It is an understatement to say that 2020 has been a difficult year. The COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and raging wildfires have made this single year seem like five. 

However, we are almost at the finish line of 2020 (finally!), which means the holiday season is right around the corner. 

And even though we are still living with the pandemic, you still have a business to run. 

Under “normal” circumstances, we would probably be writing a blog about how you can set your holiday strategy for success. But since the pandemic has ushered in a “temporary normal,” as we like to say, we’re going to focus on developing a holiday strategy, but with a COVID-19 twist.

Set Specific Goals

The first step you should take in preparing for a COVID holiday season is to set specific goals. You want to understand exactly what you would like to accomplish during this time of year. 

While you can base your goal on revenue, do NOT simply say, “our goal is more revenue.” Go deeper and detail in specific steps and points how you want to grow your revenue. 

You can also set a goal that helps you grow your reach in terms of marketing. You can say, “we want more subscribers to our email newsletter” or “more followers on Facebook.”

The key is to be exacting in what you would like to accomplish. 

Review Your Marketing Channels

Next, take some time to review your marketing channels. We always advise taking a look at your various social media accounts at least twice a year to review the following:

  • Branding (logo, colors, tagline, etc.)
  • Store/office hours
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Links to other social media platforms
  • Any other important information. 

The months leading up to the holiday season are a perfect time to get one of your check ups done. 

If your audience is taking time out of their day to look you up, you want to make sure they get the right information no matter where they look. Chances are you will not get a second chance. 

Review Logistics

This means taking some time to make sure you have all the supplies, elements, and information that you need to successfully function during a COVID holiday season. 

If you are a restaurant you are probably going to be doing a lot more takeout and delivery. Do you have enough boxes and bags stocked up?

Do you know if/when key employees need time off for the holidays?

Are your holiday hours set? Have you spoken with vendors and suppliers about potential shortages or anything that might be delayed due to COVID. 

Do you have sales pages set up? Are links working? Do you need or have an email funnel set up for your holiday offerings along with social media messaging to go out with it? 

Take some time to make a checklist of things you need to know or prepare so that everything is in place when you need it. Then, work your way through the list until you feel confident that you and your business are ready. 

Speak to Your Team

Communication is important in any aspect in life or business. For what is sure to be a holiday season like no other, proper communication takes on even more importance.

Speak to your team to let them know the goals you have set, what roles they play in achieving those goals, and what needs to be ready when. Allow feedback and potentially consider updating your goals based on what your staff tells you. 

Go over the logistics from the previous point so everybody knows your store/office hours, where to get the supplies, and how to address any potential customer service issues, 

Preparing your team for this holiday season should be one of your top priorities. 

Look Ahead

If you REALLY want to make an impact with your holiday planning, start thinking of how you want to start 2021. Many small- and medium-sized businesses focus so much on the holiday season, they do little to nothing for the new year. 

This results in a sluggish start where your business spends much of January seemingly coming out of hibernation. 

What does this look like? It could be a New Year promotion that you can run throughout January or a Valentine’s Day promotion. It could also be something as simple as retooling your digital marketing strategy to make sure you have a strong start to the year. But you have to start crafting marketing content to share during the month of December (or sooner!). 

Make sure you also have your staff speak excitedly about the new year and what your customers can look forward to. 

Do what you can so you can hit 2021 running. 

Be Safe

Last, no matter what you do, be safe. This is not a political statement or lecturing. Whatever your beliefs are, the fact of the matter is people are still getting sick and dying. Put your safety and the safety of your employees and customers first. 

The holiday season is normally a busy and stressful time of year, especially if your organization is retail or some form of customer-facing business. Because the pandemic has forced businesses to operate differently, it is impossible to predict the exact impact it will have on the average business. The best thing you can do for your business is to think ahead and do what you can to prepare for any scenario. 

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