The holiday season is here and like many people, small business marketers are frantically trying to grab the attention of potential customers to get a piece of the marketing pie. Whether you’re a business who depends on holiday sales as your busiest time of year, or one that simply tries to stay afloat as business slows down during the season, this time of year can be overwhelming. Just like people preparing for the holidays, small business marketing is about planning, preparing, and hoping for the best outcome, all of which can leave you exhausted and spent. Here’s how to avoid a marketing holiday hangover.

Plan ahead for the best results

plan aheadIf you’ve ever experienced having to host a last-minute Thanksgiving feast, you know how completely overwhelming it can be trying to pull it all together. That’s why savvy hosts know to plan ahead when preparing a holiday meal. They pull together recipes early. They lay out a plan, a strategy, for what to serve, when to serve it, using what tools, and how to pull it all off for a spectacular meal. The same concepts apply to marketing during the holidays. If you’re reading this blog and thinking about how to start your Christmas marketing efforts, you are WAY late to the (marketing) party!  Most savvy small business marketers start their holiday marketing right after Halloween (assuming Halloween too wasn’t included in the plan). They created a marketing plan to know what kind of messaging they were going to do, who they were going to target, what tactics they were going to use, and what their ideal outcome would be. Sound a lot like planning a Christmas dinner?  It should! Plan ahead for the best results for your holiday marketing efforts.

Don’t try to do too much

Are you one of those people that never really enjoy the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve party you worked so hard to pull off because you’re simply exhausted by the effort? Pick up any magazine and they all say the same thing: less is better. Do a few things really well instead of trying to pull off the perfect event of the year. It’s unrealistic and will likely backfire. Same goes for marketing during the holiday season. It’s better to do a few things well for your marketing campaign. One of the worst things you can do in marketing is spread yourself too thin, dilute your focus and only do a marginal job overall. If you have a marketing strategy, you already know your target audience, where they reside, and the best tactics to reach them. Pick the channels that work best for that audience and do it well. You’ll get better results and not be exhausted when it’s all over.

Get others to help with your marketing efforts

hellpOne key to a happy holiday season, whether it’s cooking dinner or executing a solid holiday marketing plan, is delegate, delegate, delegate. Don’t try to do all the marketing on your own. Need content written?  Engage the expertise of your in-house subject matter experts to help write blog posts. Need more engagement on social media?  Encourage your employees to help spread the word on social media channels. Want to try videos this Christmas season but don’t have the expertise?  Outsource your marketing to a marketing consultant who knows video marketing. Trying to pull off the holiday feast of the year or the marketing campaign of the season alone will leave you spent with likely poor results.

Take a cue from last year

Unless you’re a brand-new business owner, this isn’t your first holiday season. Before you plan for this year’s Christmas campaign, why not look at what you did last year. What worked?  What didn’t?  What can you do differently to garner better results?  Savvy holiday planners know sticking to a tried and true plan is a good bet overall, along with measuring results to see what can be improved next time around.

How to avoid the holiday hangover

marketing holiday hangoverWhen the season is over and all the dust settles, most of us suffer from what’s called a holiday hangover. What is a holiday hangover exactly?  It’s fatigue, feeling spent, not feeling like you accomplished everything you wanted to even though you worked hard, and an overall sense of malaise. Ever feel that way after pulling off a huge marketing push?  We thought so. It happens. You did everything right, checked off all the boxes (like the ones listed above) and even though you may have actually gotten the results you wanted (more website traffic, more leads, more sales!) you feel underwhelmed, maybe even disappointed. Why? It’s because you worked so hard for so long to achieve so much and now that’s it’s over…now what?  Here’s how to avoid those feelings. First, take some time and relax; you just pulled off an amazing holiday marketing campaign!  Don’t dwell on what went wrong (your shopping cart was slow, your email list had a high bounce rate, etc.) and enjoy all that went well (new site visitors, higher sales, new customers, etc.). Be proud of what you accomplished, even if the results weren’t what you hoped for. Review all your efforts and look at the results and think about what you can do different next time around to get better results.

This is the time of year we should all be thankful for what we have. Follow these steps for marketing during the holidays and you’ll find your efforts will pay off without leaving your spent with a holiday hangover. Here’s to a fantastic holiday season!

Patty Hughes
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