I’m not a big fan of Christmas and year-end holiday cards. The festive season brings along a multitude of traditions, and while many eagerly await the arrival of holiday cards in their mailbox, I’ve always found them to be a tad overrated.
Not only do they often come with a hefty price tag, but their repetitive designs and predictable messages can be mundane.
Year after year, my quest has been to discover low cost marketing ideas that resonate with the holiday spirit.
Here are my two criteria for holiday marketing ideas:
- Inexpensive – They have to be low cost. They can’t break the bank.
- Creative – Yet, they have to break through the clutter that my poor clients are dealing with. So they have to be creative in order to stand out.
This year, I thought it would be fun to share some of the creative ideas I’ve found along the way.
1. Dress up Your Website like Google
Do it not just for the year-end Holiday season – but for EVERY holiday that comes along.
In today’s digital age, your online presence is often the first touchpoint for potential clients or customers. With the festive season approaching, what better way to spread holiday cheer than by adding a sprinkle of festivity to your website?
It’s a delightful strategy that’s both straightforward and enjoyable, almost guaranteed to elicit a grin from those who happen upon your site.
If graphic design isn’t your forte, there are numerous platforms where you can commission holiday-themed logos or designs.
Platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow for customization – why not enhance your profiles with some holiday magic?
Tools such as Canva and PicMonkey simplify the process, ensuring that your digital platforms radiate holiday vibes.
2. Try Personalizing or Customizing
These days there are so many fun and interesting ways to personalize just about anything.
- How about personalizing postage stamps with your logo or a personal picture? Take idea #1 (a holiday version of your logo) and put that on a stamp. If you do decide to send holiday cards (OK, we understand), use your personalized stamps. Don’t stop there — use the personalized stamps for sending out invoices and other customer communications during the season.
- Get a necktie or scarf with your logo image all over it. Wear that same tie or scarf to every holiday event. You can become a walking brand at holiday parties.
- You can also personalize cookies, candy and chocolate. For example, if your customers are chocolate lovers, M&M’s will let you pick a color and write your own short message on the hard candy shell. Hershey’s will write a personal message on your very own bar of chocolate. Or how about a giant fortune cookie with a customized message inside? Why not bake your own cookies? There is NOTHING like receiving something handmade. It shows your customers you’ve taken brain time and energy for THEM.
- Create water bottles or other beverages with your logo and/or team photo on it.
3. Meet Your Customers Half-way
One auto shop owner told customers to bring their own oil and washer fluid and they would change their oil at a reduced rate.
In the realm of business, innovation often lies in understanding your customer’s needs and tweaking your services to offer added value.
By allowing customers to provide their own supplies, this savvy auto shop owner not only reduced costs but also fostered a sense of collaboration.
Delving deep into your business model might reveal similar opportunities. Imagine a scenario where customers feel they’re part of the process, transcending the usual transactional experience.
I was reminded of a unique dining establishment where patrons play chef, crafting their own culinary masterpieces.
While some might question the concept, it’s undeniable that such ventures offer more than just products or services; they’re selling memorable experiences and a unique atmosphere.
4. Create a Video Card
YouTube videos have become a popular form of cost-effective promotion. In our modern, connected world, visual content often reigns supreme.
Platforms like YouTube provide a golden opportunity for businesses to reach vast audiences without breaking the bank. This holiday season, consider harnessing the power of video to connect with your target audience.
Gather your team, let those creative juices flow, and produce a heartwarming holiday jingle. By subtly showcasing your products or giving a nod to your loyal customers, you’ll craft a memorable piece of content.
If you’re pressed for time or lack the resources, platforms like Fiverr offer a plethora of talented creators ready to bring your vision to life, often in a short turnaround time.
5. Give A Personalized Team Picture
Here’s one of the most low cost marketing ideas for the holidays. Simply take a picture.
Create a group shot in the lobby. Or create a collage using candid shots of individuals around the company. Show team members “in action” – making the product your customer uses or taking a call.
You can also include photos from your annual customer appreciation event if you have one. Or include any other pictures you may have taken at events.
This helps create a personal bond between people in your company and your customers.
6. Create 12 Days of “Your Product”
Create a special promotion with 12 days of your product or service. Or create a product of the month. Feature a product or service every day or every week during the Holidays — or every month throughout the year.
Many of your customers don’t even KNOW about — let alone purchase — all the different products and services you have to offer.
Companies in the food business use this strategy a lot. Think beer-of-the-month, cheese-cake of the-month, or coffee of the month. But if you remember the “Book-of-the-Month” clubs, then you know that you can use this with many other products. Cigars or teddy bears are just a few.
There aren’t too many companies offering services that do this. But I think some of these might be interesting:
- Maid service companies could feature an extra cleaning detail each month.
- Trainers or consultants can offer featured webinars, reports or newsletters.
7. Write a Free Holiday Survival Guide
I like low cost marketing ideas for the holidays that are integral to your business.
Creating a guide is great for any kind of consultant or services business. It shows off your capabilities. We’re marketing experts — so we’re giving you this one!
Create a downloadable guide for your customers.
What are some tips and tricks you know because you’re an expert and an insider in your industry? Think about what your customers would really appreciate learning. What are questions they commonly ask?
Place these ideas into an e-book or PDF format.
8. Write Your own “Holiday Story”
Hire a writer, and take some pictures (or use your employees’ kids to create illustrations) around a holiday story.
You can develop a story that features some of your core corporate values wrapped around the holidays. Perhaps include some “case study” examples that feature your heroic capabilities. Put a humorous spin on it. It will be keepsake AND a promotional item for your customers.
For example, a few years ago, Mark Anderson, the professional cartoonist of Andertoons, created a small Thanksgiving booklet which he sent to customers.
It contained a collection of his Thanksgiving-themed cartoons. It was small and lightweight, and inexpensive to create and mail. Yet it made a big impact.
How about a customized book? For instance, Blurb is a tool that will let you create your very own high-end book. This is a wonderful keepsake for customers.
9. Create a Printed or Craft Holiday Ornament
Create ornaments for the tree highlighting your organization’s features and benefits. You can use little snowflakes printed with goodwill messages.
Create a design that’s a combination of text messages and pictures. Print them off, put in a hole punch, and add a ribbon so it can hang on the tree.
VOILA. It’s a daily reminder to your customers of why they choose you.
If you’ve got pictures of you and your customers taken over the past year — throw some of those in there. If you’re not that crafty — then create your ornament cards digitally on Moo.com and they’ll be shipped to you. All you have to do is hole punch and hang.
Or go to the craft store and find wooden ornament templates to hand decorate. Or create edible goodies. Do this for your best customers or perhaps even some of those prospects that have been on the fence.
10. Commission a Special Holiday Greeting
Some of you just can’t resist sending out holiday cards. So if you must, make it a special and unique card.
Commission a humorous cartoon through Andertoons, for example. Then once you have the custom image from him, use one of the online custom card-making applications like Zazzle or Moo to create your card.
Or talk with your local printer. Have the cards professionally printed in your own backyard.
11. Create a Customer Recipe Collection
Here’s one of those marketing ideas for the holidays that will also be memorable for years to come.
Instead of collecting recipes from friends and family, let your customers know that they are part of your family. How? By including THEIR favorite recipes mingled in with yours.
This will not only be a promotional tool, but a keepsake. Your customers will cherish it for a long time. Here is a downloadable recipe collection how-to article to get you started (thanks to HP).
12. Holiday Cards and Invitations
Now, if you really insist on sending Holiday Cards, here are some low cost alternatives.
First, find a great stock image, and superimpose some text with a customized greeting on it. Print it out on heavy stock card or have it printed at the local print store.
The trick is to pick an image with lots of “empty” space on it. This means having a simple plain background.
See the image at the top of this article? That is an example of an image with lots of open area (the lower third of the image, the part in brown).
You can place a text message using a graphics program such as PicMonkey on the open area. That image was a free-to-use image from Pexels (with a Creative Commons license).
Here’s another great image idea for this technique:
Here is an even simpler alternative. Simply download this PDF template and type in your personal message. Then print it out on a nice heavy weight card paper and you’re all done.
And if you’re having a holiday get together for your office or any club or organization you belong to, try this easy template for a holiday party invitation. It’s ideal to distribute, post or send.
When it comes to making an impact during the year-end holidays, even smaller businesses can run with the best of them.
Whatever level of effort and/or money you want to put into holiday marketing, there are plenty of low cost marketing ideas for the holidays to choose from. Start now while you still have plenty of lead time. Make sure your business is top of mind with customers when the holidays roll around.
Below is a handy comparison table summarizing the holiday marketing ideas discussed, categorizing them by type and highlighting their potential impact:
|Dress up Your Website like Google||Digital Decoration||Increase website engagement, brand recall|
|Try Personalizing or Customizing||Personalized Merchandise||Direct brand visibility, memorability|
|Meet Your Customers Half-way||Customer Experience Enhancement||Enhance customer loyalty, unique experience|
|Create a Video Card||Digital Media||Engage audience with visual content, virality|
|Give A Personalized Team Picture||Personalized Merchandise||Personalize business-client relationship|
|Create 12 Days of “Your Product”||Promotion||Increase sales, customer engagement|
|Write a Free Holiday Survival Guide||Content Marketing||Show expertise, build trust|
|Write Your own “Holiday Story”||Content Marketing||Engage audience with narrative, brand values|
|Create a Printed or Craft Holiday Ornament||Crafted Merchandise||Personal touch, brand visibility during holidays|
|Commission a Special Holiday Greeting||Customized Card||Personalize the traditional holiday card|
|Create a Customer Recipe Collection||Community Engagement||Strengthen community, memorable keepsake|
|Holiday Cards and Invitations||Traditional Marketing||Reinforce brand visibility during the holiday season|
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