When I was younger, I remember the thrill of going into the huge stores. For commemorative events, like the first day of school, birthdays, or Christmas, my parent would take my siblings and I through the building and let us choose one thing from the shelves. That would be our reward. This was especially true around holidays, as my brother and I knew we could get more expensive things because they were discounted. But what is the nature of all these holiday sales? How do people plan these deals for all the holidays that come and go throughout the year? Furthermore, what’s the secret to getting your book into the mix? There are very simple tips you can follow to effectively boost sales during holidays. Not just the holidays, but all holidays. You see merchandise on sale around Easter, as do you for the 4th of July and others. Follow our tips below, and you’ll give yourself that boost!
Before we start, you may be wondering how this differs from my previous post on marketing for the holidays. If you have not read that blog first, I highly recommend doing so, and you can find it here. You need to understand that marketing is only a part of sales, and that it can be applied to all the holidays of the year. Marketing is intended to get the word out about your work, whereas planning encourages them to buy once they know it’s available. How? Let’s go over the tips.
Tips for Effective Holiday Planning:
- Stock up!
- Start early
- Include coupons or other promotions
- Be friendly
- Be available for questions
Short, simple, and to the point, these are the tips that we push if you want to increase your revenue over the next holiday. We’ll go over each one in more detail, and we’ll start with stock.
Stock up! –
Exactly what it sounds like, stocking requires you to account for the amount of expected sales that quarter and make sure you have enough supplies to fulfill the demand. That said, it is always wise to use data from previous sales to estimate what your sales should be. While overstocking isn’t always bad, if you don’t sell them right away that’s money misdirected from marketing or promotion. Say you’ve got a sheet that says you sold one thousand copies of your book last year between November 23rd and December 31st. Naturally, you want to increase or match that number, so have at least one thousand copies available, through you or through your printer. Being sold out sounds good, but it could damage sales and deter customers from coming back.
Start early –
I covered this in my previous post, so I’ll keep it brief here. Any holiday planning, as with Christmas, needs to begin early. For Christmas specifically, it’s good to start at least three months in advance. Minimum, you should begin six weeks prior. This applies to any holiday. If you have a campaign in mind for Halloween, start planning in September or earlier. This is especially true because, if you’re looking to get into mass markets (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc.), it takes some time for the vendor sheet to go through. By the time it’s reviewed, it will likely already be the month of the holiday, and you’ll have minimal time to promote.
Include coupons or other promotions –
Ever open a package and along with a receipt comes a coupon or piece of promotional material? You know the ones. The validation code, or the toll-free number to call-in your complimentary thingamabob. This is a very simple way to boost sales, and it invites the customer to come back after their previous purchase. Alternatively, the customer may also pass on this promotion to someone else, who may then receive their own coupon and use that. The cycle continues, but it’s important to remember and your claim needs substance. If you pass out a coupon that says 30% off their next purchase, you have to be able to follow through with it. No one wants to be accused of fraudulent business practices, so don’t offer a ‘two for one’ sale for instance unless you have the means to back it up.
Be friendly –
As simple as it sounds, so I’ll be quick. You should have contact information readily available in case anyone has any questions. When you respond to them, be courteous and professional. Do not lose your temper or act with indifference. You never want to alienate your customers, so be aware of your tone, language, word usage, everything that’s communicated between you and your consumers (written, electronic, and verbal).
Be available for questions –
Much in the same way you need to be personable, you should most always be available to respond to your customers’ questions. I mentioned this above, but make sure that your contact information is always present. Do not list your personal information as contact information. Have a business email, set up your own domain if you can, have a work phone, and create separate social media accounts from your personal accounts. Make sure the information you want them to see is obvious and concise. Let there be no question regarding how they contact you. Be approachable, be transparent. Be a person, not just a brand.
Planning for any holiday can be a challenge, but the payoff is well worth the effort once the revenue begins to add up. Remember that your goal should always be in mass markets, but the journey does not end there. Rather that’s the beginning! Once you reach that step, you should contact your publisher to see if they offer distribution channels or reach out to the sellers yourself to see if you can fill out their vendor sheets. Mass markets are a great tool for distributing your book, as it’ll enable them to reach further than if you only landed in a local bookstore. Do the research, help your publisher, and with enough time you’ll be able to get your book onto Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, and other mass markets’ shelves! Smart planning can lead to great sales. Every holiday is an opportunity to popularize your name and brand, and with those come greater success. The retail world doesn’t wait for you, so best not to fall behind. Think about that next holiday coming up, be it Easter, Valentine’s Day, or even Labor Day. Plan your strategy around that day with the tips we’ve shared, and you’ll be in a much better position to see your sales foster!