I’ve just spent 10 minutes convincing my four-year-old son that it’s not Halloween for another three weeks – and that Christmas is more than two months away.
This lengthy discussion followed a “quick” trip (hah!) to the supermarket, which was adorned with hanging witches’ bats, novelty broomsticks and plastic eye balls.
Then we stumbled upon the ‘seasonal’ aisle, which was packed with chocolate Father Christmas figures, selection boxes and sparkly Christmas tree decorations.
I can understand why a child might think it’s Halloween today and Christmas tomorrow….
If you haven’t yet started thinking about how your business can link in with these two major merchandising events, then you’d best look sharp and keep reading.
In this post, as part of our series on monthly marketing to-dos, we suggest some simple tasks you can work on this month, however much time you can spare, to give your Autumn/Winter sales a boost.
You have: 10 minutes
When did you last get a handwritten note from someone? I’ve got friends whose handwriting I wouldn’t recognise since we always communicate via email, text, tweet or face to face.
And yet a handwritten card has a certain charm that still has the ability to capture someone’s attention and make an impression. In preparation for the gift-giving season, send a little personal note to your best customers. Thank them for their business, ask how they’re doing – make it personal, tailor the wording to them, and hit the post office before the queues.
Don’t forget to address the envelope by hand too, so it stands out amongst all those credit card statements, bills, and junk mail when sitting in the in-tray.
Action: buy a set of stylish notecards and get writing.
You have: 1 hour
My son is a big fan of Mike the Knight, a children’s Cbeebies programme featuring a brave young knight and his pet dragons.
His favourite episode is the one where it’s Winter time, and instead of the normal sunny landscapes of the village of Glendragon, the opening titles feature a castle and surrounding countryside heavy with snow – even the logo has a layer of snow on top of it.
How could you give your logo a little seasonal lift?
What cover photo could you upload on Facebook that links with this month?
What could you add to your Twitter background to turn it from meh to marvellous?
It’s important to maintain your brand identity, so don’t get too carried away with adornments, but a few simple tweaks, such as a pumpkin for October or a robin for December, show a little personality.
Don’t forget to carry your new look across Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as on your website.
Action: give your logo a seasonal twist to keep it fresh
You have: the morning
Everyone takes a bit of time off over Christmas, even journalists and reporters, so the papers will be looking for content to fill their pages, even while most businesses are enjoying seasonal shutdown.
What news could you share that would help them with this mission? December is a notoriously quiet time for news stories, so get your thinking cap on and maximise publicity with some ideas for possible press releases.
Maybe you could make some predictions about your industry in 2013 and send them to specialist publications and local media.
Or how about running a competition for customers to win a major prize to kick start their 2013?
Maybe you have a new line of seasonal products you’ve been working on that features local produce or the services of a large local business? Be creative, be accurate, be interesting, and get noticed.
Action: jot down ideas for press releases and get yourself in the papers.
You have: the whole 9-5
Tis the season to be prepared. With just 74 sleeps until Christmas (scary huh?), it’s time to finalise your festive offers and your marketing communications plan for the coming months.
Have you ordered your corporate Christmas cards? What about company calendars? Will you be buying special gifts for your best customers?
This time of year is a great time to build relations with your target audience, whether they are suppliers, influencers or buyers.
If you sell products that make great gifts, you’ll also need to ensure you’ve got plenty of stock to satisfy increased demand from shoppers. Packaging should also be updated with something extra special – free gift-wrapping perhaps, or cinnamon sticks included with every order, or a £5 voucher off their next order.
Action: check stock levels, order corporate Christmas cards, plan what gifts to send your best customers, and finalise all the details of your packaging and promotions throughout November and December.
Dates to remember 2016:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the UK
4-10 October World Space Week
7 October National Poetry Day
14 October Winnie the Pooh was first published (1926)
17-23 October National Baking Week – ready, steady, BAKE!
27 October National Tell a Story Day
Sunday 30 October Clocks go back (we gain an hour!)
31 October Halloween
1 November All Saints’ Day
5 November Bonfire Night
11 November Remembrance Day
22 November Thanksgiving (US)
What about you? What will you be doing to prepare your business for the coming months? Let us know in the comments below.
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