The first step in a successful marketing plan is to generate buzz. Smart product placement helps you gain the exposure you need.
The goal of every marketer is to find new ways to get attention for products, especially during the holiday season, and not every retailer has the kind of budget that allows sponsorship of a popular TV show or movie.
But even small businesses can take advantage of online opportunities. You just have to get a little creative.
Here are three ways you can make holiday product placement happen, even on a tiny budget.
Connect With Youtube Influencers
Youtube is full of people who report on products in different ways. The key is to identify those with the right audience; people who fit your ideal demographic. In many cases, that's pretty straightforward. A young woman doing makeup how-to videos is going to have an audience of young women who want to learn to use makeup creatively. If you sell makeup or skin care products designed for young women, it's a natural fit. Here's Casey Holmes for Sephora:
Casey has more than a million subscribers, and this video, uploaded in November 2015, has already had more than 467,000 views. A look at the comments shows hundreds of comments by young women.
Makeup seems like a natural Youtube subject, but what about something less glamorous? There are Youtubers for almost every niche. This video from The Lawn Care Nut, for example, has more than 500,000 views. It's called “How To Dominate Your Neighbor's Lawn.” Is that really a thing?
If you search for tutorials, you'll find YouTubers as diverse as young EvanTubeHD, who reviews toys, games, and other kid-related stuff for more than two million subscribers, and nickscomputerfix, a guy who walks you through common computer problems and programs.
Youtube is the most popular video option, but not the only one. Livestream options, like Blab and Periscope, are quickly gaining market share online, and influencers are already building an audience.
Inspire User-Generated Content
Warby Parker is one of the best examples of inspired UGC. They regularly retweet content generated by users featuring their eyeglasses.
To put a holiday spin on your UGC (and add urgency), offer readers a perk, discount, or donation for posting pictures or videos of themselves featuring your product.
Walmart has taken a subtle (but effective) approach by kicking up holiday UGC this year with the #Sing2Salute campaign to benefit veterans in military hospitals. The Fisher House Foundation provides lodging for the families of wounded warriors who face long hospital stays. Walmart has donated $500,000 and pledged $100 per video, up to a million bucks.
Getting customer participation can be tricky. Use your imagination to find the right showcase for your product, and then try to get your holiday efforts shared as widely as possible.
Related Article: How to Create an Amazing Direct Mail Piece to Generate Holiday Sales
Like Youtube, the blogosphere has influencers in virtually every industry. Many influential bloggers will review products you send them, with disclosure. Expect an honest review. Bloggers like Mama Smith value their reputations and won't jeopardize their stature with a fake review. If your company and its claims are honest and authentic, you have nothing to fear.
You might want to sweeten the pot for in-demand by offering products or discounts bloggers can give away to their readers.
Sex Still Sells
No matter how boring your product, sexing it up with graphics and content can help increase shares. Effective holiday graphics are funny, wondrous, poignant, adorable, surprising, or even a little sexy.
Choose professional graphics with real impact that make your readers sit up and take notice. Your subject should fit your products – the image above might be appropriate for makeup, skin care, contact lenses, fashion, holiday décor, or even a contemplative subject.
You don't have to be an international brand to get involved. No matter what size your business, you can help publicize a charity or public service that will get you noticed. For example, a group of insurance companies in the UK got together to sponsor Gone in Seconds, a campaign to warn young people about the dangers of driving without insurance...a concern that hits home particularly hard during the holidays, when people are more likely to party.
Collaborating with others and getting involved in a campaign to help people gives you the extra leverage of cross-promotion exposure to new audiences. It also shows your customers what you care about, an important part of relationship building with your customers.
Related Article: The Ultimate Holiday How-to for Social Media Promotion
It's not too late to find creative ways to showcase your products or services online. Promotions can catch fire in no time, but they can be a little unpredictable. It's hard to predict what will appeal to lots of people and inspire them to share. Spice everything you do up with awesome graphics, clever tweets, and open invitations to engage.