You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. But, did you know that Santa also has eight drivers of digital marketing success? That’s right – he’s made the list, checked it twice, and is willing to share it with good boys and girls looking to increase awareness, drive engagement, and capture sales through online efforts.

1.  Great Content

Content is the “lead reindeer” when it comes to digital marketing. Remember, people are on the Internet for themselves, not for you. Begin by producing blog posts, white papers, and videos that answer common questions asked by customers in your industry. Aside from engaging your audience, quality content is a primary contributor to success in search engine optimization.

2.  Lead Capture

Giving gifts is nice, but getting something in return can be even nicer for your company. Blog posts should frequently conclude with an invitation to request more information or additional contact. While a good portion of your content should be free, don’t be afraid to require contact information before providing access to higher quality content items such as white papers and e-books.

3.  Listening

Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap, telling him that you want a toy train, then waking up to a football on Christmas morning. Luckily, Santa listens. Your company should be listening too, using sophisticated online tools. Pay attention to what’s being said about your company, competitors, and industry; then respond when appropriate.  Listening can also help you plan future content that aligns with hot topics and trends.

4.  Rewarding Brand Advocates

Your brand advocates have been good all year. They’ve liked your posts, talked about you on Facebook, and retweeted your content. Thank them for their comments, follow them on social mediums, and consider sharing their content with your audience. Remember, new media relationships are a two-way street.

5.  Leveraging Outside Networks

We all know that Santa can’t be in every mall at the same time – he relies on a network of “stand-ins” to do his work. By leveraging external networks of like-minded individuals, Santa increases his reach and gains access to new audiences.  Follow Santa’s example and find blogs, forums, and events for which you can be a guest contributor.

6.  Supplementing with Paid Promotion

Even Santa’s sleigh can’t rely entirely on “organic” Christmas spirit for its power to fly. Your efforts to build organic visibility will be more effective when supplemented with paid social ads, search ads, and banner ads. Ads can increase your following, highlight key content items, and even drive direct sales. Just remember, paid promotion provides only a quick “shot in the arm” and should only supplement organic efforts, which provide lasting benefits.

7.  Integration with Traditional Media

Just because Santa’s gone digital, doesn’t mean he no longer accepts paper letters. Your company’s digital marketing efforts will be more effective if they’re integrated with traditional offline promotions. Invite viewers of your print ad to an online landing page complete with a data capture form. Encourage readers of your newsletter to engage with you online. Opportunities for integration are everywhere.

8.  Correct Metrics

If Santa compiled the naughty/nice list based on the number of times little boys apologized for hitting their sisters, he would have a distorted view of success. Don’t make the same mistake by basing digital marketing success on the number of “likes” and “follows” that you receive. Track visits, on-site behavior, referral sources, and organic traffic. Overall, track online sales and web leads.


Most importantly, don’t let a lack of strategy ground your digital marketing sleigh.  After all, digital marketing initiatives that lack strategy are simply a waste of resources. So, as your company ventures out into the foggy night of social and digital media, be sure you’ve got the right team guiding your efforts. Allow these eight principles to light your way and help you get the returns you’ve been seeking.