Content Planning - Your 2016 Christmas Calendar

The sunburn from your August bank holiday is still stinging, and the shelves are full of Back to School offers. Christmas 2016 is probably the last thing on your mind.

It shouldn’t be.

If you want a successful festive season, you need to forget about lunchboxes and suncream and start thinking about tinsel, reindeer and Black Friday. Because the Christmas decorations are going to hit the shelves any day now, and it’s time for your business to plan your seasonal content.

Because leaving it too late is going to cause havoc, and you’re going to miss out on one of the largest opportunities in the consumer calendar.

Christmas Content Calendar

Creating a marketing campaign takes time. Whether you’re planning on an email campaign to promote your Christmas offers, a seasonal flyer or brochure, or an AdWords or Social Media campaign to direct traffic towards your website, you’ll need the content finished in plenty of time.

There are a number of milestones you need to take account of too – not just December 25th. You’ll need to remember the final post dates, and have something in place to take advantage of the increasingly popular “Black Friday” sales. And your Christmas marketing won’t end on the big day, because you’ll want your marketing machine ready to kick into gear for the January sales too.

This content calendar will help you prepare your festive campaigns, because the more you prepare, the higher the returns on your marketing investments will be.

September/October: Planning

By the end of September and the start of October, you’ll need to have decided on your Christmas campaigns. Will you be running any seasonal offers? How will you be promoting them? What assets will you need?

At the very least, you’ll need a professional copywriter to handle your marketing messages, but you could also need a website or graphic designer, or a website developer to help you put any designed emails or festive micro-sites together.

603 Copywriting can help with your content, and can recommend designer and developers too. So make sure you request a quote as early as possible so that you can benefit from professional experience when it comes to your planning.

Mid-October: First Drafts

Even the best of us rarely get a draft 100% perfect first time – and you might need to tweak or change your special offers and pricing as reality intrudes on your plans. So agreeing that your marketing materials need to be done 24 hours before the first email is sent probably won’t lead to the best possible results.

Give your creatives – and yourself – some breathing space. The benefit of planning early is that you can get your first drafts done by mid-October. This will give you and your copywriter (or designer, or whoever) a little time to think about how that first draft can be improved and turned into something fantastic.

Early November: First Offer

That October pay packet hits the bank accounts of your customers, and straight away they’re in Christmas mode. You need to take advantage of that by making sure that your first offer lands in inboxes owned by people feeling flush after pay day. The first week in November is a great time to start your festive pitches, and you’ll start sneaking onto Christmas lists around the country.

Mid-November: Second Offer

Every offer needs to be followed up. A week or two before you follow-up means that you’re relatively fresh in prospects’ minds, but that you’re not hassling them. Don’t worry though, because our first milestone is coming up, and it’s time to turn the screws for Christmas.

November 25th: Black Friday

Of all the things that North America has given us – cronuts, the NHL and Mad Men – perhaps the most successful import has been Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving has become an unrestrained spending orgy, especially online as retailers like Amazon look to cash in.

If you’re offering a special discount – and it’ll take at least 25% to cut through the Black Friday noise, make sure your pitches land the day before, the day itself, and perhaps even with a few hours to go. After all – consumers don’t want to miss out on this fantastic saving so close to Christmas, do they?

December 20th: The Last Post

Throughout December, you can showcase individual offers on a weekly basis, as people search desperately for that last-minute perfect present. But bear in mind that you’re working to a deadline here.

The final day to send a parcel First Class to a UK destination is December 21st. So your marketing needs to reach a crescendo here – your customers should have one final chance to take you up on your Christmas offers before the last post, but you need to let them know that time is of the essence.

If you’re shipping overseas, keep an eye on these dates.

January 1st 2017: Sales

Your marketing plan doesn’t finish with the main event. Not by a long chalk. Because you need to make sure the next campaign is ready to run. On January 1st, the January Sales begin, and you’ll need a campaign ready to go. Fortunately though, you’ve planned ahead, so all you’ll need to worry about come December 31st is where you’ll be welcoming in the new year.

This plan will provide you with a solid outline for your festive campaigns, but it’s never too soon to start. To work out a specific marketing plan, contact 603 Copywriting today.

Keep on top of your festive marketing schedule with free reminders from 603 Copywriting. Make sure you don’t miss your Christmas milestones by signing up to the mailing list here.

If you’re a designer, developer or small business owner looking for an early Christmas present, my free ebook guide to putting together effective online content is a fantastic free gift.

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