Yes, there is still time to get ready for the holidays! Here are a ten tips to make for a more successful holiday season.

1. Review last year’s sales records. Compare them to prior years. This will help you “forecast” what you could do this season. Has your business seen a steady increase each year. Have you had poor sales one year and brisk the next? If so, what was happening in the world? Was the economy strong or weak? Did a natural disaster affect your business? You must consider all things possible when making your forecast.

2. Check inventory. Do you have items from last year that you need to sell? Can you sell them at full-price (such as traditional items)? These do not include the trendy seasonal items that reflected the times and would be considered outdated by your customers.

3. Review the items you have pre-ordered – it is amazing how quickly we forget all those wonderful things we purchased during gift and trade shows in anticipation of a good holiday.

4. Review your notes from last year – the things you did right, those ideas for improvement for the next year and be sure to include them in your holiday marketing plans.

"Get Ready for the Holidays with these Ten Marketing Tips"5. Check out your marketing and advertising from the last three years paying particular attention to the immediate past. Was it effective? Did it meet or succeed your ROI goals? Make a list of the media you want to continue and any new media you would like to try (conservatively). Start contacting the media now to get the best prices an dplacement.

6. Check web stats for best sales days, highest traffic days, conversion rates, best and least selling items.

7. If you offer more than one type of service/product, review each individually. For instance a florist might also sell plants, gift baskets, balloons, books, plush animals and other giftware. Which items did best, and which did not do well at all. This will help you buy accordingly for the upcoming holidays.

8. Brainstorm with your staff/marketing team/ management to come up with themes around specific holidays. Do you want to use eskimos in your Christmas displays? Do you need candles and dreidels for your Hanukkah vignettes? Are pumpkins a popular choice for Thanksgiving or fall leaves or does something else strike your fancy?

9. Review your staffing from the previous year. Did you have too much or not enough staff?

10. Create a rewards program for the upcoming holidays. Rewards can range from commissioned sales, to trips, to dinners out, to movie tickets, to days off, to shopping sprees, to recognition programs. Be sure to include time for celebration where everyone can join in the fun as a group.

BONUS: Participate in special promotions that will help drive additional traffic to your website and business. For instance the 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Giveaway is designed to get your business in front of thousands of potential customers through email and social media marketing.  Learn More

Send your customers/clients a holilday card early. Don’t wait until December 10th to send a card. Send it today. I use SendOutCards to promote my business and stay in touch with clients and customers. It is the best automated system I have found. Real cards to real people in the mail! Check it out at: www.SendOutCards.com/Heidi

Use all the things in your RETAIL REVIEW to create your holiday marketing calendar. The calendar will help you meet deadlines, update your websites, plan your open houses, place ads and create marketing materials necessary to promote the holidays to your prospects and customers. If you have the staff, give each a different area of responsibility such as window design, inside displays, overseeing of your website, etc. Be sure to look at your market and see if it has changed from previous years.

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