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How to Create a Holiday Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

The holiday season is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to grow and connect with new and existing customers. Making the most of this opportunity is crucial to meeting goals for the year and building a solid foundation going into the new year, which means a strong marketing plan is vital. Use this guide as a template to create a plan to attract customers and build brand loyalty at the same time.

Excited mature women opening their store for the holidays.

Know Your Target Audience

  1. Who is your ideal customer? Parents, kids, people without kids, maybe professionals from a specific industry? What do they prefer? Remember, the business you receive during the holiday season will likely look different than your regular customers, so tailor your messaging, promotion, and communication method to those shopping for your target audience.
  2. When does your target audience usually shop? If you sell electronics, you'll want to kick off your holiday marketing early, as shoppers searching for computers, speakers, or tablets typically start hunting before and during the post-Thanksgiving rush. Not sure when your audience is spending? Check out the National Retail Federation's Holiday and Seasonal Trends report. They'll break down shopper habits and profiles to help you get ready.
  3. Where do your holiday customers usually shop, online or in-person? There are multiple options to make online sales, even if you still need to get a website. Social media sites now offer sales and purchasing capabilities, not to mention setting up a simple website with a vendor or listing items on sites like Etsy. Just let your customers know to call, stop by your physical store if you have one, or visit your pop-up at an event such as a craft fair to make purchases.

Set Clear and Achievable Goals

What specifically do you want to achieve this season? You and your employees can't know where to focus if they don't know where to direct their efforts. Your goals could be increasing sales by a certain amount or expanding your customer base. Your goals can also be as broad as strengthening your brand awareness.

Plan Ahead

We all know the holidays can get hectic quickly, so do your best to start sooner rather than later. Creating a detailed timeline can help a lot and might include promotional events, emails, or social media posts and ads.

Special Offers

This includes decorating your store, not just a sale you might be offering! Customers want an inviting and festive environment to shop in. Offering a memorable experience keeps customers coming back for more and attracts new customers to your store. As for special offers, consider limited-time deals, buy-one-get-one offers, and holiday or mystery packages to make gift-giving easy and boost your sales.

Optimize Your Website

Just like you would decorate your physical store, decorate your site too! This can be as easy as swapping out photos for something more holiday-themed, like bright lights or a snowy background. Do some testing yourself to ensure your site and/or app is easy to navigate and use, and make sure a phone number or email is front and center for any questions your customers might have.

Get on Social Media

You don't need a big advertising budget for social media ads. On Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites, you can feature any specials you offer with free posts or create targeted ads that will appear on your most likely shoppers' feed. Get festive and on-theme with photos, video clips, and hashtags to draw attention.

You might be able to get your followers to do your advertising for you. A few ideas:

  • Enter individuals that share your content in a drawing to win a gift card.
  • Give a discount to customers who check in at your store on their social page.
  • Set up a trivia contest by asking customers to take a picture of their answer (one of your products or a local landmark) and tag you.

Meet Your Neighbors

Regardless of the industry, cross-referrals can be a great source of new business. Reach out to other local businesses in your area to see if they're interested in going in together on a special or "mention us" offer. Your local chamber of commerce may already have something in the works, like a holiday coupon publication or a shopping day (like Small Business Saturday) where member businesses offer a discount for customers.

Track, Analyze, and Follow Up

Track how your campaigns and promotions are performing each week or at a regular cadence. You can use tools like Google Analytics to check for success on your site or pull data from your social media pages or email provider. Keeping on top of pulling this data will help to inform your efforts for next year and help you create an even better holiday marketing plan! If you have any follow-up to do, now is the time to keep track of that and get it done a little at a time rather than waiting until the dust settles after the holiday season when it might be too late.

WaFd Bank is Here to Help

We're in the business of bringing simplicity to yours. If you're looking for straightforward solutions to help you grow your business, contact your local small business officer or open a business account online. You can also check out our wide variety of business services to find solutions that fit what you need, like HR and payroll, customer engagement programs, and ways to open your cash flow so you can get paid faster and grow your business.


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