If you’re in retail, you’ve likely had your holiday stock ordered for some time now. But, is it too soon to start planning 2020 holiday marketing for the holiday season?

If you’re asking that question, you may be running late. But that’s okay. Let’s get you caught up!

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “each year, about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.”

I’m shopping early because items may be more likely to get delayed due to various changing responses to the coronavirus pandemic. And, on Christmas morning, I don’t want to be holding an empty Santa bag because things got held up in quarantine.

With that in mind, now’s the time to:

  • Make a plan for your 2020 holiday marketing
  • Start creating your online marketing campaigns
  • Schedule your online marketing campaigns

Make a plan for your 2020 holiday marketing

If helping your customers avoid being Scrooges this year isn’t enough reason to start planning your holiday marketing now, think about how much easier things will be during the holiday rush if your marketing campaigns are ready to go.

Start by taking stock of what you have

Take a look at what stock you may have an abundance of right now and ask yourself:

  • Can I bundle that into something special for the holidays?
  • Will I need additional pieces or parts to make it into something special for the holidays?
  • Can some of my inventory be marketed as a “special gift” or “any occasion gift” that my customers could purchase now but give as gifts during the holiday season?

Brainstorm ideas on what you can do with what you currently have to offer your customers, as well as help you to come up with creative ways to reduce any overstock you may have.

Once you have an idea of what you have and what you might need to get (in addition to regular holiday orders), it’s time to plan your marketing.

Review the next few calendar months and holidays

Take a good look at the next few months of holidays and decide which holidays you want to celebrate with your customers.

Some of the major US holidays coming up are:

  • Labor Day – 9/7
  • Halloween – 10/31
  • Veterans Day – 11/11
  • Thanksgiving Day – 11/26
  • Christmas Day – 12/25
  • New Year’s Eve 12/31

In addition to designated national and international holidays, there are also several shopping, giving, and other major events in the coming months to consider factoring into your marketing plan. Here are a few that are happening in the US:

Of course, there are also a variety of cultural and religious holidays that might resonate with your business and customers.

  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/18 – 9/20
  • Yom Kippur – 9/27 – 9/28
  • Diwali – 11/14
  • Hanukkah – 12/22 – 12/30
  • Christmas Eve – 12/24

If you do business outside of the US, you may want to see if there are some global holidays that might be relevant to your customers as well.

Make a clear plan

Once you’ve decided which holidays/occasions you want to focus your marketing around, you need to start making a plan.

It may sound daunting but with the right tools and guidance, it’s actually quite easy.

Start with the holiday or event that is closest. Look at the calendar and decide how and when you’d like to market around that holiday. Then start marking your marketing calendar to create a clear plan for when you’re going to publish each campaign and which platform you intend to use.

2020 Online Marketing Calendar

After you’ve mapped out a plan for the closest holiday/event, do the same thing for the next one that you want to create marketing around. Then repeat until you’ve created a clear plan to get you through the holiday season and into the New Year.

Start creating your online marketing campaigns

Now that you have a clear plan, it’s time to start creating your campaigns.

If you’re reading this in September, you’re in good shape. If it’s November, it’s time to step it up.

Take a look at your day-to-day schedule and see when you can mark out a bit of extra time to work on your holiday marketing campaigns. If you already have that scheduled in, you’ve been doing some forward-thinking — way to go!

Depending on your specific needs, resources, or timing, you may want to create all of your email campaigns first, then branch out to one social media channel at a time. Or maybe you’d prefer to go in order of when you want each campaign to publish to your customers. It’s up to you!

One of the great things about Constant Contact is that you can create your marketing campaigns — whether they be email campaigns, social posts, online ads, events, surveys, or landing pages — whenever and however it’s convenient for you.

Schedule your online marketing campaigns

This may sound a little crazy, but with Constant Contact, you can schedule your online marketing campaigns whenever you want to. Seriously. If you want to create a campaign for Christmas Day 2021, you can create it now and save it in your account. You can even choose your contact list and schedule it to send on December 25th of next year! If you want to. But let’s leave next year for next year and focus on this holiday season.

Scheduling at least some of your holiday campaigns now will free you up later. When you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, you won’t have to worry that you might have forgotten to send out a vital email for Small Business Saturday.

And, if over that pumpkin pie you can’t quite remember if you scheduled that email to go out the next day, you can always log into the mobile app and double-check.

Start planning, creating, and scheduling your online marketing for the 2020 holiday season now and save yourself some time and stress during the busiest time of the year.

To make planning your 2020 holiday marketing even easier, follow this Guided Checklist for Online Marketing Success.