Planning Your Holiday Marketing Calendar

Do You Have Your Holiday Marketing Calendar Ready?

Have you noticed the holiday decorations are already on display? Christmas trees line the aisles but it’s only October. That's because those big-box stores have been planning their Q4 strategy all year long. Don’t worry if you're only just getting started. Now is the perfect time for you to plan your holiday marketing calendar.

Why Planning Your Holiday Marketing Calendar is So Important

Proper marketing can make or break your holiday season. Sales between Thanksgiving and January 1 account for 25% of total retail sales in the US, you want to prepare your business with a holiday marketing campaign. The most successful holiday marketers start early. They employ advanced tactics such as early-bird promotions to get customers in the store before the holiday shopping rush. However, you should also have a strategy for last-minute shopping deals to make sure both kinds of shoppers have an easy time gifting with your products. Successful holiday marketers also leverage social media, email marketing, and online advertising to reach new customers while cultivating repeat business from their valuable existing customer base. Remember, the holidays are a time to include and welcome all. That means making sure all of your different kinds of customers feel the holiday love.

Planning your holiday marketing calendar also provides an opportunity for businesses to engage members of their communities during this time of celebration. Be part of the town square, share ideas and spread cheer. Your business can increase revenue while establishing solid goodwill with the holiday shopper. Leaving positive lasting impressions can mean continued fond memories your customers will recall during holiday seasons to come.

How to Plan Your Holiday Marketing Calendar

So, you have identified your target audience and have all of your products online with SEO-optimized descriptions. Now you are ready to plan your holiday marketing calendar. If you haven't already, start by developing a budget and determining the best way to spend it. This might mean hiring an agency or team members dedicated to marketing, purchasing online ads, or hosting giveaways on social media feeds. You will need to plan accordingly. Then, with clear goals laid out for your holiday marketing campaign, you will be on your way to holiday success. Here are some steps to help you begin planning your marketing strategy:

Identify the Holidays that Vibe With Your Audience

Not every holiday will inspire your target audience. For example, some groups favor Thanksgiving, while others prefer time spent with loved ones on Christmas Eve. Think about the type of holidays that resonate with your customer base and use holiday-specific marketing campaigns to bring them closer to your brand.

Identify How Your Products Fit Into the Holiday Season

For your marketing campaigns to be successful, you need to know which products match up with each holiday. For example, if your business sells decorations like holiday trees, wreaths, and lights, marketing obviously needs to start sooner than if you were selling physical gifts. Along those lines, now is a great time to think about how you can "rebrand" some of your popular products to have a holiday spin. Maybe that means wrapping a gift set in green and red to make it more appealing to Christmas shoppers. Or, rename one of your gift baskets to fit into the autumn theme of giving thanks.

Draft Your Holiday Marketing Calendar

Putting together a holiday marketing plan can be overwhelming at first but we’re here to help guide you through it. Just like with any good marketing strategy, you need to know who your target holiday shopper is and where they congregate online and in-person. Once you figure that out, you can begin drafting content by holiday. First, figure out where you will be hitting your target audience, such as:

  • Search Ads
  • Social media
  • Email campaigns

From there, you can plan a content strategy. Keep in mind that not everything you run has to be promotional. For example, you may be able to make a more memorable impression by sharing tips and tricks related to your products without pushing the products themselves. This may mean providing ideas on how to present your product, recipes based on your product, or any number of value propositions that your target audience will find helpful and memorable.

Plan Promotions Around Popular Shopping Dates

Create holiday sales promotions that resonate with your holiday shoppers and are timed logically. Think about the major holidays – both gift-giving and celebratory. They are often surrounded by shopping holidays, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday. These are the optimal times to target your audience with promotions.

Keep in mind that e-commerce competition is fierce enough as it is, but it really ramps up during the holiday season. Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week in some cases! That means you have to do all that you can to remain top of mind. Also, make sure you have dedicated a retargeting budget during this time to capture all possible sales.

Take Advantage of Free Marketing Opportunities

Some holidays are synonymously known for sharing and giving – think about Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah – so don't be afraid to get creative with your marketing during the holiday season and not just focus on having sales. People are looking to spend time with their loved ones, so holiday-inspired content can be a great way to connect with potential new customers or strengthen your ties with current ones. You don't always need an ad for this – try creating engaging and shareable graphics that will get people excited about holiday fun and generate some holiday sales on the side. This ties back to adding value to your audience beyond just the products that you sell.

Be Flexible in Your Strategy

Don't be afraid to deviate from your holiday marketing calendar if something unexpected happens or you learn about new trends in your industry. Always learn from the competition, market trends, and social listening to optimize your strategy.

Don't Forget About Customer Service

Customer service is always key during the holiday season, but holiday marketing campaigns provide opportunities for businesses of all sizes to step up their customer service game. Consider creating an email marketing campaign with landing pages about your return policy or special holiday hours. These marketing campaigns provide a prime opportunity to get holiday shoppers thinking about your store.

Closing Thoughts

Holiday marketing can feel like a huge undertaking, but the ROI is well worth it. By following the advice in this article, you can create a holiday marketing calendar that brings shoppers into your business and keeps them returning throughout the holiday season and beyond.