The holiday season presents unique opportunities for both businesses and consumers. It’s a time when consumers happily purchase products for family, friends, and loved ones. For businesses, it’s a chance to increase sales, brand awareness, and engagement.

Every year, the holidays are pretty promising for small businesses. Some even know that they’ll make the majority of their sales for the entire year in these couple of months. However, this year, with a looming recession, rising costs, and lingering uncertainty around supply chains, holiday sales may not soar to the same heights as in past years. If you want this season to be as impactful for your small business as possible, then you should start planning your holiday marketing now.

We know that it can be hard to prioritize this in your marketing plan with all the other things that come with running your business. But we’ve got a list of steps for you to take that will ensure you’re ahead of the game.

Why Should You Plan Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Now?

You may think you’re jumping the gun a bit, but, as they say, the early bird gets the worm. Here are some reasons you should start planning your holiday marketing right now:

  • Even if this year isn’t as busy as last year, you should still anticipate a rush in business, and nothing is worse than having an increase in online orders and foot traffic with limited products or resources. By starting your prep now, you can estimate the number of sales to expect and therefore prepare your inventory to match the demand.
  • When you’re prepared, you can rest easy. Being prepared and setting up your marketing ahead of time will give you time to enjoy the holidays instead of worrying if you scheduled that Thanksgiving promotion email to go out.
  • You can be more strategic in your approach because you aren’t scrambling to get a campaign together. By starting early, you’re giving yourself more time to come up with effective holiday promotions, the right amplification approach, and partners to join forces with. Plus, you’ll have more time to identify the most effective marketing channels to use to reach your audience.

Step-By-Step Guide for Prioritize Your Holiday Marketing

The reality is with every passing day; you’re losing the chance to make this year’s holiday campaign as profitable and successful as possible. We know you’re busy, but you don’t want to be kicking yourself when December comes, and your sales are behind last year’s numbers. Here’s a simple process that will help you get your holiday marketing going this year.

1. Begin With the End in Mind

What is the purpose of your holiday campaign? What do you want to achieve at the end of the campaign? Whether it is to get at least 500 new customers or triple your current gross profit, defining your goals before you start will set the path for your campaign’s success.

Make your holiday marketing goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself will only make you anxious and disappointed.

2. Remember Who You’re Selling To

You should already know your target audience long before creating your holiday campaigns. However, sometimes the holidays open you up to a new audience or a specific subset of your current target group. Either way, zeroing in on who you want your holiday campaigns to reach will only make it easier for you to achieve your goals and ensure you get your promotions in front of the right people.

Use identifiers like location, gender, age range, income level, and interests to help you better understand your target audience’s behavior and needs. Tap into the social media platforms they use, as that will tell you where they spend most of their time and where you can run paid ads that will reach them. The more you understand about your target audience, the better informed your decisions will be when creating campaign content, offers, and promotions.

You may be wondering how you can access this kind of information. The best way is to use a small business CRM so you can capture as much lead data as possible. An all-in-one CRM, like BenchmarkONE, brings your sales and marketing efforts together, so you can not only tap into rich customer data but use that data to implement your holiday marketing campaign seamlessly. But more on that later.

3. Create Optimized Offers and Landing Pages

Once you have your goals and a solid picture of your ideal holiday buyers, the next step is to craft your offer (or offers) and a landing page that you’ll drive traffic to. This page will be where your audience can sign up to take advantage of your holiday promotion.

Will you offer your customers discounts, free delivery, or something else you believe they’ll appreciate? If yours is a service-based business, what will you do differently for your customers that they will find valuable? Keep in mind that whatever you go with has to be compelling enough to encourage a quick purchase decision.

Make sure you build a landing page that includes everything your audience needs to know about your holiday offer and how they can benefit from it. Include things like:

  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • Engaging copy that clearly highlights the benefits of your offer
  • Captivating, branded visuals
  • An opt-in form to track sign-ups

4. Promote Your Offer

Now that your offer is ready, you need to get it in front of your target audience. You need to draw up your promotion plan and identify channels where you can reach your audiences through paid or organic efforts.

Promotion channels you can use include:

  • Email marketing – Gives you the opportunity to reach your audience directly with tailored, personalized messages.
  • Social media ads – You can tap into each platform’s vast user base and narrow it down based on criteria and characteristics that align with your audience. List the assets you need for each platform ahead of time, such as images, copy, and social media ad spec size, which will help you get your ads running efficiently.
  • Blogging – Create a promotional post and add your holiday promo CTA to it. You can also include the CTA in your top-performing blog posts.
  • PPC Ads – It may be helpful to include your holiday promo in your pay-per-click advertising if that is part of your marketing strategy.
  • Partner or influencer marketing – Reach out to influencers or brand partners to see if they’d be willing to share your promotion with their audience. Just make sure their audience aligns with your target audience for your holiday campaign.

5. Nurture and Build a Connection with Your Leads

Once your holiday marketing offers and campaigns go live, how do you plan to convince prospects to become paying customers? What happens to leads after the holiday period ends?

Encouraging repeat business from or retaining these new customers is just as important as acquiring them in the first place, and developing a lead nurture strategy is the most effective route.

In step two, we emphasized the importance of knowing your audience. We touched on how BenchmakrONE is an all-in-one tool that allows you to tap into key customer data and use that data to implement marketing and sales strategies. By using BenchmarkONE, you can put together effective, personalized email nurture campaigns that provide your customers with content and education they need to make repeat buying decisions. The best part? These nurture campaigns can be automated based on triggers you set up based on specific customer actions and criteria. So, all those new leads you acquired from your holiday campaign can be automatically followed up with while you’re busy doing other important things for your business.

6. Identify Metrics for Reporting and Measuring Success

You’ll want to know if your campaign was actually successful, so make sure you clearly define metrics and look back at your goals to make sure they were achieved. Things like conversion rate and the number of sales you generated will help you understand if your promo landed with your audience. Also, make sure you create tracking URLs for each promotional channel you push your campaign out on, as this will tell you which generated the most sales and leads.

The holiday season is an opportunity for you to give back to your customers through exciting offers, discounts, and rewards. It’s also a time of your for your small business to increase sales and be as productive and successful as possible. This year, say no to ignoring your holiday marketing and last-minute campaigning. Start planning your campaigns now and enjoy the holidays while reaping the rewards!