Truth: you can never be too early when it comes to planning your company’s holiday marketing strategy. Although it may be tempting, and too easy, to wait until the start of November to begin thinking about how you’ll market for the holidays, you may want to reconsider that decision. If you’re trying to convince yourself that “a few weeks is plenty of time,” it’s not!
So, when should you start thinking about the holidays? Although it may be difficult to prepare for winter when you want to hold onto the last days of summer, July and August are the best months to focus on these initiatives, giving you plenty of time to develop the strategy, be intentional with your approach instead of rushing to get it done, and have enough leadup time before the holidays begin.
If you’re wondering how to navigate the holidays from a marketing standpoint this year, follow this guide.
Determine Your Offer
Brands are known for giving some type of exclusive offer during the holidays, especially when it’s Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday. Companies are often trying to think of the latest and greatest offer they can give to their audience, which may put more pressure on you to think of something enticing. Although it depends on your industry and your company, potential offers include:
- Free shipping
- Discount off total price
- Early access to items
- Exclusive item
And others. With more and more companies luring customers in with attractive offers, it’s important for you to think about what you can provide to your customers that’s something they’ll really want.
Build Your PR Strategy
If you haven’t yet joined Help A Reporter Out (HARO) for press opportunities, now is your time to do so! It’s gift guide season, and you’ll start to see many gift guide requests shared in HARO emails. HARO isn’t the only way to secure PR opportunities, though! You can also find them through:
- Google by searching relevant terms
- Other distribution lists
- Twitter by building relationships with journalists
When you find a good fit, you’ll typically want to offer the journalist or writer free products so they can leave a fair and thorough review in their gift guide.
You can also leverage influencers by finding individuals who have an audience that fits within your ideal customer base and send them your products to share on their blogs and in their social media posts.
The most important part to remember about PR is to be early and be consistent. Many publications are thinking about their gift guides now so they have enough time to receive submissions and put the gift guide together, so you don’t want to miss out. It’s also crucial to be consistent with your pitching because not everyone is going to say yes to your product, and that’s OK – but the more you pitch, the bigger your chance is to get coverage.
Grow Your Email List
Many companies will often share their holiday specials with their subscribers on their email list first before sharing it “publicly,” which is a win-win situation for both parties. Consumers have the opportunity to take advantage of a deal before most people know about it, and companies are able to grow their email lists because people are antsy to be the “first to know” about their offers.
How can you grow your email list, then?
- Have a popup on your website that tells people to join your email list if they want to know about holiday offers first.
- Create a freebie that’s enticing to your audience.
- Include a checkbox on your contact form that gives people the opportunity to sign up for your list by filling out your form.
Remember not to ghost your subscribers, though – be sure to send consistent newsletters to your list leading up to the holidays so that you’ve had some time to nurture them before you hit them with a pitch.
Plan Your Social Media Content
Your social media profiles will be especially important for communicating your offers to your audience. However, with many other companies also using social media to share the news about their specials, you’ll want to make sure that your content stands out from the rest. That includes:
- Using influencers who can vouch on your behalf
- Creating eye-catching graphics and visuals
- Interacting with your audience rather than posting and ghosting
You also want to create a consistent social media plan that includes topics beyond the holidays so you’re still providing value in other ways. Running out of ideas to share? Here’s how you can plan your content.
Be sure to follow your analytics during this time so you know what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to adjust accordingly.
Ensure Your Website Is Up-to-Date
This one may be the most important task of all, especially if you’re a product-based business. To prevent consumers from feeling frustrated with your website and exiting quickly because they couldn’t find what they needed, do a run-through of your website to check for the following items:
- Broken links
- Site speed
- In-stock items
- Mobile-friendly version
If your marketing strategy works and you end up driving a lot of traffic to your website during this time, you want to make sure that you can successfully capture this traffic and get them to convert – so a highly-functioning and user-friendly website is crucial!
Developing your holiday marketing strategy now will ensure you have plenty of time to guarantee its success before the holidays roll around. If you’re looking to increase your visibility during this time, request a consultation with us!