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Happy Holidays!

It's not too early to start planning your holiday sales promotions. If this is the first time you've ever thought about a special promotion for your business during the holiday season, you need to get started right away. Experienced marketers often put months of planning into their holiday promotions. We only have a couple of months left. Lets get planning!

Step 1: Choose your theme. Having a theme will help you tie all of your marketing together into a fine-tuned campaign aimed at your target market. Don't make the mistake of trying to offer too much to too many and end up coming across as tacky and pushy.

Step 2: Create your offer. There are lots of ways to promote holiday sales. Packages are always great because they take the thought out of buying. For example, when I was a Girl Scout leader, my girls sold more than almost any other troop. How? They learned the value of the special package. And so they created the Chocolate Lover's Package (Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, and Peanut Butter Patties), The Classics (Thin Mints, Shortbread, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Caramel Delights), Something Old, Something New (Thin Mints, Shortbread, and whatever new cookie we had that year). They tied each package together with ribbons and sold them like crazy. What can you bundle together and offer as a holiday package?

Holiday discounts are another great way to generate sales. Try to come up with something for every budget - gifts under $10, under $25, under $50, under $100. Another way to use holiday discounts is the volume discount. Encourage your customers to purchase multiple items from you by offering a discount when they spend a certain amount or purchase a certain quantity.

Give something away. Do you have some items you are getting ready to discontinue? Or perhaps you have an e-book, or a special report you can offer. Or you can offer an hour of consulting or instruction. Whatever you have, promote it with your holiday offer. "Purchase this - and get this free!" It's like getting two gifts for the price of one.

3. Get your site in the holiday spirit. Be careful with this. You don't want to appear tacky! But do add some holiday-themed images and colors to your site to make sure your customers get the message.

4. Prepare your holiday newsletter. Or email. Or postcard. Whatever you use to communicate with your current customers. All of the steps listed previously are to help you gain new business. You might also attract some repeat business, but why wait? Send a special holiday offer exclusively to your current customers.

5. Offer holiday gift certificates. Even if you don't normally offer them, now is the time to do it. I always buy some sort of "kitcheny" thing for my brother-in-law, the chef. But he is a chef after all so it's hard to know exactly what he needs. A gift certificate solves the problem. He can choose whatever he wants. I love to read but I'm not much for the novel of the month. My favorite Christmas gift is the Barnes and Noble gift card my husband gives me every year. I get the pleasure of spending time in one of my favorite stores and he doesn't have to worry that he bought me something I already read or have no interest in.

6. Promote, promote, promote. Announce your holiday specials in your newsletter. Change your email signature to include a link to your holiday specials. Spread the word on social media. (Don't SPAM, though, unless you want to drive your prospects to someone else). Write a press release. Announce them in your blog. 

Take action now and have a Happy and profitable Holiday season.

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