The holiday season is the time of year for small businesses to make their year-end business goals - and the time for small business owners to stress out. Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. Green Monday. Free Shipping Day. Hanukka. Christmas Eve. Christmas. Boxing Day. Kwanzaa. New Year's Eve. New Year's Day. This time of year there is an endless list of sales and marketing opportunities for small business owners. No one can do it all, and you shouldn't try to. The key to a successful holiday marketing campaign is planning and organization.
Even though the holidays are right around the corner, there are things you can do right now to help manage your holiday season. Whether you own a local store, an online business or provide professional business services, you can make this a very merry and successful holiday for you and your customers.
7 Holiday Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners
1. Write It Down
No matter how organized you are the rest of the year, the holidays are the time when it's easy to be overwhelmed and forget to do very important and basic tasks. Staffing, customer greeting cards, decorations, social media graphics, email promotions - the list is never-ending. Whether you use an agenda calendar, a checklist, or an app on your phone, write it down:
- Start the day with a review of everything that needs to be done today, tomorrow and this week.
- Review deadlines and details so nothing slips by you.
- Put together a prioritized list of who will do what and when.
- Finish each day by reviewing what did get done - and reschedule anything not finished for completion on another day.
We like these holiday checklists for small business owners from PayPal that will help you stay organized and never again overlook an important
No one person can do it all, and you shouldn't even try. Even if you run a 1 person business, the busy holidays are the perfect time to ask for help. Here are some ways you can get seasonal holiday help to step in and do tasks you normally do and free you up to do the work only you can do:
- Outsource some projects to a professional who specializes in that service such as your holiday marketing campaign or updating your website.
- Hire a seasonal worker to help out at your business, including answering the phone, decorating your store, setting up product displays and restocking inventory, running errands or greeting customers.
- Hire help at home so you can focus on your business - a cleaning service, a caterer for your annual party, a laundry service, even someone to walk your dog!
- Virtual assistants can help out with many of your tasks, and often at a reasonable price. Based on your instructions and requirements, they can help out with many of your work and home projects. Sites such as Upwork, Fivver and TaskRabbit let you hire everything from a lawyer to a bookkeeper to a social media manager to customer support.
3. Be Selective
You can't participate in every holiday marketing promotion. If you are focused on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, maybe forgo Giving Tuesday. A small business owner simply doesn't have the resources to do it all, so choose a few holiday marketing campaigns that are right for your business and your customers, and do those well.
Is your store's annual holiday open house known for offering 10 different kinds of homemade Christmas cookies - that keeps you up until all hours of the night baking for 2 weeks, and results in exhaustion even before your workday begins? This year, control the holiday party preparations by simplifying:
- Buy ready-made holiday treats at the local grocery.
- Instead of baking 10 kinds of cookies, bake 5 kinds.
- Invite a local bakery or caterer to provide your holiday treats.
5. Build In Down Time
It can be easier to say than do but schedule some downtime for you and your employees during the holidays. You will be more effective and more creative if your mind and body have a chance to rest and re-energize. No one can deliver 110% for weeks on end - not even you! But if you don't plan for it, it won't happen:
- Schedule a mid-day or end of day massage so you feel your best and aren't limited by sore muscles and tension.
- Get your nails done so you look your best to greet your customers.
- Go for a walk with your family to enjoy the holiday decorations.
6. Schedule Social Media Posts
Social media is a critical tool to help you market your business during the holidays - but it is also a time sucker! Making time to open your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, come up with catchy and enticing posts, images and hashtags is something that can easily get overlooked - and hurt your holiday sales.
There are social media scheduling tools where you can create your posts in advance, and schedule them to post when it's most beneficial to your business. You can still post on social media in real time when the moment strikes - but scheduling tools make sure you never miss an important marketing post. Some of our favorite social media scheduling tools are:
Bonus: Many of these social media scheduling tools have free plans available for 1, 2 or 3 social media platforms!
7. Just Say No
Just because you've always said 'yes' to requests that require your time or money during the holidays doesn't mean you have to say 'yes' again this year. It is hard for small business owners to build a strong relationship with your community and say no to requests from potential customers. But if you can't give it your all, then just say no. Instead, say yes to causes that are important to you this year, and if trade-off with a different cause next year. After all, there is only so much of you to go around!
Learn More: Holiday Marketing Strategy: It's Not Too Late!
Spread holiday cheer and enjoy some yourself by following our holiday tips for small business owners! And you can use this year's holiday planning calendar and to-do lists to get a jump-start planning for the 2019 holidays!