For many small businesses, the holiday season is the biggest time of year, bringing in the most revenue that will carry them into the following year when things slow down a bit. If your small business is a bit behind on holiday marketing efforts, not all is lost! Here are a few last-minute tactics to try.

When should holiday marketing start?

holiday marketingIt surprises many people to know that holiday marketing should start several months before the holidays hit.  That may mean planning holiday campaigns by the end of summer to get the ideal ad space, sufficient budget, and plenty of runway to plan for resources such as materials, products, and employees. A few questions to decide how well your resources are for the holiday season might be:  Do you need to create products specifically for the holidays? Will the holidays require a significant increase in inventory? Is an influx of employees needed? How are deliverable lead times impacted? This past year has taught us that the usual lead times to build inventory or personnel have expanded greatly and are highly unpredictable. Be prepared for your holiday marketing efforts!

How to handle a late start to marketing

late start to holiday marketingBy the time you read this, we’re already over a week into December; less than three weeks from Christmas. While not ideal, small businesses can still rally and create strong and effective marketing efforts. However, as mentioned above, you need to ensure you have all you need so that your last-minute push doesn’t leave you struggling to fulfill promised business. Even on a shortened timeline, it’s a good idea to put a plan together: what will your promotion(s) be? What’s the lead time? What are your costs vs. what you’ll charge? What’s the marketing budget for these efforts? How will you measure the success of your marketing efforts? Not terribly different than a full small business marketing strategy, know what you need, the challenges you’re facing, which tactics you’ll use, expected outcomes, and how you’ll decide if your efforts paid off.

Last-minute marketing ideas

last-minute marketing ideasThis late in the game, you likely won’t be able to secure radio ads, TV ads, print ads, or most other more traditional marketing options because of your shortened timeline, but there are still options open for you! Here are a few to try.

Email marketing campaigns

Sure, your email will land in email inboxes already overflowing with offers, but yours can be effective if you make it stand out. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make your subject line simple and to the point
  • Have a clear call to action in your email
  • Make your email offer AMAZING
  • Offer enticements for people to act now

Here are a few other email marketing best practices to try for these and future marketing efforts.

Create a giveaway

giveawayPeople LOVE giveaways any time of year, but with the financial crunch that the holidays bring, freebies are even more enticing. If you have a product or service that can be used as a giveaway, give it a try! You can promote the giveaway by email, a popup on your website, and through your social media channels. Why give away something when you’re trying to generate holiday revenue? First, if you set up a giveaway correctly, you’re collecting contact information for future marketing efforts. Second, you’re exposing your product or service to people who may have never interacted with you before. Third, this tactic can be extremely effective in enhancing your overall marketing efforts. Give it a try! Here are a few helpful hints on implementing a giveaway contest.

Promote gift cards as a last-minute option

gift cardsIf your small business offers products or services that can’t be fulfilled before the holiday season, don’t sweat it! Instead, create gift cards and promote them as a last-minute holiday shopping option. Many services thrive on gift card sales during the holidays; think restaurants, barbershops, and beauty parlors. Not everyone is going to get services before the holidays, but your holiday marketing efforts will continue to pay off well after the new year! Gift cards or gift certificates can really work for any business if you get creative.

Don’t forget coupons and discounts

People are really on the lookout for coupons and discounts during the holiday season. Make doing business with your company more enticing by offering a discount. For those selling products, you might even give a higher discount the more they buy. Here are a few great coupon ideas and why they work.

Need to do some last-minute holiday marketing and still not sure how to get started? Strategic Marketing Services can help create a plan and get you ready to promote well into the new year.

Patty Hughes
Follow Us!