July is not when you typically start humming holiday tunes, but it is the perfect time to start thinking about your holiday sales season. Starting now will set you up for a successful sales season, reduce the stress of last-minute planning and alleviate tension within your team by creating a holiday marketing plan now. A holiday marketing plan doesn’t have to be extensive or complicated. The aim is for simple and effective. 

The holiday season is when a lot of small businesses, particularly retailers, see a big spike in sales. It’s also when consumers are doing a lot of research and shopping. During this time, it’s easy to miss the mark with your advertising, over or under-spend on inventory, and have staffing issues. This is not the time to be floundering, you want your head in the game and a thoughtful plan in place. On average, holiday sales represent 20% of annual sales across most industries, according to the National Retail Federation. In some industries, this figure rises to 30 percent or more. (https://www.ondeck.com/resources/how-retailers-can-maximize-holiday-season-sales)

What to include in your holiday marketing plan:

  1. Clearly Defined Budget: The budget could include such things as inventory spending, seasonal staffing, decorations and staff benefits. You should also use previous year’s income and expense data if you have it. 
  2. Sales Goal: The plan should include a sales goal with actionable items to get you to that goal. If you want to improve your sales by 10% over last year, what are you doing differently from last year to gain that 10%? 
  3. Staffing Calendar and Schedule: Now is the time to start asking your staff if they will be taking time off so you can discover any gaps or issues early on. 
  4. Industry Research: A thoughtful plan also includes some research into your industries trends and what consumers want this holiday season. 
  5. Digital and Physical Advertising List: It should include your advertising and social media plans. These things can be incorporated into your budget if you are planning any paid advertisements. They can also be incorporated into the calendar to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines for advertising outlets.

Creating a holiday marketing plan can be an enjoyable process and a great way to get excited about the busy holiday sales season. There will always be last minute adjustments, but understanding how the last-minute changes or additions fit into the plan will help you make better decisions. The Wyoming Small Business Development Center can help you create a marketing plan. They can also help you with a social media strategy, a holiday or annual budget and market research.

If you are ready to start planning for the holiday season, schedule an appointment to meet with your Wyoming SBDC Network advisor to help you get started and keep you accountable to your schedule, plan, and goals. 

About the Author: Audie enjoys seeing community members bring their business ideas to life and is eager to help them grow and thrive. As an entrepreneur, Audie has worked in art licensing and graphic design and has 10 years of experience in customer service and marketing through her work in public libraries. Her education and experience have given her knowledge in print and digital marketing, creating marketing plans, social media marketing, and business planning. When not supporting local businesses through the Wyoming SBDC Network, Audie enjoys getting outside to ride her bike, ski, and paint.

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