Yes, it’s September, but it’s time to start talking about Christmas! Christmas, in particular for entrepreneurs with a product to sell, is most likely the craziest time of the year in your business. Let’s try and make it a little less crazy so we can enjoy the season not just work!
Why should we be talking Christmas now? The simple answer is that as one of the most saturated marketing times of the year you need to be prepared. Here is my list of things you need to get sorted in September to maximise Christmas sales.
1. get your store in order
Make sure that your store is up to date with the latest prices, product details, great photos and links. You want to put your best foot forward, so now is the time to check everything. In the back end also check your stock levels and if you need more of anything get it now. This is particularly important for your best sellers, always better to have plenty than turn customers away.
Every year postal services around the world get busier and busier at Christmastime so as random as it sounds don’t forget to figure out the last shipping date before Christmas as you will need this information (it should appear on your home page, product listings and social media from November).
2. decide on how you want to celebrate Christmas
Part of what makes the silly season “silly” is all of the social activities that happen at that time of year. Running your own business you might want to celebrate with staff and clients. If that sounds like you whether you are planning a big party or simple Christmas drinks you need to get yourself organised early, so you don’t miss out. I’d recommend you book your location now and send out invitations at least 6weeks out from the event. Calendars fill up faster than any of us are prepared for so give people plenty of notice. Same goes for having an end of the year meeting with clients; you’ll want to lock those in for late November/early December soon (especially for those who themselves will be busy at Christmas).
3. how do you decorate
Is your house full of traditional Christmas decorations or are your decorations more modern? It’s all about red, white and green in my house. Just as you decorate your house, your blog/website/socials should also be decorated for the season. At least for December, you can make some fun, simple updates to your digital platforms to celebrate the season. For example, a festive cover image on Facebook.
4. dropping Christmas hints
You really should be starting to plant the idea in customers heads that you may have the perfect gift idea for someone in their lives sooner rather than later. Consumers are getting a lot savvier about online shopping. We understand that we need to be organised to ensure we get what we want, in time for us to wrap and pop under the tree. My advice, start talking about Christmas in small subtle ways at the beginning of October. Not so much that people get upset with you but enough to plant the seed.
5. decide on an advertising strategy
As I said, the period before Christmas is possibly the most saturated marketing time of the year. So you need to decide the who/what/when of your advertising strategy now. Perhaps you make custom illustrations that take a few weeks to create and ship (I would say you’d want to start advertising for Christmas shopping early) or you sell digital prints that people can print for themselves (these you can promote as last minute ideas). Remember to budget accordingly; it’s going to be more expensive to do every kind of advertising in the festive season as more people are vying for the same spots.
6. schedule content
I am a huge believer in scheduling key content well in advance – make other things work around the priority rather than having to remember it as you go. Pick key dates across October/November/December to talk about Christmas and pop them in your plan (whatever form that might take). Have an idea, loose is fine, about what you will say on each day and get the photos etc you need to be ready to roll. Prescheduling your social media and blog content will make a world of difference to your workload (and sanity) so do it now while it’s still a little quieter.
I know it seems early to talk about Christmas but as you can see you can save yourself a lot of stress if you take some time to plan. Schedule in a couple of hours this week (Friday afternoon is a perfect time) to get yourself ready for the silly season.