Summer is finally over and we’re slowly easing into the fall, which means the holidays are just around the corner. If your business depends on holiday sales, you should already be marketing your products or services with an eye on the holidays. If you haven’t started, your small business holiday marketing needs to start now!

Understanding how your business is impacted by the holidays

holiday salesSmall businesses need to understand how their company is impacted by the holidays. Do they need to create items specific for the holidays?  Will the holidays require a significant increase in inventory?  An influx of employees? How are deliverable lead times impacted? Understanding all of these will help guide how soon you should be marketing for the holidays, and what your messaging should be. Even if the holidays mean a big slowdown for your business, you need to plan holiday marketing for that. Running holiday specials to help keep revenue up during the slow holiday season is just as important as marketing when your business depends on holiday sales. A gift wrap company may need to plan to really promote their holiday wrap but just as importantly, a small business that sells pool rafts might take advantage of the “slow” holiday season to run an aggressive marketing campaign to keep sales afloat (pun intended).

Your small business can benefit from the holiday season

If you’re a business who sees an increase in sales during the holiday season, planning ahead will ensure you enjoy not only increased revenue, but that the season is a successful one for you and a good experience for your customers. Be prepared for the big influx of holiday sales by ordering supplies early, determining and announcing your holiday hours, ensuring you have plenty of inventory on hand, and making sure your website is ready for the big increase in traffic. Nothing will deter shoppers faster than a slower-than-molasses website.

Start your holiday marketing early

marketing calendarMarketing for the holidays should start months in advance, really!  Plan on two to three months of marketing to really see an impact on your sales. That means marketing for Halloween starts in July/August, Thanksgiving in August/September, and Christmas in September/October. The best way to make sure your holiday marketing is successful and organized is to create a marketing calendar as party of your holiday marketing strategy to plan for email blasts, mailers, paid ads and social media efforts. Get creative with how you market for the holidays. Offer coupons, discounts, or special shipping offers, but make sure you have plenty of time to get people excited about your business and what you’re offering for the holidays. And don’t forget, some people start shopping for Christmas in July so no, September is not at all too early to start holiday marketing. Your holiday marketing needs to start now!

Holiday marketing ideas to try

Looking to make your holiday marketing stand out, or looking for something new to try?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Create limited time offers to encourage customers to buy now.
  • Host a holiday season kick-off event to bring customers in
  • Introduce add-on incentives, such as a drawing entry with every purchase or after spending over a certain amount.
  • Send multiple emails, direct mailers or holiday cards announcing your services or products, and any holiday deals you’re offering
  • Use email, social media and your website to let customers know about your upcoming deals.
  • Feature a different product, service or discount every day for a holiday-themed 12 days of Christmas
  • Offer gift cards or gift certificates
  • Use direct-mail postcards with coupon codes to get customers to your website or store.
  • Do a holiday giveaway
  • Be sure to hit multiple marketing channels (email, social media, etc.) to get your marketing message out there.
  • Create a dedicated Google Ads holiday campaign
  • Embrace a cause for the holiday season and invite customer to help support that cause through your company (e.g. percentage of sales)

holiday marketing ideasNeed more ideas?  Here are 21 more holiday marketing ideas.

How small businesses plan for the holiday season can make a significant difference in how business owners weather the holiday season. If you’re not sure how to market for the holidays for your small business, reach out to a small business professional to help you plan a successful holiday season marketing campaign. Your holiday marketing needs to start now, so get organized and get started!

Patty Hughes
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