The most wonderful time of the B2C marketing year is upon us. Retailers are looking forward to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the monthlong festival of commerce that is the holiday season. But business-to-business marketers don’t need to feel left out in the cold. Here are four B2B holiday marketing tips to help you close the year out right.
Though the nights have gotten colder, ’tis the season for warm cups of hot chocolate, big fluffy sweaters and a crackling fire. It’s also the season B2C companies flourish: Holiday sales represent 30% of an average retailer’s annual sales.
B2B companies, on the other hand, aren’t usually as cheerful when it comes to the last three months of the year. This is because they often slow down their marketing and sales efforts – but they shouldn’t. Here’s how to avoid the year-end slump.
Four B2B Holiday Marketing Tips
- Create holiday-themed content
- Say thank you to your clients
- Capture end-of-year budgets
- Reach out to decision-makers
B2B Holiday Marketing Tip #1: Create Holiday-Themed B2B Content
B2B content marketing is about raising visibility and building a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with target audiences. B2B marketers do this by distributing useful content at the right time and frequency, in a variety of formats and through a variety of channels.
And when it comes to distributing useful content at the right time, there’s nothing better than holiday-themed content during the holidays.
Remember, you’re not appealing to a business. You’re appealing to humans.
Decision-makers at B2B companies are consumers, too. They’re spending time with their loved ones, going on vacation and shopping the hottest deals. The holidays are a hectic time of year for everyone.
That’s why it’s the perfect time to swoop in and grab your prospect’s attention. Everyone is in holiday mode, so you’re more likely to capture their eyeballs if you’re appealing to what they’re concentrating on outside of the office.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What problems are they facing at this time of year, beyond their B2B business? How can you help them – without disrupting their inbox or getting in the way of festivities?
Hopefully these questions spark some ideas for content generation that, at the end of the day, show how compassionate, festive and, most importantly, human your B2B company is.
B2B Holiday Marketing Tip #2: Show Your Clients and Employees Some Love
The holiday season is all about spreading cheer and expressing gratitude, so of course you should want to say thank you to the people who contribute to the success of your business: your clients and your employees.
Part of B2B holiday marketing is thanking those who’ve helped make you successful.
When a prospect sees how you communicate with your employees and existing clients, it strikes a positive chord – especially during this heartwarming time of year. Here’s how you can do it.
Go with a general thank-you social post, or personalize a thank-you card to send directly to the clients you love working with. And remember: The holiday season is also renewal season for a lot of service businesses. If you genuinely express to your clients how much you value their business, they will be more likely to continue the relationship another year.
With most of the focus on clients, it’s easy for B2B companies to forget about their employees during the holidays.
Reminding employees how much their work impacts the company can give them the extra lift they need to push through into the New Year with a positive attitude and strong work ethic. This helps B2B companies make up for the temporary lull in motivation that normally occurs as employees itch for vacation and holiday festivities.
And don’t forget – if your employees are happy, potential clients will notice.
B2B Holiday Marketing Tip #3: Take Advantage of Leftover Budget
We’ve seen how important it is to frame your holiday season efforts with genuine, caring content … but that doesn’t mean you can’t push for some end-of-year deals.
Here’s why it matters:
Much like you set a B2B marketing budget at the beginning of the year, your prospects set a budget for their spend. And at the end of the year, businesses will face one of two situations: a completely depleted budget … or surplus cash.
Companies that haven’t spent their full budgets may have to create a smaller budget for the following year. This means less flexibility for the future. And since companies hate doing this, they spike their spend at the end of the year to keep next year’s budget consistent.
It’s never wise to carelessly spend money just for the sake of spending. But there are companies out there in your niche with a few extra bucks to spare that want (and maybe even need) to spend it, right now.
So, don’t lose hope just because it’s the holiday season. Prospects searching for an end of the year business partner are out there. And you can find them by ramping up your content marketing, digital advertising and sales follow-through!
B2B Holiday Marketing Tip #4: Focus on Getting Decision-Makers’ Attention
You now understand that the holidays actually offer a surprisingly good opportunity to reach out to decision-makers. You may not close the deal for a little while, especially if their budget is depleted or they’re out-of-office. But you can certainly position yourself as an ideal partner for the New Year (again, with thoughtful content).
Building brand relevance helps you get in front of decision-makers at the end of the year.
It’s important to get in front of decision-makers when they’re crafting a strategy and forming a budget for the following year. You want to be top of mind as they turn the corner into 2019.
How do you do that?
It all comes down to building brand relevance. Establish your key messages and values, and loop them into the type of holiday-themed content mentioned earlier. (If building a brand seems a tad too tricky for your B2B company, this checklist can help.)
Decision-makers may not be ready to buy right now. But that’s okay. With a concerted content effort during the holiday season, you can position yourself as a helpful, valuable partner they can turn to when the budget needs spending.
B2B Holiday Marketing Tips: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
A major theme of this blog is “don’t give up on B2B marketing and sales just because it’s the end of the year.” But that doesn’t mean just blindly following leads and breaking down prospect doors.
It means taking a thoughtful, strategic approach to your content distribution, internal and external communications, and sales efforts.
There are plenty of ways B2B companies can prep for the holiday season, and we hope these quick tips have put you in the right mindset to kickstart Q4 – and reap the benefits in the New Year.
Happy holidays from Team Altitude! Need help developing a marketing strategy to get you through the end of the year or Q1? That’s what we do. Contact us today or call 610-421-8601 x122.