‘Tis (almost) the season!

It’s the end of October, folks. Can you believe it?

Soon, we’ll need to put away the pumpkins, shelve the broomsticks and black cats, and prepare for the holidays to come. Do you know what to expect?

Cats and jack-o-lanterns scream October and Halloween.

It’s one thing to deck the halls with boughs of holly, but another to prepare your website and marketing plan for the holiday season. Today, we’ll explore why you need to participate in the holiday cheer, how you can plan for holiday sales, and ways to engage your site visitors and customers. 

Create a holiday marketing plan for your website

According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, holiday sales are projected to exceed $1.1 trillion dollars from November to January. Of the $1.1 trillion dollars in holiday sales, $144-149 billion is expected from e-commerce alone. And the Pew Research Center states that “Today, 79% of Americans say they make purchases online.” So if you’ve been dragging your feet on creating an e-commerce website, or have been putting off giving your website a festive facelift, there’s no time like the present. 

Holiday gift.

As October wanes and the days get shorter and darker, people are on the hunt for the best deals and gifts to complete their holiday shopping. Let’s discuss how you can identify your goals so you can finalize your holiday marketing plan and attract these online shoppers.

Holiday goals for your website

Stop and think through your goals before making any changes to your site. What outcomes do you most want to see from your holiday campaign? Are you looking to:

·      Drive new business?

·      Increase repeat business?

·      Focus on sales of a specific product?

·      Increase site traffic?

·      Something else?

It’s important to remember that you can have multiple goals as they are not mutually exclusive. Once you’ve identified what’s most important to you, you can cater your holiday marketing plan to include campaigns that support your goals.

November calendar with goals.

Building your holiday marketing plan

Your plan serves as the guide to moving prospects through your marketing funnel so they become customers.

A marketing funnel represents the pivotal steps prospects take on their journey to becoming customers. Funnels are broken down into different sections. People start at the top of the funnel, drawn in by your marketing materials (like blog and social media posts), and proceed through to the last step of your funnel which represents a conversion. A conversion happens when the prospect takes the action you want them to take on your site (like making a purchase or signing up for your email list) and becomes a customer or subscriber.

People moving down a large spiral staircase.

Keep in mind that not everyone makes it all the way through your funnel. There are fewer and fewer people, or prospects, the deeper they go into your funnel. This is why it’s important to make sure your marketing plan is well thought out. You want to encourage as many people as possible through all the steps in your funnel. 

Know what holidays to plan for

Can you make a holiday marketing plan without knowing the key dates this season?

We didn’t think so. 

Here are some holidays to consider planning for:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday 
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Cyber Monday 
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
  • Kwanzaa
  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
New Year's eve fireworks.

Drafting your holiday marketing plan

Have you stopped to think about your goals? 

Good.

Know what dates to plan for?

Good.

Let’s think through a holiday marketing plan together so you understand how to build your own. 

What’s your first goal? For this example, we’re going to set a goal of increasing our revenue by $10,000 this December.

Now that we’ve decided on a goal our next step in creating our plan is to determine the strategy we need to reach our goal. This strategy can actually be comprised of various different methods that can all contribute toward reaching the goal.

If we really want to increase our revenue by $10,000 then a couple things need to happen. We should:

·   Focus on what products to highlight to drive more revenue

·   Attract more visitors to our site in hopes of converting them into customers

Marketing tactics to include in your plan

Stylized photo of the word, "Marketing."

Once you know the pivotal actions you need to drive (for us, we need to increase site visitors and decide on a product to focus on to drive the additional revenue) you can figure out the tactics to do so.

Consider the following:

·      Blog posts

·      Social media posts

·     Email marketing

·      Coupons and discounts

·      Contests and giveaways

But here’s the thing — just listing out your tactics isn’t going to cut it. As you think through your tactics try setting smaller goals for them, like in the following example.

Instead of saying, “I’m going to run a social media promotion offering 20% off my top-selling product to new customers” try setting a more specific goal. This goal could look something like, “I will use a coupon code for my top-selling product to drive 200 new customer acquisitions by XX/XX/XX date.” This is called a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.) Go ahead and create S.M.A.R.T goals for all the tactics you’ll use in your holiday marketing plan.

Creating your offer

Once you have your overarching goal and the S.M.A.R.T. goals for your marketing tactics identified you can get down to the business of creating your offer(s).

It’s vital that you have a good understanding of your ideal customer and the audience that you’re looking to attract. Sure, you could run a contest where the winner receives a free weekend getaway to the Poconos, but if you sell financial planning consultations then what’s the point? You’re likely to have folks across all spectrums enter your contest and there’s no telling if the person who wins will be your ideal customer and continue a business relationship with you post-getaway.

Your offer should be relevant to your audience. So if you do sell financial planning consultations on your site, consider running a contest where the winner receives a free planning session to help get their finances under control in the new year. This offer is more relevant to the people who are in your audience.

Man making an online purchase.

Make your offers look good

As a professional, we’re sure you want to be taken seriously. In that case, presentation matters. Instead of writing a normal Facebook post to announce your offer, consider creating materials specifically for your offers. There are many free tools you can use like Canva. You can “use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.”

Don’t miss out on getting new customers by using outdated graphics when you have free options to make your business and offers look good.

Measuring your marketing success

Google Analytics SERP screenshot.

In order for you to understand the success of your marketing campaign you need to implement a way to measure it.

Google Analytics is a great way to measure your website’s performance and figure out what campaigns are working and what might need to be tweaked for better performance.

You can check out our guide to Google Analytics here.

Ready for the holidays?

We bet you are.

We wish you the best of luck in creating your holiday marketing plan and running your marketing campaigns. Let us know what has worked for you and what hasn’t in the comments below. And if you have any other tips or tricks for making the most of the holiday season on your site, let us know!