By Kailynn Bowling, co-founder of ChicExecs PR & Retail Strategy Firm.
The sun’s blazing and you’re probably thinking about the beach, but late summer is the best time to start planning your holiday marketing campaigns.
Yes, really. It feels weird to think about Santa and snow flurries and holiday specials in 100-degree weather, but successful brands are strategizing for the holidays right now.
But why are brands obsessing over the holidays in Q3? The holiday season is one of the most profitable times of year for retailers. And with 2021 holiday spending expected to reach over $1 trillion in the U.S. alone, that’s enough reason to plan early.
Do you really want to spend Q4 scrambling to create content? Or do you want to put your holiday marketing on autopilot for an easier transition to the new year?
Proactive planning will help you schedule your campaigns while things are quieter — and it can even help you save time and money. With holiday sales starting earlier and earlier each year, August/September is the perfect time to plan for the shopping season, which kicks off in early November.
Follow these five tips to position your brand for more sales and less stress during the busy holiday shopping season.
1. Review Your Past Performance
Successful marketers learn from their past campaigns. Instead of jumping headfirst into this year’s campaign, take a look at last year’s holiday marketing initiatives. Ask yourself:
• What did you do well?
• What do you need to change?
• What did your competitors do that worked well?
• Did you receive any customer complaints about your holiday promotions, marketing or products?
Learn from your past performance so you can focus your time and money on what works.
2. Update Your Packaging
Holiday-themed product packaging gets people in the mood to shop. The thing is, retailers need a lot of lead time to update their packaging for the holidays — this is definitely not something you can do a week before Black Friday.
Work with your product team to design festive, holiday-themed packaging for your top-selling items. This is a great way to delight customers, get them in the holiday spirit and attract more holiday shoppers with less effort. Make sure you update your product photos on your website, Amazon and other selling platforms in early November with the new packaging.
3. Work From A Master Content Calendar
Q4 is the craziest time of year for retailers. Organize your holiday marketing initiatives in a master content calendar to minimize the chaos. This is much easier than trying to muddle through the holiday marketing rush without a clear direction. Your content calendar should include:
• Channels (social media, email, YouTube, etc.)
• Dates and times
• Roles and responsibilities
This way, it’s clear how you’ll execute your content strategy this year. Better yet, plug your content calendar into a project management software like Trello or Asana to automatically remind your team of what needs to be done.
4 . Holiday-ify Your Content
Speaking of content, meet with your team to plan holiday-centric content for Q4. Again, this might feel weird at the tail end of summer, but pre-planning holiday content will save you tons of time during a busy season of the year.
Create helpful, valuable content with a holiday twist. For example, if you’re a makeup brand, that might mean filming tutorials on how to create a Hanukkah-inspired look with your eyeshadow palettes. Remember to add holiday colors, music and your branding to the content so the content screams “holidays.”
It’s much easier to write, film, edit and schedule holiday content ahead of time. Pre-made content means you can focus on fulfilling orders or processing returns for a calmer holiday season.
5. Partner With Influencers
Influencers are a smart way to get your brand in front of thousands of interested shoppers. The thing is, in-demand influencers need a lot of lead time for holiday campaigns. You need to reach out to influencers ASAP for holiday campaigns because their schedules fill up quickly.
The Bottom Line
Product businesses earn a huge chunk of revenue during Q4, so you need a solid holiday marketing campaign that gets results. Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you: Position your brand well ahead of the holiday rush to get an edge over your competitors. Follow these five tips to overcome the mad rush of Q4 for a more joyous (and profitable) holiday season.