Busy & Chic

A Lifestyle Blog for Women Entrepreneurs by Tierra Wilson

The Ultimate Step by Step Holiday Marketing Strategy for Any Business

Hey you! Yes… YOU. Guess what? If you are reading this, you are already late to the holiday marketing party. Which means that you need to stop and develop your holiday strategy right now. Not next week, not next month, NOW.

The months of November and December will generate 30% more revenue on average than non-holiday months.Click To Tweet

You cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

Yeah…this is GO time.

Lucky for you, I’ve planned it all out and strategized your holiday marketing for you.

This post is for you if :

  • You want to get the most out of the holiday season.
  • You are willing to spend 3 to 7 days working on a holiday strategy.
  • You are willing to brainstorm, create content, schedule content, and make the necessary changes to your branding, social media, and website to optimize their holiday sales.
  • You want a piece 2017’s projected $129B in holiday sales ( up 12% over 2016 – Forrester).

To do that, you understand that need to try and have everything ready to go by November 15th.

Ready? There is no time to waste so let’s get started.

You have 4.5 weeks to market your business as you’ve never marketed it before.

Black Friday through Christmas brings in 50 – 100 percent more revenue compared to other shopping days throughout the rest of the year. Click To Tweet

Follow my step by step strategy, and I promise, you’ll be READY.

Day 1: Determine your holiday promotions, deals or special offers

Before we can get started, you need to figure out what type of promotions you’ll be offering this holiday season.

If you are not sure, here’s what I would suggest:

  • Gift cards. No matter what you sell, you need to have gift cards ready to go. No exceptions. Gift cards are the most desired holiday gifts — with 61 percent of people looking forward to them during the holiday season.
  • Percentage off: 97 percent of consumers look for deals and special offers before shopping! So if you are selling products or services, offer a percentage of store wide. This is so easy to implement. Just choose a percentage and make sure it’s something worthwhile. Shoppers want real deals, a minimum of 30 to 40% off is the norm during black Friday or Cyber Monday.
  • Exclusive holiday products & services. To stand out, you could create an exclusive line of products or service offerings only available during the holiday season. This helps create a sense of urgency for your customers.
  • Free shipping: I honestly believe shipping should be free all season. It’s even more valuable than a discount. Did you know that 58 percent of shoppers abandon cart after seeing shipping charges? Everyone loves free shipping.
  • Free gift wrapping. Offer gift wrapping for customers who purchase from you during the holiday season. Make sure you hire seasonal staff to help and remember to choose beautiful gift wrapping that matches your branding. The gift receiver could be a future customer!
  • Give a percentage to a charity. Another creative option that leverages the spirit of giving, is to give a portion of proceeds made during the holiday season, or on specific shipping dates, to a charity of your choice.

Get creative! The holidays are about your customers, your brand, and your sales goals. Choose the promotions that work for you.

Once you’ve decided, let’s move on to making some seasonal tweaks to your brand.

Day 2: Create a holiday style guide

73 percent of shoppers will shop at a new store or with new online retailers.Click To Tweet
About one in five holiday purchase will be based on impulse.Click To Tweet

Your holiday branding needs to stand out PLUS still be a cohesive part of your everyday brand. To do that efficiently, you’ll need to create a holiday style guide.

Heres what should be included:

  • Colors: What are your brand colors and which 1 to 2 holiday colors complement them? You’ll want to use those extra holiday colors on all your holiday promotional designs.
  • Fonts: What fun holiday font can you introduce that will stand out yet complement your current brand fonts?
  • Templates: When creating branded holiday graphics, what are the main templates that you will use? Include sizes for each platform and best practices for images.
  • Photography: Will you be using holiday stock photos or conducting a holiday-themed photo shoot? Will you use a consistent filter for consistency? Will you use certain crops or a negative space? Holiday borders or icons?
  • Hashtags and Emojis: Are there specific holiday emojis you’ll be using in all of your content and updates? Branded hashtags for tracking user content?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can create your style guide in a Google Doc, or if you’re feeling fancy, you can also use a graphic design software like Photoshop or Canva.

Creating a holiday style guide is an important step! It not only reduces overwhelm but also helps you stay consistent with your brand across all platforms.

Day 3: Create Your Holiday Editorial Calendar

Okay! Let’s keep going. It’s time to get this all on a calendar. Your holiday editorial calendar will be your bible for the next 2 months.

You can use an excel spreadsheet, a Google calendar (my favorite), or a paper planner.

Whichever you choose, add these to your calendar.

Step 1. Add important shopping dates.

Here are the most popular dates to remember:

November

  • 23Thanksgiving
  • 24Black Friday (The day after Thanksgiving represents the start of the holiday shopping season)
  • 25Small Business Saturday (An annual tradition that promotes people shopping at small businesses)
  • 27 Cyber Monday (The Monday following Thanksgiving that is promoted to get consumers to shop online)
  • 28Giving Tuesday (For nonprofits, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season for end-of-year giving)

December

  • 04Green Monday (Yearly spike in online sales on the second Monday of December)
  • 15Free Shipping Day (Online stores offer free shipping with the promise that they’ll deliver it before Christmas)
  • 24 – Christmas Eve
  • 25 – Christmas Day
  • 31 – New Years Eve

Step 2. Add promotional emails sending dates

Create a schedule for sending emails to your lists and past customers.

Email is MORE IMPORTANT than social media during the holidays. It is responsible for the most holiday sales.

About one in five holiday purchase will be based on impulse. Click To Tweet

Not sure what to send? Depending on your offer, here’s a simple strategy you can follow:

  • 2 weeks before your promotion send an email announcing your offer.
  • On the 1st day of the promotion, send an email announcing it’s launch.
  • Every week, send reminder emails to stay top of consumer’s minds.
  • 2 days before your promotion ends, send a promotion is ending soon reminder.
  • The morning of the last day of the promotion, send a last chance email reminder.

Step 3. Add social media dates

You should be sending out social media messages EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 4.5 weeks.

Remember, this is the biggest shopping season of the year. Consistency is important. Your potential customers will be making impulse buying decisions. Your marketing WILL trigger sales. You can’t afford to miss a day.

However, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with constant promotions and sales.

First, add your promotions to your calendar. You should be promoting your offers 2 to 3 times per week on social media.

The rest of your content should provide value or entertain.

If you are not sure what non-promotional content to post, here are some ideas:

  • Holiday quotes, memes, and jokes
  • Local events and attractions
  • Holiday Recipes
  • DIY decorating ideas
  • Local holiday outdoor decor
  • Holiday music playlists
  • Countdowns
  • Holiday wishes and thanks
  • Gift guides
  • Contests
  • Giveaways

Step 4. Add blog posts to the calendar

Do you have a blog? If so, add your holiday-themed content to your calendar.

Again, the goal here is to blog consistently while providing value or entertaining. You can add promotional call to actions and banners within your content.

One excellent blog idea is gift guides! Using your own products or services or affiliate programs, publish multiple gift guides for different types customers.

Do this once per week for 4 weeks.

It’s an easy way to keep your blog updated and promote your products.

Day 4-6: Create, Design & Schedule Holiday Content

Step 1: Write your holiday content

Okay. Now it’s time to write the content for every single thing on your calendar.

You can write it all now, write it each week before it’s due, or hire someone to write all the copy for you.

Either way, get it done. This is the hardest part for most business owners. And it is the #1 reason why marketing strategies fail.

Take a weekend and write it if needed, just get it done! Or hire an expert.

Here are a few tips:

  • Have a cheerful, engaging tone, taking full advantage of the holiday spirit.
  • You’ll also want to include clear call to actions. Tell your audience exactly what you want them to do. Purchase? Click below? Fill out a form? Click a link in bio? Comment? Share? Tag a friend?
  • Don’t be shy. It’s okay to add value to your content while selling. Its the holiday season. Your audience is looking to buy. They will buy from someone, so why not you?
  • Use emojis, locations, and hashtags. Hashtags help you get found. Location tagging helps you get seen locally. Emojis are fun and consumers really like them if used in moderation.

Step 2: Design holiday graphics for your content

You’ve made it to the home stretch!! Let’s design your graphics and choose imagery for all your content.

For each thing on your calendar, choose imagery or design graphics.

You can do this yourself using Photoshop, templates found in Canva, use predesigned templates from Creative Market or Graphic River, or you could hire us to design you custom holiday graphics.

So what needs to be designed? It depends on your editorial calendar and your content. For example:

  • Email content: Create email headers and in content graphics
  • Promotional content: Create holiday themed graphics or videos that emphasize your offer
  • Social media content: Source holiday themed photography, take product images, or create videos.
  • Blog content: Design featured images, vertical Pinterest images, in post images, and gift guide collages.

Best practices when creating graphics:

  • Make sure you create multiple sizes for sharing on various platforms. My favorite resource for this is the Always Up-To-Date Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet. Or, if you have a paid Canva account, it will resize your graphics for you.
  • Stick to the holiday style guide you created, so everything is consistent with your brand.
  • Go hard or go home. Create the best graphics you can that are beautiful, on brand, and that stand out.

Step 3: Schedule it all

You’ve got your strategy, content, and your imagery, now it’s time to schedule it all.

  • Schedule your emails: Whether you use MailChimp or Converkit, build and schedule all your emails in advance.
  • Schedule your blogs: WordPress and many other blogging platforms allow you to schedule your blog posts in advance.
  • Schedule your social media: There are a million tools out there. My two scheduling favorites both have free plans. For Instagram, I use a visual scheduler called Planoly. For everything else I use Buffer.

Day 7-10: Optimize your website for holiday shoppers

We’ve done all that work, but it won’t do you any good if the shopping experience is horrible.

20% of online consumers will abandon a website if pages take 3 seconds or longer to load.Click To Tweet

Let’s fix it!

  • Temporarily swap your website headers for holiday-themed ones that highlight your promotions.
  • Clearly showcase holiday shipping and delivery schedules throughout your site. 50 percent of shoppers abandon cart if they are not given an estimate of the delivery time.
  • Double check your website speed and take steps to speed up your website. 20% of online consumers will abandon a website if pages take 3 seconds or longer to load. To test your site use: https://gtmetrix.com/
  • Make sure your website is mobile optimized. Mobile visits account for 49 percent of holiday shopping visits.
  • Double check your social media links and swap for holiday-related landing pages.
  • Strengthen your security by getting an SSL certificate from your hosting provider. This will add a green padlock next to your URL in the browser. This is the universal sign that a site has the highest level of security.
  • Streamline checkout by testing your checkout process and eliminating any unnecessary steps. The average abandoned shopping cart rate is 69.23 percent. To prevent that, make it as easy as possible for your consumers.
  • Be prepared. Hire seasonal staff for customer service issues, shipping problems, or site crashes. Better safe than sorry.

That’s it!! You are fully prepared for the holiday marketing season.

Bonus Holiday Marketing Tips

Before I go, I’ve got a few 7 extra advanced tips for the overachievers and super hustlers:

  1. Temporarily add holiday keywords to your product descriptions and website content.
  2. Create Snapchat and Instagram story graphics and videos to promote your holiday offers and content.
  3. Create multiple Pinterest graphics for your holiday offers, products, and content. Share to Pinterest and optimize the description with keywords.
  4. Run a retargeting ad on Facebook to target all your website visitors who may have left your site or abandoned their cart.
  5. Reach out to reporters, bloggers, and influencers to get your products and services placed in gift guides and featured on social media.
  6. Create abandoned cart emails to automatically send to customers who have abandoned their carts.
  7. Send happy holiday cards, promotions, and emails specifically for to past customers.

Tierra Wilson

Hi, I'm Tierra, the Owner & Creative Director for TW+CO. When I'm not working with my clients, I'm passionate about teaching creative entrepreneurs and small businesses how to succeed online.

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