A few months ago, I went to Hobby Lobby (honestly, because with all this being-stuck-inside, I was just desperate to get out) and right there at the front of the store were wreaths, bows, boxes, and garland….
Yes. Christmas merchandise. Already.
I went through ALL the stages of grief.
First, I denied it. I couldn’t possibly be seeing that right! Then I was angry that they were trying to push the Holidays on me. I was sad that summer was ending.
And then, I looked at my calendar and realized…. How can I blame Hobby Lobby, when I ordered Holiday Bundle products in JUNE?! HA! I laughed out loud right there in the middle of the store and got more than a few funny looks when I marched up to the checkout line with a cart full of pink, gold, and green trees and tinsel pouring out of my cart.
Y’all, it might not be snowing…
It might not be cold….
And we might not have even made it through Thanksgiving yet…
but it’s time to get to planning!
More than once I’ve been caught off guard by the Holidays. All of a sudden it’s November first and I’m scrambling to pull myself together. Creating promo graphics, deciding what my sale would look like… and that ish is stressful! My guess is you’ve felt it too?
So today, I’m here to make sure you don’t have to feel that way this year. We’re saying goodbye to last-minute scrambling and hello to feel relaxed, in control, and prepared.
Over the years I’ve developed a system for the Holidays – when to order supplies when to plan out my strategy when to set goals… and today I’m sharing with you the most important dates to mark in your calendar. Ready friend? Let’s do this.
September is really the month when you should first start considering the Holidays and prepare your Holiday marketing plan. This includes determining what your product focus will be, your merchandising plan, choosing dates for Holiday parties, and making your monthly to-do list so you’re fully prepared each month.
By making your plan before the Holiday quarter begins, you can eliminate most of the stress that comes with Holiday planning. The stress that normally comes from feeling like you need to plan and execute at the same time dissipates and everything becomes that much easier.
While you’re making your plan, keep your eye out for Holiday merchandising materials that are starting to hit the market. There’s nothing worse than creating a plan only to realize the materials you need are out of stock, hard to find, or there aren’t enough available. Don’t put yourself in a position to have to scramble at the last second!
October is when most of the planning and prep is going to happen so that you can be in full-on get-it-done mode in November and December. November and December are generally the biggest months for selling. By preparing everything you’ll need ahead of time you’re able to focus your energy later on what matters most. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and pulled in too many directions you can be fully prepared.
In October you’re going to finalize your holiday plan. Then, you’re really going to really start sourcing your merchandising materials if you haven’t already. You’ll need everything readily available in November, so it’s important to make sure you have everything in-house by the end of October.
October is also a great time to prepare your November and December social media posts. You created your Holiday plan in September or early October, so now you can hop into Canva and create graphics to support it. Then you’ll have everything prepared to post so you can focus on the tasks that really need you to be present in the moment, like booking, coaching your team, recruiting, and working individually with customers. Bonus points if you schedule your posts ahead of time!
Last but not least, be sure to order any physical invitations that you plan to use over the Holidays. Whether or not you choose to use physical invitations will be a personal choice, especially if you are hosting your sales and parties online.
When you’re deciding whether or not to use physical invitations consider your audience: Are they really active on social media? Are they big into texting? Would a postcard in the mail make them feel special? Often, this is generational: While Gen z and young millennials might feel neither here nor there when it comes to a postcard invitation, while Gen X and above often do value that extra touch.
Time to start really putting your plan into action, especially if you’re hosting a Black Friday sale! If you have any catching up to do, now is the time to get it done. Use the beginning of November to really nurture your audience and get any last-minute details in order. If you haven’t posted in your customer Facebook group much, make sure to start so that by the time you ask for a sale, your audience is warm.
If you opted for physical invitations, get those in the mail no later than November 20th so that they arrive with a few days to spare before Black Friday. Either way, be sure you have a text and email sequence prepared. Write these ahead of time during the first week of November – a simple Google Doc will do! Just write out exactly what each message will say and which day you’re going to send it, that way when the time comes you can just copy and paste. This sequence should include messages that nurture your customer before your sale, give her a heads up about what to expect a few days before it starts, alert her when it begins, and remind her before it ends at a bare minimum.
Last but not least, make time to photograph your holiday products, especially if you are hosting your Holiday events online. If possible prepare a few premade gifts and take pictures of them in good lighting so that you have your own unique photos to share with your customers. There are a LOT of people representing your company and chances are your customer is friends with more than one representative on Facebook. Avoid using other people’s images. When your customer sees someone else posting the same images as you it can not only be confusing but it also diminishes your credibility. Your photos don’t need to be professional, they just need to be yours!
For most people, December is when you host your “last call” sale. Whether you’re going out-of-office starting on a certain date or you need time in order to wrap and ship items, make sure your customers are aware so they are not caught off guard.
At this point, there isn’t much planning you need to worry about: you’re just checking boxes on the plan you’ve already made. Whether you are celebrating one of the many Holidays that happen this month, or just enjoying the joy that comes with the season, if you made a plan ahead of time you can take advantage of an opportunity to coast for a week or two. The hustle and bustle of business often quiets starting around December 23rd and through the end of the month with only New Years as the final push for any sales that you might be having.
Ready to start planning for your best selling season yet?
Download our free Holiday Strategy Cheatsheet! This workbook gives you everything you need to prepare for the holidays including worksheets to guide you on:
- Holiday branding and merchandising
- Sharing the opportunity and growing your team
- How to plan your social media strategy
- And more!