Anyone else amazed that it's already November of 2021? I could have sworn yesterday was January 1st and we'd barely made a dent in all of the possibilities a new year holds. And yet here we are, barreling towards the biggest sales weeks of the year for most entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Ideally you would have had the time this summer to start prepping your holiday campaigns and promotions but if you're anything like most solopreneurs and small biz owners, I'm guessing time got a way from you and you were hopefully spending June and July surrounded by your kids and their never ending snack requests (just me?)
To help you get a jumpstart on the holiday season (and knock out your marketing and promotions planning in an afternoon), below you'll find 6 tips to help you have your biggest (and hopefully most enjoyable) holiday season yet.
#1: Let last year be your guide (and stop trying to constantly reinvent the wheel)
Unless you're brand new to entrepreneurship / running a small business, I'm betting you made an effort to promote your products and offers last November and December. Rather than start completely from scratch on your 2021 plans, it's super important you take the time to review the offers and products you put out last year in November and December.
Here's what to look for:
- Which of your offers, promotions and / or product launches worked really well?
- Which ones had potential but need to be tweaked for maximum impact this year?
- Are there any that you definitely don’t want to repeat this holiday season (either because your audience wasn't interested or because they were painful /unprofitable for you)?
Make note of want went well and what didn't so you make adjustments in your plans for the 2021 holiday season.
#2: Take advantage of multiple sales tactics
It's easy to assume that the only thing that works to drive traffic and sales in November and December is deep discounts but if you take the time to really plan things out and prep your audience, you'll get much better results if you take advantage of multiple sales tactics and don't rely solely on discounts.
Other sales tactics include:
- Time sensitive offers: whether combined with a discount or on their own (i.e., a product that's only available for pre-order for 48 hours,) adding a time limit to your offer is an easy way to encourage people to grab their credit card and buy now.
- Limited inventory: this is a really great one to pull out when you're running low on a best selling product (or even an "ok selling one - adding urgency by letting customers know you're almost out can turn a "so so" seller into a hot item quickly.) It's also great for digital product and course sellers. For example, you might run a workshop and limit it to X number of seats to keep the group really intimate and get people to jump quickly to grab a spot.
- Exclusive bonuses: whether you sell physical or digital products, adding on a free product or special bonus for the first X customers or for all shoppers who buy in the next 24 hours is another way to build excitement and urgency without offering a discount.
#3: Set realistic goals
When we're planning out our holiday offers and promotions we want to keep three key things in mind:
- What were my sales during the same time frame last year?
- How have my sales been over the last 2-3 months?
- How much time and energy do you have to run offers and promotions this year?
For example, if you did $20,000 in sales last November and December and your sales for the last 2-3 months have been about 10% higher than your sales last year, it's pretty reasonable to believe you can bring in at least $22,000 in sales this year if you create the same amount of buzz around your products and services.
You might even set a goal to hit $25,000 or $30,000 this year because you know last holiday season you were exhausted and didn't have the energy to really plan out your offers. Totally do-able.
On the other hand, if you've been struggling to hit your sales goals for the last 2-3 months, it's probably not realistic to try to beat last year's holiday sales unless you know you've put together a killer strategy that's going to help you get out of the sales slump and finish the year in a big (and very profitable way.)
Be honest with yourself about where you're at and set goals that allow you to win this holiday season and still enjoy time with the people you love.
#4: Prep your marketing in advance
This is a big one - once you've made a plan for what to promote and when, block of time asap to start prepping marketing content so you can roll into the busy season with lower stress levels and fully prepped marketing machine.
It can be tempting to leave your social media posts and emails for the last minute but that just leads to stress and overwhelm when you're also trying to juggle plans with family and friends and an increase in orders and customer service needs.
#5: Triple check your inventory (or your tech setup)
You've set up all of these great plans to crush the holiday season but don't forget to make sure you triple check your inventory and get your supply orders in asap if anything's running low.
With the shipping delays this fall, waiting until the last minute means risking unhappy customers and very late Christmas orders.
Sell digital product and courses? Make sure you've triple checked your tech set up so that when your customers buy, they get easy access to their new purchases without having to bombard you with "help, where's course?" emails.
#6: Make time to breathe and enjoy the season!
Most importantly, make time to actually enjoy the season. That might mean blocking off vacation days in advance. It might mean running your Black Friday offer a week early so you can enjoy the Thanksgiving break with your kids (and not have to be glued to your phone or computer.)
Or it might mean setting an earlier shipping cutoff than you normally would for Christmas orders so you're not stressing about whether or not your packages will make it in time.
Yes this season can lead to huge sales numbers but it's also a magical time of year and you deserve to enjoy it as much as your customers do. So make your joy a priority and don't forget to breathe!