The most successful business owners and marketers utilize live events and holidays in their marketing strategies. These strategies work so well because emotion and nostalgia are powerful elements driving some of the most successful ads. Whether it’s the food we eat or the rush of watching our favorite sports team win the big game, these strategies help businesses connect with their customers on a personal level. So, we have put together a few ways small businesses can utilize live events and holidays in a “real time” marketing strategy to help them better reach their target audience.
What You'll Learn In This Post:
1. Why You Should Use Real Time Events in Your Marketing
2. Strategy #1: Holiday and Event Event Based Content
3. Strategy #2: Outcome Predictive Content
4. Strategy #3: Trending Moment Content
5. Creative Ad Targeting for Real Time Marketing Strategies
6. Creating a Marketing Event Calendar (And Grab Our 2018 Calendar)
WHY YOU SHOULD USE REAL TIME EVENTS IN YOUR MARKETING
It may feel like creating a marketing plan for Easter when it’s only November doesn’t seem like the best use of a small business owner’s time and resources. But there are three powerful reasons that it makes sense for you to add real time events in your marketing.
The Content is Mostly Done for You
Posting and engaging with your audience consistently on social media are vital for continued growth, but many business owners find it difficult to make time to post on their Facebook business page. The good news is you can still make a meaningful connection and engage with your audience through your ads.
With real time marketing strategies, much of the content is done for you, allowing you to piggyback on things that are viral or trending online or in your local community. It takes the pressure off constantly trying to think of something interesting to post on Facebook.
To Build Customer Trust and Loyalty
Marketing your business isn’t always about reaching more new people. Nurturing your existing customers is equally important for growth, especially for local business owners. Word of mouth referrals can make or break a business quickly. Using real time marketing strategies with your ads is an amazing way to do just that.
For example, if you host a customer loyalty event in your local community and post pictures or live Facebook streams of the event, customers can feel like they are participating and prospective customers get the opportunity to know you. They in turn, learn to trust your business. It’s a great way to remind customer why they love you. If you then create ads from these posts and videos, you have the opportunity to share those experiences with people who have yet to fall in love with your business.
To Increase Customer Engagement
With the technology available today, people have information at their fingertips immediately on request. People also get frustrated when they cannot get access to something quickly and easily. Real time marketing increases the of engagement with your customers by reaching people interested in your business, whenever and wherever they are. If they engage with your business online, they have a great chance of becoming a customer.
3 Real Time Marketing Strategies that Convert
The real key to successful real time marketing is planning and practice. Whether it’s big events like the Super Bowl or election day or holidays, there are three types of real time marketing strategies that you can use to maximize your campaign reach. The good news is, these strategies can be implemented quickly and easily.
Strategy 1: Holiday & Event Based Content
Create branded content that is ready to go up the day of the holiday or event. Make a list of holidays and events relevant to your customers, and create a post calendar from it. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can be planned out months in advance. All the heavy lifting is done up front. You can then repurpose it each year by making a few small tweaks.
- Important Historical Moments (9/11, Pearl Harbor, Challenger tragedy, etc.)
- Holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc.)
- Events around causes and movements
- Charity events
- Concerts and balls
Strategy 2: Outcome Predictive Content
Create a list of potential moments that might occur. Sporting events, elections and other outcome based events are great to use with this strategy. The goal here is to be able to push content quickly based on what actually happens, and post it in a timely manner.
Events prime for this strategy are:
- High Profile Elections
- Sporting events (Olympics, Super Bowl, storied rivalry games)
- Awards ceremonies (Oscars, AMA, SAG, VMA, etc.)
- TV Competitions (Singing, Dancing, Talent, Dating, etc.)
It requires a little bit more effort up front to create the ad content if you want to be prepared for either outcome. It also means someone has to post it after the result is revealed. For example, knowing the odds of one team winning over another, or one candidate leading in the polls, can help you pre-plan an ad and target a specific group of people that will be active on social media at that moment.
Strategy 3: Trending Moment Content
This is content created entirely on the spur of the moment based on an unknown event which requires someone physically watching for an opportunity to present itself. For example, When the lights unexpectedly went out during halftime of the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo quickly composed a tweet, “You can still dunk in the dark”. It was retweeted more than 15,000 times. Everyone loves Arby’s comebacks on social media. Their tweet about Pharrell Williams’ hat during the 2014 Grammys racked up nearly 80,000 retweets and 45,000 favorites. His hat was then auctioned for over $45k, the proceeds of which went to a charity.
Now obviously, these two examples were posted on Twitter, but you can see how effective the strategy is and can absolutely apply it to Facebook ads if you focus attention to detail and have the ability to work quickly on your feet. It also shows how using multiple platforms can strengthen your marketing strategy as well as increase brand awareness and engagement.
Events prime for this strategy are:
- Breaking News and Weather
- Trending Social Discussions
- Celebrity births, deaths, marriages, anniversaries, birthdays
- Embarrassing Celebrity Moments (Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, etc)
The great thing about all of these strategies is that ANYONE can use them. They work not only for major brands and companies, but for the small business owners too. Almost any business can benefit from them, whether you sell physical or digital products, or services.
Creative Ad Targeting for Your Real Time Marketing Strategies
Creating ad campaigns around live holidays and events is a very effective way for small businesses to reach targeted demographics. Facebook has detailed behavioral ad targeting options which allow businesses to dial in on people who are highly engaged with content related to sports, (some) events, shopping, and trending topics in media (just to name a few).
Some of the other targeting options include:
- Automotive (owners, purchase type, new and used vehicle shoppers, etc.)
- Digital Activities (small business owners, event creators, online spenders, etc.)
- Financial (spending methods, investments, types of credit, etc.)
- Mobile Device User (digital devices by operating system and brand)
- Residential (home buyer, renter, likely to move, and more)
- Purchase Behavior (purchase habits, types of products, store types, etc.)
Facebook puts together the audience by gathering information from users based on related keywords in posts that users publish and engage with. They also receive information mined from data partners.
Creating a Marketing Event Calendar
Creating your own marketing event calendar doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it may seem. In contrast it's actually really easy if you know who your target audience is! To be successful, take some time to research from your earlier years to determine what types of content resonated with your target audience in the past. Were they funny or heartfelt? What were the main influencers that helped previous campaigns become a successful? That little bit of research goes a long way in helping you determine the right focus and tone for content in each strategy.
The easiest way to do this is to use good old Google. First, create a Google spreadsheet (or excel document) to keep track of your content ideas. It doesn't have to be fancy but will make your life easier if you are organized. I usually create two tabs on my sheet. On one, you simply want to list the ideas:
- The holiday or event name
- The date (or date range)
- Ideas or notes (promos ideas, etc.)
In addition to researching past posts and influencers in your industry, I usually do a Google search of all the holidays for the current year. It's a good idea to look at several different listings in the results. From there, choose the holidays and events that your target audience would most likely identify with first. For example, if you run a bakery, then National Cookie Lover Day would be relevant to your audience. Make sure to list relevant holidays in your spreadsheet.
That being said, almost any holiday or event CAN be spun in a way that is attractive to your followers, if you are clever with words. For example, if you run a tire shop, National Donut Day is a perfect change to run a promo for a free “donut” check. It's a great way to get leads into the business and build initial trust before attempting to sell them something.
The second tab of my document is used to create a more detailed outline of what the scheduled content will look like on your Facebook business page and when it will be posted. On this page I recommend using the following columns:
- Facebook post date
- Content type (is it an image, a video, or a link to another site?)
- The post copy (exactly what you want the post to say)
- Links inside the post
- Link to the actual post (for quick reference after it's live)
Some businesses post once a day, and some post several. I have found the sweet spot for local businesses to be about 4-5 times per day. But don't stress if that seems like a lot at first. The key is to be consistent. Post on a schedule that you can maintain. If you want to take it to the next level, you could consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle your social media.
Focus on what your niche and target audience respond well to by leveraging predictive analytics, and how they’re interacting with posts regarding similar content, and use that to drive your own engagement strategy.