‘Twas the week before the holidays, and the marketers had concerns. Would their new video be a hit, or was it going to crash and burn? Had they picked the right message, was it too much of a hard sell? What’s the right time to send it? Oh how could they tell?

It’s that time of year where Santa is booking his time in the malls, and our inboxes are full of offers that sound too good to be true. And for many video marketers, it’s a chance to be a little more creative, lighthearted and personal in our outbound communications. If your team is like mine, they’re working away like busy elves on the plans for a holiday video that is sure to grab the attention of customers and prospects.

But making a video for the holiday season isn’t a slam dunk. You need to be thoughtful in how you approach it, what tone you take, how you reference the holidays themselves, and even when you send it out. Here are 6 tips to help ensure that your holiday video gets you on Santa’s nice list.

#1 Holiday Video Marketing: Don't Go Straight for the Hard Sell

holiday video marketing tipsThe holiday season is a great time to show your love for giving and demonstrate that you’re not just a cold-hearted Scrooge out for every dollar you can find. Take a personal and genuine tone in your content. This is an opportunity to create something that isn't too heavy on marketing, product or sales speak. It's a chance to show off your culture and build more personal relationships with your audiences. Don't forget during the holiday season, 'tis better to give than to receive. Try to make this one a true gift to your audience.

WestJet captured this sentiment perfectly in its 2013 'Christmas Miracle' campaign:

#2 Make Your Video Fun and Lighthearted

holiday video marketing tipsThe holiday season provides a chance to let your guard down and show your true colors. Make your video fun, personal and lighthearted. This may be challenging for some of you, but take a shot at including your own employees in the video showcasing their personalities. Maybe they can say a personal holiday greeting, or talk about the worst holiday gift they ever received.

Here's a great example of a fun video we produced last year for the holidays called “Nothing for Christmas” that received great feedback from our customers (clearly we used our real employees and not professional singers):

#3 Focus in on the Right Holiday for Your Video Campaign

holiday video marketing tipsI’m going to throw caution to the wind and put this right out there: Not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas. There, it’s been said. Make a conscious decision on how you're going to approach this BEFORE writing your script and going into production. These days we see many marketers choosing to use the term "holiday season" and using reasonably agnostic holiday symbols such as wrapped gifts, evergreen trees, candles and snow hats. I can’t say that any one approach is the right way to go, but what’s important is that you make a conscious decision about it from the start to avoid an awkward moment later.

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#4 Use Well-Known Holiday Themes and References

holiday video marketing tipsDon't be shy about doing a take-off on a well-known holiday theme, song, movie or story, just make sure it’s something that will already have some meaning to your audience. Think the Grinch, Scrooge, Rudolph, Twelve Days of Christmas (or is it “Twelve Days of the Holiday Season”?) or even Festivus for the rest of us! If you do decide to try a take-off or parody on one of these ideas, just be mindful of the previous point on choosing your specific holiday references wisely. Kmart's 'Show Your Joe' campaign for Christmas 2013 was cheeky, but it stuck to a familiar theme.


#5 Publish Your Video Early Enough so it Gets an Audience

holiday video marketing tipsIf you’re going to email the video to your contacts or post it on your website, keep in mind that many of them will take off early to spend the holidays with their loved ones. Christmas is on a Thursday this year, so think about sending it as early as the prior week. We’re playing it safe this year and launching our holiday content marketing program around December 10th to give it some time to work its way around. And don’t forget to distribute it with social media to reach a wider audience - ‘tis the season for sharing!

#6 Use a Strong Call to Action in Your Video Marketing Campaign

holiday video marketing tipsYou've produced a great video that is going to touch the hearts and minds of your audiences. Now don't leave them hanging like a stocking by the chimney -- encourage them to take a next step after they watch it! But don't forget, it's also not the time for the hard sell, so consider directing them to something valuable that isn't all about you. At the end of your video, consider using a call-to-action to encourage your viewers to download a “gift” such as a free eBook, or point them to a valuable resource center filled with wonderful ideas for how to make 2015 their best year yet. There are lots of options here, but staying in the spirit of giving or success in the New Year can be simple and effective.