Follow this 5-step guide to planning for the season and hitting those holiday sales targets
Somehow the holiday season always manages to creep up on us, even though we know it comes around every year. The busy period is going to be here sooner than you think, so it pays (literally) to have a plan in place to maximise your publicity and promote your products.
Below, I’ve outlined five actions that you can implement right now to ensure that you get the sales you want.
1. Decide what you want to promote and where
I know, I know, you think ALL your products are great. However, it’s really important to choose just a few (and they should be high margin products) that you want to highlight because these are the products that you’ll be promoting through your marketing. If you’re an established business, your sales history will tell you what your best sellers are, so you already have an idea of what you should be focussing on this season. You can also create a special product bundle or limited edition product just for the holiday season. If you’re doing this however, you have to ensure that you’ll be receiving your stock well in advance of the selling period. You don’t want to promote or promise something that’s not going to be available.
You also need to decide where you want to focus your promotion efforts. There are several opportunities you can take advantage of. For example, you can choose to get featured in holiday gift guides, or participate in markets or fairs or other special holiday events. You have to determine whether you want to focus on just features only, events only or a mixture of both. Again, if you’re an established business, your previous experience would have given you an idea of what worked, what didn’t work and what you need to do differently.
Whether you’ve been in the business a while or you’re a startup, Research is necessary to ensure that you choose publications and events that are the right fit for your brand. You don’t need to be in everything and participating everywhere. Holiday burnout is real and this is why it is important to carefully plan what you are doing in advance, so that you don’t end up overwhelmed and overworked.
2. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!
Decide which holidays and events that you want to participate in. The last quarter of the year is riddled with holidays and events so it’s pretty much impossible for you to participate in everything. Decide which ones work best for your business and include them in a detailed content and event calendar. This calendar will indicate when you will conduct all the activities related to planning the content and promotional activities around these dates. The calendar would include:
- What types of content you’d be writing
- What channels you’d be using to promote it.
- When you’d be doing photography and/or videography
- What other kinds of graphics you’d be using
- Your posting and promotion schedule (start and end dates)
You’re not going to have the time to figure out how you’re going promote your products when you’re smack in the middle of the busy season, so it’s really important to take the time now to plan what you’re going to do and schedule it ahead of time.
Here’s a handy chart you can download and use to get started. It outlines the major holidays and retail events for the last quarter of the year.
3. Plan your inventory wisely
Decide what your sales target is going to be for the season and order your inventory accordingly. Agan, if you’re an established brand, your sales history will give you an idea of what the demand was like over previous seasons. Using that data will give you a good estimate of what your sales figures and inventory should be. It also makes sense to increase your targets every year so that you can continue to grow your business.
Looking at bestsellers as well as currently trending products will also give you an idea of what’s best to make a priority to stock.
Once again, make sure to order your items in advance of the start of the season. If you know what the lead times are then you should be aware of the last possible date you can place your orders so that you receive your stock on time.
You should also set up a contingency plan in case sales don’t go as planned. This plan should cover both better than expected sales and slower than expected sales. If you sell out of items, then you need to know the latest date and the cost of rush ordering items to replenish your stock (which of course you work into your pricing). If sales are slow, then you should plan your discount or promotional strategy that you’ll be using to try to drive further sales.
4. Market BEFORE you show up to your event
You can’t just appear at an event and expect to make a killing (although it can sometimes happen). You have to let people know where you’re going to be in the weeks leading up to the event. To keep your audience engaged, you can turn the process into a mini documentary or behind the scenes sneak peek where you publish little snippets of your preparation leading up to the big event. Let your audience know what products you’re going to have on hand at the event. You can also do a live broadcast or vlog while you’re at the event, if you have the time.
A few important points to note when you’re at the event:
- Branding is important. Your booth should reflect your branding.
- The signage needs to be properly constructed and VERY visible.
I know space is somewhat limited at markets and fairs, but there are ways to creatively display your merchandise that will attract customers and draw them towards your booth. Here are some ways to capture and retain the customer’s attention:
- Live models
- Live demos
- Display typical items in unconventional ways
5. Get your brand featured
If you choose to pursue getting featured in publications or via reaching out to influencers, then again, it’s necessary to do your research to determine which ones are the best fit for your brand. The focus lately has been on micro-influencers (30-50,000 followers) who have very loyal followers and a high degree of engagement with them. The best way to reach out is via email pitch, but there are also several matchmaking platforms that you can use to reach out to influencers who you believe to be a good fit for your brand.
Here are a few pitching guidelines:
- Make sure to pitch the right person
- Check the publication’s editorial calendar or be aware of deadlines so that you pitch before the cut off date
- Be short and concise in your pitch. You have to know your product extremely well and be able to pitch it in one paragraph
- Ensure that samples can be received in a timely manner
- Tell them why you think your product would be great for them
- Include one or two pictures.
- Invite them to follow up with you after you’ve made your pitch.
Et voilà! You now have a 5 step blueprint of exactly what you need to do to to have a kickass holiday season and knock those sales out of the park. Remember these five things: make a decision about what you’re promoting and what avenues you’re using for promotion, use data and trends to determine your stock levels, schedule all your activities for the season, market in advance of showing up for an event and get the publicity you want by reaching out to publications and influencers.
I hope this information has been helpful!
However, if you need more dedicated support and guidance for planning this holiday season, I have room for one more more client, as I usually work with a select number of brands.
If you want to learn more about how I can help you:
- Expertly communicate your brand’s value
- Connect with the right people who will want to buy from you
- Generate sales without having to spend all day on social media or a fortune on advertising
Then click the link below to schedule a discovery call with me and find out how we can work together.
Until next time,