“If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Are you “flying by the seat of your pants?” Are you making decisions each day to get through the day and hoping to find the time “someday” to think things through and plan?
You must prepare for the Holiday Season NOW! Especially this new COVID Christmas Season. Many retailers have gotten used to “flying by the seat of their pants,” but that has to change this year.
(Quick Side Story: I got my Private Pilot’s license when I was 18 years old. That is when I began to understand the saying “flying by the seat of your pants.” You truly can “feel” the airplane and make adjustments by the compression of your seat at the moment. These adjustments are made from your personal experience and judgment. However, you cannot rely on that all of the time, especially when you are learning new maneuvers or conditions change.)
Planning NOW will:
Help you incorporate your new Online customers into your events and promotions.
Know how you will social distance or not in your store this holiday season.
Establish everything you will have to do differently this year.
Each week from now until Christmas, Retail Clarity Coaching will release a new segment in our Essential Guide to Holiday Marketing & Planning. Today’s edition is about planning your Event & Promotional Calendar.
Throughout my 27 years of running my retail store, planning our fall trough holiday events and marketing was one of my favorite things to do. Now is the time to brainstorm with your staff, copy ideas you have heard from other retailers, or seen on their social media and look over your notes and improve on the events from last year.
So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and get started!
Step One: Events and Promotions by Month
The first thing to do is to grab a calendar and start planning. There are MANY great ideas to get customers excited and shopping in your store. For a free list of great events that you can start now, check out our free guide, Holiday Event Ideas to Spruce up your Calendar. This amazing guide will detail 11 different events you can host in your store and online.
Download today and get inspired!
Step Two: Marketing
You must plan now how you will market and advertise the events and promotions you have on your calendar. Many events may be advertised throughout all your mediums, but some may only require one or two. However, you need to plan early as direct mail, print, billboards, and collaborations with other businesses take time to coordinate.
You should have some standard emails set up in your system go out automatically like “Welcome to our Loyalty Club”, “Thank you for your 1st purchase”, “Abandoned Cart”, “We miss you” emails, and more. But each week, you should have a marketing email going out to highlight the events and promotions that will drive traffic to the store and e-commerce sites. Remember that the content in your email needs to be engaging for your customer so, if your email is like a newsletter, be sure to add in “How to” videos or tips, recipes, community events, and more.
Start planning these weekly emails now for your events and promotions, so you will know what products you need to photograph, what images and videos you need to create, etc.
When you are in the middle of the crazy season, you will be so glad that you got a jump on this.
Direct Mail costs more than many other forms of advertising, but it is very effective. Here are a few fascinating direct mail statistics.
- 42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get
- 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.
- 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day
For your bigger events that you have higher sales goals for, or for smaller private events, you should consider adding direct mail into your mix.
Planning your online strategy now will keep you sane when the hectic time hits.
Set goals for your online sales this Holiday Season by week. Plan what your landing pages will look like. Spend time now thinking through how all your channels will work together.
Take a step back and walk through the customer experience and make sure everything works with no friction all the way through to check out.
Plan your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns and set a budget. Make a calendar of the posts and videos you want to create for your newsfeed, stories, and IG Reels this holiday season. To be successful with Social Media you must be consistent. So, make your plans now and then commit to making them happen.
Don’t get stuck in a rut! Get your creative juices flowing and Plan Your Success this Holiday Season. Is your calendar in your hand yet? If not Grab it and Get to Work!
Step Three: Setting Your Goals
Every Event and Promotion needs to have a Return on Investment (ROI) goal. However, this is not always about just sales. Most events will have a Sales Goal you want to hit, but you need to make sure you not just looking at gross sales. Profit is what puts money in the bank. Doing a blanket sale throughout your store may drive traffic and generate sales, but you will kill your profit margin and end up not actually making any money. Some events might not be about how much money you make they might be about how many new customers your get, or how many new emails you added to your list, or what kind of new marketing channel you were able to open up.
In your preplanning, you need to set your goals for each event and promotion. Then, you must make sure you measure and track your goals. Only a tracked number grows. If you can measure it, you can manage it. And if you can manage it, you can increase it.
Setting the goal is only half the battle. Then you must schedule time after each event and promotion to gather the data, analyze it, celebrate your successes, and keep good notes about your shortcomings so you can do better next time.
Next week’s blog will go deeper into setting these goals and what metrics to measure. Be sure to read it!
Check out the Retail Clarity Blog or the Retail Clarity Business Coaching Facebook Page each week from now through Christmas for our Essential Guide to Holiday Marketing & Planning.
Comment below and let us know which of these events will be on your 2020 Holiday Calendar.