We’ve all been there – whether it’s procrastinating until the last minute to turn in a school project, a work assignment, or even your taxes, the resulting panic can feel the same. For small businesses that depend on a strong fourth quarter or holiday season, discovering that your existing marketing and advertising campaigns are ineffective, or even forgetting to map out a holiday strategy in the first place, can be devastating.

No One Wants To Work Under Pressure

Even though some people claim that they work best under pressure, or that the added stress of procrastination produces better results, no one wants to hastily assemble a holiday marketing plan at the last minute or feel pressured to make changes after your original strategy or plan has produced underwhelming results. Not only do entrepreneurs have to “wing it” when it comes to marketing, often when they don’t have advertising or marketing professionals on staff or on contract, but marketing and advertising budgets are usually very limited. What are some effective ways you can implement a last-minute holiday marketing strategy or make changes to your existing plan without breaking the bank?

At The Last Minute And Under Pressure, Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Many people believe that the pressure of forcing work at the last minute spurs creativity, while others believe that if a traditional marketing or advertising campaign has been ineffective, it’s time to toss tradition out the window and do something more non-traditional or even radical. Both of these impulses have inspired innovative and successful marketing and advertising initiatives in the past, but chances are that doing something wild or nontraditional during the holiday season can backfire. Remember, the holidays are a beloved time by many because of family, tradition, and memories, and attempting to go in a nontraditional direction when so much of the season is based on tradition can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, when you’re faced with a looming deadline and not a lot of time to prepare, fall back on strategies that have proven to be successful in the past. If you’re attempting to fix an existing strategy that has been underwhelming, don’t completely discard what you’re doing. Instead, try to determine if your existing campaign can be changed or altered to better appeal to your target market. Fixing an existing strategy is much less time-consuming and expensive than creating a completely new one.

Harness The Power And Flexibility Of Digital Marketing and Advertising

If you’re interested in launching a holiday marketing and advertising strategy at the last minute, or if you’re interested in making last-minute changes to your existing strategy, it’s important to focus on the most cost-effective ways accomplish your goals. More traditional forms of advertising and marketing, including print or radio ads, advertising circulars, and direct marketing fliers, are usually expensive and require some time to setup and launch. Digital marketing and advertising, including search engine and social media ads, content marketing, and email campaigns, are usually less expensive and can be created, launched, and even altered mid-campaign with less cost and fewer delays. An easy way to generate buzz about your business around the holidays is to organize a contest or giveaway through social media, as your followers will likely be very interested in winning a gift card or a prize. If you don’t have the time or resources to organize a contest or giveaway, creating a digital coupon or discount is also very effective. No matter what type of strategy you choose to implement, don’t forget to keep your employees, especially customer-facing employees, in the loop so they are able to answer questions and spread the word about the prizes or deals you’re offering through your online channels.