Fall has arrived and chillier weather is upon us once again, which can only mean one thing: Christmas is right around the corner. What once seemed like an eternity away when you last looked at a calendar in March will now arrive before you know it.
Naturally, this is the time of year that causes people to panic – particularly those that operate a business. The “Holiday Hustle” is an essential part of the sales year, but it’s also time-consuming as well. Because of that, most business owners are looking towards that 4th quarter of the year with both hopeful expectations and a spritzer of anxiety, too.
First, don’t panic. Know that this is something that virtually everyone goes through. Second, you need to make sure you’re entering into the holiday shopping season with the right perspective to help take full advantage of it. How does a business owner or marketing director, one with an already stuffed plate, maximize their marketing during the time of year that is critical for meeting annual sales goals?
They do so by, among other things, keeping the following five best practices in mind along the way to make sure they’re set up to succeed before the season even has a chance to begin.
Best Practice #1: Set Your Goals
Failing to set your overall goals at the beginning of this process is a bit like setting out on a road trip without a map. You may have an idea of where you want to end up, but you have absolutely no clue as to how you’re going to get there.
Because of that, you need to know what products and services you want to promote right away. Holiday shopping is far too critical to your overall success to just “wing it.”
Best Practice #2: Buy Your Advertising Now
It’s equally important to not wait too long when it comes to buying your advertising for the season. Don’t do it a month from now or two weeks from now – start today if you can. Not only will planning early help your stress level, but it could also help your overall marketing budget to buy when there is more available inventory, and it will give your marketing consultant plenty of time to craft the perfect campaign.
Best Practice #3: Leverage Underutilized Resources
The holiday shopping season is another one of those times during the year when every marketing dollar needs to count. Therefore, you need to not just invest in new resources, but try to breathe new life into the ones you already have.
Your email database, your social media accounts, even your product packaging – all of it needs to be adjusted to make gift buying as easy as possible for people. Create a campaign like “The 12 Days of Christmas” where you email out a gift idea each day, for example. This is a particularly good idea because you not only get to put your existing email database to good use, but it’s another opportunity to provide value to and build trust with your audience as well.
Best Practice #4: Make It Fun
With your attention being pulled in so many different directions during the holiday season, it can be easy to forget that this is a time of year that people actually want to enjoy – yourself included. Because of that, your larger marketing efforts need to lean into this fact. Holiday shopping is 1 part functional, and 2 parts enjoying the holiday atmosphere.
Be as positive and as happy as possible every time you have the opportunity to do so. This is true regardless of how overwhelmed you may feel at any particular moment. You could offer cookies and cider (or mulled wine) for shoppers to enjoy while they browse in your physical location, for example. Have carolers or other live holiday music in-store at certain times to get people excited.
Conduct regular in-store giveaways to give people a chance to win prizes during a time of year when money might be tight. Use holiday-scented air fresheners to get people in the right spirit as soon as they walk in the door. All of this goes a long way toward keeping things as festive as possible for shoppers.
Best Practice #5: Plan to Kick it Off Immediately After Halloween
Finally, understand that the holiday shopping season is a time of year to “strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.” That is to say, be prepared to launch your campaign almost immediately after Halloween ends for the best results.
Truly, you want to hit the ground running as there are a lot of people who make their holiday purchases as early as possible. They, too, want to enjoy a stress-free season and this is a part of how they do it.
Therefore, you can’t wait to start your promotions until Black Friday. Doing so will cause you to miss out on half of your shoppers. Contrary to popular belief, not everybody participates in Black Friday craziness, and you really want shoppers in your store all season long.
BONUS #6: Holiday Chrismas Music!
If you’re a fan of The Dove, then you know we are the one station that goes all out for Christmas music during the holiday season. Grab the eggnog, hang up the mistletoe, and turn up the radio! You’ll be in good company, as nearly 86% of our mid-Missouri listeners tune in specifically for the Christmas music. Newcomers to the station also make note of which station rocks around the Christmas tree every year and can’t wait to tune their dial to 98.3 FM for the next month.
In the end, Christmas is going to be here sooner than you think. There are a limited number of shopping days between now and then, but that’s okay. Each one represents another opportunity to make a connection with your target audience – to resonate with your ideal customers by getting in on the fun of the holiday season. If you do that, you won’t just have a prosperous Christmas – you’ll have created a loyal following in a way that makes sure these people come back all throughout the year, too.
Contact our Marketing team for help in crafting your holiday campaign. Top-of-the-line marketing support for a successful holiday shopping season…yet another reason to LOVE the Dove!