The sun is shining, and many of us are still wearing shorts and enjoying
summer’s last rays, which means the holidays are still a long way off,
right? Not exactly. Even though thoughts of sugarplums, eggnog, and hot
cocoa may seem like they’re months away, the time for planning your holiday
campaign is now. Fortunately, as you’ve told us on our Facebook
poll, many of you are now starting your holiday campaign planning.
Here are our top 10 tips for kicking your holiday campaign into high gear.
(If it helps, try tackling some of these while relaxing by the lake.)
Decide on your goals –
It may sound very basic, but thinking about what you want to achieve
with your holiday campaign is critical to creating the right strategy.
As you think about your business right now, what is most important? It
could be to increase your customer base, profit, or revenue. Keep in
mind that it’s unlikely you will be able to do all of these things, so
pick one or two.
Develop your budget –
Your budget will help you decide what channels you can afford to use.
Email marketing and social media marketing are two channels that don’t
cost much and usually have very high return on investment, so consider
making them a major part of your plan.
Look back at last year –
In looking at what you did (or did not do) last year, what worked and
what didn’t? Think about how you can improve upon what you did last
year, and don’t be afraid to recycle something that worked particularly
well. You can always spin your recycled offer as “back by popular
Get familiar with key dates –
You may have the big holidays covered, but there are many other key
dates to keep in mind. Are there any quirky holidays you can use to
stand out from the crowd? What are the can’t-miss dates for your
Choose what you want to offer –
As a small business, it can be difficult to stand out from the big-box
retailers during this season, so make sure you include more than just a
discount on your product. Get creative with your offers, and wrap them
up in a personal way that only your small business can. If you’re at a
loss for new ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your customers. Pose a
question on Facebook or Twitter, such as, “What offer would you most
like to see from us this holiday season?” Give your customers a few
options to choose from (along with a write-in option), and be prepared
to use the best idea.
Use an integrated approach –
Think about how your channels work together and which channels reach
your target customer. If email marketing is your primary marketing
vehicle, think about how you can extend your message using social media
and vice versa.
Create a messaging schedule –
Now that you have come up with some ideas for offers and have circled
key dates on your calendar, you will want to come up with a schedule for
promoting those offers. How long do you want your offers to last? When
do you want to start promoting them? When will you use email, and when
will you use social media?
Grow your list – The
holiday season presents great opportunities for reaching new customers,
so use this time to grow your email list and social media following. If
you are a retailer, ask people to sign up for emails during checkout.
Online, make sure you have email sign-up forms on both your website and
social media pages. Consider offering an extra incentive for signing up
for your email list.
Keep the conversation going –
Use social media to keep your customers engaged with you throughout the
season. Start a conversation by asking questions related to your
business. Run a sweepstakes for following/liking you, or consider making
a donation to charity if you get a certain number of likes.
Don’t forget events –
If you host holiday events, use email to invite your customers to
attend, and use social media to talk about the events both during and
after. Consider having an event to get people excited about your
business, such as an exclusive presale shopping hour for your email
subscribers. If your business is online only, create a coupon for a
first look at your sale selection before the general public gains
Follow these steps now, and you’ll be able to welcome fall with peace of
mind, knowing you have a fantastic holiday campaign all planned out and
ready to shine.