50 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Business This Holiday Season

The holidays provide plenty of opportunities to market to customers in new and unique ways. Here are 50 2016 holiday marketing ideas to get you started.

The holiday season is upon us. And it provides many unique opportunities for all different types of businesses to market to customers in new and unique ways. Whether you own an online business, a local store, or even a B2B company, there are ways you can promote your business throughout the coming months. Here are some holiday marketing ideas you can use.

Holiday Marketing Ideas

Include Coupons With Purchases

The holiday season is a great time to garner some repeat business. And you can do that by including a coupon or special offer in each purchase so that customers can take advantage at a later date.

Cross-Promote With Other Businesses

You can also use a similar strategy to attract customers from other local businesses. Just exchange coupons or go in on a special offer and give those items to shoppers at each store.

Host a Thank You Dinner

If you have some really loyal customers or clients, you can say a special thank you at the holidays by taking them out to a lunch or dinner.

Partner With a Local Charity

You might also want to do some charity work during the holidays. If you have a local business, you can invite representatives from a local charity to collect money or share their message at your location for a day.

Donate Money to a Cause

holiday marketing ideas

Or you could simply choose to donate a portion of your profits throughout the holidays to a particular group or cause.

Invite Santa Claus

People love visiting Santa Claus around Christmas time. So you can invite him to your store or business to attract some families who are out shopping.

Exhibit at Holiday Shows

Holiday-themed trade shows, craft fairs, and pop-up markets are prolific during the festive season, drawing in throngs of shoppers looking for unique gifts and seasonal treats.

Exhibiting at such shows can offer businesses a unique platform to present their products directly to a captive and interested audience. It’s not just about sales; it’s an opportunity for brand building, networking with other vendors, and gaining valuable feedback from live customers. Furthermore, these events often attract local media, influencers, and bloggers, offering potential additional publicity.

Offer Gift Wrapping

holiday marketing ideas

The festive season is all about giving, and beautifully wrapped gifts add to the joy of the season. Many shoppers, pressed for time or lacking wrapping skills, appreciate the convenience of receiving their purchases pre-wrapped.

By offering gift wrapping services, businesses can enhance the shopping experience, making it hassle-free and delightful. This service, especially when offered as a complimentary add-on, can be a deciding factor for a customer choosing between vendors.

Plus, using branded wrapping paper or stickers can serve as subtle marketing, turning every gift into a potential word-of-mouth referral.

Publicize Your Returns Policy

The holiday season inevitably sees a surge in gift buying, and with that comes the uncertainty of whether the recipient will love their present. A clear, fair, and prominently displayed return policy can instill confidence in shoppers, assuring them that if their gift isn’t quite right, there’s a solution in place.

By promoting a straightforward return process, businesses convey transparency and customer-centricity, crucial factors in building trust. It’s beneficial to create dedicated in-store signage or design specific website banners about the holiday return policy, ensuring customers can shop with peace of mind.

Hand Out Hot Chocolate

For local businesses, handing out hot chocolate or other seasonal beverages can be a great way to spread some cheer and attract passersby.

Create a Fun Lights Display

You can also show off your spirit by creating a festive lights display that people will go out of their way to visit.

Create Holiday Window Dislays to Attract Customers

Or you could use your store windows to create a festive environment that also showcases some of your popular holiday products.

Let Kids Decorate Cookies

You can also get the kids involved in the holiday festivities. Host a cookie decorating party or give them a similar activity they can do while their parents shop.

Have a Party for Another Holiday

Holiday parties are incredibly popular around Christmas. But you could make yours stand out by celebrating a different holiday, like Bake Cookies Day on December 18 or Bacon Day on December 30.

Send Early Cards

If you plan on sending out holiday cards to customers or clients, you can also make those stand out by sending them out early.

Contact Bloggers Who Make Gift Guides

holiday marketing ideas

If you have products that could make great gifts, you can get them in front of more potential buyers by getting in touch with bloggers and asking them to feature your items in their holiday gift guides.

Give Away Free Samples

For those businesses that sell food items or anything that customers might want to try out before buying, giving away free samples can be a good strategy to encourage more sales and get more people through the door.

Have a Pampering Station

Holiday shopping can be stressful. So if you want to create a great experience for stressed out shoppers, you could offer some kind of pampering activity, like massages or guided meditation.

Hold a 12 Days of Christmas Sale

To keep people shopping throughout the holiday season, you can host a special sale where people can get specific products or deals for twelve days leading up to Christmas. You can even throw in some fun themed days to really get people into the spirit.

Give Away Stocking Stuffers

For those shoppers who are trying to finish off their holiday shopping, little stocking stuffers can be a real attraction. So you can give them away with each purchase or offer them at a discounted rate for people who spend a specific amount on other items.

Put Up Stockings for Customers

You could also help customers feel more connected to your store or business by displaying stockings or similar items with their names on them. Even little paper stockings can help you decorate your business and reward customers for shopping with you.

Play Christmas Music

You can’t create a festive environment without a little holiday music. Create a custom playlist or find a radio station with holiday music that really sets the perfect mood for your customers.

Decorate Your Website

Even if you only do business online, you can still show off your holiday spirit. Add some holiday inspired elements to your website, like snowflakes, a flying Santa, ornaments and more.

Send Out Festive Emails

You can also cater your email marketing efforts specifically to the holiday season. Add festive titles and touches that will appeal to those in the holiday spirit.

Display Holiday Themed Art

For local businesses, you can dress up your store and support local artists by displaying holiday themed art at your location. You can even offer it for sale to help those local artists find buyers.

Offer Gift Cards

Gift cards are very popular around the holidays. So you can offer them to your customers and make sure to display them prominently around the checkout area so even last minute shoppers know they’re an option.

Include Gift Card Bonuses

If you do sell gift cards, you can make it an even more intriguing option by offering bonuses. For example, you might include a $5 gift card with the purchase of a $20 gift card.

Create a YouTube Video

Video marketing is a great way to attract new customers throughout the year. And the holidays are no different. You can even create a themed video that shows off your holiday spirit with a song or a spoof of some popular holiday stories.

Host a Twitter Chat

For B2B or online businesses, you can get more customers involved around the holidays by hosting a special Twitter chat on a holiday related topic.

Have a Photo Contest on Facebook

On Facebook, you can encourage your followers to get involved by asking them to share their favorite holiday photos. You can even make it into a contest to give them an incentive to participate.

Create an Instagram Hashtag

If you want to increase engagement on Instagram throughout the holidays, you can create a specific hashtag that people can use to show off how they use your products in holiday gifts, recipes, parties and more.

Update Your Logo

Your logo can offer you a really simple way of showing off your holiday spirit. Just add some holiday themed elements or even just change it to a holiday color scheme just for the season.

Offer Extended Shopping Hours

holiday marketing ideas

The festive rush means consumers are juggling between work, social commitments, and holiday preparations. Extended shopping hours can be a boon for many, especially last-minute shoppers and those with packed schedules.

By keeping your store open for a few extra hours, especially on peak shopping days, you can accommodate a wider range of customers. Not only does this provide flexibility, but it can also increase foot traffic and revenue.

Additionally, those extended hours can create an atmosphere of specialness and urgency, nudging customers to make their holiday purchases.

Include Free Shipping

In the digital age, e-commerce has become a dominant player in the shopping landscape. During the holidays, online shopping surges as customers hunt for the perfect gifts from the comfort of their homes.

However, one of the most common deterrents for completing an online purchase is the added cost of shipping. By offering free shipping, online businesses can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates.

This gesture not only removes a potential purchasing barrier but also adds perceived value, making customers feel they are getting a special deal and encouraging them to finalize their purchase.

Sponsor a Holiday Event

holiday marketing ideas

Community events during the holiday season, be it parades, Christmas markets, or charity runs, often attract large crowds. Sponsoring such events can put your business right in the heart of these gatherings.

It’s a dual benefit: you support and give back to the community while also elevating your brand’s visibility. As a sponsor, your business can often benefit from logo placements, shout-outs, stalls, or other promotional activities associated with the event.

Engaging in these events not only provides direct marketing opportunities but also fosters goodwill by showing your brand’s commitment to local traditions and community welfare.

Offer a Grab Bag of Gifts

Some holiday shoppers just aren’t sure what to buy. But you can help them out and offer a sort of fun experience by offering grab bags or surprise gift items that they can purchase at a discounted rate and unwrap to reveal later.

Put Together Gift Baskets

You can also potentially sell more of your products by bundling or creating gift baskets that include multiple items in one.

Create a Holiday App

For mobile businesses, you can create a holiday specific app that’s catered to holiday shoppers or offers a holiday-specific experience.

Offer Gift Delivery

Even for local businesses that don’t normally ship products, you can offer to ship or personally deliver gifts for busy customers around the holidays as an extra service or offering.

Change Product Names

Whether you have a product based business or even a restaurant with specific menu items, you can show off some festive spirit by changing the names of your products to something that works with the holiday theme.

Have an Ugly Sweater Contest

Ugly sweaters are a big part of the holiday season for many consumers. So you could have a fun contest in your store or online to reward the customer with the ugliest one.

Create Holiday DIY Projects or Recipes

The holidays are a big time for people to get creative with homemade gifts, recipes and more. So if any of your products might work in those types of projects, you can create a tutorial and post it online.

Launch a Local Search Campaign

Local search is also very important when it comes to attracting local shoppers who are looking for specific types of businesses. So it can be a great time to run a local search advertising campaign.

Suggest Product Combinations

For people who are looking to make multiple purchases but aren’t necessarily sure exactly what they want to buy, you can make suggestions based on the items they’ve browsed or the items in their online cart.

Start a Remarketing Campaign

You can also target past customers or people who have browsed products on your site already by taking advantage of remarketing options.

Create a Holiday Themed Landing Page

For any holiday marketing campaigns, it can also be a good idea to set up a special holiday landing page. This can show off any themed promotions and also help you measure the effectiveness of those campaigns.

Have a Secret Online Sale

To reward your email subscribers or best customers, you can have a secret sale that you don’t publish anywhere else. This can make them feel important and give them the opportunity to get a really great deal.

Launch a Holiday Blog Campaign

If you have a blog for your business, you can also create themed blog posts to show off gift ideas, recipes and more.

Make a Downloadable Holiday Resource

You could also make a downloadable resource, like a shopping guide, recipes or even an ebook that customers can access on your website or through email.

Give Client Gifts

And finally, giving gifts to your best clients, customers and colleagues throughout the holiday season can be a great way to show your appreciation and create a great experience for all.

The Importance of Holiday Marketing

The festive season offers a golden window of opportunity for businesses to capture consumer attention and elevate sales. As shopping behavior intensifies during the holidays, an effective holiday marketing strategy is essential to stay competitive and relevant.

With countless brands clamoring for the same audience, having a strong, memorable marketing campaign can be the key differentiator that swings the purchasing pendulum in your favor. Here’s why holiday marketing is so crucial:

  • Boost in Sales: The holiday season is synonymous with gift-giving, making it a peak purchasing time. Strategically timed campaigns can capitalize on this surge, driving significant revenue.
  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: With people actively searching for gifts and deals, it’s the perfect time to increase brand exposure. Whether through themed advertisements, festive product launches, or holiday promotions, your brand can secure a spot in the consumer’s mind.
  • Cementing Customer Loyalty: Holiday marketing can serve as an avenue to reward loyal customers with exclusive deals or tokens of appreciation, solidifying their allegiance to your brand.
  • Tapping into Emotions: The holidays evoke strong feelings of joy, nostalgia, and generosity. By crafting emotionally resonant campaigns, brands can form deeper connections with their audience, leading to more meaningful engagements.
  • Opportunity for Creativity: The festive season provides a canvas for brands to showcase their creativity. Unique, innovative campaigns not only attract attention but also set a brand apart from the competition.

The Impact of Social Media on Holiday Marketing

Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook have become central to holiday marketing. These platforms offer an ideal space to engage with customers through festive content.

Create engaging social media campaigns using holiday-themed hashtags and encourage user-generated content.

Host interactive challenges or contests that resonate with the holiday spirit. Showcasing your products or services in a festive light on social media not only increases visibility but also strengthens your connection with the audience, making your brand a part of their holiday celebrations.

Leveraging Email Marketing for the Holidays

Email marketing is an invaluable tool for connecting with customers during the holidays. It’s time to get creative with your email campaigns: think personalized greetings, festive subject lines, and strategically timed emails.

Personalization can significantly increase open rates, driving customer engagement and conversions. Tailor your messages to reflect holiday themes, offer exclusive deals, or share gift ideas.

A well-executed email campaign during the festive season can make your brand stand out in crowded inboxes, fostering customer loyalty and driving sales.

Utilizing Data Analytics in Holiday Marketing

Data analytics plays a critical role in shaping effective holiday marketing strategies. By analyzing customer data, businesses can personalize their marketing efforts, tailor promotions, and monitor campaign performance.

Utilize tools to segment your audience, track customer preferences, and measure the impact of your marketing initiatives.

Data-driven insights enable you to understand consumer behavior, refine your marketing tactics, and ensure that your holiday campaigns resonate with your target audience, ultimately leading to more successful holiday sales.

Holiday Marketing Ideas Checklist

Marketing IdeaConsidered?
Include Coupons With Purchases?
Cross-Promote With Other Businesses?
Host a Thank You Dinner?
Partner With a Local Charity?
Donate Money to a Cause?
Invite Santa Claus?
Exhibit at Holiday Shows?
Offer Gift Wrapping?
Publicize Your Returns Policy?
Hand Out Hot Chocolate?
Create a Fun Lights Display?
Create Holiday Window Displays to Attract Customers?
Let Kids Decorate Cookies?
Have a Party for Another Holiday?
Send Early Cards?
Contact Bloggers Who Make Gift Guides?
Give Away Free Samples?
Have a Pampering Station?
Hold a 12 Days of Christmas Sale?
Give Away Stocking Stuffers?
Put Up Stockings for Customers?
Play Christmas Music?
Decorate Your Website?
Send Out Festive Emails?
Display Holiday Themed Art?
Offer Gift Cards?
Include Gift Card Bonuses?
Create a YouTube Video?
Host a Twitter Chat?
Have a Photo Contest on Facebook?
Create an Instagram Hashtag?
Update Your Logo?
Offer Extended Shopping Hours?
Include Free Shipping?
Sponsor a Holiday Event?
Offer a Grab Bag of Gifts?
Put Together Gift Baskets?
Create a Holiday App?
Offer Gift Delivery?
Change Product Names?
Have an Ugly Sweater Contest?
Create Holiday DIY Projects or Recipes?
Launch a Local Search Campaign?
Suggest Product Combinations?
Start a Remarketing Campaign?
Create a Holiday Themed Landing Page?
Have a Secret Online Sale?
Launch a Holiday Blog Campaign?
Make a Downloadable Holiday Resource?
Give Client Gifts?

Snow Globe Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.