Prepare for Your Holiday Marketing Now
It’s time for a trip down memory lane with a visit to last year’s holiday season. What would you have done differently? Chances are, your immediate answer to that question is to better plan your marketing efforts. But rest assured, there’s still plenty of time to plan now for your most successful holiday season to date!
As a small business, your holiday season probably kicks off in November. Which means that October is your prime planning month for every important day from Thanksgiving to Small Business Saturday to Christmas. Begin your marketing planning strategy by using a calendar to lay out the big sales, events and promotions your store has going on throughout November and December. As a bonus, if you’re a SnapRetail subscriber, you can easily plan out your months by using the built-in drag-and-drop Calendar interface. Add your holiday hours, open house and employee’s approved vacation dates to your calendar to stay on top of big events.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to schedule your emails, social media posts and website updates so that your customers don’t miss any of the holiday fun you have planned, and you can focus on what’s most important — your customers. But there are some other housekeeping items to work on in your online marketing channels. Keep the following tips in mind when planning ahead for flawless holiday promotions on your website and through email and social media.
Your website is the online face of your store; it’s the 24/7 go-to place where your customers can find the complete, most updated information about your store. So it’s imperative that your website reflects your holiday hours, new product arrivals and can’t-miss events. With an automated website from a company like SnapRetail, you can schedule unlimited custom pages to display your holiday merchandise to appear when the time is right. For example, schedule an update of Thanksgiving products to appear on a custom page in early November. Then schedule a new page filled with Christmas products to appear in its place after Thanksgiving, so your customers know all of the goodies your store has for each holiday.
With so many community and in-store events happening during the holidays, your customers could lose track of every single fun activity. So update your events page to reflect all of the specific times, dates and details of each event and, if possible, have your customers RSVP to an event. SnapRetail’s automated websites feature provides an RSVP button for each event, so you can plan ahead for how much eggnog you need to have on hand.
Email is another easy place to communicate not only your new products, promotions and events, but updated holiday hours, too. The closer it gets to Christmas, the less time your customers will have to shop, so include your store’s extended hours in your email signature. That way, it will be communicated on each email you send out.
Speaking of your customers, take a look at your email list to see if it’s missing any important information from your customers, like birthdays or last names. If there’s a group of emails that continues to bounce, check that everything is spelled correctly and that all emails end in something similar to .com or .org. You want to ensure the most customers receive information about all of the exciting activities going on in your store this holiday season.
Now is the time to take a pulse-check of the information on your social channels. Get in the holiday spirit by changing your cover photos and profile pictures to ones that incorporate some holiday cheer. Facebook is the go-to place for customers looking for quick information about your store, so head over to your About section and update your hours for the holidays.
To get a jump start on creating traffic for the holiday season, tap into Facebook’s ads platform. You can choose to Boost a post about a sale, promotion or your holiday open house to pay to reach more fans with your post or create an ad that encourages people to visit your website. Visit https://www.facebook.com/advertising/ to get started. You can also download SnapRetail’s Small Business Saturday Ad bundle for step-by-step instructions and professionally written and designed ads to help you promote shopping small in your community.
Planning and scheduling ahead is the key to keeping your head above water this holiday season. It will help you truly enjoy each event, sale or promotion you have going on and will turn your focus completely on providing your customers with an exceptional shopping experience each time they visit your store in November and December.
Contributed by Kelley Sloyer, an interactive copywriter for SnapRetail, an online marketing automation solution that helps independent retailers succeed in today’s competitive marketplace using email, social media and websites. She has a retail and a writing background, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications media and journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. For more information please visit snapretail.com.