Though it is only October, now is the time to begin to implement a holiday marketing campaign for your business. The fact is that before October is over, 59 percent of U.S. internet users will have begun their holiday shopping, according to an online article by eMarketer. The same piece said the remaining 41 percent of shoppers will begin their holiday shopping in November or later. That means now is the best time to launch your marketing plans for the upcoming holiday season.

By planning, preparing, and implementing your holiday marketing strategy now, your business will get a head start against the competition when it comes to garnering sales. By developing a marketing calendar in advance and mapping out your sales and specials now, you’ll have a better opportunity to reach the shoppers searching for your goods or services.

Plan for the Season

You’ll want to plan your marketing strategy for the entire holiday season from now until after New Year’s as this is a very busy time for retailers. You likely won’t have as much time for managing your social media and implementing other marketing strategies as you’ll be busy handling sales during this time. Planning now will also help you when it comes to creating and implementing your marketing strategy as well as important aspects of it such as Facebook Ads, which can also take time.

The biggest shopping events for most industries during the holiday season, from October to the beginning of January, include the following:

  • Halloween
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • 12th-Dec. 24th (shoppers ramping up for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s)
  • New Year’s Eve

For each of these holidays, you’ll want to plan your marketing strategy at least a month in advance. This planning timeframe allows you to schedule posts and ads in advance.

Social Media Planning

Traditionally, social media usage increases in early October and usually peaks around New Year’s. That means now is the time to look ahead at your social media platforms from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram. By planning your social media posts in advance, the holidays won’t sneak up on you and you will have all of your bases covered when it comes to holiday sales. While it will take some time for you to sit down and plan out your social media calendar, it will save you time later and allow you to seize the opportunity for better sales this holiday season.

First, you will need to create your offer. Are you planning on giving a 20 percent discount on all orders before December 1st? Hosting holiday sales in your store? Decide what offers you want to push to boost your holiday sales.

Next, pull out the calendar. Look at when you want to host sales, specials, and offer discounts. Determine when each will begin and how long you wish for them to run. A large desk calendar that you can write on is a great way to plan your social media posts and gives you a visual for scheduling posts.

Images & Photos

After you determine what you want to post on each day, you’ll need to choose images or photos to go with your posts and ads. The easiest and most affordable way to do this without risking copyright infringement is to purchase images and photos from an online service. Some that we recommend include Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and iStock. These services allow you to purchase one photo at a time, purchase so many images per month, or join on an annual basis. The convenience of these websites allows you to purchase just the photos you need and select the subscription that works best for your marketing needs.

Be very careful about using “free” photos and images you find online. Though you may Google free images and some will pop up, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are copyright free. You want to ensure that your business doesn’t get in trouble for copyright infringement by using images and photos that you haven’t paid for.

E-commerce

If your business offers services or products online, November and December are huge sales months. According to the aforementioned eMarketer article, consumer sales online top more than $94 billion in sales. In addition, a study by Qualtrics and Market Track revealed that most internet users do their shopping online for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday). An article by PraticalEcommerce predicts that 2018 holiday sales will peak between Thanksgiving and Black Friday. If you offer goods and services online, these shopping weekends are a prime opportunity to offer deals that will lure in shoppers.

Prep for Events

If you are hosting any special events in your storefront, place of business, or at any holiday fairs, it’s best to put together a checklist to help you stay organized. Put together a calendar of what must be done in advance and have a separate checklist for the day of your event. For example, if you intend to offer free visits with Santa Claus in your store, plan for where the jolly old elf will be stationed, where the line will form, Santa’s helpers to move people along quickly, and extra help for the shoppers that will inevitably be drawn in.

Your Marketing Budget

Make sure you plan a holiday marketing budget in advance. You will be able to pre-program Facebook ads and the amount of money you wish to spend. If you are concerned about ad prices, you can manually set a maximum spend on your ads. You want to be sure to budget enough to get your message out but not cut into your profitability.

In conclusion, the most effective holiday marketing campaigns are those that are properly planned in advance. Know what you want to feature, when, and on what platforms as well as what you intend to spend. By planning your holiday marketing strategy in advance, you are more likely to experience increased sales and success. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact Local Business Marketing Solutions at (888) 416-7752.