The end-of-year holiday season represents the most lucrative sales period for many businesses, yet many small businesses wait until the last minute to start their holiday marketing campaigns. The best time to start your holiday marketing is in September. Here are five good reasons why.
1. You can plan ahead for holiday trends and predictions – print early and increase ROI
With a bit of research in your industry you can comfortably predict holiday sales trends early, thus you’ll know what products and services to push heavily this year. Then, you can print catalogs, postcards, flyers, posters, and other holiday marketing materials that feature those bestsellers. By printing early, you’ll avoid the rush and be able to get the best prices on your printing, thus increasing your return on investment.
2. Market early and often to get a leg up on big box stores
Sure, the big box stores – Walmart, Best Buy, and even online Cyber Monday heavyweights such as Amazon – get all the glory when it comes to holiday shopping. But they’re not the only choices, and savvy customers seeking unique items for their loved ones are always on the lookout for other retailers and service providers. Start your holiday marketing early to stay top-of-mind when the big boxes launch their Thanksgiving ads. Market often so they don’t overshadow you on Black Friday.
3. You can develop “buy early” plans
While it’s true many consumers shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your small business can preempt both of those sales events by offering “buy early” plans that feature discounts that rival those of your competitors. One great way to do this is to offer your customers an early-bird discount with a guarantee – if they find an ad promoting your product cheaper for Black Friday, you’ll refund the difference (I would suggest doing so on a gift card for your store). They’ll still get the best price and get their holiday shopping done early, and you’ll get the sale – even if you have to offer a slight discount later.
4. Free time for exploring new marketing channels
When you wait until the last minute for your holiday marketing, you don’t have time to explore potentially lucrative new marketing channels that could drive sales through the roof. Have your entire holiday marketing campaign planned by the end of September, and you’ll be able to get really creative with social media, contests, events, or just by trying something you’ve never done before, such as greeting cards with coupons. Try new ideas and you’ll find avenues that yield excellent returns your competitors aren’t even thinking about.
5. Free time to enjoy your own holidays
Last but not least, you shouldn’t spend your holidays frantically trying to make sure your small business marketing campaign is in order. Remember why you went into business in the first place and plan your holiday marketing in September so you can free time to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.