The time has come...the pre-holiday season is upon us! Well, maybe it's not so "pre" anymore. I walked through a home improvement store the other day (It was not yet the first of October), and there was a large display of Christmas Trees already set up...WOW. For me, the message was clear: "Ready or Not, the Holidays are coming!"
If you don't already have all of your holiday marketing mapped out, don't panic. There's still time to put together your promotions, bake some Christmas cookies, and spread cheer. If you're feeling a little unprepared, here are a few simple steps to help you get your act together.
Decide what you'll promote
Consumers are very receptive to marketing messages during the holiday season. It's an excellent time to use a special deal to give your most popular items a sales boost or to introduce a new product or service at a special price. The easiest way to create a cohesive holiday marketing plan is to focus on promoting one main item. Other products or services can be promoted peripherally.
How you "package" this promotion is important, too. Are you offering a deep discount? Bundling items together? Creating a luxury version of an existing product? Is there a limited time frame to make this purchase? Is there a different Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal that you need to put together? Any of these are great options for putting a holiday spin on your products or services .
Decide how (and where) you will promote it
Do you have a large social media presence? Get tremendous ROI from advertising or email marketing? Have a lot of customers who call you on the phone? The proven ways you communicate with customers are the same ways you should promote your holiday marketing campaigns. Here are some ideas:
- Create a space for your promotion online. A page of your website (or several, if necessary), is ideal.
- Share your promotion via social media, email marketing, a video, and other online methods.
- Use your phone system's Message On Hold program to give information about your holiday promotion.
Decide when you will promote it
Generally, marketing for the holiday season starts EARLY (see my Christmas tree anecdote at the beginning of this blog). At the same time, just promoting things "early" won't make your holiday marketing any better. In reality, you don't have to start your holiday in September...but you should have a plan that helps you tell customers and prospects about your promotion throughout the Holiday season. When you start your promotions will really depend on how frequently customers are interacting with them. You might start with blog posts or website content first, because it's somewhat passive. Wait until a little bit later to put up decorations and change your on hold message. But don't wait to plan what you're going to do. If you can purchase or make your in-store decorations in October and November, you'll be in great shape after Thanksgiving.
Decide how you'll follow up
Regardless of your chosen promotion, it's important to have a solid follow-up process so you can continue to keep customers interested in your products and services while building brand awareness. Whether you're going to send out thank you cards for large purchases or email nurturing campaigns, spend some time to think about the follow-up process. It's an ideal time to offer add-ons or cross sell additional services. Most importantly, following up keeps your business top of mind with customers and helps you build a community around your brand
What are your holiday marketing plans? Do you have any business holiday traditions that your customers really love?