September 25, 2012

Holiday Marketing Checklist: Tips for Planning for the Holidays

by Steven DuBois, Bronto Marketing Strategist

Summer is over, Fall is in the air and Q4 is right around the corner. Are you prepared for your busiest season? Do you know where to start? Back in Q2, I wrote a post for easy planning tips for 2012 Holidays, hopefully you followed some of these points to set you up for a successful year.  If you missed that post here is a quick review of top 3 things to do in the next 10 minutes.

1. Take an Inventory of All Your Set-it-and-Forget-it Items

Holiday To-DoFor:

  • Emails - this includes but is not limited to your welcome series emails, automated birthday emails, abandon cart series, anniversary messages, lapsed purchase, post purchase series and so on...
  • SMS - this includes all your auto responses. When someone enters a contest/sweepstakes, when someone signs up from a keyword, when someone texts for a coupon and so on...
  • Social - this includes any special landing pages, badges, pin boards, and photo albums you have set up and so on... It is common for many marketers to leave up pages they have created for the last holiday or season - Do you have any of these?

Why is creating this list important?  As you begin your holiday planning it's key that you have all automated messages on your calendar. With looming sales goals, you'll want to send more messages as the season progresses, so make sure that you know when your automated messages are scheduled to go out to avoid oversending.  In some cases you'll either want to pause some automated messages or reduce your holiday messages.  Either way, it's important to have all messages on your calendar.

2. Be Sure Your Marketing Calendar is Updated

Easier said than done, planning your marketing calendar through the end of the year is a necessity. Start making sure your calendar is updated now, before it's too late. Some companies make the majority of their revenue during the last 3 months of the year, so why not maximize all your revenue potential.

Make sure you cover all the important dates, especially:

  • October = Halloween
  • November = Thanksgiving
  • December = Christmas, Hanukah, New Years
  • Shipping dates and deadlines

If you do not have a calendar take a look "7 Weeks and counting... Are you ready for the holiday craze?" which lists all the important holiday season dates you need to have on your calendar.

3. Set Your Goals

Think back throughout the last 12 months and write down:

  • What revenue or response rates is your boss/company expecting? Grow revenue year over year? Increase open rates from 15% to 20%? Increase AOV from $75 to $80?
  • Are there any specific messaging goals you need to meet? Have all messages created a month prior to send? Create an email for all the specific holidays that fit the business?
  • What are your personal goals tied to campaigns this holiday season? Grow list? Increase revenue? Become more efficient from email creation to send? Have all emails planned out for the next 3 month to year?
  • How much are you looking to grow in x time? Add an additional 10K users to the subscriber file? Increase likes to 5K? Start a Pinterest community?
  • How much holiday revenue do you need to hit your yearly goal? Where are you today? 65% of the year end goal? Then you need to make the additional 35% in the next 3 months.

Next Steps... This will take longer than 10 minutes, so schedule the time now.

For your inventory list if you gathered a list of everything you have, be sure to record the following:

  • What is the message/creative?
  • What images/products are featured?
  • What is the offer and when does it expire?

You will want to make sure everything is still live, dates are updated, and that it still makes sense for your business.  This is the time to send your ideas to your creative department and have them update/create a header with the seasonal theme.

  • For the calendar - pass it around to your team to see if everyone is in agreement and if anyone has anything else to add. You will want to spend more time with your team/creative to make sure you are planning out the promotions/offers that align with all your other channels.
  • For goals be sure to set some time aside in Q1 to see how you measured up. What were your big winners? What needs improvement?

Are you using any other tips, tricks or even software to help you out? If so let me know.

Steve DuBois
Marketing Strategist at Bronto


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Steven DuBois, Bronto Marketing Strategist

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