Have you noticed that the minute Halloween ends, it starts to look a lot like Christmas?
These days, retailers pack up the bat and skeleton decorations, and immediately replace them with garlands, bows and pyramids of chocolate. Maybe it's one less trip to the stock room? In any case, it's an important reminder for crafters and artisans to get organized for their most important sales season of the year.
Set up a calendar with reminders
No matter what time of year it is, it's a great idea to plan for important business dates over the next 12 months. One easy and free way to do this is to set up a Google calendar that's dedicated to your store, and use it to send you email reminders of what's ahead.
Mark down important national, cultural or seasonal dates that may affect your business. Even if you don't love Valentine's Day, you may have a product that you'd want to promote in advance as a gift. Labor Day may not seem important, either, but the national holiday could throw your shipping dates and customer service off. And what if you want to take a couple of days off that weekend? Now's the time to mark it down and prepare. Also, remember to investigate important craft events - either online or offline - and add them to your calendar.
Customize products for the coming season
Cakespy, written by Seattle food blogger and illustrator Jessie Oleson, sells cake-related art in various forms: bags, T-shirts and magnets, for example. What's at the top of the store gallery now? Her line of Cakespy holiday cards (shown above). How can you tweak your products for the coming season? Do you have smaller items that make great stocking stuffers, decorations or hostess gifts? Now's the time to display them prominently and communicate why they're great gifts.
Put up decorations!
While it may be too time-consuming to change your website or store banner just for the holiday period, perhaps you can take some holiday-themed shots of your products. Set them up with backgrounds that help potential customers visualize how they can be great holiday gifts.
Let customers know when orders need to be made
As we all know, Santa gets pretty busy toward Dec. 25. Let customers know when holiday orders need to be made in order to arrive on time, and encourage early orders so that you and your elves are not pulling all nighters until the last minute. Yellow and Blue Makes Green, a Georgia-based artist, has a prominent sign up on her site that lets customers know custom holiday orders should be made before Nov. 15. That's not far away!
Send clients an early holiday card or newsletter
A well-designed e-card or newsletter featuring delicious shots of your products can serve as a great reminder to past customers, family and friends that you offer an easy way for them to get some shopping done early, without even leaving the house.
Depending on where you're at with your business, you may want to consider online advertising for seasonal events. The key here is to hone in on where your target audience hangs out online. As this post from Paper n Stitch explains, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to promote products in crafters' forums - potential customers probably don't hang out there. There are many different possibilities for advertising your work. Split Rock Ranch talks about advertising on Cafe Homemade's virtual craft show, where people can vote ads up for a "Best in Show" award.
Plan a home-based party
Throwing a pre-holiday party where you sell your work is another fun way to market for the holidays. People are going to parties anyway, and are on the lookout for unique gifts. Offer friends, family and colleagues the opportunity to party and shop at the same time. These parties can be held independently or with other crafters. In Saturday's post, Courtney will offer a guide to hosting a home-based jewelry party. You're invited!
Crafters and artists, what tips do you have for seasonal marketing? Please share what's worked for you (and what hasn't)!