How To Ramp Up Your Marketing For The Holidays

marketing for the holidays

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For many businesses, the rush that comes at the end of the year simply takes them into survival mode, and as a result, their marketing for the holidays  can fall by the wayside. However, it is possible to have a coherent and easily actionable marketing plan to carry you through the rest of the year and into the next.

Marketing for the Holidays

Here are our best marketing for the holidays strategies to try!

Plan Your Campaigns

Of course, this may be “too little, too late” for some, but planning ahead as much as you can is always helpful, no matter the occasion. Many large retailers begin planning for the holidays even six months in advance, but your business may not need that much preparation time. By simply taking out a monthly calendar (you can print off a monthly one if writing it down helps you visualize better), you can look at what you need to do now, and during each week leading up to the main holidays in December and January.

Furthermore, planning shouldn’t be reserved for the holiday season. Books like “The 12 Week Year” can help you start planning your marketing goals (and beyond) on a quarterly basis, which can help you stay on top of your promotion and branding all year long.

Harness Storytelling in Ad Campaigns

Storytelling can be a pivotal part of the marketing strategy, especially during the holidays. This season is all about stories – from family traditions to heartwarming tales of giving. Create ad campaigns that narrate a story aligned with your brand values, ensuring it resonates emotionally with your audience.

Utilize visuals and narratives that evoke feelings of nostalgia, joy, or even humor. Instead of just focusing on product features, highlight the experiences or memories that can be created with them.

These stories can be told across various platforms, from social media posts to email campaigns, providing a unified theme to your holiday marketing efforts.

Utilize User-Generated Content (UGC)

The holiday season is filled with emotions, memories, and stories. Encourage your customers to share their experiences, stories, or even photos of themselves using your product.

  • Authenticity Boost: UGC can elevate your brand’s genuineness, making it more relatable to the audience.
  • Testimonials & Endorsements: Shared content acts as real-time reviews and endorsements, fostering trust among potential customers.
  • Deeper Connection: Customers sharing their experiences make them feel a closer bond with your brand.
  • Real-life Showcases: Potential customers can witness your products in actual use, adding credibility to your offerings.

User-Generated Content is not just about increasing visibility but also about building a community and cementing trust.

Post Sale Reminders

marketing for the holidays

If you are having a seasonal sale, it can be difficult to keep customers’ attention. They are often overwhelmed in the days after Thanksgiving and before Christmas and Hanukah, so it’s important to publish sale reminders without being pushy when marketing for the holidays.

This approach will often vary by what your audience is most attracted to.

For instance, if your email newsletter has healthy open and click-through rates, posting a sale reminder there may get more attention than your Twitter account, which only has 25 followers.

However, if you do have an active social media presence, many companies are now using their cover photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to include a unique graphic of their holiday sales. It’s important to follow your audience where they are most active.

Show Gratitude

marketing for the holidays

While saying thanks is something businesses should be doing all year long, giving around the holidays is a great way to thank your customers and employees for a great year. Many businesses elect to do giveaways of their most wished-for products before Christmas and Hanukah so they can be given as gifts.

This can be a great way to give away your products to those who want or need them, while also increasing your brand exposure in a positive way when marketing for the holidays.  Create a few social graphics promoting the giveaway, and then use a Facebook page app or a service like Rafflecopter to collect entries (make sure you follow all applicable terms of service on each social media site).

In addition, if your company is active in donations or giving to non-profits, pledge to donate a certain amount to a charity for specific product sales, or give employees a paid volunteering day so they can help contribute to food pantries or soup kitchens. Many companies also hold office food and toy drives to make sure their communities are fed and happy during the holiday season.

These types of initiatives can always be shared in the company blog and social media, and it helps the audience get a better look into what your company is passionate about.

This is especially the case when the cause is directly related to your company. For instance, an outdoor apparel manufacturer like REI could donate sleeping bags and coats to the homeless shelters in each store’s local community. Or, a tech start-up could donate time and funds to Girls Who Code, which creates programs to foster girls interested in STEM careers.

Try New Channels

marketing for the holidays

A big holiday push is a great reason to try new online platforms that you haven’t branded yourself on yet. While you don’t want to overwhelm your team, if you’ve been meaning to try a PPC campaign or start publishing blog posts more than once per month, the end of the year can provide motivation to finally implement these projects going into the new year.

New channels can pay off in a big way by giving you more exposure when marketing for the holidays, which can help not only further holiday sales, but also provide you with a jumping off point for the first quarter of the year when it comes to planning.

Engage Through Interactive Content

Engaging your audience becomes vital during the festive season, and interactive content is the key. Incorporate quizzes to help customers choose the perfect gift, polls to vote on new holiday-themed product designs, or even contests where customers share their own festive moments.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer features that make interactive content easy and engaging. Not only does this increase your brand’s visibility, but it also fosters a sense of community and engagement, ensuring your business stays at the forefront of customers’ minds.

Incorporate Video Marketing

Videos are a powerful tool in capturing attention and conveying a message. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at how your products are made, a heartfelt message from the CEO, or even a funny holiday-themed skit, videos can resonate deeply with your audience. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are perfect for sharing these visual narratives.

Optimize for Mobile Shopping

With the rise in smartphone usage, many consumers are shopping directly from their phones. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, so users can navigate and make purchases easily. Mobile optimization isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about the overall user experience. Slow-loading pages or a complicated checkout process can deter potential sales.

Optimize Customer Service Channels

With the holiday shopping frenzy, impeccable customer service becomes even more critical.

  • Diverse Channels: Ensure responsiveness across all communication avenues, be it email, live chat, or phone.
  • Adequate Staffing: Scale up your customer service team to handle the increased influx of queries and concerns.
  • Dedicated FAQ Section: Create a holiday-centric FAQ section to swiftly address recurrent questions, such as shipping timelines and return procedures.
  • Seamless Experience: A hassle-free and efficient customer service journey can make the difference, turning inquiries into confirmed sales and averting shopping cart desertions.

Collaborate with Influencers

Partnering with influencers in your industry can help amplify your marketing message. This doesn’t necessarily mean collaborating with big celebrities. Even micro-influencers, those with a smaller but highly engaged audience, can be a great fit. Ensure that any influencer you work with aligns with your brand values and ethos.

Leverage FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

The power of FOMO can be particularly effective during the holiday rush. Promote exclusive deals, limited-stock items, or special holiday bundles to entice your audience. Highlight the scarcity or time-sensitivity of offers using phrases like “While supplies last” or “24-hour flash sale”.

Platforms like Instagram Stories or Facebook Live are perfect for such promotions, offering real-time engagement with your audience. Incorporating countdown timers or showcasing dwindling stock numbers can amplify the urgency, driving more immediate actions from potential customers.

Tie-Into The New Year

marketing for the holidays

The first quarter of the year is something that occasionally falls off a company’s radar when they are trying to get through the holiday season, but tying the New Year into your holiday marketing efforts can make a big impact on your sales. For example, many healthy living and fitness companies have huge New Year’s sales because the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.

With 45 percent of Americans stating that they usually make a New Year’s resolution, when marketing for the holidays, crafting a marketing campaign about making a change in the coming year can help your company begin the year strong.

Your holiday marketing strategy doesn’t have to start in July, but with a little planning and a strategy that includes expanding your presence, staying active on your most engaged channels, giving back, and look ahead to the New Year, your company can enjoy a great holiday season.

Maximize Retargeting Strategies

The holiday season sees a spike in online browsing and shopping. However, many potential customers might leave your site without making a purchase. Capitalize on retargeting tools to re-engage these visitors.

Use platforms like Facebook and Google to display ads tailored to their previous interactions with your website. For instance, if they abandoned a shopping cart, showcase those exact products in the retargeted ads.

This strategy doesn’t just boost sales; it creates a personalized shopping experience for users, increasing the chances of conversion.

Marketing for the Holidays Summary

StrategyKey Points
Plan Your CampaignsStart early, even months in advance. Use a visual calendar. Plan year-round, not just holidays.
Storytelling in AdsEmphasize stories over product features. Evoke nostalgia, joy, humor. Use various platforms.
User-Generated ContentBoost authenticity. Serve as endorsements. Connect customers to brand.
Post Sale RemindersUse best-performing channels. Adjust for audience behavior. Utilize social media covers.
Show GratitudeHost product giveaways. Promote charitable actions. Engage in local community efforts.
Try New ChannelsExpand to new platforms. Motivate for year-end push. Plan for next year's Q1.
Interactive ContentUse quizzes, polls, contests. Engage on Instagram, Facebook. Build community.
Video MarketingShare various narratives. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.
Optimize for MobileEnsure mobile-friendly websites. Prioritize user experience. Simplify checkout.
Customer ServiceStaff up for holiday rush. Set up dedicated FAQs. Improve responsiveness.
Influencer CollaborationsPartner with industry influencers. Align with brand values. Consider micro-influencers.
Leverage FOMOPromote exclusive deals. Use platforms for real-time engagement. Amplify urgency.
Tie-Into The New YearLeverage New Year resolutions. Start strong in Q1. Combine holiday & New Year strategies.
Maximize RetargetingEngage visitors who leave without buying. Tailor ads based on interactions. Personalize experience.

Deer Decorations Photo via Shutterstock

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Sujan Patel Sujan Patel has championed Internet marketing and entrepreneurship for over a decade. His experience, ideas, and strategies have helped hundreds of companies build and strengthen their businesses online. Sujan is the VP of Marketing at thisCLICKS, the makers of When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.

5 Reactions
  1. New channels can be really important and not that hard. For example, if you’re running on Google AdWords but not on BingAds, it’s a very easy import to get access to 20-30% more clicks, at a lower CPC as well.

  2. Great article! Never to late to start, either. These days, so many people procrastinate to the last second! Thanks for posting.

  3. Gratitude is powerful promotion. It allows you to show your brand to your customers without being too imposing.

  4. Could you mention a company, brand or chain store that is good at holiday marketing?

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