Prepare for the holidays part III: Planning your marketing.

Nov 12 2018 | Contributing writer Gene Marks, small business expert, CPA, and PayPal ambassador

Competition is fierce and marketing is hard. Smart business owners plan their marketing moves well ahead of the holidays because the right moves can make the difference between success and failure. So what are those moves?

Create a marketing budget.

Start small and grow your budget based on the success of your results. Don’t spend more on marketing than you can afford. Based on my experience, target seven to twelve percent of your annual revenues towards marketing.
 

Create one or two campaigns offering incentives and promotions to purchase.

Did you know November 11th is China Singles Day and November 24th is Small Business Saturday? These are examples of great holidays to build a campaign around. Pick two promotional things you want to do and then - with your marketing expert and on the channels you've chosen - come up with a campaign (a series of messages, follow-ups, tasks and to-do's) to support those two promotions. Check out our Holiday Promotions Guide for more guidance. 
 

Choose your main marketing channels.

AdWords, Facebook Ads, Local ads, emails, billboards, newspapers are among the many places to spend our marketing money. If you sell auto parts, it's possible that Facebook isn't your best channel. But if you're a florist it may very well be.  Once you decide on one or two channels, you can focus your efforts and money there.
 

Optimize your website.

You’ll likely be getting leads and driving sales from your website this holiday season. It’s important to re-visit your search engine optimization (SEO) practices and make sure your site is optimized. Try to get an early start because things frequently change in the search world and it takes time for these changes to propagate through the Internet.
 

Engage a marketing resource to help you.

Smart business owners learn early to focus on what they do best - and outsource the rest. Regardless of your size you should budget for a marketing expert to help you.  That way, they can apply their knowledge to do things they know best while you do the same.
 

Determine metrics and measure, measure, measure.

Be it clicks, views, responses, downloads or actual sales, marketing data can help you learn important insights about your shoppers and which campaigns perform best.In the end, never forget your marketing is meant to create leads, which in turn leads to business revenue. So make sure your metrics are focused on that one important goal.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.