Pre-Marketing Strategy: 8 Ways to Build Buzz Factor

Christmas is coming! Can you feel the buzz? Or more specifically, are you generating pre-season buzz now? If the Holiday season is your time to make hay, today I share eight ways to get the buzz going now, while …

Santa's not the only one who should already be working on Christmas. It's time to start building buzz. Christmas is coming! Can you feel the buzz? Or more specifically, are you generating pre-season buzz now? If the Holiday season is your time to make hay, today I share eight ways to get the buzz going now, while it’s only August.

My professional life — and personal life — is consumed with the air of Christmas for about six months of every year. In my personal life, I’m a performer with a world-renowned choral organization, and I oversee the marketing and selling of concert tickets, other events, recordings and fundraising.

Last May we pinned down our Christmas and Spring Season themes. Planning continued through June and July. This summer we introduced content marketing campaigns to warm our patrons to the fact that tickets would soon be on sale.

And now that it’s August, the Christmas and Spring season is announced with tickets on sale. The first week of sales smashed prior records, due in part from the pre-buzz. Starting in September, the marketing focus narrows to only the Christmas Show with heavy email, social content, social targeting, video and direct mail.

Why is this campaign successful? It’s in the “pre.” That is, generating buzz that creates energy and demand for a product or event before it goes on sale.

8 Ways to Build Buzz

When anticipation builds over time before the product goes “now on sale,” a floodgate of demand opens. So here are my eight recommendations for a pre-marketing, buzz-building strategy.

  1. Create content that teases without revealing the entire story. Let your audience know you’re planning and that they’ll learn more in increments.
  2. Give your prospects and customers the future timeline of when your event or product will become available. Then, on the day you go live, make it a big push!
  3. Flood your prospective customers across every channel available to build story. We primarily use email and social media pointing to video. Facebook has become very effective. We embed video for high visibility boosted with sponsored digital ads served to Facebook users who were matched from our email list, and who have visited our website in the past 30 days.
  4. Encourage your social media followers to share your teaser posts with their followers and friends.
  5. Pose pre-launch questions about making your life better, such as: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could …”
  6. If it’s a product launch, take pre-orders and/or create and promote an event to make the announcement.
  7. Post milestones of pre-order quantities, or seats sold (and seats remaining), leading up to the event.
  8. Have a closer strategy. Direct mail remains our deal-closer channel. Yes, email and social media sell for us, but we’ve learned that when we mail more frequently in the season, we ultimately sell more tickets.

Enjoy the buzz of marketing your long holiday season!

(My new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” is available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore. Or download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks. It’s titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” )

5 Ways to Leverage the Power of Social Communities This Holiday Season

Tough economic conditions have led to some pretty dramatic changes this holiday season, including earlier and more aggressive promotions, extended store hours, and more aggressive digital marketing efforts such as extended free shipping offers. How can brands leverage their social communities to best stand out from the crowd and drive success this holiday season and beyond? Here are five simple ways to leverage the power of your social community this holiday season:

Tough economic conditions have led to some pretty dramatic changes this holiday season, including earlier and more aggressive promotions, extended store hours, and more aggressive digital marketing efforts such as extended free shipping offers. How can brands leverage their social communities to best stand out from the crowd and drive success this holiday season and beyond? Here are five simple ways to leverage the power of your social community this holiday season:

1. Time and execution. Every marketer is working towards Shangri-la — i.e., the right offer to the right consumer in the right channel at the right time. One of the easiest tactics in this equation is to get the timing right. Take the time to analyze critical response patterns within each of your social communities, including what day and time of day your community members are more likely to engage with your social posts. Then schedule your holiday promotions accordingly to increase reach, response and conversion.

2. Integrate and coordinate. Support your holiday promotional efforts with coordinated social posts. Test the sequencing of these efforts and their impact on sales. Take it a step further by offering exclusives to community members and/or early or special access to sales events and specials. Finally, encourage sharing and consider rewarding those that do with additional discounts and/or rewards. Remember to tag and track all social media efforts so you can measure the impact they have on overall sales. Also be mindful of the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines governing social media endorsements.

3. Localize and alert. Leverage the power of social media to update communities about local events, extended hours, price changes and even restocking/delivery of popular out-of-stock items. Use geo-targeted posts on platforms like Facebook as well as location-based services like foursquare to help spread the word and optimize sales both online and in-store at the local level.

4. Thank and welcome. As the 2011 holiday season winds down, remember the importance of the post-holiday season as shoppers return unwanted items and look to use gift cards. Fine-tune post-holiday community efforts and communications by identifying new customers, dormant customers who came back, lapsed customers and brand advocates.

Invite those that aren’t already members of your social networks to be part of the community, thank existing customers for their patronage and recognize brand advocates for their support. Consider leveraging this intelligence to boost post-holiday sales pushes with viral programs starting the day after Christmas. By inviting new customers to join your social communities you’ll be building an even bigger foundation to market to throughout 2012.

5. Survey and build buzz. Use collaborative filtering and data to highlight popular products by category, region and customer segment. Solicit feedback and survey customers about their experience with your brand or products and encourage them to share that experience on your social communities and across the social web to build buzz.

It’s hard to believe the 2011 holiday season is upon us. However, with a little planning and coordination there’s still time to leverage the power of your social communities to build sales for 2011 and beyond.