Is it just me, or do the holidays seem to get here faster every year? I feel like I’m watching fireworks on July 4th and then I blink and it’s Halloween.
Q4 can be a busy time of year for everyone, but for small business owners the frenzy of the holidays can take on a whole different meaning. In addition to hosting family gatherings and parties and hunting down this year’s must-have gifts, we’re also trying to wrap up the year in our businesses and hoping to end on a high note.
A holiday sales campaign can be a great way to do that, but they don’t always go as planned. I’ve definitely had my share of holiday flops, but I’ve also had some big successes.
Here are five fundamental tricks to having your most successful holiday campaign this year, one that helps you achieve your goals and not lose your mind in the process!
1. Make a plan
The first step to a successful holiday campaign (or any campaign!) is to sit down and actually take the time to think it through and plan it out.
Determine your goal
What is your goal for the campaign? Are you looking to drive holiday traffic to your store or website? Are you looking to boost sales of a particular product or service? Or are you hoping to increase customer loyalty or engagement?
Knowing what you want to achieve with your campaign will help you determine what kind of messaging, offer, and promotion will be most effective in achieving your goal. It will also help you determine what kind of resources you’ll need to make the campaign a success.
Outline your strategy
Outline when and where you will promote your offer and think about the different tactics you’ll use. Jot down notes for your messaging copy and start thinking about any special assets you’ll need, like holiday-themed photos or videos.
Map out your dates
Get your dates on a calendar, including your campaign launch dates and your pre-launch dates. Then work backwards to determine when you need to have all of your materials created and prepared. Add those dates to your calendar too.
The more you plan in advance, the more polished and professional your campaign will look and the more seamless it will feel. People can tell the difference between a campaign that was thrown together the night before and one that was mapped out and thought through. And I think you can guess which kind of campaign people tend to gravitate to more.
But more than that, the more you can get ahead of holiday campaign, the more prepared and less stressed you’ll feel, which leads to a smoother and more relaxed holiday season for you.
So do yourself a favor and take the time to plan your holiday campaign in advance. It’ll be worth it in the end, I promise.
2. Start building buzz early
If you’re going to run a successful holiday campaign, start talking about it early – even before the holiday season really gets underway. Holiday is busy, my friends. Not only is your audience busy, but their environment is busy too.
You’re going to be competing with a lot of other businesses trying to get their own promotional messaging out there. The best chance you have of sticking out is to give people plenty of time to see your promotions and get interested in them.
You don’t need to give away all the details. Just tease it a bit. The idea is to let them know in advance that a holiday campaign is coming and to stay tuned. This not only helps reinforce it in your audiences’ minds, it also helps create a sense of anticipation and excitement.
So what is an ideal time to start teasing out your holiday campaigns? I recommend 2-4 weeks before your holiday promotion is live. It’s October and some of the big guys are already pushing their holiday campaigns:
Start by mentioning it every so often on social media, have a banner on your website, maybe send out an email. And then the week before the promotion is live, do a full court press.
I know things get busy and it can be tempting to wait until the last minute to start promoting your holiday deals, but if you want a successful holiday campaign, getting out there early is key!
The sooner you start talking about your holiday offers, the more people will see them and the more likely they will be to take advantage of them.
3. Promote it everywhere
One of the biggest mistakes I see when it comes to holiday campaigns is businesses posting about their campaign once or twice on Instagram and then never saying anything about it again.
If you want your holiday campaign to be a raving success, you need as many people as possible to know about it. The more people who know about it, the more visitors you’ll get, and the more sales you’ll make.
So if you’re going to run a holiday campaign, really commit to showing up!
The week before your promotion starts, make sure you are getting in front of people in every way you possibly can. Share it to your social channels, add a countdown to your website, maybe send out a special “members-only” promotion to your email list. Post about it in Facebook groups, hand out fliers or postcards at your store or office.
If you plan on using Instagram as part of your campaign, utilize a mix of tactics to get in front of different audiences. Don’t just post to your feed. Get it in Stories and Reels too. Each of those spaces is a way of getting in front of new eyeballs.
If this campaign is important to the success of your business, make sharing it your top priority and share it everywhere you possibly can.
Read next: 5 Simple Secrets to Writing Better Marketing Copy that Actually Converts
4. Highlight the benefit and value to your audience
When you’re running any campaign, it’s important to make sure people understand what’s in it for them. What benefits are they going to get by taking advantage of your offer? How does it bring value to their lives?
But when it comes to your holiday campaign, you need to think about and answer why they should take you up on this specific offer. How is your holiday offer different from any other offer you’ve had this year? Why should they care enough to take part in it?
The holiday season is a busy time of year and people are bombarded with offers from all sides. So if you want them to take notice of your offer, make sure it’s clear what they’ll get out of it.
Maybe they can get your product for the lowest price it will be at all year. Maybe it’s a limited edition holiday product or bundle that will only be available for a short while.
Think about why your target customer would want to participate in your holiday campaign and make sure that’s clear in all of your messaging. Use language that speaks to their pain points or desires and addresses their needs.
Some examples might be:
- This holiday season, give yourself the gift of a clean house with our special holiday cleaning package.
- Get a jump start on your holiday shopping with our early bird holiday sale.
- Take the stress out of holiday entertaining with our holiday catering package.
- Check off all the coffee lovers on your list and save a bundle with our holiday coffee bundle.
5. Make it easy to take advantage of
Last but not least, whatever your holiday offer or promotion is, make sure it’s easy for people to take advantage of.
The holiday season is already a busy time of year. If you make your offer complicated for people to figure out or make them jump through a bunch of hoops, they’ll be much less likely to bother with it.
Keep it simple. Put all the information they need right in front of them. Make sure your website is updated with the latest holiday offer or promotion and that all the links work. And if you’re running a holiday sale in your brick-and-mortar store, make sure all the signage is up and that your staff is familiar with the details.
If you’re offering a discount, make sure it’s automatically applied at checkout. If you’re running a holiday contest, make sure the entry requirements are clear and easy to follow. If you’re selling holiday gift cards, make sure they can be easily purchased online or in-store.
While it may seem like common sense, making sure your holiday offer is easy to take advantage of can make a big difference in how successful your holiday campaign turns out to be.
By following these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to running a holiday sales campaign that’s sure to be a success. So get started planning, talking, and promoting today and see what a difference it makes in your holiday sales.