You’ve heard of Christmas in July, but have you heard of “prep for holiday sales in July” time?
Waiting until November or December to get your plan together for holiday marketing would be a major mistake on your part.
That’s why I’ve put together this handy dandy holiday sales calendar you can use to slowly plan out how you’ll attract more customers in Q4.
July: Look at Last Year’s Data
You can’t start planning what you’ll do this year until you understand how you did last year.
What promotions were the most successful? Which products did you sell the most of? Which marketing channels got the best results?
Understanding last year’s wins and losses can help you with much of your planning.
You’ll figure out:
- Which products to order more of
- Which channels to put more marketing focus on
- The types of promotions your audience responds best to
- The promotions you should avoid, since they didn’t work
August: Update Your Lists
Once Thanksgiving is over, you’ll want to hit the ground running with your marketing campaigns.
Now is a great time to beef up your email marketing list. Use your email marketing software to make sure all the contacts you have are updated. Then start collecting new email addresses.
If you have a physical store, put a signup sheet at the cash register. If you sell via ecommerce, give people the option to opt out of emails when they complete a transaction (meaning by default, they’ll be added to your email list).
September: Stock Up on Inventory
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy everything you plan to sell during the holidays. You can either buy it all in advance and potentially get a lower per-unit cost for a larger order, or you can start stocking up now and keep buying in the coming months to spread out the cost.
Make sure to invest in more of your best-sellers, since historical data already tells you the potential to boost holiday sales of them is high.
October: Create a Promotions Calendar
Now comes the fun: deciding what promotions you will offer. You’ll obviously have more than one, so it can be helpful to have a calendar that identifies how long each promotion will go on, and when and where you will promote it.
You can even include the copy you’ll use to promote a particular sale on social media, email, your blog, etc. That will make it super simple when the time comes to promote — just copy and paste.
You’ll be extra busy then, so later you’ll be grateful you took the time in advance to do the work.
November: Start Building Anticipation
It seems like every year, holiday shopping starts earlier. Retailers like Amazon release “Black Friday” sales early in November.
Whether or not you want to jump on this trend, you should at least start getting shoppers excited about the offers to come.
Send teasers via email to get people to look out for your big reveal. Provide clues on social media as to what you’re going to be marking down. Then, come Black Friday, let the promotions begin!
December: It’s Holiday Sales Time!
You can pat yourself on the back now, since you’ve already laid the foundation for your holiday season. Stick to your promotions calendar, and continually share what you’ve got on offer across all your marketing channels.