When should I start preparing my small business for holiday marketing? 

This answer may surprise you. It’s as early as possible. For many small businesses, much of their revenue comes in during the last two months of the year. The clearer you are with holiday plans, the better because consumers start planning early too. 

Don’t believe us? The National Retail Foundation found that 40% of consumers begin shopping before Halloween.” 

If that’s not convincing, we have one more really good reason why you need to prepare for holiday marketing early. Ready? Because it will save you advertising dollars. 

Every business from fortune 500 to the brick and mortar down the street will be marketing during the holidays. Digital marketing has proven very effective over the years with advancements in targeting; however, it’s become more costly because everyone is doing it. 

How to spend marketing dollars effectively

The logic here is simple. Go big early. Typically, people push hard on ad dollars a week before the actual holiday, and that’s why it gets costly. 

Think about it, if Nike is spending 500K on Facebook ads 2-days before Cyber Monday, there’s a very slim chance a small business can compete.

To get the upper hand, small businesses need to know exactly who their customer is and get their message or holiday sale out ahead of time. 

Take advantage of the holiday opportunities

The end of a year boasts several opportunities for local businesses to connect with their customers, and it’s all thanks to the holidays. 

First, are the general seasons. Fall and winter are prime decoration periods. If you’re a local antique store, craft shop, or home decor boutique, this is your time to showcase your best merchandise. 

The big holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween are a great way to get involved with your community. 

As a small business, contributing to neighborhood events is a must! If your town does trick or treating, have something ready for the kiddos. For a Thanksgiving Day race, find out what it takes to get your info in a race gift bag. A street fair for Christmas is the perfect time to set up a booth and mingle with your community members.

Any chance you get to introduce your products or services to someone new is a greater shot at growing your business.

Then there are the smaller retail holidays that are entirely focused on shopping. Such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and of course, Small Business Saturday. Here are some unique strategies to keep your small business on the cutting edge of holiday marketing strategies:

Reflect the spirit both in-store and online

The holidays are full of joy and merry for a reason, so get involved. Does this mean turning your shop into the North Pole? Not really, but add something that conveys the mood of the season.

Offer holiday packaging for your products or host a limited-time giveaway. 

Get the community involved

We touched on this earlier, but it’s such an effective strategy for small businesses. Whether it’s for a town festival, a holiday parade, or charity event, getting involved with your community during the holidays is a great way to share your company’s story with people and build brand awareness. And don’t forget to capture it for your social platforms.

You could also team up with other local businesses in your town to create a shopping guide then send it out on social and through email. And speaking of email…

Host a secret sale for email subscribers

Email marketing is the holy grail for any business. You shouldn’t need convincing but just in case, click here to find out why collecting email addresses still matter

Treat your email subscribers to something special. If you’re really on the ball, give your 5-star subscribers or those who rank high in open and click rates, a little extra something. It could be as simple as a secret code that allows them to get a percentage off their purchase at checkout. 

After all, those folks are engaging with your business, which means they are very interested in your offerings. With the right push, they will be happy to buy. 

Three boxes to check before launching your holiday marketing

Before we wrap up, there are some things on the technical side that you need to check twice.

  • Make sure your digital presence is up to date

Entrepreneur highlights the importance of your online image. This doesn’t just refer to your website, but also your social media. Double-check contact info, business hours, and locations are accurate. 

  • Set expectation early (especially with shipping)

If your business offers shipping, make sure every aspect of it is front and center for your customers to see. Details like how long it might take to how much it will cost. 

  • Get super clear on return/exchange policy

Transparent return and exchange policies are also very important. We’ve all received that one gift that made us cringe. 

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

The Mobile Marketing Association said, “Mobile is expected to have an impact on 87 percent of all holiday purchases.” Yep, a whopping 87 percent!  

Marketing your small business during the holidays doesn’t need to be complicated. Focus on planning ahead of time, meeting customer expectations, and most of all, enjoying the season!

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