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A well thought out marketing strategy is essential at any time of the year, but when it comes to the holiday season (and events such as the Easter long weekend coming up), it’s absolutely essential to approach your seasonal marketing in a strategic way.

While it’s tempting to just throw it all out there, by going about your marketing in a strategic manner you’re going to get a much higher return on your marketing investment and save time and energy.

Here are five steps to help you prepare and create a solid holiday marketing strategy that will help you smash those sales targets.

1. Preparation: This is essential for any marketing campaign. While you might be keen to get everything started as soon as possible, the time taken to prepare now will save you time down the track as you’ll be organised and on top of things. You’ll also get better results by taking a bit of time to think about your campaign goals and the most effective ways to achieve them. Strategies like remarketing are easy to set up ahead of time and can really boost your results. Analysing business data and trends ahead of time will also let you tailor your holiday marketing strategy to be most effective.

2. Create automated campaigns: Marketing automation is the best time saving technique you can use and while it takes a bit of initial work to set up, once it’s ready to go you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of your campaign. There are some good tricks out there, especially for product-based businesses, like integrating your marketing with your inventory so you can send out emails or campaigns when a popular item is running low.

3. Keep track of how your campaigns are going: While it’s great to have automated marketing campaigns ticking along in the background, it’s also important that you measure the results on a regular basis. This means tracking your campaigns not just once they are finished but throughout the process so you can make adjustments and tweak as necessary. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of scheduling reports once a week or so. This way you will always be in touch with how your campaigns are going and can intervene if there are any issues.

4. Optimise your campaigns: This is the time to get yourself noticed among the other multitudes of business owners vying for attention online. Getting noticed requires optimisation so you’re not only marketing harder, you’re also marketing smarter. Optimisation strategies can include things like keyword strategy, bid management where you choose where your ads are displayed and remarketing where you show your ads to people who have previously visited your site. Optimising your marketing campaigns lets you market more effectively and improves your return on investment.

5. Think about the future: Once your seasonal campaign is up and running, it’s time to start thinking about the next one. If you’ve been collecting and tracking the data from your holiday marketing campaigns you’ll have a good insight into what works and what doesn’t and you can use this information to improve future campaigns. The insight you gain from your holiday marketing campaigns can benefit you in multiple ways in the coming new year. Some of the data you might want to look at includes your most successful channels, high and low performing keywords and your return on investment from different strategies.

Great holiday marketing is not just about having the best and brightest ads. It’s a whole strategy that starts with careful planning and ends with evaluating the results and learning what you can for the next one. There’s a lot of potential for big sales at this time of year and a great marketing campaign will help get you there!