For many small businesses, the holiday season really is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
If things go well, the next few months can bring new customers, increased sales, and plenty of valuable opportunities to help you do more business.
With so much going on, the last thing you want is to have your marketing responsibilities slow you down.
The good news is there are steps you can take to save time and make sure things continue to run smoothly throughout the holiday season.
Here are four tips to consider:
1. Make a calendar
Filling out a calendar will allow you to map out the months ahead, distribute your work in a way that makes sense, and avoid having everything pile up at once.
Start out by filling in holidays, events, and sales that are already in the works so that you can shape the rest of your schedule around them.
Be sure to mark down important shopping days for your business like:
- Black Friday – November 29th
- Small Business Saturday – November 30th
- Cyber Monday – December 2nd
Once you’ve made note of the big dates, think about how you’ll communicate with your audience throughout the busy holiday months.
The messages you send out through your different marketing channels will likely change throughout the season. While November might be dedicated to getting people ready for the holidays, December will be your time to remind people about last-minute gift ideas and deadlines for holiday orders.
Having a calendar will allow you to plan those messages ahead of time, and make sure you’re reaching the right people, with the right message, at the right time through the holiday season.
2. Schedule your social posts
Once you have a beautiful calendar full of everything you want to accomplish, don’t wait until the last minute to get started!
There are a number of tools you can use to schedule your social posts in advance.
One of the easiest tools to use is Facebook’s native post scheduler.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts within your Constant Contact account.
If you want to take things a step further, consider signing up for a tool like Hootsuite. HootSuite is a social media monitoring platform that you can use to follow updates, and share content, with virtually all of your social media accounts. To schedule a post, type it in the composition area, select the accounts you want to post to, and then set your time and date in the calendar.
Once you’re set up with the right tools, take some time to map out your holiday posting schedule. Start with the networks that you think offer the biggest opportunities for your business, and add in the others that you think can support your holiday marketing efforts.
- 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Social Media Posting Schedule
- How to Schedule Your Facebook Page Posts Ahead of Time
- 3 Social Media Time-Saving Tips for Business Owners
3. Draft your emails
Scheduling isn’t just for social media — you can (and should) schedule your emails, too.
Create your newsletters and announcements ahead of time and set them up to go out when appropriate. This is especially useful if you want to remind customers about a promotion or special holiday hours.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can take advantage of our holiday email templates. You can easily insert your information, add photos, and customize the template to fit your brand. If you’re planning to send a series of emails, you can easily copy the template and update your content.
Once your emails are set up, you can schedule them in advance or save them as a draft, and add any last-minute information before sending them out.
- Holiday Email Marketing: How to Save Time, Reduce Stress, and Still Get Great Results
- 30 Creative Email Ideas for Your Holiday Email Marketing
- Beautiful Holiday Promotional Emails: 5 Design Rules to Follow
- 5 Email Marketing Mistakes that Could Cost You Big This Holiday Season
4. Go mobile
You may already be using your phone to keep track of some of your day-to-day responsibilities, but did you know you can use your phone to stay on top of your marketing activities as well?
Each of the top social networks offer mobile apps that can be used to post, monitor your activity, and interact with fans and followers. With an app like Instagram, you can also create engaging visual content and share it across your different social channels.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can use our app to create emails right from your mobile device. This is perfect for last-minute reminders or updates you want to send out without disrupting your busy schedule.
Ready to get started?
If the idea of sitting down and trying to plan out a month’s worth of marketing is really overwhelming, you’re not alone.
But once you get started, you’ll realize that doing things ahead of time can really pay off.
Block off a half-hour this week and start filling out your calendar.
Breaking things down into manageable pieces will make you feel a lot more organized and appreciative throughout the holiday season and into the New Year.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.