Small-business owners know there’s no such thing as planning too far ahead. With the summer season ending and the holidays just around the corner (seriously), you need to start making your marketing plans now for the end of the year. Here are nine tips to help you get started.
- See what everyone is doing. If you’ve been too busy this summer to look up and see what your competitors are doing, now is the time to do some research. What kind of digital and print plans have you already seen in the works? What are the trades saying will be hot in marketing this holiday season? Go on social media, keep your eyes peeled, and take notes on trends.
- Find the influencers. Check out who your customers are following on social media and think about how you can attract major influencers.
- Create some new graphics. Take a hard look at your logo, graphics, and marketing materials. If they need a holiday look, ask a graphic designer for some suggestions, and then get feedback from business colleagues, customers, and employees.
- Plan holiday parties. According to celebrity event planner Arthur Backal, the trendy setup and décor this holiday season will be winter-themed rather than holiday-specific. Opt for global cuisine and indoor food carts instead of traditional fare.
- Reward early shoppers. Everyone can use a little motivation to get their holiday shopping done early. Make it part of your digital marketing plan to send coupons and discounts out early to get shoppers started on their gift lists. If you have a service business, remind shoppers to get things done before the holidays hit.
- Don’t forget Pinterest. Small businesses with great visual elements can start Pinning holiday gift ideas, projects, and reminders.
- Plan campaigns for the big shopping days. Create special marketing campaigns for big days including Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving when shoppers are encouraged to patronize small businesses), and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving when shoppers expect to find great online deals).
- Learn from past mistakes. Take a look at what marketing tactics you tried last holiday season. What gave you the most bang for your buck? Keep or improve on those strategies and drop the rest.
- Get mobile ready. Lastly, make sure your website doesn’t have any glitches when being accessed by smartphones or tablets so customers don’t get frustrated when trying to get information about your business. According to eMarketer, mobile will continue to be a key marketing channel for marketers for the 2015 holidays.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.