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3 Digital Marketing Lessons from Santa (and 1 from Krampus)

Ho, ho, ho!

It’s that time of year again. The air has turned cold, sleigh bells are jingling, presents are being put into stockings with care… We could go on, but you probably get it!

It’s the holiday season, which means that the man in the big red coat will soon be flying around the world with his trusty reindeer, delivering presents (and a few lumps of coal) to kids everywhere.

And while some of our adult readers may have stopped believing in Santa Claus, there’s still something about his spirit that’s downright infectious – particularly for digital marketers! Don’t believe us? Well, it’s true!

Fire up a fresh batch of Christmas cookies and get the milk out of the fridge, because your friendly neighborhood Geek is going to tell you what Old St. Nick and his friends can teach and every one of us about SEO, social media, and email marketing:

Give the Gifts That People Really Want

Every year, millions of people around the world write out their Christmas lists and mail them to Santa, in the hopes that they’ll see exactly what they asked for under the tree when they wake up on December 25th.

With that said, plenty of us know how it feels when Santa comes up short. But when it comes to your digital marketing, nobody has to experience the disappointment of opening up fresh pack of socks or a new toothbrush.

Content marketing is a great way to deliver gifts to your followers, fans, and prospective customers all year long – and ones that they’ll actually appreciate!

Like the Christmas gifts that Santa doles out by the sackful, you’ll want to make sure that the branded content you create is valuable, fun, entertaining, and helpful to your users.  Just like you wouldn’t want a board game with the pieces missing, your audience won’t want content that’s lodged behind a paywall or that offers a lot of words with no value. This holiday season – and all year long – focus on making your content well-written, informative, and compelling.

A big part of content marketing success will come down to understanding your audience. What types of media do they want to consume – blog posts, videos, eBooks, podcasts, infographics? Where do they want to communicate with you – via email, on social media? There are no wrong answers, and every brand will have a different journey to reaching their ideal audience in the right way.

But the bottom line? The magic dust that unites customers and businesses is great content, and there’s no time like the present to get started. (See what we did there? “Present?”)

Always Play Nice

What’s the old line about Santa Claus? "He knows if you’ve been bad or good – so be good for goodness’ sake?" Well, that definitely applies to digital marketing!

You see, while we can’t say for sure whether St. Nick will be watching over your SEO, social media, and reputation management strategies looking for trouble, you can be sure that other groups will – including Google, law enforcement officials, and, above all, your potential customers!

Since the beginning of the internet, there has been a subset of so-called marketers whose only focus has been on cutting corners and gaming the system by whatever means necessary. Well, thanks to industry-wide changes and regulations, those dark days are behind us, and a new era of ethical digital marketing has dawned.

Across all of your digital marketing campaigns, it’s time to ditch your bad habits. That means no blackhat SEO tactics (like keyword stuffing or buying up backlinks), no social media marketing gamesmanship (like buying followers or hiring out bot accounts), no email trickery (like not complying with CAN SPAM regulations), and no reputation management shortcuts (like paying for fake positive reviews).

Across the board, it’s time to play fair. Santa, your future customers, and your bottom line will all thank you.

Make Your List and Check It Twice

It almost seems silly to say this, but somebody has to: Kids are really, really brand loyal to Santa Claus, aren’t they?

Maybe it’s because he makes his list and checks it twice? Hm? He’s thorough, he’s engaged with his users, and he’s incredibly reliable – all attributes that your brand should aim to achieve, as well!

Above all, Santa and his crew understand the importance of retention marketing. He knows his audience, he reaches out to them, and he keeps them coming back, year after year.

And while your brand may not be able to send an ambassador to greet kids in the mall for months at a time, you can take a cue from Santa and emphasize retention as a key pillar of all of your digital marketing efforts. After all, research suggests that it costs 500% more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, that a loyal customer is worth up to 10x as much as the value of their first purchase and that repeat customers spend 67% more than first-timers.

Retention marketing can take all types of forms. A few ways to get started as we head into the new year? Look into refocusing on personalized content, fostering dialogue on social media platforms, and revamping your digital newsletter. You may also want to consider adopting some paid social media advertising techniques; in particular, Facebook offers some powerful “retargeting” tools, which can help generate conversions by targeting your ads at users who have already shown an interest in your product or spent time on your website.

Krampus’ Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

While most Americans sleep soundly on Christmas Eve, knowing that the trustworthy and reliable Santa will be coming down the chimney on his own, it’s important to remember that, in other parts of the world, St. Nick is joined by Krampus, a huge, hairy demon who preys on misbehaving children.

So maybe Krampus isn’t the best guy to get your digital marketing advice from. But he serves to remind us all that Santa doesn’t do it alone. He’s got a workshop full of elves, a battalion of reindeer, a doting and supportive Mrs. Claus by his side, and, yes… a child-eating monster.

The point? Just as Santa doesn’t attempt to deal with every single thing that comes up during the holiday season, your brand doesn’t have to be solely responsible for your digital marketing output. It can be incredibly time-consuming and confusing to tackle major projects like SEO, content generation, and web design/development on your own; these tasks often require a unique skill-set, and a sloppy final product may actually backfire for your brand.

Here at Geek Chicago, we believe that marketing is a service, just like any other – and we’d be happy to help provide it to you! Think of us as your digital marketing elves, always around to handle the nitty-gritty so that you can focus on what really matters – providing the best possible product or service to your clients.

Ready to see what Geek can do for you? Don’t be afraid to reach out with your digital marketing “wish list!” Unlike Santa, we’re guaranteed to answer!

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).