October 17, 2019 How to Plan Your Holiday Season Marketing Calendar
Are you ready to capitalize on the holiday season rush?
The upcoming holiday season is an important period in the marketing calendar for most businesses.
For some, it’s an opportunity to “make hay while the sun shines”…
For others, an increase in sales at this time of year is critical to the survival of their business.
Whichever category you find yourself in, planning is essential. Without adequate planning, the holiday marketing calendar can quickly become overwhelming. Not to mention the distinct deterioration of results if you leave everything to the last minute.
So, with the first checkpoint on the holiday marketing highway fast approaching, what’s the best way to plan your activity?
The holiday season snapshot
Before we dive into the tips and tactics for planning your holiday marketing calendar, let’s take a moment to identify the key events and dates during this period.
- October 31st – Halloween
- November 11th – Veteran’s Day
- November 28th – Thanksgiving
- November 29th – Black Friday
- November 30th – Small Business Saturday
- December 2nd – Cyber Monday
- December 23rd-30th – Hanukkah
- December 25th – Christmas
- December 31st – New Year’s Eve
That’s 9 events in the space of two months that many businesses will look to capitalize on by running a deal, promotion, or marketing campaign. You can see why planning is so important!
How, then, do you plan your holiday marketing calendar?
The key to a successful holiday strategy is to develop a cohesive brand experience throughout the season. Leverage these emotionally charged events to promote your business, but do it in a way that feeds off each other and grows the strength of your brand in the process.
Here is a simple 3-step process you can follow to plan ahead this holiday season:
Step 1 – Define success
Of course, your holiday marketing efforts are all about growth in leads, sales, and revenue, right? Sure, but which metrics would make your campaigns a true success?
It’s important with any marketing campaign to first establish goals. A definition of what success looks, smells, and tastes like. Without clearly defined goals you are merely “swinging for the fences.”
Setting up your goals for your holiday marketing campaigns can help you accurately plan, pursue, and achieve those goals. Rather than hoping or wishing the holiday season is successful.
When setting goals, make them as specific as possible. For example, you may want to improve on last year’s holiday season sales. By how much? What metrics contributed to this outcome?
Make sure you set goals based on relevant and credible data sources as much as possible. This way the success metrics you document will be realistic and achievable.
Step 2 – Prepare your collateral
Once you know what success looks like you can start to brainstorm and plan the campaign structure and collateral you’ll need to execute.
Some of the collateral you will need to prepare and create include:
- Your offer is the element of your campaign which will persuade people to take action, rather than skimming past your message in their newsfeed. What will your primary offer for the holiday season be, or will you have multiple offers for each event? Is it a discount? A coupon? A bundle deal? A product giveaway? The offer in the example below is for “Free Thanksgiving printables” – an interesting approach to the holiday season which is designed to increase brand awareness and build trust, rather than attract direct sales:
- How will people find out about your offer? The promotion channels you choose will determine the type of content you need and the reach you can anticipate from the campaign. Some examples of promotion channels include; your email database, social media advertising, influencer marketing, and partnerships.
- The content for your campaign is anything and everything you “create” to market your offer via the promotional channels you have chosen. What content do you need to execute your campaign? Some examples may be emails, landing pages, ad design, and blog posts.
An example of a Black Friday email campaign
- There are a lot of moving parts during a holiday marketing campaign, how will you juggle the different components? For example, which tools will you use to plan your campaign, create the content, and promote the offer?
Planning and preparing the collateral you need for your holiday campaigns in advance is a huge time saver and will inevitably improve your efficiency when the execution phase begins.
Step 3 – Get your ducks lined up
Ok, so you know what you want to achieve from your holiday campaigns and you’ve prepared your collateral, what next?
Now it’s time to get the wheels in motion and line up your ducks.
Using your project management tool of choice, plan out the key dates for the campaign and begin assigning roles to relevant team members for making everything happen.
Who will write content and ad copy? Who will design your visuals and landing pages? Who’s setting up the coupons, discounts, or giveaway prizes? Who’s handling customer service during the period?
Leave no stone unturned when planning the delivery of your campaigns so that everything gets prepared and goes off without a hitch. (As much as that is possible!)
With the most joyful (and scariest) time of the year on our doorstep once again, how well prepared are you?
Don’t underestimate just how important holiday marketing can be for your business, and certainly don’t leave your planning to the last minute.
There’s still time to define your goals, get your collateral ready, and prepare to launch.
What’s holding you back?