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Holiday Ads & Social Media: What’s the Key to Success?

It can feel like complete madness: the plethora of holiday advertising. As businesses pour their final ad reserves into the holiday season, you may find yourself suddenly competing with a million stock images of snowy pines and Menorahs. Ad space is often booked early, and what is left comes at a premium price.

For the consumer, it becomes a blur of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, and Small Business Saturdays with the push of sales and promises of holiday money-saving bliss. How can you compete with all of the sudden advertising noise?

The key to smart advertising during the holiday crush is priming your sales funnel ahead of time.

All year, you have been posting inspiring and interesting content, making contacts, and learning what your ideal client responds to best. The holidays are a great time to retarget that base.

Many caterers who wait until the last minute to build and advertise to their social media audiences find competition for ad inventory heats up. Ads are often more expensive during the holidays, but if you’ve taken the time to get to know and encourage interaction with your audience ahead of time, you can reach them during the holiday rush without blowing your budget.

You don’t need more ads to be heard above the din; you simply need content that reaches the right people at the right time. If you’ve been getting engagement all along, you already know who to talk to and where they are. A few well-placed holiday ads will net you more bookings than a dozen extras on popular-but-less-targeted platforms.

Here are a few top tips for a successful holiday ad season:

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1. Start early.

Long before the 12 Days of Christmas countdown, be sure to focus on building an engaged audience. You’ll know who and where to aim your ads, which is especially important when ad space is expensive.

Facebook and Instagram ads are cheaper when delivered to people who already know and like your brand. Also, sending ads to “hot” prospects who have already warmed to you results in more bookings than “cold” prospects who are seeing your product or service for the first time.

People that engage with your content can also be retargeted down the line. You’ll know what caught their eye because your metrics will tell you. Pay attention to what has received the most attention and make sure your holiday content contains those elements. For example, if a certain number of people engage in a video about desserts, you can retarget them (or create look-alike audiences) with dessert and cake-related ads.

2. Focus on traffic first, not sales.

If you’re just starting out with advertising, it may be tempting to try to close sales with every ad. However, it’s better to drive traffic to key pages on your website that help clients make a booking decision. Great content includes FAQ pages, galleries, or an offer to get a quote or brief consultation.

Don’t forget to install Facebook Pixel on your website well before the holidays. The information you gather is what you’ll use to retarget people who weren’t yet ready to book.

Once someone visits your website, you can reach out with sales messaging. By then, they’ll have knowledge around your services and be in a better position to make a booking decision.

3. Use testimonial ads to build trust.

During the holidays, testimonials are a very effective way to reassure clients that your service is the one they want to use. People tend to trust the direct experience of others, so reading first-hand accounts of others’ positive experiences and recommendations is a powerful incentive for them to book.

Video testimonials are becoming more and more popular as well. If you have previous clients that aren’t camera shy, be sure to either embed their accounts on your site or provide appealing links.

These messages should focus on how working with you will be a great experience for them.  One trick is to use “So you can…”phrasing to connect your service with their holiday aspirations. For example:

• “Let us cater for you, so you can enjoy the holidays with your family — not with your kitchen.”

• “Make this year’s Christmas party memorable, so you can ask for that raise in January.”

The best way to handle the holiday advertising craze is to slide into it fully prepared with a strong sales funnel, as well as key platforms and clients in mind for ad targeting. You can drown out the din by staying focused on what you know works and simply channeling the holiday spirit to the right places with the right message. 

Christie Osborne

Owner | Mountainside Media

Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that brings in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.