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The complete how-to guide for planning Christmas promotions

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Bye bye Halloween...hello Christmas!

Before you’ve packed away your Halloween costumes for another year – the Christmas promotions start to appear- everywhere! By mid November onwards they will be in full force, so much noise with all businesses starting their Christmas promotional messaging. And for product business owners - working out your promotions strategy needs to move to the top of your to do list right about now.

Come December you will be tired, super busy and probably a bit stressed so having front-loaded this work now will feel like a huge relief and you will feel in control, ready for your busiest time of the product business year.

Start by thinking of all the different Christmas related activity you might like to do over the next couple of months. Consider what promotional messaging you’d like to focus on and why. Remember – promotional messaging is not the same as a sale or a discount (although may incorporate both!).

Your promotional messages are the main topic that you’re communicating to your customers at any one time. Write all your ideas down - once you start thinking through what you want to achieve for the Christmas period you’ll be flooded with festive promotional ideas.

My Christmas promotion inspiration list

Here’s my inspiration list to get you started:
- a launch of your Christmas products
- a gift guide; from a full published guide to an Instagram pin
- gift ideas that are perfect for secret santa
- gifts that are perfect for a stocking fillers
- free shipping offer
- free returns offer
- cut off dates for last orders in time for Christmas
- a gift with purchase offer
- upgrade to express shipping offer
- charity partner; a % of profits going to your chosen charity
- giveaways; a competition or a buy one get one free offer

- a collaborative offer – small businesses can work together and promote a joint offer

Map it out

Once you have your hit list of promotional messaging and know what you want to achieve by running that promotion - map out the activity. You want to avoid bombarding your customers in one week with multiple messages then have a quiet week message free.

Map out your content so it makes sense as it flows through the season – for example stocking fillers tend to be last minute purchases but secret santas are often purchased around the first week of December when people are getting ready for their Christmas parties.

Map out what you want your promotional messages to be for each week – what is the main topic you want to communicate to your customers for that week. Factor in your other communications such as your email drop, your newsletter and your social media feeds – ensure they work together and power up your promotional messages throughout the festive period.

To discount or not to discount

If you want to run a discount or sale ahead of Christmas think through your plan and timing. Many businesses will plan a sale to fit around Black Friday or small business Saturday for example.

It’s important to think about if you want to do the blanket type of discount – which is the biggest promotion you can do and is of course the one that drives the most sales. They work and really increase your sales – however remember that a 20% off blanket offer will likely cream off your best selling products. So it is really key to plan your stock levels around this kind of promotion – you do not want to run out of your best sellers the week leading up to Christmas because you sold out during the 20% off offer period.

You'll also need to think about this time next year - once you start increasing your sales figures through a blanket offer you need to continue to meet and increase those sales figures each December.

Ideally you want to be tackling any problem stock that you may have, you may have identified this stock for a Boxing Day sale – try offering a discount before Christmas but at a better margin than you will on Boxing Day or a 'buy one get one free' offer works well for this.

Be strategic – think ahead about want stock you’ll be trying to shift in your post Christmas sale.

Finally - preparation

Planning and mapping this out now will be key to achieving a successful Christmas sales period. Once you have your promotional messaging plan and timings you’re halfway to having a strategy.

Now create some eye- catching relevant content – try using a package like Canva to create a stock pile of festive social media graphics with your promotional messages – having these ready to go each week will save time and will be key to getting your promotions noticed.

Write your December email and newsletter - making sure the content complements the timings of you Christmas promotions. Refresh your website and social media feeds so that your Christmas messaging and imagery works with your 'look and feel'.

Enjoy it! Despite being incredibly busy this is a very exciting time of year for product business owners, an opportunity to increase your customer base, promote your brand and increase your sales for the year! Hopefully this blog post has you humming jingle bells whilst you plan your killer Christmas promotions strategy.

Do you have any more questions on getting ready for Christmas? Take a look at my masterclass Get set for Christmas 2019 

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