By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner

The holiday season is fast approaching -- it's almost time to start getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Aside from spending time with friends and family, you still have to worry about your business as the holiday season draws near.

Specifically, you have to start thinking about your marketing. Besides being the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas and Thanksgiving are also the most profitable time of the year. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that holiday retail sales in November and December will reach up to $720 billion. One of the best ways you can boost your holiday sales is by making changes to the ways in which you're marketing your business to customers and prospects alike.

Let's explore some of the ways you can bring in more business over the holidays, all while pleasing your customers and delivering a wonderful experience that will keep them coming back for more.

Establish your Black Friday marketing early.

In 2017, it is estimated that U.S. shoppers spent a stunning $5 billion during the 24 hours of Black Friday. Knowing how much money is spent on this holiday, it's no mystery that everyone wants to get their fair share. So, how do you market your business to make the most of Black Friday?

First, plan ahead. Take some time to brainstorm and come up with a marketing campaign. Figure out the price slashes, special offers and outlets that you're going to offer and decide on which channels to advertise (social media, website, print, etc.). Next, work with your graphic artist or use a handy tool like Canva to get your artwork ready. Make sure all of the information on the banners is correct. You don't want a misunderstanding on Black Friday.

Finally, test your coupon codes before the customers start rolling in. You want sales to flow as smoothly as possible on Black Friday. Online stores can get crowded and errors can occur. The quicker you get everyone in and out, the better. Testing all your codes beforehand will ensure a smooth and profitable Black Friday.

Combine sales and charity.

This time of the year is focused around giving to those who are less fortunate. You'll often see businesses partner with big-name charities around Christmas to help kids who don't have the means to celebrate the holidays due to a variety of circumstances, veterans who were abandoned after their service or people who are terminally ill and can use a little kindness in their life. These businesses often see increased sales as a result of their good deeds.

You can kill two birds with one stone. Pick a charity that means something to you personally or one that is affiliated with your business. Once you select a charity, create a section on your website or banner saying that a percentage of all sales this season are going toward "Charity X." People naturally have a desire to help others. You're more likely to get sales due to your act of kindness, and the donated money will go to a good cause. It's the ultimate way to make your marketing stand out during the holiday season.

Get festive.

The holidays are a great time to add new festive photos to your website to get people excited about the season and your special offers. You can find great free stock photos on sites like Unsplash. You can also add a countdown timer to let people know when your amazing deals start.

Don't forget to plan ahead for your email marketing. Use creative subject lines or festive emojis in the subject line to increase open rates. Customize and personalize your emails so your recipient feels special this holiday season.

The holidays are an important time of year to everyone. There's a good chance that people who shop with you over the holidays will stick around if you offer them a quality service or product that they can feel good about. You may have to do some tweaking every year, but you can use these methods to develop a strong marketing campaign and ring in the New Year with happy customers and a fantastic profit margin.

Syed is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their website.

Published on: Nov 1, 2018