Fall has arrived and the holidays are approaching fast, so preparing your marketing strategy for the upcoming season is crucial for any marketer. The holiday season can be overwhelming for many small businesses and retailers, especially as they fight heavy competition in order to stand out from the crowd, but preparing early will lighten the load significantly. No one wants to be stressed out during the holidays, which is why strategizing early can make all the difference.

In order to make the most of your holiday marketing strategy, it’s important that you try your best to be engaging and unique during this time. There will be many offers and promotions available to consumers, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and convince them your company is their best choice. The holiday season is a great time to get creative and focus on engaging customers, since nearly everyone will be looking for deals. Show potential customers that your offers are the best and that you care about supporting them during the holiday season, which will in turn create valuable customer loyalty.

One of the most effective ways you can prepare your holiday marketing strategy is to think about where your holiday campaign fits into your larger marketing strategy. Although you may think of your holiday marketing strategy as a standalone entity, it will be most effective if you integrate it into your overall marketing strategy. What have you done throughout the year that can be tied into your holiday marketing efforts? Are there other campaigns that you can build upon? Your holiday marketing strategy should be a culmination of what you’ve done all year and everything you’ve done to build customer loyalty. Pull from those campaigns and remind consumers that you’ve had their backs throughout the year.

Determining your marketing mix for the season is just as important. What types of marketing messages do you want to get out and through what mediums? Will you run an email campaign and a direct mail campaign? How often?  Take the time to plan out your campaign, either by analyzing how you did the previous year, or deciding on a new approach. Setting goals for what you want to achieve this holiday season will help you focus your marketing efforts. Overall, it’s important that you decide what types of marketing you want to spend your time on.

Keeping track of all your holiday marketing efforts might be challenging, so it helps to create a holiday marketing calendar. Create a calendar of key dates and determine what needs to happen when. This will help you remain focused and make sure that everything gets out on time. Being prepared for key dates during the holiday season, like when to get campaigns out or when to send your emails, is of utmost importance.

Each year, shopping from mobile devices becomes more and more popular. Creating mobile and tablet friendly campaigns will help you remain accessible and reach more customers. You will also make it easier for potential customers to purchase from you, especially when they are in a rush. Offering ways to purchase from you through these devices will help relieve some holiday stress that many consumers will be experiencing, and will drive in more business. Your customers will appreciate you for it, and most likely remember your company in the future.

In addition to getting organized and figuring out what marketing mediums you want to utilize, it would also be a great idea to plan community holiday events. If your business has a physical location, events such as special shopping nights or promotions that can be redeemed in-store on a certain date, will help you stand out from your competitors. This is also a great way to build customer loyalty and give back to the community. In your planning, you should figure out what you’ll need to do to prepare for these events, and how you can spread the word.  These types of events could potentially bring in more business, as well as put your company in the front of consumers’ minds during a busy holiday season.

Finally, offering promotions and deals that activate on different holidays during the season is a great way to keep business coming in throughout the end of the year. Companies like Bath & Body Works often provide a set of coupons that each activate on certain dates. If you keep offering deals during different holidays, customers will either share them or keep coming back to redeem them. These promotions keep customers interested in your products and help you draw in new customers.

There is no one right way to prepare for the holiday season. It all depends on your business and what products and services you’re providing, but everyone can benefit from taking the time to organize their strategies and setting their goals now. Strategizing early is vital for any business and will save you from some of the stress of the quickly approaching holiday season. Start planning your holiday marketing strategy today!