The Time is Now: Start Your Holiday Marketing Preparations!

It may seem early but the countdown to the holiday season has already begun. Christmas is less than 80 days away, Hanukkah is closing in in just 60 days and those holiday shopping landmarks, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are looming just around the corner.

Now, 80 Days may seem like plenty of time to get your business ready for the holiday crush but devising a thoughtful holiday campaign, with all its many details such as: creating graphics, writing copy, communicating with media outlets, printing, and programming can quickly eat up a lot of time and projects that are rushed, never see their full potential.

A co-worker recently advised me to “tackle one item per day and my project would be done before I knew it,” regarding a lengthy decorating task I created for myself. This sage advice works well for devising a holiday marketing plan as well.

Here are five simple suggestions to get you geared up for the holiday selling season.

1)  Gather the gang together

Just like Santa with his elves, you should take advantage of all the minds at your disposal. Gather your staff for a brainstorming session to create creative holiday campaign ideas. Keep in mind that the people on your payroll are not the only ones at your disposal. Take advantage of the relationships you have with your media account executives. They are specialists in marketing. Tap into their knowledge to help come up with creative ways to engage customers. Make appointments with them early because they are just as busy during the holiday season as everyone else.

2)  Create a holiday marketing calendar

There are any number of ways to handle this task. Just make sure you chose the one that works for you and follow through. If you are old school and want a printed calendar with over-sized blocks, fill one of these with the tasks on your marketing timeline and post it where you and your staff can check it regularly. If you use the calendar app on your iPhone or iCloud, Google calendars or the Outlook calendar, create a new calendar specifically for your holiday marketing schedule and share it with all those involved.

holiday calendar

3)  Be innovative

Just like fruitcake, some marketing strategies can get stale. Make sure your holiday promotions and discounts are relevant and compelling. Ten dollars off probably will not drive traffic through the doors so, make sure you are thinking outside the typical holiday gift box.

Contests may compel customers to come through your doors and gathering personal information through contest entries is a great way to build a contact list for future email campaigns.

Show your community spirit by teaming up with a local charity such as Toys for Tots or by providing a “giving tree” – this will bring people in to drop off their donation and is a low cost marketing effort with a highly positive outcome.

Provide a daily special like the traditional advent calendar, revealing a new surprise each day. Alternatively, initiate a weekly event like the one launched by The Humane Society of Washington County known as “Free Kitten Friday.” This marketing effort is designed to boost the adoptions of the 6,200 animals that come into the Humane Society each year and offers potential new pet parents a sizable discount on adoption fees.

This sort of effort requires an early start on your marketing so consumers have plenty of time to get familiar with your promotional schedule.

4)  On the Move

It goes without saying that the holidays are a busy time for everyone and at no other time of the year is it more obvious how many people rely on their smartphones and mobile devices to multitask.

Research conducted by Deloitte shows that 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase and in a great infographic by  it is demonstrated that 40% of users will abandon a site that isn’t optimized for mobile devices.

A mobile version of your web site can be developed rather quickly and inexpensively and could help retain consumers who are already looking for you.

5)  Know the Buzz

When customers do go looking for you, make sure what they find is accurate and not just on the web pages you control such as your website and Facebook page but on third party directories as well. Do an internet search on your business and verify sources like and have published the correct information such as hours and location.

Look for reviews that have been written and write replies to any that paint a less than rosy picture of your business. There are two sides to every story. Don’t let a negative review stop people from walking through your doors. Using a reputation management tool can help you manage this task year round, not just during the holidays.

Give Manning Media a jingle today and we will dash over to help you wrap up all your holiday marketing preparations – in Frederick Call 301-620-7700 or in Hagerstown Call 301-733-4500. You can also fill out our online request form by clicking HERE!

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