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Designing for the Holidays

Inbound Marketing Website Design Culture

What's this? What's this? There's color everywhere; albeit a narrow palette of reds and greens. As a digital designer, the holiday season represents a celebration of visual expectations. Holiday clip art begins its annual emergence from a dusty folder on the setting of the harvest moon. As sure as pine needles in the carpet, the temptation to employ the familiar candy cane, tinsel, or stocking in a design persists. The challenge is to create new design visuals to market your goods and services during the most wonderful time of the year.

What does this mean for you? Regardless of the odds, "yule" want to show your audience that you are in the spirit of the season. You won't get a visit from the Holiday Police if your email or call-to-action doesn't contain at least a smattering of red and green. You can easily stick to your company's brand guidelines whist waiting for Santa. Just be mindful not to overdo the amount of neutral colors in a yule zone. If you must use neutrals, enjoy them responsibily.

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We've covered it before, using a looping .gif animation like the one above (in living neutral color) is a real attention-getter. Using them can add interest to your content, display a seasonal theme, and gain dwell time from your visitors. Best of all, it will keep your customers engaged with your marketing content.

Have you noticed how during the holidays, marketers tend to get rather pushy? This familiar cycle plays itself out over and over this time of year. It's so easy to focus on sales and the year-end bottom line, right? Most importantly, keep your customer's pain points forefront in your campaigns. Don't lose sight on helping them solve their problems. Everything seems to get a bit crowded for businesses, so make solutions easy to obtain for your audience through the bustle of the holidays.

Say it with Sugar

Aren't the holidays sweet? However, visions of sugarplums are easily pushed aside for massive cookie assortments and candy selections. Overwhelming comes to mind here. Just like these confections are the wide varieties of fonts you *can* use to help sweeten your holiday headlines. This is probably the one time of year where you will get a pass if you design with Papyrus.

Typefaces aside, the sweet deal here is to make sure you are using header tags for your web pages. This starts with your main header (H1) and slides down in importance from H2, H3, all the way down to H6. Using these header tags are a major SEO factor since search engines use them to determine what your website is all about. Be sure to use relative keywords when writing these headers. Designating header tags support best practices for SEO and will help you be found especially during the busy holiday season.

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Back to the Conversion Path I Go

Seems like the design rules might be a little looser this time of year. You might use a big, unpleasant inside border of pine tree branches dotted with intricate snowflakes and get away with it. That should gain some attention. You could push the envelope even more by using an Olde English font to emphasize how you're owning this year's season’s greetings!

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Your buyer personas are probably expecting at least some of your marketing content to be adorned with good tidings of comfort and joy. Speaking of adornment, there is no other time of year when fake snow is such an awesome idea. It seems to be everywhere with the exception of those regions to the north that experience piles of the real stuff.

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Alas, the idea of fake snow is an important marketing illustration. People who endure actual snow on a regular basis probably have no use for fake snow. They are not in the market for artificial winter decor. They are completely over the novelty of unexpected frozen precipitation falling out of the sky. Here in Texas, it’s another ballgame altogether. We love fake snow and fake snowmen and will purchase this stuff. That is to say, until a mere half-inch of the real stuff coats our roads. Then it's eight hours of driving chaos followed by a week of social media posts about it.

Oh, Oh, Ho!

Even digital designers immersed in the world of inbound marketing love the holiday season. It’s an opportunity to embrace traditions, celebrate our faith, brave our extended families, and use that end-of-year flashy splash of glitter to promote and market goods and services. What’s not to love about all that? 

Just like the familiar decorations and lights, the holiday marketing motifs and promotions will fade and yield to what's ahead. But for now, the spirit is in me and I am in the spirit! Merry Christmas to all! (Said it.) And to all, a good design!

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