4 Tips for Getting a Head Start on Your Holiday Marketing

It's never too early to start planning for the busiest time of the year. These quick tips will help you lay the groundwork for a successful holiday season.

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Portrait of Brandon

Posted by Brandon

• 5 min read

It's summertime (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), and for many folks, that means it’s time to relax, have a little fun in the sun, and maybe even take a well-deserved vacation.

The onset of summer also means that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is only a few short months away. And if you operate a small business, now is the perfect time to start preparing.

These tips will help you lay the groundwork for a successful holiday, so you won’t miss a beat once things start to get hectic.

Tip #1: Focus on acquiring new contacts

Growing your audience is always important, but it becomes even more significant when you’re competing with a bunch of other businesses for holiday shoppers. By building up a larger audience of potential customers now, you’ll have a head start on your competition when the holiday season is in full swing.

  • Make it easy for new people to subscribe. Design a landing page or add a form to your website so visitors can quickly sign up to receive your emails. Consider the information that might be useful to know about new contacts heading into the holidays—like their address, interests, or how often they’d like to receive updates from you, for example—and be sure to add those fields to your forms.

  • Reach new audiences with social ads. After you’ve published your forms or landing pages, Facebook and Instagram ads can help you drive traffic to them. Design an ad that encourages folks to click, then use your existing Mailchimp data to target lookalike audiences of people who are similar to your biggest fans or most loyal customers.

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Tip #2: Organize all of your data

Each time someone buys something from your store, subscribes to your newsletter, or clicks on your ads, they’re providing you with valuable data. And when you collect all of that data in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Mailchimp, you can organize (and utilize) it in a way that makes sense for your business as the holiday season approaches.

  • Look for trends in your data. Our audience dashboard provides a holistic view of your contact data, so you can quickly identify (and act on) any patterns or trends. In just a glance, you'll learn where your contacts live, which signup sources they’ve used, and how they’re interacting with your email. Then, turn those insights into actions by launching new campaigns based on the data or using it to inform your holiday marketing plans.

    You can even use features like customer lifetime value and purchase likelihood to identify your most valuable customers—and which people might need extra attention before the holidays.

  • Create segments and tags. The holidays are a busy time for all businesses, which means that you’ll have more competition for your audience’s attention.

    Think about the different ways you could segment your contacts—based on interests, purchase habits, or location, perhaps—and plan to target them with personalized content and seasonal promotions they’re sure to love. Consider adding custom tags to your contacts based on the other stuff you know about them—like if they’re a social media influencer or a client you met at a trade show—and use that info to send targeted content, too. Learn more about managing your audience in Mailchimp.

Tip #3: Save time with automations

Automations work around the clock to help you send the right message to the right people at the right time. They’re a valuable marketing tool throughout the year, and if you implement them now, they can be an essential timesaver for you when the holiday season arrives.

  • Welcome new subscribers. Set up welcome automations to greet new contacts, introduce them to your brand, and start developing relationships that will last well beyond the holidays. Include a free download, a promo code, or other special offers that will get people excited about your business and encourage them to make a purchase.
  • Stay connected with your customers. Create re-engagement automations to say hi to folks you haven’t heard from in a while and tell them what you’ve got planned for the holidays. Show appreciation to your best customers by automatically sending a special offer or coupon code. You can even build product retargeting emails to remind people about the items they browsed on your site and abandoned cart emails to bring customers back if they leave without completing their purchase.
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Tip #4: Fine-tune your marketing plan

The summer months are a great time to revisit your marketing goals and reflect on your performance over the first half of the year. And with Mailchimp’s powerful reporting tools, you'll have the insights you need to determine what’s working (and what isn’t) so you can make adjustments ahead of the holiday season.

  • Add more channels to the mix. If you're looking to boost your audience growth or sales numbers, try incorporating more channels into your marketing strategy.

    Need some inspiration? Learn how Frankie & Myrrh increased conversions by combining automations with postcards. Or how 17th Street Athletic Club got more signups with the help of a landing page, a Facebook ad, and a welcome automation.

  • Test, test, and test again. If your engagement levels seem a bit low, create A/B Testing campaigns and try different subject lines, images, messaging, or send times to find the combination that resonates the most with your audience.
  • Keep tabs on your marketing while you're on the go. As the holidays draw near, you'll likely have less free time to spend sitting in front of your computer. With Mailchimp's mobile app, you can create campaigns and track your progress directly from your phone—even if you only have a few moments to spare.