When I started my jewelry business, I invariably fell into the same trap every retailer falls into at some point in their career. I assumed that since Black Friday was really the beginning of the holiday shopping season, maybe finding a freelance writer to get advertising out sometime that week and then running myself ragged until Christmas was just the way things were supposed to be.
Was I ever wrong!
The When, Why and How of Early Holiday Campaign Planning
A few years ago, I started looking at how successful artisans were marketing their products. They would start between the middle and end of October, building up their stock, planning their advertising, stocking up on shipping supplies and finding a copywriter for hire to improve their product descriptions. It took me a while to realize that by taking their time and having everything in place, they actually had the spare time to enjoy both the season and their customers.
The more I looked around, the more merchants I found who were doing their holiday planning at least a month or two before I had been; even the Small Business Administration had gotten in on the act! The first year I got on board with earlier holiday planning, I discovered several things:
- The additional planning time left more time to come up with contingencies if something fell through, whether it was losing planning time because of an emergency, a contractor who didn’t come through or a delay in shipping items I needed.
- Having the extra time helped me put exactly what I wanted on the website. I wasn’t having to stuff it with products that I wasn’t crazy about, and I could make sure the content was exactly how I wanted it.
- I wasn’t having to hit my studio to create products or Walmart for shipping supplies in the middle of the night, because I already had them on hand. I was actually able to enjoy the holidays with my family for a change!
So now we’re at the when:
- Start now! Take an hour today and write out a list of what you need to do before the holidays set in.
- Schedule a time to get these things done. Is there an hour spent waiting on your daughter’s dance class? Bring a notebook in to do your brainstorming sessions during that time.
- Start ordering in the products and supplies you’ll need for the season. Nothing will eat into your profits faster than having to overnight items you should have had on hand in the first place.
- Social media marketing doesn’t happen overnight, so start building your Facebook and Twitter chatter today, including actively marketing for new contacts.
- Plan your sales and benefits. Are you doing a BOGO sale, offering free gift wrapping or having free shipping at a particular time? Put it in your calendar now!
Now that you’ve got an idea of what’s needed for your business, go to it!
Cathleen V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.