’t be made up as you go along, and it can’t be a last-minute call. It would be best if you had a sales plan figured out well in advance to hit the ground running come Black Friday. Rushing yourself just to try to increase revenue will probably end up being more of a headache than a milestone.
Besides, you also need to think about your delivery logistics. Tons of valuable merchandise are transported during the holiday season, so you need to make sure your fleet, or the fleet company you outsource, is equipped with safety and electronic logging devices to protect your packages from cargo thieves.
Ideally, you should have your holiday plans figured out sometime in the second quarter of the year. That way, you can start solidifying and testing your plan in the third quarter and promote it near the beginning of the fourth.
This will create excitement among new and returning customers alike and ensure that you’re able to burst out of the gate with a winning strategy instead of playing catch up as you wait for something new to catch on.
Run Discount Promotions
Everyone likes to receive a percentage off when shopping for the holidays.
With this in mind, you should offer discounts as part of your holiday promotion. This strategy will make customers feel special and important. Additionally, holiday shopping is a huge financial drain on consumers worldwide, so if new customers are able to save a little bit of money with one company, they’re going to choose it over another.
You already have a great product. A winning discount strategy is just icing on the cake, something to make it just a bit more appealing and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Customers will also remember how your business offered them a discount at a much-needed time, and that can help breed loyalty and repeat business after the holidays.
Holiday discounts are the easiest way to encourage new and existing customers to choose your products over others. Make the discount substantial for maximum success, and don’t put too many barriers around it. For example, if you’re asking customers to give you all of their personal contact information to claim a discount, you’re going to drive some people away.
Instead, take the bare minimum that you need, like their name and email address, for future marketing purposes.
The holidays are a time for gift-giving, but that’s not only between family and friends. By offering a special gift for your new and returning customers, you can generate customer loyalty and bring in even more revenue.
Customers always like free gifts, so you can offer free shipping, free trials, free bonus products, free consultations, or any other kind of gift you think would be appropriate for your product and company.
The makeup company Sephora offers loyal customers a free gift for their birthdays every year. This keeps customers coming back year after year to claim their gift and do some more shopping in the meantime. The same logic applies to a special holiday-themed gift. You can even dress the gift up in holiday-theming with snowflakes, snowmen, Santa Claus, reindeer, and more.
Start offering these gifts in November. Tell your customers that you’re giving them their first holiday gift of the season. It can go a long way toward winning them over and creating brand advocates. This is also the kind of promotion that travels fast via word of mouth, so you’re going to generate social media shares and referrals.
Run Loyalty Programs
If you don’t already have a loyalty program in place, it’s time to start looking into one. These programs are a surefire way to keep your customers coming back over and over. By shopping with you more than once, they can generate loyalty points which can be exchanged for items, discounts, and more.
The holiday season is a great time to generate new customers. You can really capitalize on this period by giving them benefits from your loyalty program and inviting them to join while shopping for holiday gifts. People love being rewarded for their purchases or for being loyal to a brand or company. So don’t forget about this essential strategy.
You could offer double points during the holiday season as a means of generating more traffic and sign-ups. Another strategy could be to offer a set amount of points right away when someone signs up for your program during the holiday season.
Provide Social Proof
Social proof is an effective marketing tactic where you take the experiences of your existing customers and present them to a new audience to showcase the effectiveness of both your company and the products it offers.
Social proof can include just about anything that shows your satisfied customers, including user-generated content, reviews, videos, images, or just simple word of mouth.
By seeing people with similar pain points as them enjoying your products and getting the most out of them, new customers will be more likely to give your company a try. That means you should be trying to get user-generated content from your loyal customers before the holiday season, using it (with their permission) as part of a targeted holiday ad campaign.
You need to understand the pain points of your customers to be able to create ads that will attract the target audience. You must convince them that your products have what they need, and the best way to do that is with social proof.
By rolling out social proof for your holiday ad campaign, you’ll see a higher level of engagement and trust, which in time, can turn into customer loyalty.
Create Stunning Visuals
The holiday season has so many visual elements associated with it. From snow to Christmas trees to menorahs, snowmen, scarves, fireplaces, and Santa Claus himself, there’s a lot of imagery you can pull from to hit an emotional chord with your audience.
The holiday season is a time that many people look forward to all year. It’s a period in which we see family and friends while coming together over goodwill and charity. So invoking those visuals can help associate your business with positive emotions.
You just have to ensure that the visuals you create are of a certain quality. Try using a photo editor online to create high-quality visual content and capture the hearts and minds of your customers.
Rework your existing logo into a special holiday design. Start to work Santa into your advertising, along with elves and reindeer. Take a snowy wintery theme and apply it to the images in your ads for that cozy Christmastime feeling.
Stunning visuals are the first step in capturing the attention of your customers. You can create these powerful emotions, associate them with your brand, and generate new business that can then turn into loyal repeat business.
Partner with Other Brands
Since the holidays are a time of cooperation, why not work with other brands that have some crossover appeal? By forging a connection with businesses that serve a similar demographic but aren’t direct competitors, you can expose your business to new eyes and offer additional services through your partner company to your existing and loyal customers.
It’s best to find a business that’s in the same industry as you but doesn’t sell the same products. Something complimentary would work best. For example, if you’re a health club partnering with a healthy meal plan, that’s a great crossover partnership. Your fitness-minded customers can get a lot of use out of healthy meals, and the customers of the healthy meal plan might need a new place to work out. You’re offering the best of both worlds and creating benefits for customers on both sides that will increase loyalty during a vital season.
Run Different Promotions for Different Audience Segments
If your company serves a broad demographic, you’ll have to ensure that your holiday marketing is planned for each segment of your audience. That means running different targeted holiday campaigns for different segments of your audience.
For example, financial institutions might want to market to previously overlooked segments during the holidays to increase revenue. Offering up early bird discounts on payments using a student debit card would be marketed to a niche segment of the audience, while non-students would receive very different marketing.
This ensures that you’re not leaving anyone out when planning your holiday season.
In order to market successfully to these different segments, create detailed customer profiles that highlight your ideal audience members. They can then be separated using a CRM platform to ensure that you know how many people are in each segment and what your earning potential is from each.
These profiles should include a wealth of information on your ideal customers, including their:
- Geographic location
- Religious views
- Marital status
- Preferred social media platforms
- Communication preferences
- Pain points
- And much more
That way, if Audience A loves to spend time on Facebook, you can market to them directly there. However, if Audience B doesn’t use social media, then perhaps their targeted ads should go on the Google Ads network.
These segments might also have different pain points, so the different holiday campaigns you run would have to focus on different elements of your product.
Theme Your Promotions to the Holidays
Wherever appropriate, don’t be afraid to really lean into the holiday theming. This can include some of the images we saw before but also your color scheme, tone of voice, and every other aspect of your brand throughout the duration of the holiday season.
When you create these special themed promotions to coincide with the holidays, it makes this special time of year feel even more unique. It might even encourage customers to buy because they feel as though they’re taking part in something extraordinary.
That means make holiday puns, use Santa, dreidels, Kwanzaa wreaths, and any other holiday imagery you can think of. Of course, it might also be better to keep things very non-denominational to appeal to a broader audience.
In that case, embracing the winter theme of snowmen and sledding could be just as effective, along with a bold and pronounced “Happy Holidays” where appropriate.
The holiday season is an excellent time to attract new customers and build loyalty among existing ones. This holiday season, you have a great opportunity to grow your business and have one of your most profitable seasons yet.
When we say profitable, we mean both in the short term by bringing in new business and in the long term by inspiring loyalty that will pay off for years to come.
When trying to improve your brand loyalty during the holidays, remember to:
- Plan ahead, and don’t wait until the last minute
- Run discount promotions
- Offer free holiday gifts to your customers
- Run loyalty programs with added holiday incentives
- Provide social proof to draw in new customers
- Create stunning holiday visuals
- Partner up with other brands for more market penetration
- Run different promotions for different audience segments
- Theme your promotions around the holidays
Embrace the spirit of the season and reach out to your customers using the tips highlighted above. Doing so will help you increase loyalty, retention, and, ultimately, your profits well into the future.
Boosting these metrics will not only put more money in your pocket but will also help to boost your valuation when you eventually decide to sell your business.
Curious about how much your online business is worth? Use our free valuation tool to find out, or schedule an obligation-free call with one of our business advisors to learn more about how to sell your business on our marketplace.