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Your customers are already shopping for the holidays.
I know we’re all thinking of the beach and summer nights at the carnival or by the fire, but believe me - your customers are searching for gifts for Christmas right now.
Here are 5 tips to prepare your handmade business for the holidays.
If you’ve been thinking about getting your handmade items online, now is the time to do it! Getting your online shop up and running now gives you the time to work out all the kinks and get it going before the holiday rush.
If you’re not quite sure how to do that, my Get Online, Grow Online course is open for enrollment through Monday, 8/9!
If you already have an online shop, now’s the time to go through it and clean it up. Make sure your pictures are as good as they can be, and that your product descriptions are complete.
Is your shop mobile friendly? This is a must in 2021. If you have an Etsy shop, then this is taken care of for you, but if you have a Shopify shop, you should make sure the theme you’re using is mobile friendly.
Take some time to figure out when your deadlines will be for orders to be placed and shipped in order to arrive in time for the holidays.
If you make personalized products, these timelines may be early in the season, to give yourself enough time to make and ship the items. The sooner you tell your customers about your deadlines, the better.
As we get closer to the holidays, the shipping services will release their own deadlines for shipping. You can find this information around early October. But for the sake of planning now, you can be fairly certain that the Post Office usually requests ground packages to be shipped by around 12/15 in order to arrive for Christmas.
Really think about what you could make that would be great for the holidays in some way. Coming out with a “holiday collection” creates excitement with your existing customers, and allows you to capture more of that holiday shopping traffic.
If you make jewelry, you can create gift sets that feature a necklace, earrings and bracelet.
If you crochet or knit, create gift sets for women, men, or kids that include a hat and matching scarf.
If you make signs or vinyl projects, think anything holiday!
And for anyone, think about the people your customers need gifts for: teachers, co-workers, friends, bus drivers, doctors, nurses, sisters....come up with products or options that are specific for these people.
Comb through gift guides and trend articles to get ideas and inspiration. Here are some for 2021 that you can read:
Hopefully with the events of 2020, you’ve realized how important it is to have an email list. If not - don’t freak out! You can always start one, it’s never too late. I’ve got a totally free guide to starting an email list that you can download here.
Once you get that up and running, or if you already have a list, now is the time to think about communicating with your list on a regular basis. You don’t want to be silent for months and then just pop up out of nowhere in the middle of the holiday craziness!
Most email services give you the option to schedule emails out. Think about a good schedule for you - it can be once a week, two times a month, even once a month. But pick one and stick with it, because “consistency is key”.
Then come up with topics for each of those emails, now through the end of the year. They don’t have to be complete right now! Just think about what you could share with your list, and draw up an outline.
People are busy. You don’t need to write a book! You can quickly update them on new products, send them your ordering and shipping deadlines when you have them set up, show them a sneak peek of your holiday collections as you get them ready, etc…
Taking the time to set your emails up now will go a long way, I promise! If you can start them now and have the rest of the year’s emails written and scheduled by the fall, then you don’t have to think about them again until January! In the meantime they’ll be keeping you top of mind with your customers, and will hopefully bring you sales.
Think about ways you can “deck the halls” in your business.
Can you take photos of products with holiday themes?
Can you change your packaging so it has something festive in it?
What about your website - can you create special graphics that brighten up your pages and make them more holiday friendly?
Embracing the holidays and showing your enthusiasm through your marketing materials creates a better user experience. Your customers will know that you’re active and ready to create special, meaningful gifts for their loved ones.
It may seem silly but it really does make a difference! Think about walking into a store that’s completely decorated for the holidays. Doesn’t it bring a smile to your face when you’re shopping for holiday gifts? You can do the same thing for your customers, but virtually!
And if you’re planning on attending holiday craft shows, then you can do the same thing for your booth! Add touches of holiday spirit to your decor and your packaging so customers know you’ve got products that make great gifts.
As handmade business owners, the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful.
Using the summer months to prep for the holidays will completely change the way you manage the season. Plus, having the time now to thoroughly plan out your products, packaging and more can increase your sales later on.
If you’re ready to get your business online and grow your sales, check out my signature course that’s currently enrolling - Get Online, Grow Online. Doors close after 8/9 - don’t miss your chance to have the best holiday selling season yet!