5 Tips for Creating Your Holiday Marketing Strategy

It's hard to believe that there are only 3 weeks until November 1st and the beginning of the holiday retail season. 

Do you have your holiday marketing strategy figured out? Have you set your revenue goals (revenue goals not sales goals) for the season and have a plan to meet it?

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales between November and December are expected to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total around $678.75 billion to $682 billion. $682 BILLION DOLLARS! 

What does that mean for you? It means there's potential to bring in some serious revenue this holiday season. 

With the holidays literally right around the corner, here are five tips for creating your holiday marketing strategy to help you reach your sales goals and end the year strong. 

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One of the best things you can do for your business to jump-start the season is to start your holiday planning early (aka now). This is the time of year that is especially busy. From about mid-November through the remainder of the year not only will you be busy filling orders, sending customer emails, etc., you're also going to be busy with life - deciding what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, holiday shopping, going to parties, spending time with the family and hopefully... relaxing (as best you can). Don't wait until the hustle and the bustle of the season gets underway to start your planning. Take a lesson from Victoria Secret and use your time now to decide what your game plan will be for the holidays. 

After setting your revenue goals, the first place to start when planning your holiday strategy is with a few questions. 

  • What worked last year? 
  • What campaigns/promotions did you run last year that were successful?
  • What partnerships/collabs did you do that resulted in sales? 
  • What campaigns/promotions did you see other brands do last season that you really liked and can incorporate a similar approach to your holiday strategy this year?
  • What was your best selling product last season? 
  • What kind of feedback did you get from customers about your shipping times and rates?
  • Which traditional holidays and shopping days (Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, etc) do you want to recognize this season?
  • How do you want to recognize them? 
  • Will you host a party for your best customers? 
  • Will you host a giveaway, partner with bloggers and influencers, offer free shipping or a free gift with purchase?
  • Will you use Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads?
  • What is your budget for special holiday promotions?

This goes back to tip #1. Once you've decided what holidays/shopping days you want to recognize and how you want to recognize them, it's time to plan ahead. What blog posts, email blasts, and social media posts can you write now and schedule to be sent out later? Often around the holiday season, entrepreneurs get busy with the hustle and bustle of life that they fall off on marketing their business during the holidays or they end up sending a rushed email or two and post a few times on Instagram when they have time but there's no real strategy behind it. They're just posting something to check it off their to-do list.

The saying, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" is so true! Especially in this situation. Your customers are going to be bombarded by marketing messages from all over which is why you want to stay in front of your customers so they remember you when its time to buy.  You don't have to spam your customers in order to get their attention but you do need to have a well planned out strategy. Not to mention, how amazing would it feel to be able to focus your attention on other things while your marketing is on autopilot? 

When it comes to sharing your marketing message, put yourself in your customers shoes and try to create messages that would get your attention. Think about your own experiences. You also have gifts to purchase. What makes you stop and pay attention to a brand? What makes you want to purchase something? What kind of ads get your attention? Take these cues and apply them to your own marketing efforts and ask yourself if you saw another brand send the email you just sent, post the picture you just posted or host the event you just threw, would you stop and pay attention? Would you buy?

Many of the most successful businesses are the ones that solve a problem. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Right now their problem is that they have a list of people they need to get gifts for. They're busy and have limited time but still need to get everything done. 

How does your product solve their gift giving problem?
Who do your products make great gifts for?
What makes what you're selling the perfect gift? 
How can you make their gift giving experience as easy as possible?
Can you afford to offer free gift wrap service? Free shipping and easy returns? Can you ship to multiple addresses if the customer is buying for multiple people?

Anticipate your customer's needs and create solutions to solve their problems and make gift giving this season as easy as possible. 

Have you started on your holiday marketing strategy? What helpful tips have you been following to create your plan? Join the conversation and comment below