‘Tis the season to start thinking about wintry nights, presents wrapped in brown paper, and the biggest shopping quarter of the year.
Sure, its still fall and the weather isn't showing any signs of snowflakes, but as an online marketer, now is the time to start thinking, planning and acting for the impending holiday season.
1. ‘Tis better to be prepared than scared.
Really, it is so much better to be prepared than dealing with your holiday promotions in the middle of the biggest shopping time of the year. Planning gives you foresight and flexibility: if problems come up, then you'll be in a great position to handle them. You'll have a clear idea of where you are so that you'll be able to make the best decision possible. And, why on earth will you risk losing countless sales because you didn't take the time to plan for them?
2. Guess what? Your competitors prepped months ago for the holidays.
And now, they're just sitting, waiting and ready to pounce as the days tick by. They're going to have an insurmountable lead over you and snatch up all of the sales that you probably would've gotten. Don't give your competitors any more leniency and edge of you.
3. Early birds catch more sales.
There are a lot of shoppers out there that just want to get their shopping done, like, yesterday. By prepping now, you'll be able to take a close look at what happened last holiday season. Were there people that shopped like mad in September and October? Target those shoppers with early holiday specials; otherwise, they'll go somewhere else.
4. Give you a chance to improve struggling marketing channels.
Surely, in the middle of chaos is the worst possible time to do an internal check on your marketing channel. Right? Well, not really. Because the holiday shopping season is long, intense and incredibly valuable, you need to make sure that each of your marketing channels – emails, SMS, fax, social media and your website – are up to the task. Can they handle them? Have you been delaying making changes and updates? Do it now! You don't want any one of them to crash, especially in the middle of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday rush.
5. Get ahead of the holiday shopping trends.
How do shopping trends actually become trends? Through customer-generated buzz, product reviews and how well companies position themselves. (Think, "Tickle Me Elmo.") Set the stage for one of your products to become the "must-have" gift of the season. Start promoting it early and send it out to consumer product reviewers for their take. The holiday season does not have to be a stressful period of flying by the seat of your pants.
Prepare your entire online marketing strategy now (if not weeks ago) and you will be sitting back with your feet up and watching those sales pile up just like the snow in your driveway.