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woman holiday shopping onlinePreparing Your Online Business for the Holiday Season!

by Trina Newby, Business Success Coach
While consistent marketing should be practiced all year long, planning special campaigns for the holiday season is a good thing!  So, there’s no better time than now to create your online holiday marketing plan to generate even more revenue during the season!
According to the online magazine, The American Genius the US has grown from $176 billion in retail sales in 2010 to an expected $276 billion in 2015.  So, online shopping is at an all-time high and large online retailers have given consumers such a great experience ordering online with great customer service, fair refund policies and low or free shipping that they continue to come back for more!
Below, find 7 ways to get started with your holiday marketing campaign:
1. Evaluate your previous holiday season
It will be important to know how your customers purchased the previous year and which marketing campaigns seemed to draw the most customers.  This way, you don’t have to reinvent the will - you can use the same techniques that worked in your campaign for this holiday season.
If this is your first holiday marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to survey your current customers to discover what types of products they would like to see.  Using a service like Survey Monkey is easy to use and they have a basic free service as well. 
2. Decide on your holiday products, special offers and coupons
Make a list of the products you want to market during the holiday season.  Make sure you have digital images of them, as well as short, but creative descriptions and the full retail price.  Next make a decision on the sales price you’ll have for each product.  Customers will be searching the internet for special sales and looking for great bargains!
Note: It’s important not to try and sell products that no body purchased all year thinking you’re going to get rid of them.  If they were not selling previously they won’t sell during the holiday.  However, you can give away those types of products when customers actually make a purchase of another product or spends a certain amount if you need to eliminate the inventory.
3. Develop your online holiday marketing content
It can be quite challenging if you wait till the last minute to start gathering your content, so start doing this as soon as you can.  First, schedule a brainstorming session where you’ll develop topic ideas around your the products or services that you’ll be introducing.  Since it is the holiday, a lot of customers and prospects will find other holiday topics of interest as well.  This can include holiday recipes, gift ideas, how to stay within budget, fun family activities and more.
4. Select and/or design your product images
There’s nothing like images to attract and draw the attention of your customers and prospects when marketing online.  Start early to ensure that all of your digital pictures are clear and in the correct format and size.  To stay organized, keep them in a separate data folder entitled something like, “holiday product-images”. 
Also, don’t forget to search for holiday sales icons and signs to use on your site and in your social postings as well.  Check out the site, 123RF, which has millions of royalty stock photos.  Search under the terms, “holiday” and “Christmas" and it will give you various holiday categories of images to review.
For social media posting and your e-newsletters, you’ll also want to design some banners for special sales, coupons, single product promotion etc.  To keep design cost down, consider using a service like Fiverr.  Note, it will take about 3 to 5 days for designers to complete your project, so make sure you account for design time in your calendar as well.
5. Create landing or lead pages to draw attention to a single product
Whether you’re creating a pay-per-click campaign, such as Google AdWords or would like to draw attenton to a single product, a landing page is a great way to generate new leads and keep your customers focused on purchasing a single product item.
6. Create your holiday marketing calendar
Using a simple calendar system such as Google Calendar, consider creating a holiday marketing calendar to help keep yourself focuses and  organized. Create your social posting schedule, sales ranges, release of landing pages, e- newsletter schedule and more.
7. Schedule your holiday social media postings
Consistency  is key in attracting your current customers and new prospects to your products.  It’s best to use a social media manager to pre-schedule all of your holiday social postings.  Consider using a social media manager like Hootsuite where you can pre-schedule your post.  This is especially helpful when you don’t have a virtual assistant or admin.  
Pre-planning your online holiday marketing campaign will help you to gain more clarity, be better prepared and help you to stay consistent in implementing your strategy.