If you're anything like me, you wait until the last-minute to prepare for upcoming events. I'm turning over a new leaf this year. So again if you are like me then jump on the "Get Er Done" bandwagon and start planning for the upcoming holiday season.

Consumers are getting their pocket books ready for the shopping season. They are also busy and they're not going to spend a ton of time looking for what they want and need. Impulse buying will be at an all-time high.

This is the perfect opportunity for your brand to be highly visible and have your products and services stand out. Before you start promoting your holiday wares take a peek at these suggestions I have for you. I've got 20 Smart Business Holiday Ideas for your brand to stay visible and get your online audience to buy your stuff.

What to do first...

1. Take a Look Back

The very first thing you need to do is to Take a Look Back. Do some research and answer the following questions. How did the last holiday season go for your business? What were your best sellers? Of course, you'll only be able to take a look back if you had a business last year. You're definitely on the right track if you're reading this and this is your first holiday season.

2. Have a Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing is a huge part of any holiday season campaign. Yes, you want your fans and followers to immediately purchase from you, but you'll also want those same people to become repeat purchasers. That can be done by creating and using a content marketing strategy. Stay on the radar by posting often and giving your audience what they expect and are looking for.

3. Create Evergreen Content

Make your content Evergreen so you can use it over and over again. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Create images and postings that you can use next year as well.

4. Take Inventory

Take stock of what you have to sell. If you have physical items, then take inventory on that as well. If you have services or informational products list them out. Take note of what your best sellers are and begin to devise a plan to promote them within your holiday campaigns.

5. Hire, Hire, Hire

Will you need some help? I love doing things myself, but you best believe if I need help, help is what I'm going to get. You'll definitely be able to sell more if you have someone helping with the additional day-to-day task that comes with seasonal selling.

6. Understand Whats HOT!

Do some research and find out What's Trending. Trends let you know what consumers purchase and specifically what they are looking for. There is no excuse to not research buying habits within your industry ahead of time. That is how the big dogs become the big dogs (that would be influencers).

7. Ready, Set, Wait!

Be ready for increased website traffic. You may want to upgrade your hosting plan. Are you running a website with e-commerce in mind? Is your site mobile ready? Last, have you tested everything. OH! Don't forget to capture emails with smart lead boxes. ( you can join our list to get more great tips like this one here http://bit.ly/1rL3LpG


Ready, Set, GO!

8. Get people excited. You don't have to wait to let the crowd know that you'll be running specials. Now is a good time to let your audience know about any product launches and releases coming up during the holiday season.

9. Count Downs are an effective way to build anticipation for what is to come. You can add value to any count down you have in place by adding product tips in each count down day release or post.

10. Prepare Images Now. Having well thought out images will get the best responses. Increase engagement by adding text so your images not only look good but they tell a story as well.

11. Start Pinterest Holiday Boards. It is usually all about Twitter on this blog, but you can integrate the two together by linking your Pinterest account to your Twitter account. (If you have one). Humans are visual animals. We love pictures. This can definitely be used to your brand's advantage.

12. Everybody loves giveaways. You can add some special touches and run Holiday Giveaways for a select group or for all those that follow you. Of course, you can make it mandatory for people to join your list if they expect to be a winner.

13. Email Marketing is a crucial part of online marketing. A brand's list is highly valued because the people who sign up for your brand's list will be and are warm leads. It is important to get holiday email campaigns started now. It can be done by sending season greetings and special discounts to your current list. Always remember it takes several points of contact develop relationships, but don't over do it.

14. Get Ready For E-commerce and Holiday Shopping. I already pointed out this fact, but I thought I would mention it one more time. A couple of important dates to remember are Cyber Monday which is the 1st day in December and Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving. Your customers are waiting for your offers on these dates, so don't leave them hanging.

15. Promote Your Products and Services So People Know You're Selling. Most business will do a good job of opening social media accounts. They also may do a good job of sharing valuable content. What they may suck at is actually selling online. Case in point: I have a friend that told me she couldn't understand why no one was making appointments with her. She is very active on social media and her audience is extremely engaging. My question to her and to you is "Are you selling or are you just having fun?" If you never talk about the stuff you sell, no one will ever know you are in business. (PERIOD)

16. Get Your Website Ready. Set up specific holiday landing pages and for heaven's sake make sure your brand's website is mobile friendly and mobile ready. Test, Test and Test again. Never leave the user experience to chance.

17. Update Your Social Media Accounts. Today is always a good day to do some social media account housekeeping. Keep in mind that online buyers like to know a little about those they purchase from. Ensure all information is current and there is a clear message as to what you are offering. Change your images to reflect the holidays. You can change your header and profile as often as you like. Change is good and shows your accounts are active.

18. Start Scheduling Now. There is no time like the present. You'll be able to anticipate, to a certain extent, how busy you may be, but why take a chance. Be ready. You can use services like Hootsuite or BufferApp to get the job done while you are out shopping.

19. Last Have Tons of Calls-to-Actions on Everything. Don't assume your audience will know what to do. Tell them where to go next, how to buy YOUR stuff and how to stay in contact for future offers. Hold your audience's hand by letting them know how to take action.

20. Take Action Now! Say it with me "There is no time like the present".

What are your thoughts?