Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Holiday marketing is upon us! It won’t be long until you enter a store and hear “Jingle Bells”. It seems to come earlier every year!
If you don’t have a plan already, take some time now to think about how you can make the most of this holiday season. Almost any business can find some way to tie in with the holidays, even if you do not sell holiday related items or services. Holiday specials, advertising plans, store décor, client gifts, newsletter topics, charity events and even holiday cards are just some of the ways you can capitalize on the season.
If you do sell holiday-related products or gift items, or perform services more in demand during the holiday season (catering, personal errands, decorating, personal shopper, printing, and so on), then you definitely need to plan now how you will market your products or services.
First, set a goal and determine your marketing/advertising budget. How much revenue do you hope to generate? How much money do you have available to promote your business from August through December?
Second, determine your target customer. Essentially, narrow down your focus to the group most likely to buy from you. Describe your ideal customer in terms of sex, age, location, income, occupation, etc. Think about how best to reach this customer—TV, radio, newspapers, special interest magazines, the internet, direct mail, trade shows, flea markets, flyers, networking—there are numerous possibilities. Find the ones which will likely give you the most bang for your buck.
Third, determine your spending plan. Just make a list of what methods and media you will use, when & how much it will cost. You may find you need to scale back to stick to your budget. Also, create a method to track responses and results.
Fourth, develop related marketing activities and actions. Will you attend a trade show, speak at a networking event, run an in-store contest, issue press releases, update your website, create print materials, etc.
Fifth, put it all together into a plan. A simple chart will suffice—create columns for Activity, Cost, Supplies, Steps, Due Dates and Results.
Here’s a sample for an earring maker:
Goal: To realize $1,000 in sales each month over last year’s revenues.
Focus: Promote B’dazzled earrings as perfect stocking stuffers.
Activity 1: Holiday Trade Show
Booth at November Holiday Show: (possible co-op with another jewelry maker)
Cost: $800 or $400 for booth, $80 for flyers, $4,000 for earrings and bags
Supplies: Flyers to hand out at show (1,000) Earrings (2,000 pairs) bags (2,000) business cards and labels (on-hand).
Steps & Due Dates: Secure booth space by August 1, find partner by September 15, determine booth layout by October 15, complete earrings by November 1, create & print flyers by November 1
Activity 2: Newspaper Ad
Ad in local weekly paper (4 weeks October 15 through November 15)
(Promote stocking stuffer 3-pair special and trade show appearance)
Steps: Create ad, call account rep, place ad
Ad deadline: October 1
Activity 3: Update website
Update website to promote stocking stuffers
Supplies: new image pictures
Steps: Take pictures, create page, update site
Due date: October 1
Activity 4: eBay Sales
Package stocking stuffer specials on eBay store
Cost: eBay fees
Supplies: image pictures
Steps: take pictures, upload to eBay store
Due Date: November 1—December 15
Total spending: $5,480--$5,880 plus eBay fees.
Your plan will be different, depending on your own business, budget and the activities you choose. However, the basic process is the same.
Having a plan for your holiday marketing will help you in many ways. You will know your goals and be able to evaluate them and track progress along the way. You will know your budget and be able to determine the best use of your money. You will be able to plan your time efficiently, and you will have a record for next year that you can either revise or just update and implement.