The global holiday shopping spend is anticipated to hit $910 billion this year. This 11% increase in spending from last year clears one thing: the stakes have never been higher for DTC brands to multiply their profits in the holiday season.
But competing in an aggressively evolving market is no cakewalk, especially with the rise of hybrid shopping experiences.
For DTC brands to stand out in a barrage of promotional content, they need a unique marketing strategy that speaks to their buyers’ aspirations. Influencers can be a secret weapon to level up your holiday campaigns and skyrocket your sales.
We've made a case for influencer holiday marketing with tips to create a fail-proof influencer marketing strategy for your brand.
7 Holiday Marketing Ideas To Try With Influencers
Nearly a third of the DTC brands surveyed plan to make their campaigns more promotional this holiday season. With so much competition brewing around you, innovation is the name of the game for brands looking to differentiate themselves from the rest.
Here are seven marketing ideas you can recreate for greater impact with influencers:
1. Limited Edition Products
Limited-edition products create a sense of urgency among buyers to buy before the stock runs out. The exclusivity of owning a one-of-its-kind product, paired with the fear and regret of losing out on an item sold only once in a lifetime, becomes the primary buying motivation.
Influencers spreading the word about a limited edition holiday collection can create a bigger impact for your brand. An influencer campaign can massively expand your reach, bring more people into the sales funnel, and drive conversions.
Here’s the perfect example from BarkBox. The dog toy brand collaborated with Ein, a dog influencer, to promote its Christmas-themed limited edition blog. This YouTube video promoting the product has close to 600,000 views and fantastic engagement.
This unique product promoted through an influencer would nudge people to get their hands on it, winning more first-time buyers for BarkBox.
2. Charity And Donation
Buyers are more value-conscious in their purchase decisions today. A McKinsey study reports that Gen Z and Millennial shoppers are more inclined to buy from mission-driven and socially responsible brands.
There's no better time than the holiday season for DTC brands to showcase their charitable values and build a positive brand image. The festivities and holiday spirit drive people to donate. Brands can capitalize on this drive by contributing a portion of their transaction to a charitable organization.
The Body Shop took this cause-focused marketing tactic to the next level with their #GiveWithJoy campaign right before Christmas. Influencers from across the world, including Maya Kapouranis, delivered an important message that a part of people's transactions would go to a local charity—motivating more people to choose The Body Shop over a competitor.
3. Giveaways And Discounts
Slashed prices and freebies are the biggest reason people wait until the holiday season to buy everything off their shopping lists. For DTC brands, this means a massive opportunity. The fact that 89% of millennials would buy from a new brand if they have good discounts promises huge sales for ecommerce brands.
Paired with influencer marketing, your deals can reach more people and bring more conversions. That’s exactly what SLIQ Spirited Ice’s holiday campaign proves.
The frozen cocktail brand partnered with multiple influencers like Nicole Amber for a 4th of July campaign to promote its discount code. The posts went out right before the holiday weekend, giving interested buyers enough time to use the coupon and get a good deal.
4. Mobile-Driven Sales
On average, the ad click-through rates for DTC brands are three times higher on mobile than on desktop. The conversion rate is a whopping 50% higher on mobile. This only indicates how the convenience of shopping from the phone is a big part of people's buying behavior today.
Mobile shopping is fast and seamless. So, mobile-focused marketing campaigns naturally promise a better return on investment when compared to website-led sales.
Take GoPuff, for example. The grocery delivery brand worked with influencers to send a message that resonated with their target buyers—shopping during Christmas can be stressful. They asked influencers like Sincerely Oghosa to create relatable content that would motivate people to download the app and place orders.
5. User-Generated Content
Any holiday marketing campaign is incomplete without social proof from the customers. User-generated content is the best way to generate buzz around your brand and inspire people to buy from you.
This is where influencers can truly turn the tables in your favor. Influencers can build hype for your holiday campaigns and encourage their followers to chime in.
Here’s how Lulus ran a successful UGC campaign with influencers around Christmas. The influencers posted content using #LoveLulus, which now has close to 200,000 posts just on Instagram. Influencers like Savannah LaBrant could amplify the campaign’s reach and tap into Lulus’ community of shoppers to create massive social proof for the brand.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a popular tactic for DTC brands to ramp up their holiday sales. It's a performance-based approach to spending in proportion to what you earn. Affiliates will promote your brand and products to drive sales, earning commissions for every transaction made using their referral code.
Influencers can act as great affiliates for your holiday marketing campaigns. Influencers earn people's trust through their content and share a strong relationship with their audience. More people will likely take their recommendation to become first-time buyers of any brand.
Three Ships is a great case in point for how DTC brands can merge influencer and affiliate marketing. The skincare brand has launched an ambassador program for customers to become brand ambassadors and earn commissions through their sales.
7. Live Shopping
Live shopping is the future of ecommerce and the perfect example of how evolving technology is shaping the industry for DTC brands. While the concept isn’t as big or mainstream right now, it’s projected to reach $25 billion in growth by 2025.
The idea is fairly simple: streaming live on social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to sell your products. It promises fast-paced results as evident by Connie Lo’s experience.
Add influencers to the equation and you have a powerful avenue to engage and entice interested buyers. That’s the strategy Knix followed in its live shopping stream with mega influencer, Sarah Nicole Landry.
The brand hosted this live stream for the launch of its new swimwear product and witnessed an amazing response—thanks to Sarah’s massive number of followers joining the stream.
Knowing what campaigns you want to run is just the first step. The real challenge lies in strategizing “how” you want to implement these holiday marketing campaigns with influencers.
How To Create A Holiday-Centric Influencer Marketing Strategy
Here’s a five-step framework for DTC brands to create an airtight influencer marketing strategy and ace the holiday season:
Step one: Set Campaign Goals And Budget
The first step to setting yourself up for success with holiday influencer marketing is finding a clear direction for your campaign. That means establishing the right goals and budget to shape your strategy.
Start by auditing previous years' campaigns to figure out which tactics have worked and haven't worked for you in the past. This small exercise will clearly show the opportunities you can tap into, mistakes to avoid, and gaps to bridge through this year's campaigns.
Use this analysis to outline a set of goals and metrics for your strategy. You can also define the ideal budget to get the job done by predicting a realistic ROI for these goals.
Step Two: Define Your Best Products And Offers
Once you have a clear set of goals to work toward, pick the products you want to spotlight in your campaigns. Trying to sell everything can backfire because it'll confuse buyers with too many choices. So, narrow your marketing focus to a few products to see better results.
Here are two crucial ways you can find the ideal products for holiday campaigns:
- Fall back on data: Data is critical in predicting which products would perform well. Dive deep into your sales data to identify these potential bestsellers.
- Talk to your buyers: Conduct buyer surveys to take a pulse of your target audience. This will help in understanding their expectations and preferences for the holiday season.
Besides marketing their existing products, DTC brands can taste great success with new product launches during holidays. Caraway presents the perfect example of this. The cookware brand made the most of its holiday marketing by introducing a new line of bakeware during Christmas.
They also partnered with influencers like Stacey to get more eyes on their brick red collection. While Caraway sold this new product through physical stores, collaborating with influencers gave that extra push to drive more sales.
Step 3: Identify Ideal Influencers For Each Holiday
The biggest differentiator for successful influencer campaigns is selecting relevant influencers to represent the brand. Instead of working with the same influencers for every occasion, pick the right ones for each holiday to create authentic content.
Take a page from Smirnoff's book to work with relevant influencers for every holiday.
The brand collaborated with Kiyomi Valentine, an LGBTQ influencer, to run a campaign during PRIDE month. The liquor brand sent Kiyomi a custom bottle with a photo print of the couple to add a more personalized touch to it.
Finding influencers can be the trickiest part of planning a campaign. Here are a few handy tips for finding the best influencers to succeed with your holiday marketing efforts:
- Search through social media
- Use an influencer database or search tool
- Pick the right people from your customers
The key to a good influencer partnership lies in aligned interests. So, instead of focusing solely on engagement and the number of followers, find creators who match your campaign goals and brand values.
Step 4: Ideate Content Promotion Tactics
During the holiday season, you compete against direct and indirect competitors for your target buyers' attention. You need a solid plan to distribute content to create a standout campaign with maximum engagement.
Let’s look at some proven ways to promote influencer content during the holiday season:
- Create a holiday-specific hashtag to showcase all posts in a single place
- Run whitelisted ads from influencers’ accounts to add more authenticity
- Display influencer content on your website, app, and emails
Most brands make the mistake of overlooking content promotion. Without the right tactics, your content won't reach the right people and will compromise the entire campaign.
Step 5: Set A Clear System To Track Holiday Sales Generated By Influencers
The final link in the chain is tracking the sales your influencers bring in. While brands look at metrics like reach, engagement, brand mentions, and such, the overall success of your holiday marketing campaign depends on the revenue it generates for you.
Tracking the number of sales from each influencer is a good way to analyze their performance. Give each influencer a unique promo code to identify sales coming through their content.
Look at this database at the end of the campaign to decide if an influencer was a hit or a miss. This helps in determining if it’s worth working with them in future.
Gear Up To Skyrocket Your Sales This Holiday Season
The holiday season can be a game-changer for most DTC brands. The surging demand each year only promises more opportunities to multiply your profit—but not if you’re using the same old marketing tactics.
Done right, influencer marketing can give you a massive edge over the competition and produce extraordinary results. So, bookmark this guide to plan your influencer holiday marketing strategy from scratch for this year.
Remember, the earlier you start planning, the merrier!
If you need any help planning your holiday marketing strategy with influencers in the mix, book a call with us today and let us do the heavy lifting for you.