Anyone else amazed that it’s already November of 2021? I could have sworn yesterday was January 1st and we’d barely made a dent in all of the possibilities a new year holds. And yet here we are, barreling towards the biggest sales weeks of the year for most entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Ideally you would have had the time this summer to start prepping your holiday campaigns and promotions but if you’re anything like most solopreneurs and small biz owners, I’m guessing time got a way from you and you were hopefully spending June and July surrounded by your kids and their never ending snack requests (just me?)

To help you get a jumpstart on the holiday season (and knock out your marketing and promotions planning in an afternoon), below you’ll find 5 tips to help you quickly pull together a killer holiday marketing plan.

#1: Let last year be your guide (and stop trying to constantly reinvent the wheel)

Unless you’re brand new to entrepreneurship / running a small business, I’m betting you made an effort to promote your products and offers last November and December. Rather than start completely from scratch on your 2021 plans, it’s super important you take the time to review the offers and products you put out last year in November and December.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Which of your offers, promotions and / or product launches worked really well?
  • Which ones had potential but need to be tweaked for maximum impact?
  • Are there any that you definitely don’t want to repeat this holiday season (either because your audience wasn’t interested or because they were painful /unprofitable for you)?

Make note of want went well and what didn’t so you confidently pick the perfect Black Friday offer.

#2: Don’t rely on discounts alone, choose at least 2 sales tactics to drive urgency (and maximize sales)

It’s easy to assume that the only thing that works to drive traffic and sales on Black Friday is deep discounts but if you take the time to really plan things out and prep your audience, you’ll get much better results if you take advantage of multiple sales tactics and don’t rely solely on discounts.

Other sales tactics include:

  • Time sensitive offers: whether combined with a discount or on their own (i.e., a product that’s only available for pre-order for 48 hours,) adding a time limit to your offer is an easy way to encourage people to grab their credit card and buy now.
  • Limited inventory: this is a really great one to pull out when you’re running low on a best selling product (or even an “ok selling one – adding urgency by letting customers know you’re almost out can turn a “so so” seller into a hot item quickly.) It’s also great for digital product and course sellers. For example, you might run a workshop and limit it to X number of seats to keep the group really intimate and get people to jump quickly to grab a spot.
  • Exclusive bonuses: whether you sell physical or digital products, adding on a free product or special bonus for the first X customers or for all shoppers who buy in the next 24 hours is another way to build excitement and urgency without offering a discount.

#3: Keep it simple

This isn’t the time to start completely fresh. Nor is it the time to choose a complicated promo that requires multiple landing pages and a lot of scotch tape. Instead, flip through graphics, emails and social media posts that worked well during previous sales.

What can you repurpose or edit slightly to help you pull together marketing assets without completely starting from scratch? That summer sale graphic with the great CTR – now’s the perfect time to add some Black Friday flare and re-use it across all of your key platforms and in your sale emails.

#4: Take advantage of tools like Canva to quickly turn one graphic into images for all of your channels and emails

If you haven’t jumped on the Canva bandwagon this is definitely the time to give a great (and user-friendly) graphic design tool a try. With a tool like Canva that you can take that killer Summer Sale post you put on Instagram and quickly resize it to fit all of your social channels and Black Friday emails – without hiring an expensive designer.

When you’re short on time, reusing and repurposing is the key to crafting a killer marketing plan quickly.

#5: Triple check your inventory (or your tech setup)

You’ve set up all of these great plans to crush Black Friday but don’t forget to make sure you triple check your inventory and get your supply orders in asap if anything’s running low.

With the shipping delays this fall, waiting until the last minute means risking unhappy customers and very late Christmas orders.

Sell digital product and courses? Make sure you’ve triple checked your tech set up so that when your customers buy, they get easy access to their new purchases without having to bombard you with “help, where’s course?” emails.

And a bonus tip that’s just as important:

Make time to actually enjoy the season. That might mean blocking off vacation days in advance. It might mean running your Black Friday offer a week early so you can enjoy the Thanksgiving break with your kids (and not have to be glued to your phone or computer.)

Or it might mean setting an earlier shipping cutoff than you normally would for Christmas orders so you’re not stressing about whether or not your packages will make it in time.

Yes this season can lead to huge sales numbers but it’s also a magical time of year and you deserve to enjoy it as much as your customers do. So make your joy a priority and don’t forget to breathe!