Hold your girdles. Black Friday is 3 weeks away! But I’ve got you covered if you’re slacking in the holiday cheer department. In fact, I’m sort of an expert at that.
When working at an ad agency, the holidays were my least favorite time of year. Now before you put on your judgey-pants and start calling me Ebenzer Peterson, there are a few good reasons for this:
- The holidays typically start in July or August. As in, we start developing campaigns, strategies and determine the products or offers we’re going to be pushing for that joyous season. In August. Then this merry and bright bullshit continues for 5 months. By the time the holidays actually come, I’m tossing presents to people around the tree telling them to open the gifts quickly so I can get back to my tequila. (Okay, now you can call me Ebenzer Peterson.)
- Holiday campaigns can often be a bit generic. The campaigns I’ve worked on in the past needed to appeal to broad audiences. That meant, as a copywriter, I had to keep the messaging pretty ho-hum to get approved from brand managers who had directives from their big wigs. It often meant pulling from a cheesy arsenal of words and phrases like: the reason for the season, peace & joy, season’s greetings, good tidings and happy new year. Do any of those inspire you? Are any of those memorable? Of course-freakin’-not.
Now, give me ample creative leverage to make pop-culture references and/or poke fun at uncomfortable family gatherings during the holidays and I’ll give you a relatable, memorable message for your campaign.
But, I digress…
For many small businesses, the holidays are the best time of year for revenue. People are feeling all cheery and bright and generous and shit. I’m really killing it with this holiday magic, huh? But, jokes aside, having a holiday strategy, even one that may seem lame or basic, can really help to create lines that help your bottom line. See what I did there?
While we may be pushing it for time left before the holidays hit us with a glitter storm of peace and love, as small businesses we always seem to have limited time, so this ain’t nothing new! Yes, you’re behind if you haven’t started. But there’s still time to do something, even if it’s not an over-the-top idea that was nailed down and created 6 months ago. A published good enough idea is better than one sitting in your drafts folder.
So, let’s put on our big-kid holiday britches and get to it with some basic tasks to kill it with your holiday strategy.
Determine your offers
Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Tequila Tuesday. What do you plan to offer your customers to make them feel like they are getting a deal, something exclusives for being a shopper? This does not mean slashing your prices, necessarily! This could look like 2-for-1 deals, an extra month free for a subscription, a holiday gift guide or even some free samples.
Right now, I’m developing my Black Friday savings for my biznass. Yup, even copywriters get in on this holiday schtuff. For me and my business, it makes sense to offer discounts on services, as my product–writing copy that makes you cry or laugh or snort-laugh (my favorite)–is a service.
Take a second to think about what works best for you and your biz.
Determine your budget
You don’t need to spend a lot. FULL STOP.
In fact, simply promoting on social or your blog or a sweet in-store sign you threw together in Canva, can easily serve as your minimal holiday budget. If you do want to spend a pretty-penny, make sure you’re getting a ROI that makes sense. For me, that looks a lot like, “If I offer X discount, on a service, how much time can I spend on completing this project AND advertise for it to still make it profitable.” Keep in mind, gaining a new client or customer after the holidays, by offering discounted products during the holidays can also improve your ROI.
Now is the time to impress! Don your favorite pearls, put on those fancy pants and use your favorite matte lipstick that doesn’t betray you by making itself comfortable, you know, all over your front two teeth.
Determine you’re different
What makes you, your brand, your products, your company or your services different than the other bazillion brands gunning for holiday customers?
Walmart is known for their bottom dollar prices. Is it often chintzy, single use plastic crap? Yes. But, people go there because they know they can get a deal. That’s their differentiating factor: discounts.
Are your customers getting more than a cheap trinket? Are they getting a heart-felt thank you card sent after purchase? How about a follow-up a week later with a special discount to use in 2020? What will make them feel like you’re different than the rest?
For me, my clients know that they’ll be getting copy packed with a personal punch to the marketing keister. And maybe I’m a little swear-y. People remember that shit.
Determine your messaging
Create a brand-specific holiday hashtag. Update your company tagline to give it some fun, holiday slogan flare. Figure out how you would want your ideal customer to describe your company. Would they use the words: fun and innovative or classic and buttoned-up?
From there, you can figure out your holiday messaging. It could look like something quintessentially festive or something more memorable that may even make Prancer blush.
“Our delightful chocolate truffles are the perfect jingle balls to deck your halls.”
This is where hiring an expert copywriter comes in handy. <side eye>
Hire a Holiday Helper
Determine your deadline
Pro Tip: This should be soon!
I’m wrapping up finalizing my Black Friday offer by the end of this weekend. That gives me 3 weeks to work on my sales page and the email I’ll be sending to customers. Keep in mind, my clientele and services are particular. Particularly awesome.
If you have a store-front or sell items online, hopefully you’ve got a good idea of when you’d like to have everything set.
Then, stick to it!
The best part of having a basic strategy–besides the fist-pumping feeling of holiday accomplishments–is you actually get to enjoy the holidays! This will set you on a sort of auto-pilot to get you through the next 8 weeks allowing ample time to chug egg nog like a drunken reindeer who has absolutely HAD IT with Santa’s antics about wanting to hit every freakin’ house in the whole-wide-world before dawn.
Something about spreading holiday cheer to the kids, he says.
Want to be added to my email list to get the discount goodies? (I don’t spam. I don’t know how one spams. Does it actually involve SPAM? Because I heard if you throw a little salt and pepper on it, toss it on a pan with olive oil, it’s quite good.)