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To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early

To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early
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A disproportionate amount of spending happens during the holidays among brands and consumers. Retailers slash prices with the expectation that holiday promotions will motivate shoppers to buy more of their products as gifts for family and friends. Companies invest heavily to promote the sales they are having. But is it enough?

Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation reported a 4 percent increase in 2014 holiday retail sales totaling $616.1 billion. Businesses that fail to maximize the holiday shopping season miss a huge revenue opportunity. Brands that invest only a small portion of their budget on timely, seasonal ads flounder while competitors with bigger budgets win the wallets of consumers.

During the holidays, companies have a chance to capture loads of new customers. Ad impressions get a 50 percent boost, CTRs skyrocket 100 percent, direct traffic grows 150 percent, average order values rise 30 percent and conversion rates increase 60 percent. But few marketing budgets can accommodate such dramatic growth in market opportunity. Indeed, one of the secrets of holiday success is spending a disproportionate amount of your marketing budget on festive advertising. Another thing brands should do is prepare for the holidays early, and celebrate them sooner.

Related: 4 Festive Tips for Holiday Social-Media Marketing

Plan accordingly.

The first thing you want to do is establish a plan. In a blog post for HubSpot, marketing expert Rachel Sprung outlined a seven-step process to prepare your marketing for the holidays.

  1. Develop a campaign strategy. This will provide structure and guidance so the holiday frenzy does not overwhelm you.
  2. Design your marketing for both niche and mainstream holidays. Christmas isn’t the only day people care about. Think about the different holidays that resonate well for your users.
  3. Produce holiday-themed offers. Keep your marketing efforts timely and relevant to maximize audience engagement and ROI.
  4. Create a social media plan. The holidays are a weird time to be on social media, which means you have to adapt accordingly.
  5. Rethink ad copy. Most of your existing ads can be recycled for your holiday campaign. Just include holiday-themed keywords to grab people’s attention.
  6. Organize an event or party. You can host an intimate in-person get together or a massive online celebration.
  7. Prioritize customer delight. Brands need to remember that the holidays are about enjoying good company and having fun.

Advertise ahead of the holidays.

When the holidays arrive, the underprepared invest in ads conservatively because they haven’t yet tested their latest creatives. Before they know it, the celebration is over and they’ve spent a mere fraction of their overall budget.

To get a headstart on the holidays, marketers should promote ads weeks in advance of the shopping season. Doing so gives them ample opportunity to try new copy and images to learn how consumers react. With enough lead time, they can optimize their creatives to guarantee profitable performance when it’s go-time.

By promoting your holiday sale early, you get first-mover advantage. This helps you prime buyers to choose you as their default shopping destination for the holidays.

Related: 6 Tips for Getting Your Product Sold in Big Box Stores This Season

Ramp up spend, quick.

Double your ad spend immediately when you identify the creatives that engage customers. Continue to scale your budget as quickly as possible to maximize your exposure and set your holiday marketing to full-throttle.

Businesses make the grand mistake of setting low expectations for their festive campaigns. When audiences who are ready-to-buy, brands should go out of their way to be everywhere their customers are. Channels to invest in include: paid search, display ads, email marketing, and sponsored social media posts. An active holiday marketing strategy allows you to capture eager shoppers’ attention and drive significant revenue.

Establish a marketing plan for every holiday your customers celebrate -- Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, New Years, etc.. Start advertising early and invest increasing amounts of your time, energy and money towards making each shopping season a boon for business.

When you celebrate holidays early, you get a chance to have fun with your customers, outshine the competition, and dramatically increase sales.

Related: How to Make Your Seasons Greetings Stand Out From the Crowd