1. Secure Inventory
Depending on your industry, you may have to place inventory orders well in advance for items that will be in high demand for the holidays. If this describes your business, make sure that you get those orders in early and get enough stock so that you won’t run out. Otherwise, you’ll end up leaving sales on the table.
On the flip side, if your company is providing products to retailers who are going to stock them during the holidays, ensure that you have manufacturing volume where it needs to be now so that you can provide enough inventory later. Failing to do this can end up hurting these relationships and limiting future business.
2. Plan Holiday Promotions
Determine now exactly what you’ll discount, by how much, and when. Trying to do this on the fly during the holidays is stressful and inefficient. Plus, consumers will be able to tell whether you gave your holiday promotions a lot of thought ahead of time or just threw them together at the last minute. Again, you’ll want to make sure that you’re going to have enough of what you plan on discounting, and you’ll also want to ensure that those promotions tie into your overall company objectives to drive your marketing goals. This is especially important if you plan on doing a daily deal strategy because there are a lot more details to nail down due to the sheer number of promotions!
3. Generate Necessary Content
You’ll need content for your promotions and also for your regular business operations, and the more of it that you can do ahead of time, the better. Whether it’s putting together marketing emails ahead of time, generating promotional web graphics, developing product videos, finalizing website design changes, or creating any other type of content, doing it now means that you’ll have more time during the holidays to focus on your customers. This is why it’s so important to scope out everything that you’ll need from a content perspective and get people working on it now. If you plan on outsourcing any of your content (copywriting, web design, etc.), you definitely don’t want to wait until the winter to contract that out because turnaround times will be much slower and communications may be more limited since these types of companies are often bombarded with work during the holidays.
4. Secure The Right Personnel
If there’s any area of your business where you feel like you could use some more help, get it now! If you’re short on people in sales, customer service, manufacturing, product development, packing and shipping, or anywhere else, that crunch will only get worse when sales pick up during the holidays and can actually end up stifling sales and hurting future business prospects. Start the hiring process now so that new employees will be fully ramped up by the time the holidays get here.
When it comes to your existing employees, ensure that key personnel will be available when you need them this holiday season. If possible, ask your employees to request time off well in advance of the holidays so that you can manage vacation-time to ensure that you’re not short staffed. Depending on the nature of your business, you may even have to block off time when employees are not allowed to take personal time. If so, make sure that you communicate this as early in the year as possible so that employees are not taken off guard and can make alternate plans to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends.
Remember, the holidays will be here before you know it! And when they do, you’ll be glad that you planned ahead so that you don’t feel like you’re playing catch up with your competition!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!