Do You Have a Holiday Marketing Plan?

Even thought we are still in September, time is getting short for holiday sales planning.

Do you have your holiday marketing plan in place yet?  Once sales start rolling in, you won’t have time to thinking about planning or marketing.  So Do You Have a Holiday Marketing Plan?let’s get started today!

First thought, I love how Mckenna Hallet, author of My Golden Words, describes marketing as a verb! She suggests …

Take a day to give deep thought and create a long list of ideas for your marketing. Do you need better photographs? Do you need to create a video? What kind of stories need sharing in a blog post? What are you doing with social media?

On another note, Mail Chimp, the popular email provider, suggests the following specific tips for holiday marketing…

Opens and clicks decrease during the holidays

Don’t fret when these numbers drop off. Focus on your unsubscribes instead.

Respect your most engaged customers

Longtime customers probably want to know about new products, not old ones. Send them email based on what they really want.

Think of inactive customers in a new way

These folks might just be waiting for the perfect time to shop. For many, the holiday season is that time.

Promote your best offers

Subject lines are important. Take the opportunity to be clear about any coupons, sales, shipping promotions, or other big offers.

Send more email

It’s more important than ever to maintain a presence in inboxes during the holidays. Think of it like raising your voice to be heard in a crowded room.

Keep your list clean

With engagement lower around the holidays, you need to avoid bounces and spam reports. Send only to people who know you and are expecting your content.

READ MORE HERE

Entrepreneur website lists the following “6 Musts of a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign

1. Plan a personalized campaign.

Instead of hoping your customers will be seen with your products and spread the word, why not take the next step and let them physically insert themselves into your ad?…

2. Get your staff involved.

…Some companies feature their staffs directly in commercials, while others simply encourage their employees to participate and share the personalized campaign.

3. Hit key emotions with your campaign.

… all people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally. As a result, a successful holiday marketing campaign should be an emotional one…

4. Create an easy-to-share campaign.

While it’s hard to predict what will go viral, it’s possible to maximize your chances. One important element is that the campaign is easy to share….

5. Include online deals.

…Don’t discount the power of email when reaching out to customers and advertising your deals both online and off for tempting in-store deals.

6. Create a consistent experience across all channels.

Multi-channel marketing is the norm …. However, it’s crucial to create a consistent user experience regardless of which channels your customers are using. …. The deals you’re offering should also stay consistent.

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Adding Value to Your Products

In the gift industry, eye-catching packaging typically sells the first item, so adding extra value to your product packaging greatly increased the likelihood that it will sell well.

What do I mean by adding value?  Personalized packaging and labeling can make a big difference to the look and appeal of your product.

Many years ago, we launched a brand of gourmet foods (and a few personal care items) we loving called Idaho Redneck.  Of course, they appealed to Idaho stores almost immediately.Adding Value to Your Products -- Idaho Redneck Huckleberry Toe Jam

The contents and ingredients were excellent, but first time buyers don’t know that.  What sold the products was the unique humorous labeling.

At the time, we wanted to target a specific buyer and did very well with our complete line of numerous Idaho Redneck products.

Of course, I don’t recommend this approach for everyone.

McKenna Hallet posted an article on Artsy Shark that lists a few ways you can add value to your products.

Simple Ways to Add Value and Boost Your Sales

One way to stand out is to employ the somewhat elusive strategy of adding value. Designed to entice, this is adding something that makes them say, “Wow, this is great. I want to buy this.”

There are many other inexpensive ways to woo and convert lookers into buyers for any number of different products:

  • Using unique packaging
  • Offering to gift-wrap items
  • Including written care instructions
  • Including an artist statement and/or bio

Some ways to add value that I have used and seen other producers use successfully:

  • Using hang tags to describe material, care instructions, ingredients or recipes
  • Enclosure cards inside your packaging telling a story about your company or products
  • Adding extra branding labels (we added little circle size labels with our Tastes of Idaho logo to the top of gourmet food jars.)
  • Extra ribbons or bows on the packaging, where appropriate
  • Special holiday labeling or packaging

Next time you are shopping where items like yours are displayed, check out the packaging and see what ideas you can come up with to add value to your products.

 

 

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Planning to Exhibit in Holiday Retail Shows?

Since the largest percentage of product sales are made during the last quarter of the year, it make good business sense to exhibit in holiday retail shows.

We, as Tastes of Idaho, have done numerous holiday retail shows over the years.  Actually, Tastes of Idaho started as a spin-off of holiday mall kiosks we ran over 15 years ago.Planning to Exhibit in Holiday Retail Shows?

I can still remember all the work we did, running down Idaho producers, placing orders, and, in most cases, traveling around the state to pick up our holiday products.  When we opened our kiosk store, we were several thousand dollars in debt and wondered if we had gone too far.  As it turned out, we grossed over three times our investment and had an interesting holiday season with our fellow exhibitors in the mall.

So, what are the some good steps in putting together holiday retail shows?

  1. I recommend ‘walking’ any show you plan to exhibit in — which means doing this a year in advance.  If that is not possible, at least try to check out some of their non-holiday season shows to see how they are run and attended.
  2. Contact the show managers (if you are doing a mall show, there is typically a marketing or mall manager you can speak with) as soon as possible to find out fees, regulations, and get your idea spot nailed down.
  3. Depending how far in advance you have made your show reservations, you need to accumulate inventory.  Make a plan early on how much product you think you will need (and then, probably double it!) and get it made or ordered in.
  4. Most malls supply tables and table cloths or the actual kiosk carts.  One way or another find out what you will or will not need and plan accordingly.  And don’t forget to include/design/order some nice signage for your booth.
  5. Along with your inventory, plan to have the following supplies on hand:
      • Comfortable shoes as you could be on your feet for long hours.
      • Bags of various sizes depending on your product
      • If you have a cash register, great!  Bring extra rolls of receipt tape.  If you don’t have a cash register, a cash box and hand written recipe book will work.  Make sure to have cash on hand to change larger bills
      • Tape — seems like a display or sign falls apart during shows.
      • A partner or helper to fill in while you eat, rest, or use the bathroom!
      • Water or some other beverage to keep you hydrated.

     

If you decide to exhibit in a mall kiosk, be prepared to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for several weeks. You will need to keep your energy up, so rest and eat well during this time.

There are also region shows that last 3-5 days if we want to start out smaller.  Most of the same tips apply for these shows as well.

 

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Are Your Holiday Shipping Systems in Place?

Now is the time to get serious about holiday planning.

Over the last few weeks, I have published the following articles on the subject:

Today, I want to address Holiday Shipping Systems.

If you are like us, once we move into the Fall season (at the end of September), holiday orders start trickling in and become a daily routine by mid-November.  By then, it is too late to think about implementing a ship system.

Our holiday shipping systems need to be set up and ready to implement BEFORE the orders come rolling in.

First thing on our list is going through our shipping supplies inventory. We check the following materials and order where necessary:

  1. Boxes. Personally, we use lots of USPS boxes which save us time and money.  We also save boxes over the year to ship bigger orders.
  2. Shipping supplies, such as  peanuts and bubble wrap.  Fortunately, we get most of our peanuts, bubble wrap etc. from local retailers that save them for us. If you don’t have local retailers who do this for you already, start asking them NOW!
  3. Packing Tape.  Purchase several rolls of packing tape ahead of time.  Nothing is worse than running out of tape in the middle of the season and having to fight the holiday crowds just to buy more tape!
  4. Ink and paper.  If you print your own shipping labels, check you printer ink and paper inventory.  If they are low, order more!

Once all your shipping inventory is obtained, organize it in a way that works within the shipping system you have in place.  In other words, put the boxes all in one place near the bubble wrap and peanuts.  Have your packing tape and dispenser set up near or on the table where you pack your orders.

Last, but not least, check your shipping providers to make sure you meet all their requirements, have added the appropriate shipping amounts to your website, and have a good working relationship with them and their websites.  Most shipper offer discounts if you open an account with them and generate your shipping labels on-line.  If you do not have an online account, open one up now.

Typically, we use USPS, but also offer FedEx and UPS on our website.  All three are good providers who ship nearly anywhere you may get an order.

If you completed these tasks already, give yourself a pat on the back knowing you are ready to ship during the holidays!

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Have You Started Your Holiday Planning?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article, When Should I Start Holiday Planning, where I gave a month ‘to do’ list of holiday plan, starting with January.

If you are like most producers, sales during the holiday season are 50 to 75% of your yearly business!  In order to meet that demand, early planning is Have You Started Your Holiday Planning?critical to your success and sanity during the holiday season.

Wholesale in a Box also published an article listing their 9 Crucial Tips for Growing Wholesale Around the Holidays.

Here are a few of their holiday wholesale tips:

1. Prepare your personal life.
…Things get crazy around the holidays … You’re dealing with retail orders, wholesale orders, holiday markets, and production all at once. So it will be a little nuts, but the truth is that the truly nuts period is pretty short, probably about 4-6 weeks…. so don’t “heap on”, adding other unnecessary commitments to the roster during those weeks. Try to set expectations with yourself, family, and friends so that you have as clean a slate as possible so you can focus on your business. …

2. Get the help you need — early.
… The time to start setting it up is now, long before you’ll need it. Perhaps you’re so well-established that you can actually interview for skilled hourly workers to help you with production, and you already know how many hours per week, during which weeks, you will need them. … But, if your business is a little more unpredictable at this point … You can ask a couple of friends to commit to being “on call” during a 3-week period for movie-and-production nights. … It’s ok to tell people, “I might need help, but I’m not sure how much.”

3. Love the ones you’re with.
If you’re growing wholesale, it’s tempting to focus entirely on getting new orders from stores. But one of the most important things you can do is cultivate your relationships with your current stockists. … How to cultivate reorders during the holidays? So many store owners tell me that they don’t have a super-precise system for deciding what to reorder. So a big part of your focus should be making your line visible to the stockist and being of service to the stockist. That way you’re top-of-mind when the store owner is making their list of items to buy. …

4. Focus on your best sellers and what makes you distinctive.
Makers tend to think their line needs to be well-rounded. … store owners often tell us that it is actually the 2 or 3 standout pieces that prompt them to choose this line over that line. Standout pieces help stores make sales when a customer is in the shop browsing. So if there is a piece that they simply can’t get anywhere else, it will likely push them over the edge to choosing your line, and putting together enough other pieces from the line to make a full order….

Continue reading this article for the final four tips for planning and growing your wholesale business for the holidays.

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