It’s already August, which means the holiday season is approaching quickly, and you can never start preparing too early! There are several ways that your business can start gearing up for the holiday season right now, and some of them won’t cost you much. Here are a few items to consider when preparing your business for a successful holiday season:

Start monitoring your reputation listings.

It can be easy to forget about all of the listings your business may have online. Sites like Yelp! and Facebook often allow users to create their own listings, or they generate listings for a business without notifying them – this allows customers to leave reviews and ratings whenever they please, without the owner’s control. Make an effort to go through all of those reputation sites and verify that your contact and location information is updated and correct. Often times this will prompt you to “claim” your listing, which allows you to easily monitor the comments and ratings you are being given and to interact with customers to boost positive experiences with your business.

Use social media to publicize holiday specials and events – right now.

Social media gives you the opportunity to let everyone know about your events and upcoming deals that you will have for the holidays. The sooner your potential customers start to develop a familiarity with your business, the less strange or frustrating your ads will appear once on their timeline. The holidays also give you the opportunity to publish tweets giving well wishes to your followers beyond the promotional tweets that they will already be receiving.

Push last minute benefits.

Last minute shoppers that are in a pinch will be looking for specific perks and may even be willing to pay more for them. Quick shipping and in store pick up are options that can make your business rise above the rest during that last week of the holidays, but you’ll need time to prepare these options. Once you’ve got your plan in place, be sure to publicize these options on your social media and in any display advertising you may be implementing, because it can make you stand out!

Evaluate your targeting methods.

Adjusting the targeting method you may be using is extremely important when it comes to the holidays. Advertising during this period is often based more on conversions than brand exposure, so re-evaluating these strategies will be beneficial for your holiday campaigns specifically. Start brainstorming about this now, so that you can be sure to adjust your strategy most effectively once the season starts. One way to execute targeting during the holidays is to implement geo-targeting. This will allow you to target customers that are more likely to visit in store and complete purchases. Additionally, implementing remarketing campaigns for those that may have visited your site and didn’t completed a purchase are increasingly beneficial for holiday campaigns, as well as audience targeting that is based on previous searches. For example, you could use someone’s previous search behavior of athletic apparel to display advertisements that promote products that may be relevant to these searches.

While all of these tactics together may be the most successful strategy, implementing the stepping stones for a successful holiday season can give customers the tools they need to become aware of their options and discover where to find you. Start by updating those reputation listings so that your customers can be sure to locate you whenever they are ready to start their shopping!