Savvy eCommerce and online marketers know it’s time to start planning for the holiday eCommerce rush.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, a shared holiday promotion calendar is the best way to get all of your staff on board and on the same page as you dive into holiday eCommerce marketing.
A Forrester Research study earlier this year reported that the eCommerce industry is steadily growing, faster than expected. A previous report from 2010 didn’t expect the industry to top $300 billion until 2017. Yet, by the end of this year, the industry is projected to reach nearly $334 billion in consumer spend.
With nearly half of shoppers taking care of their holiday shopping online, September is the perfect month to start your holiday eCommerce planning. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to create a shared holiday promotion calendar.
Arrange to Share
Promoting your business for the holidays is a huge task. When you factor in email, social media, pay per click, content creation and blog writing, you’ve got a big work flow to put together and manage. The best way to execute your holiday promotions is with a shared calendar.
A shared calendar enables everyone on your team to be on the same page and see updates in real time.
Before you start your planning, decide how you’ll share the document. You can always share through an internal business drive, but there are several other ways you can accomplish this. Here are a few:
- Excel Spreadsheet/One Drive: if you’re using Microsoft Office Online, you can create and share through OneDrive.
- Excel Spreadsheet/Google Drive: You can create and share an Excel spreadsheet through Google Drive as well.
- You can share the document in Evernote.
- You can use an online system such as CoSchedule.
Create the Calendar
The planning process for creating your shared holiday promotion calendar, as we mentioned earlier, should start now. What exactly are you planning?
You are brainstorming ideas, figuring out the right audience to target, determining your promotions and making sure they’re aligned with what you already have in place.
We recommend you include the months of October, November, December and January (accounting for after holiday sales) in your holiday promotion calendar. We’ve put together a list of steps for your holiday eCommerce planning:
- Determine the cycle – since we’re talking the holidays, choose the appropriate months.
- Account for events and each holiday.
- Analyze last year’s performance. Do you see any trends? What promotions worked last year and what didn’t? Account for factors that might have influenced your sales last season. Do you anticipate them happening again? Think about your budget as you decide what discounts or promotional prices you’ll offer.
- Review your online competitors. Don’t copy them, but see what they’re doing or what they did last year. Can you put your own spin on it?
- Create your schedule of promotions. Give each one a name and pick the right time for it. You want to maximize your profits, so think wisely about what day or days of the week work best.
- Consider early bird buys and adding new products mid-cycle. Plan how you’ll promote them.
- Fill out your content calendar. Determine what content marketing is appropriate including your blog, emails and social media. Plan how you’ll present your content. Will you use professional images and video? Create categories for your content and plan what you’ll highlight and when.
- Don’t forget keywords. When creating content, have a list of relevant search keywords on hand and use them in your promotions.
- Put dates to your holiday promotion calendar. Think about lead time – how long will it take to create your content and schedule?
- Create a backup plan in case you have to modify your calendar.
- Track your results. This is critical especially so you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Are you meeting your goals?
Share with Your Team
The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple while providing the information everyone needs to perform their job. When planning your calendar, think about the people you’ll be sharing it with. Depending on the size of your company, you might have the following people on your holiday promotion team, or one or two people may take care of it for you. They are the:
- Project Manager – the person who helps your team understand your goals, audience and promotion
- Content/Blog Writer – the person who writes your great content
- Email Manager – the person who sets up, creates and designs your email marketing
- Social Media Manager – the person who does all of your social media posting
- Pay Per Click Manager – the person who manages your paid online advertising
- Graphic Designer – the person who pulls your brand together
- Website Manager – the person who manages web content
As an eCommerce retailer, your business is guided by a yearly calendar, and the fourth quarter of the year may very well be your biggest profit-making season.
You know that making and sticking to a schedule is important for your business when it comes to employees, billing, product purchases and website listings. Making and sticking to a schedule and a calendar is even more important during the busy holiday season.
Creating a shared holiday promotion calendar will keep your eCommerce moving forward and running smoothly.
The shared holiday promotion calendar allows you breathing time to reassess your promotions and decide if you need to make changes and/or adjustments.
If you’re not ready to start planning your holiday promotions, or you’re reading this in October, it’s not too late to set your holiday promotions in motion.
Follow the same steps, be prepared, and you’ll see your eCommerce business grow this holiday season.
We’re going to leave you with five last tips for your shared holiday promotion calendar:
- Make it relevant to your customers.
- Use high quality photos to let your pictures tell the story.
- Use great design.
- Include links to your website in everything.
- Always use strong calls to action.
Now that you’re ready to start your holiday eCommerce planning, we hope you’ll take these tips for how to create a shared holiday promotion calendar and use them to boost your sales this holiday season.
Is your eCommerce website ready to handle the holiday rush? Are your pages set up to manage your promotions by converting customers? If not, or you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. What’s more, we guarantee your results. Contact us today. Make the move to higher holiday sales and profits starting today with our FREE site performance analysis!
Image: Robert Scoble