Is Black Friday Obsolete? Why You Need a Holiday Campaign Ready by October

We all know that Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the hottest shopping day of the year. But did you know that more than half of shoppers do their holiday shopping in October or earlier? If you wait until November to launch your holiday campaign, you may miss a large majority of shoppers.

Now is the perfect time to plan your holiday campaign. Whether you sell online, have a retail store or are in the restaurant space, planning your campaign now gives you a jump on those early shoppers.

If you’re a registered non-profit, now is the perfect time to start planning your fall fundraising campaign and take advantage of Google for Nonprofits $10,000/month ad grant program.

10 Step Holiday Campaign Planning

  1. Set a desired state. This is not specific and more a state of being you want to achieve by the end of the year. This might be to create awareness about your company mission or cause. Or perhaps to become known as the primary resource for a particular product or service. This is the over-arching desired state that will drive your marketing.
  2. Set specific goals. These need to be specific targets to reach that desired state by year-end. These are financial, customer, community, and internal staff goals if you have employees. You can use my Simple Marketing Plan and Overview Calendar templates to write out your plan and then add key bullet points to the Overview calendar. Just start your planning in the June timeframe.
  3. Know your target audience. Create detailed personas for each buyer type including their shopping preferences, hobbies, and social media sites they use. You can download free buyer persona templates from Canva, Xtensio or Hubspot, among others.
  4. Do keyword research. Use one of the following tools suggested by Zapier.com: Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, or Ryan Robinson’s AI-powered Free Keyword Research Tool. You’ll have to create an account, and each one operates a little differently. Find the tool that works best for you. The goal is to identify between 10 and 20 keywords you can use in your marketing campaign promotions across multiple channels like email, social media posts, website landing pages, blog articles, videos, and ads. A keyword is 2 to 5 words your prospective customer types into the Google search bar when looking for something online. Your goal is to show up as one of the options Google shows them, ideally on the first page. When selecting your keywords, look for ones that have medium to low competition. Competition is ranked between 0.0 and 1.0 so any keywords ranking at 0.5 or lower with at least 1000 monthly searches is good. If you’re in a rural community where internet is spotty, you can disregard the monthly searches since they will be low. Look at surrounding metropolitan areas for insights about the keywords.
  5. Create at least one email automation campaign. This can be set to run from June through December. You can write the emails ahead of time, choose the triggers and the frequency for sending the emails. Once set up, the campaign runs until you pause it. This works well when triggered by a landing page or an ad promoting an event or product or service special your target audience is interested in. Use the keywords in the promotional ads, events, and landing page, to attract your prospect and get them to click a link, register, or download a free item.
  6. Create a monthly newsletter. Send out a monthly newsletter that educates and informs your audience about topics relevant to their interests. In each newsletter, include a special article or promotion about your holiday fundraiser, special pricing program, or upcoming event. Just don’t make the newsletter only about that. Use it as another content medium for the holiday campaign strategy.
  7. Create a lead magnet. If you’re offering a special, consider creating a free lead magnet your prospect can download in exchange for giving you their name and email address. That adds them to your list and gets them into the automation campaign where you can continue to communicate with them.
  8. Create a 6-month content calendar. This will help you and your team track your various content strategies. These include social posts, blogs, emails, videos, webinars, and special events if those are relevant. Share the calendar with your team so everyone knows what is happening on what day of the week and can be prepared to share it and talk about it with customers.
  9. Create relevant social posts. Choose platforms your target audience uses and create posts for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X. Include short videos on YouTube if you’re comfortable making videos and your audience visits that site frequently. Schedule posts at minimum three times a week at the outset and then increase them to daily leading up to the event or special shopping week, etc. Create consistent branded covers for Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and X that promote your holiday campaign. Depending on what you’re planning, you may want to change these monthly or quarterly to coincide with special promotions. Think of these as online billboards.
  10. Start a blog. Write blog articles to post on your website blog and on LinkedIn (if relevant for your target audience). Ideally, the blog articles would be posted at least once a week. According to a Hubspot blog aricle, 80% of internet users interact with both social media sites and blogs and websites with active blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 87% more inbound links than those without. Blogging is a key marketing content strategy that drives traffic and ROI so it’s worth the effort.

Cross channel marketing and showing up consistently over time are key aspects of a successful marketing campaign. If you need help with any of this, feel free to contact me. I’m offering special pricing of $600 off my normal fees through June 29 to help clients get a jump start on their holiday marketing planning. You can learn about it here.

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