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The 6 Musts of a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign Want to get ahead on the holiday season? Start putting a lot of thought into your upcoming campaigns.

By Sujan Patel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Fall is upon us, with the holidays waiting right around the corner. Holidays are a perfect time to connect with your prospects and celebrate those feelings of camaraderie, gratitude and interconnectedness. Marketers can leverage these feelings to deeply engage with their customers on an emotional level and build trust and credibility.

The holidays are a popular time to market, so it's important to put a lot of thought into your holiday marketing campaign. You want to appeal to everyday emotions while also standing out from the crowd. There's a lot of spending that occurs during the holidays -- the trick is to get your customers to spend with you and not your competitors. Here are six musts of a successful holiday marketing campaign:

Plan a personalized campaign

Instead of hoping your customers will be seen with your products and spread the word, why not take the next step and let them physically insert themselves into your ad? OfficeMax saw an enormous boon using this strategy with the "Elf Yourself" social-media campaign. The site drew 193 million visits and continues to evolve with new characters, dances and animated graphics.

Related: A 6-Step Checklist to Get Your Online Business Ready for the Holiday Season

Personalize your own ad campaign by allowing customers to get involved and put themselves in the mix. The more innovative and fun the experience is, the more likely they are to share it on social media and beyond.

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Get your staff involved

Studies show there is only a 2 to 8 percent overlap between employee and company social networks. In other words, getting your staff involved can exponentially boost your marketing campaign's effectiveness. Some companies feature their staffs directly in commercials, while others simply encourage their employees to participate and share the personalized campaign. However you choose to do it, you can't afford to ignore your employees when planning your holiday marketing strategy.

Hit key emotions with your campaign

People tend to think their decision-making is purely rational, but the truth is all people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally. As a result, a successful holiday marketing campaign should be an emotional one. Focus on the feelings that fit the season, including friendship, "home for the holidays," good will, giving back and gratitude.

TD Bank's #MakeTodayMatter campaign featured these emotions, and as a result generated 3.5 million hits and gained media coverage around the world.

Create an easy-to-share campaign

While it's hard to predict what will go viral, it's possible to maximize your chances. One important element is that the campaign is easy to share. Consider that 74 percent of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influencer of their purchasing decisions. When someone receives your campaign from a friend, it means so much more than seeing it in a commercial or Facebook ad.

Related: Why Dynamic Content Will Deliver for the Marketing Industry

Some ways to make content shareable include adding social icons to emails, allowing recipients to share with a single click and creating engaging tweets that are begging to be shared.

Include online deals

People like to make a big deal out of Cyber Monday, but millions of Americans shop online on Black Friday. In 2014, $1.5 billion was spent online on Black Friday alone. Online networks make it easy to feature deals with fun campaigns such as countdowns, contests and games. Don't discount the power of email when reaching out to customers and advertising your deals both online and off for tempting in-store deals.

Create a consistent experience across all channels

Multi-channel marketing is the norm for professionals from retailers to insurance agents. However, it's crucial to create a consistent user experience regardless of which channels your customers are using. But there's more to it than recreating your branding and color scheme on social media. The deals you're offering should also stay consistent. Train your staff to fluently understand your individual deals, online-only offers and any restrictions that apply.

The holidays are the perfect time to build an emotional bond with your customers. The positive feelings of family, giving and gratitude are already at the forefront of the season and your marketing campaign can piggyback on those emotions. In addition, personalize your campaign to your customers and get your staff involved. With a sharable campaign, hot online deals and a consistent multi-channel experience, you'll be positioned for maximum holiday-season success.

How do you plan to market this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments comments section below.

Related: 5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign

Sujan Patel

Co-Founder of ContentMarketer.io & Narrow.io

In his more than 10 years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic, sales and strengthen brand reputation online. Sujan is the VP of marketing at When I Work -- an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.

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