15 October

Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses

You may think holiday marketing doesn’t apply to your particular business niche, but the truth is, seasonal planning is for all businesses, no matter the goods or services provided. If your business is hand-crafted toys or candies, it’s quite obvious the holiday season is peak time for sales, but it’s also the same for practically every other form of business out there.

Know Your Angle

If you’re struggling to come up with an angle for your seasonal strategies, start by looking at your books. Find out what your customers have been interested in the most and use that information to anticipate what they may be needing shortly.

Remember that holiday planning isn’t all about retail sales and shopping. Consumers also have needs for specific services, practical items, and unique finds as well. Figure out what you can offer them and plan to highlight that for your campaign.

Begin to Prepare

Understanding that seasonal planning begins well before the holiday season begins, is the most important aspect of your process. It’s recommended to begin your planning months in advance – some even beginning as early as mid-summer. Why?

By allowing yourself ample time to research your top performers, study customer habits, and brainstorm with your team members for campaign ideas, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a highly successful campaign. You should always allow plenty of time for changes, new ideas and stocking any necessary supplies for the season.

Take Stock

Seasonal planning is more than simply finding the greatest marketing campaign to put out there this year. It also entails making sure you are fully stocked on any anticipated items, well-staffed for an influx of customers, and prepared for all your basic needs as well. How do you do this?

Start by taking inventory on your stock. Determine what items you’ll need to order if you are in the retail business. Plan for any additional stock items like shopping bags, receipt paper, shipping supplies for online orders, and any seasonal items like specialty flavors of coffee or printed fliers to hand out at purchase time.

Plan Your Schedule in Advance

Another key seasonal planning step is to make sure you are fully staffed to cover any potential increase in customer activity. It can help to make up schedules well in advance to allow employees time to plan for working hours around the holidays, as well as note any potential scheduling issues before they become problematic down the road.

Get Festive

Even if you’re not big into the holiday scene, getting festive at work is part of the seasonal planning process and your customers (as well as employees) will appreciate the gesture. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – from simple decorations to planning events for employees and/or clients.

If you need ideas on how to get festive, include your team members in a brainstorming session to get their input – this is especially helpful in coworking spaces where members come from all walks of business (and all walks of ideas!). Not a coworking space? No problem – do some online research on local events to see what fun things are going on around you that you could include in your seasonal planning.

The best thing you can do is understand that seasonal planning takes time, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. Start planning early and get those festive ideas flowing to set your plan in motion!

1 October

Why You Should Have Already Begun Your Seasonal Planning

It may seem like Summer is still lingering on (and in some cases, that’s quite true), but like it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner. Though it probably feels strange to be thinking about Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas decorations when it’s still warm enough for that swim suit, now is actually the perfect time to go full-swing into your seasonal planning.

Holiday Seasonal Planning, No Matter the Reason

Whether your business is full-blown retail toys or a small research firm with a streamlined consumer base, you need to prepare for the holiday season. No matter what service or product you have to offer, there’s a holiday angle for you to help drive seasonal business and you need to be planning for it – yesterday.

Why You Should Care

If you think your specific firm or business is unaffected by the holiday influx, we’re here to tell you you’re wrong. Since the holiday season is “the main time of year when people are out buying products and services not for themselves, but for other people,” Forbes.com explains it’s the prime opportunity for businesses of all walks to grasp their share of the shopping season.

Since gift-buying is vast and diverse (Santa doesn’t just deliver toys nowadays), finding ways to market your own business during this time is essential to grasping the best possible outcome. Shoppers love to find the “It” item of the season and are always on the lookout for the most unique items, so don’t be afraid to market your products and services no matter how unorthodox they may seem for the holidays.

Find Your Niche

By looking at your history, you should be able to find a pattern of top sellers and items or services that have peaked the most interest with your customer base. If you’ve never focused on seasonal planning before, start with your top sellers and run a campaign focusing on them as a starting point.

While you’re examining your historical sales, you can also familiarize yourself with customer-specific purchases. This will allow you to tailor discounts and offers to your clients, based entirely on their personalized needs and gives them an attentive message about you as a business.

Why So Early?

You may wonder why it’s such an important time to begin holiday planning, being fresh off the heels of summer. We’ll tell you why. Early planning allows for a seamless transition into the biggest spending season of the year, and it gets your customers thinking about how they want to spend their funds ahead of the season.

By strategically planning your holiday marketing campaigns, you will be planting ideas into the minds of your consumers, allowing them to prepare for how they’ll be shopping that season.

There’s also another important aspect to keep in mind: online sales. Since we are seeing a major shift toward online shopping in recent years, earlier seasonal planning allows consumers to use their favorite medium to shop (i.e., online shopping) while still allowing ample time for shipping before the holidays.

Holiday Strategies

If you’re looking for a unique spin on your holiday planning, try looking at what is available in your area. Perhaps you could do a collaborative work with a related company (think discount party catering with office rental space promos for corporate Christmas parties) or offer certain charitable donations to area shelters or fundraisers with a portion of their funds.

There are endless ways to market your goods and services for the holiday season – the key is to find the right angle for you and figure out what motivates your customer base. Above all, the most important thing you can do for your holiday planning is to begin now.