Is it too soon to start planning 2022 holiday marketing?

If you’re asking that question, you may be running late.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “each year, about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.”

With that in mind, now’s the time to:

  • Make a plan for your 2022 holiday marketing
  • Start creating your online marketing campaigns
  • Begin pre-scheduling your online marketing campaigns

Start planning your holiday marketing early

If helping your customers avoid being Scrooges this year isn’t enough reason to start planning your holiday marketing now, think about how much easier things will be during the holiday rush if your marketing campaigns are ready to go — before you need them.

Start planning your holiday marketing now to make the most out of this “slow season.”

Start by taking stock and setting goals

To get the most out of your holiday marketing campaigns this year, set your goals first.

Start by taking a look at what stock you may have an abundance of right now and ask yourself:

  • Can I bundle that into something special for the holidays?
  • Will I need additional pieces or parts to make it into something special for the holidays?
  • Can some of my inventory be marketed as a “special gift” or “any occasion gift” that my customers could purchase now but give as gifts during the holiday season?

Brainstorm ideas on what you can do with what you currently have to offer your customers, as well as help you to come up with creative ways to reduce any overstock you may have. 

Next, take a look at last year’s numbers and think about what you’d like to see different this year.

  • Do you want to improve sales overall?
  • What about increasing sales of a particular item?
  • How about increasing brand awareness?
  • Or increasing online sales vs in-store sales?

Once you have an idea of what your goals are for this holiday season, it’s time to start planning your holiday marketing.

Review the next few calendar months and holidays

Take a good look at the next few months of holidays and decide which holidays you want to celebrate with your customers.

Some of the major US holidays coming up are:

  • Labor Day – 9/5
  • Halloween – 10/31
  • Veterans Day – 11/11
  • Thanksgiving Day – 11/24
  • Christmas Day – 12/25
  • New Year’s Eve 12/31

In addition to designated national and international holidays, there are also several shopping, giving, and other major-event days in the coming months to consider factoring into your marketing plan. Here are a few that are happening in the US:

Of course, there are also a variety of cultural and religious holidays that may resonate with your business and customers.

  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/25-9/27
  • Yom Kippur – 9/4-9/5
  • Diwali – 10/24
  • Hanukkah – 12/8-12/26
  • Christmas Eve – 12/24

If you do business outside of the US, you may want to see if there are some global holidays that might be relevant to your customers as well.

Make a clear plan

Once you’ve decided which holidays/occasions you want to focus your marketing around, you can begin planning out your marketing schedule.

Yes. Your entire holiday marketing schedule can be planned out with the right tools and guidance. It’s actually quite easy.

Start with the foundation of any good marketing campaign, email.

Think about what offers you want to make and what holidays you want to offer them.

Then mark your calendar for the three-email series for offers:

  1. An announcement  of the offer (send two weeks prior to the offer date)
  2. A reminder of the offer (send one week prior to the offer date)
  3. A last chance to get the offer (send a day or two prior to the offer date)

I find it easiest to start with the holiday and work my way backward when planning out my schedule, then work my way forward when creating the individual pieces of the campaign.

For instance, if I’m going to offer my customers 20% off on gift bundles for Black Friday, I’d start by marking my calendar with a “last-minute email” to go out the day before Thanksgiving (and maybe an SMS text message to go out on Black Friday).

Then I’d mark my calendar to send a “reminder” the week before, on Friday the 18th, and to send out the offer announcement a week before that, on Friday, the 11th.

You can use the same basic principle for offers on social media… the timing is just different.

If you’re doing a one-day flash sale, you might have all three parts of the series in one day. If it’s a sale that people plan for, like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, then you might spread your social media campaigns out over a couple of days.

Make planning your holiday marketing easy with our downloadable Free Online Marketing Calendar. Just download, print, and fill it in with your online marketing plan.

After you’ve mapped out a plan for the closest holiday/event, do the same thing for the next one that you want to create marketing around. Then repeat until you’ve created a clear plan to get you through the holiday season and into the New Year.

Not sure what you want to say in your holiday campaigns yet? Use the Marketing Calendar in your Constant Contact account to create placeholders for your campaigns.

Start creating your online marketing campaigns

Now that you have a clear plan, it’s time to start creating your campaigns.

If you’re reading this in August or September, you’re in good shape. If it’s November, it’s time to step it up.

If you haven’t already, take a look at your day-to-day schedule and see when you can carve out some time to work on your holiday marketing campaigns.

Depending on your specific needs, resources, or timing, you may want to create all of your email campaigns first, then branch out to one social media channel at a time. Or maybe you’d prefer to go in order of when you want each campaign to publish to your customers. It’s up to you!

One of the great things about Constant Contact is that you can create your marketing campaigns — whether they be email campaigns, social posts, online ads, event marketing, surveys, or landing pages — all in one place. Whenever and wherever is convenient for you.

Pre-schedule your online marketing campaigns

This may sound a little crazy, but you can actually schedule your online marketing campaigns whenever you want to. Seriously. If you want to create a campaign for Christmas Day 2023, you can create it now and save it in your account. You can even choose your contact list and schedule it to send. If you want to.

For now, though, let’s focus on this holiday season.

Creating and scheduling at least some of your holiday campaigns now will free you up later.

When you pre-schedule your campaigns, you won’t have to worry — mid-Thanksgiving dinner — that you might have forgotten to send out a vital email for Small Business Saturday. Why? Because you created and scheduled it in October and double-checked it last week — long before food prep began and family started arriving.

And, if over that pumpkin pie you can’t quite remember if you scheduled that email to go out the next day, you can always log into the mobile app and double-check.

Save yourself some time, and stress, this holiday season. Start planning, creating, and scheduling your online marketing for this holiday season now.

Get started on your holiday marketing with a little help from our Holiday Marketing Ideas and Plan Template.