Whether you started planning for the big holiday sales during the summer or have done nothing yet, you still have time to generate additional revenue if you act now.

Put serious thought into what you are offering before you launch. Poorly designed offers can damage your brand by really annoying your potential buyers.

First, always protect your brand

This is one time when you do not want to be copying what the corporate stores are doing. USAToday lists tactics to avoid in its recent article “4 Black Friday Facts Retailers Don’t Want You To Know.”

holiday shoppers illustration
Follow these steps to a successful holiday selling season.

All of these are common in big corporate stores during the holiday shopping season, and are definitely a bad idea if you want your customers to love you:

Shoppers will eventually catch on to these tricks, probably sooner than later. There are examples, though, of small businesses offering typical discounts and sometimes just regular pricing, but that still benefit from participating in big holiday sales days. Even if you aren’t interested in that, read on as these retail strategies can be implemented all year long.

Thanksgiving ecommce spending chart
Source: http://www.statista.com

Be proactive: Ask to be added to shipping sites and posts about sales deals

Reach out to parcel-forwarding companies in countries you ship to and ask to be featured on their sites and in their holiday promotions. They already have a target audience you want to reach.

For example, if you ship to the UK, develop a relationship with MyUKMailbox. Search for “parcel forwarding companies” + the country you’re interested in to find more companies like this.

Also, watch for location-specific post titles about sales events. Many sites are willing to add you to existing content when it benefits their readers to do so.

Expand your client base internationally

80% of small businesses that sell globally saw increased sales in 2016. Businesses located in smaller countries can increase their target audience by expanding to other countries. To keep it simple, use these tips to sell through eBay or Amazon.

Shipping internationally can get complicated quickly. Focus on one country at a time. Or skip the complexity altogether by letting your shoppers know about methods for buying internationally.

For example, there are companies that provide shipping addresses shoppers can use to order from other countries. They enable buyers to shop anywhere that ships to a particular country and have their packages bundled and forwarded to them. Do your due diligence as there are far too many parcel-forwarding services to mention in this post.

Parcel forwarding is primarily used by buyers outside the United States, who are served by far fewer e-commerce stores. Most small online stores based in the U.S. only ship within the country. But more are expanding, so always search their sites first for country information.

Make sure the countries where you ship are featured on your shipping information page. If you only sell in one country, put that on the page. The internet is worldwide and even if they’re not your buyers, it will save everyone time if you make this information obvious and easy to find.

Successfully promote without discounts

Kurt Elster from the Shopify Podcast explains in the video below how to successfully promote during the holidays even without discounts. You don’t have to be using Shopify to benefit from his tips.

He focuses on email, which is the first strategy to implement. Even people who usually ignore or delete most email during other times of the year are likely to open email messages when they’re doing holiday shopping.

Remember that during the holidays, both organic and paid traffic can be harder and more expensive to obtain. So start with any method you already have in place to reach existing customers. Get your target products onto a custom page and send that page to your customers via email and social media.

When you send email, suggest customers follow you on social accounts. When you post to social accounts, encourage them to subscribe to get special offers via email. Note that using an email subscription tab on Facebook works better for this than sending people off of Facebook to your site to subscribe.

Find a creative way to get shares and interest and pin it on your Facebook page. Threads asking others to share their own stories can increase interactions. Asking followers to post photos or videos works even better. People are more likely to share what they themselves have contributed, which can help spread your offers.

What to feature by season

Look at your store history for what sold well this time last year and throughout the holiday season. Sort by highest dollar value and then by quantities sold. Those are the products or services to promote, so output them to a list. (Get in the habit of doing this all year long to see impressive sales gains.)

Check your inventory or contact your supplier to verify products you wish to feature are available. You might even ask for a special price for featured items based on the quantity you feel you could sell. Make a business…