WHY TALK CHRISTMAS MARKETING IN SEPTEMBER
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably rolled your eyes more than once at the sight of businesses promoting Christmas sales WAY before the holiday months have even begun. I mean who shops for Christmas gifts in August or September, right? And why would anyone want to jump the gun so early? Actually, as an Artist and Creative Entrepreneur, there are a ton of legitimate reasons why you should be stepping up and getting into the holiday groove well before the first Christmas trees go up.
WHY SHOULD I START THINKING ABOUT MARKETING MONTHS BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS?
CONSUMERS ARE SHOPPING EARLIER
Statistics show that a significant amount of holiday shoppers actually plan their shopping lists and purchase gifts well before the holidays arrive. In fact, a 2014 report by Shoppercentric, a retail research agency, revealed that approximately one third of all shoppers in the UK started their Christmas shopping in September. Think about that for a minute. One third of all shoppers! That’s a pretty hefty proportion, and a substantial group that you really shouldn’t be missing out on.
So now that you’ve thought about that significant number of early holiday shoppers, think about this: not only are these people searching for great gift ideas, but they’re actually ready to buy. That’s right—they’re not just browsing; they actually want to get their shopping out of the way and purchase gifts for their family and friends right now. They’ve essentially got their money and credit cards in hand and are ready to go. You couldn’t ask for a better target audience!
YOU’LL HAVE AN EDGE OVER YOUR COMPETITION
Let’s face it—pretty much every single business out there is going to be doing some sort of holiday activity. But do you really want to get lost in the herds of other businesses pushing their holiday sales? By getting in before your competitors with a unique early-bird sale, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowds. Plus it’s a great way to start planting seeds in your client’s minds that your art makes for awesome gifts!!
Another way planning ahead puts you at an advantage is that it allows you plenty of time to make advertising deadlines and secure coveted press features that may get snapped up the longer you wait. For example, many print publications close submissions for advertisements anywhere from one to three months before the actual publication is even supposed to hit the stands. Online publications or blogs may be a bit more lenient, but you definitely don’t want to wait until last minute or all the good spots may be gone. So think about which of your products you would like to push over the holiday and reach out to publishers in your community to see if they are interested in featuring you.
STARTING EARLY GIVES YOU TIME TO WORK OUT THE KINKS IN YOUR MARKETING
Whether you’re a complete marketing newbie or have done countless campaigns, you never know exactly how your audience is going to respond to what you put out there. Sometimes you put together what you think is a kick-ass only to find that you’re getting less hits than that stodgy looking fruitcake that your grandma insists on putting out every Christmas. Other times you think ‘meh’, and end up with a gold mine. Trial and error is part of life, but the holidays are no time to be putting out potential dud ads.
If you start planning your holiday marketing activity well before the holidays, you will have tons of time to test out the waters and see what works and what doesn’t before the madness begins. Have a Pinterest banner that’s getting less repins than you’d like? Try changing up the product shot and copy altogether. Email blasts not getting the click-throughs you’d like? Switch up the content with a catchier subject line or call to action. By the time the prime buying months begin, you should know exactly what is resonating well with your audience.
TIPS ON PLANNING YOUR HOLIDAY MARKETING ACTIVITY
Think about who your target audience is and how you can draw them in. Remember that over the holidays people are shopping for other people, so this a great time to attract new clientele. You might want to target your Facebook ads to ‘friends of friends’, or create a blog post based around a ‘Wishlist’ that your existing clients can share with their friends or family.
Think about what promotional activity will work best for your brand and your market. Will you run a Christmas competition on Instagram or Facebook to raise brand awareness? Will you offer ‘12 Days of Christmas’ discounts? Or maybe you want to run a limited time early-bird sale to encourage people to shop with you before the actual Christmas crush begins.
This is also a good time to start thinking about how you can really push your art out there. Do you have any relationships with bloggers or media outlets? If so, you should have a chat with them to see if and how you can work together. The sooner the better too, because you can be sure that other businesses will doing the same if they haven’t already.
Once you know who your target audience is and how you want to reach them, you can start gathering the tools you need to make your holiday marketing campaign a reality. This could include festive product photos, holiday-themed email templates and catchy copy for your ads and posts. It may seem silly to be thinking candy canes in September, but you’ll be thankful later when you’re in the midst of your own holiday craziness.
Don’t forget to plan your social media and blog post calendar too! Christmas can be a crazy time for even the most low-key Creative Entrepreneurs, so it pays to plan things out in advance. You want to make sure that you’ve still got eye-catching and engaging content going out even when you’re in the midst of multiple orders and your own holiday plans. There are a number of awesome online tools you can use to help schedule your social media, we like the free version of Hootsuite and we use a paid version of Planoly for our Instagram, but they also offer a free version.
A FEW IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED…
– Brainstorm your holiday marketing activity! Get it written down so you have a clear vision.
– Plan your social media calendar and get what you can automated, it will save you lots of time later!
– Get together holiday photography and any other marketing assets you require. For example you may want to photograph your framed prints in a Christmas setting. If you are currently selling your artwork on any marketplaces, make sure you reach out to them with your holiday photos as they may be interested in using them in their own holiday activity.
– Think about how you are going to promote your activity. Will you run a Christmas Competition on Instagram or Facebook? Send press releases out to local press who will no doubt be doing ‘Gift Guides’ over the holiday? Maybe run paid advertising on Facebook to showcase your art in the run up to Christmas?
– Do you have relationships with any bloggers? You should think about chatting to them soon to see if there is any way you can partner together on holiday activity. Really do think about different people you can partner with as then you can also reach out to their audience.
– If you are on Pinterest (which you should be!) maybe think about creating holiday related content such as Gift Guides or Holiday hacks that can get your artwork seen by a wider audience!
These are just a few ideas to get you started! GOOD LUCK!