Ho ho ho. Christmas is just eight weeks away and the right sales planning could have you laughing all the way to the bank. Smart marketing has never been more important than over the silly season. If you are like many small businesses, Christmas sales may account for a major chunk of your annual sales tally. So how prepared are you to capitalise on the Christmas sales rush? Here are some handy tips to help you steal a march on your competitors and lay out a blueprint for a very merry Christmas season:

BLOG: ‘Tis the season to start selling

Be the planner of the party

Strategic planning is the hero of this game. Pinpoint precisely who your target consumers are then map out monthly marketing activities up until it’s time to carve the turkey. Having a written plan in place gives your business a clear vision plus definitive deliverables to maximise sales. Be realistic in your goals and targets though. Setting the bar too high will simply lead to disappointment and possibly lost sales opportunities. Be sure to measure results too so you can carry important learnings through to future Christmas sales periods.

Be first cab off the rank

Christmas shopping can be a stressful endeavor to some consumers given the crowds, pace and choice. After all, it is not called the Christmas rush for nothing. Competing retailers are out in force so you need to grab consumer attention first and forcefully. Early promotions are a great way to drum up awareness of your products and services. Even better, you can turn consumer heads your way before your competitors kick off their Christmas advertising. First in, first serving customers. Consider early-bird offers for super organised shoppers who like the beat the rush.

Get onto online media

Give your Christmas marketing strategy a digital focus. The online space offers so many great opportunities to engage with shopping-ready Christmas consumers. Put your current and approaching promotions up in lights through such tools as paid search, email marketing and sponsored social media. Do not use a scattergun approach to online marketing though as this will only disengage your customers. As with any consumer communication, your marketing must be relevant and targeted. Think gift buying guides or even just a friendly seasons greetings to kick off.