For many business owners, the holiday season is an opportunity to bring in significant sales and revenues. But many businesses don’t start preparing for holiday season marketing until it’s too late, and they end up missing out on opportunities. For optimum success, you should identify your holiday marketing budget and begin planning your holiday marketing well in advance.
None of these things can happen overnight. Trust me. I’ve been on the phone with printers and clients on Christmas Eve trying to get a last-minute project done, and it’s not fun. Keep in mind that holiday marketing includes both customer marketing and internal marketing. I’ve created many internal holiday promotional campaigns to motivate sales teams, customer services representatives, and other employees during the busy and critical holiday season. With prizes and recognition, you can give employees the incentive they need to reach individual performance goals and overall business goals.
Here are five ways to get your business ready for holiday marketing. You can pursue all or just a few, but whatever you choose, you need to start right now.
1. Develop special promotions
Whether you want to focus on promotions in-store, online or through social media, you need to develop them early so you know what needs to be done to make them happen. You need time for design, to secure ad placement, and for printing.
2. Create email marketing lists
Gather current customer email addresses from your existing email marketing list and update your opt-in messages on your website, Facebook page and in-store, using something like “Sign up now so you don’t miss big holiday savings offers.”
3. Offer gift incentives
Brainstorm how you can repackage your existing products and services as gifts. Of course, gift cards are popular purchases during the holidays, but clever marketing can create more ways for customers to give your products and services as gifts without actually purchasing an item that the recipient might not like or giving only a boring gift card.
4. Plan and organise events
If you plan to hold in-store or local events to promote your business during the holiday season, then you need to start planning and promoting them weeks in advance. It takes time to reserve space (if the event will not be held at your location) and book or purchase music, chairs, tables, decorations, giveaways, and other items.
Don’t forget to contact local charities prior to the holiday season to identify events your business could sponsor for a goodwill boost and some indirect
5. Partner with local businesses
The holiday season is a perfect time to partner with other local businesses that offer complementary products and services to yours. You can offer joint promotions or co-host events.
Many businesses partner to share ad space and costs. Even cross-promoting through in-store materials is a great way for businesses to achieve economies of scale during a critical marketing period.
Don’t launch any programmes unless you’re sure that you have the necessary trained staff in place to handle the response efficiently and professionally. The last thing you want to happen is to spend time and money developing great holiday marketing initiatives then watch those efforts fail because you’re not prepared for the response from consumers. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared because bad service this year will certainly be remembered next year.