After Thanksgiving in November, December continues to keep the holiday season going. People are all going to be ready to take off for the holidays, visit their near and dear ones, light up the menorah, decorate the Christmas tree, etc. Although the highlight of the holiday season is the rampant shopping that takes place. And that’s more than reason enough for you to step-up your small business marketing activities for the holiday season.
As a business owner, you’ve got a lot to look forward to in terms executing promotional and marketing activities. It is important to make sure that you create campaigns around the themes that come along with the holiday season. There are a good number of people out there who plan to spend a good amount of money over the holidays. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, sales that are made during the holiday season are expected to hover around $680 billion this year. With a well-executed marketing strategy, you can grow your businesses this holiday season.
Here are 15 marketing ideas for the holiday season you can try to build your business.
Send out Postcards to Your Customers on Mailing List
Direct mail marketing might seem a little farfetched for a marketing strategy while everything is going digital. But sending out promotional materials through post can still fetch your business the traction it needs. Create holiday themed (Christmas or Hanukkah) promotional pamphlets, or coupons and send them out to your mailing list. This is a great way to keep your customers engaged and invested in your business. Aside from these, send out Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years greetings to your customers to keep the holiday spirit alive. We’re sure they’ll appreciate it.
Collaborate with Your Competitors to Increase Sales and Networking Opportunites
What better time together if not for the holidays? Get in touch with your competitors and build promotional campaigns targeted at your potential customers. By collaborating, you will potentially expand your expertise by working with other professionals in your field, and you will be reaching out to a larger audience. Aside from looking at this as a marketing strategy to build your sales, you can also organize a “business block party” with your fellow business owners. Such a synergy will help your business create better professional and customer networks that will aid you in the long term, and consequently, help you build your business’ brand image.
The Bad Weather Blogging Opportunity
Aside from the festivities, December also ushers in the winter season. Most of USA is covered in snow, and people are bound to face problems with the weather. This is a potential content opportunity for you. Create content on your blog that caters to these problems that people face. For example, if you’re the owner of a hairdressing salon, write about ‘10 Thrifty Ways to Maintain Your Hair in the Winter’. This way you’re providing solutions for problems that are widely faced by your target audience. Aside from this, you can even organize an AMA on Facebook and answer the questions people have through Facebook Live.
Promote Health Consciousness
Food traditions are a huge part of the holiday season: fruitcake, latkes, apple pie, briskets, eggnog, an assortment of cookie, and more food. It is a time when people come together with their families and friends to celebrate the festivities. Nevertheless, promoting health consciousness will help your business score some brownie points. The Washington Examiner reported that 8.1 billion calories are consumed during the holiday season, and the American Heart Association stated that about 18% of people find it hard to eat healthy during the holiday season. Clearly, people need to remember to be mindful of their health. You can organize a marathon or a walkathon if the weather permits, or collaborate with a gym and provide your customers with an offer at the gym when they make purchases with you.
Build Your Referral Programs
Building referral programs require you to focus not only on your potential customers but your existing customers as well. If you give your customers incentives like discounts and gift cards for referring your business to their friends and family, they gladly will. Paypal increased their user base to over 100 million by literally paid people to invite their friends, and Dropbox gave its users 500 MB of storage space for every referral they make and bagged 4 million users in 15 months. If executed tactfully, you can build your business by having this give and take with your customers.
Participate in the Spirit of Giving
The holiday season is filled with the spirit of giving and is a great time to support charities and social causes. As a matter of fact, your customers are contributing to charities. According to a study by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers, consumers donate an average of $244 to charitable causes. By making donations or hosting charity events, you can give back to your community. For example, you can ask your customers to buy a cookie for a dollar that will go in for So, how is this marketing your business? You’re creating a positive brand identity for your business. This will help consumers create positive associations with your business.
Decorate Your Storefront
Make sure that you decorate your store with the several themes that the holiday season offers. By decking up your store you’ll be sure to pique any the interest of any passerby. Although it might seem like a huge feat to come up with a well-decorated store, it doesn’t really need a big budget. You might not be Saks or Tiffany’s with lavishly decorated windows, but all you need to think about is creating a holiday-themed atmosphere in your store. It’s all about enhancing your customer’s shopping experience. Make sure you focus on your signage, the colors you use, props that are relevant to the season and the most important part – lights! If you pull this off as well as we think you will, you can be sure to turn some heads.
Tip: Request your customers to check-in to your store on Facebook and post a picture of your window on Facebook for an incentive. This should help you get the word out.
Build Your Reviews
In addition to building referral campaigns, you need to take it as an opportunity to build reviews for your business. With customers walking into your store, you need to make sure that you’re building reviews for your business. Ask your customers to leave you reviews for your business. You can have a mobile device situated on your counter that you can use to get your customers to leave you reviews on your Yelp profile or your Google My Business profile. In addition to this, you can incentivize your customers to leave you reviews. If you haven’t focused on review generation and management over the year, this is a great time to start.
Participate, Sponsor or Host Community’s Events
Make a list of all the carnivals, flea markets, bake sales, etc and make sure that you get involved enough to get your branding on some posters and banners. This will help you create brand awareness for your business and familiarize consumers with your business. Make sure you pass out promotional material that has offers, coupons, QR codes with discounts, referral codes, etc. Make sure you pass on this material with your business contact details. In addition to these, try to build an email list for future marketing purposes.
Optimize Your Business for Local Search
Make sure that your business is equipped with a strong online local presence for the holidays. Get your business listed on all the online directories relevant to your business like Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc. In doing so, you’ll optimize your business of the online searches that are rampant during the holiday season. According to an article by Think With Google, people turning to search to check out business information is a rampant holiday shopping habit. You need to make sure that your business is listed online to appear on these searches. In addition to this, make sure that all your business contact information is accurate and consistent across all these directories.
Tip: Make sure that you update your business hours during the holidays to keep your business information accurate for local searches.
The holiday season might be all about festivities and celebrations, but the amount of garbage that accumulates can be an eye-opener. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to one million tons of additional waste is generated in the holiday season in the US. Being eco-friendly only adds to a better brand image, and according to a study, it was found that 33% of consumers will buy from brands that are eco-friendly. You can create a campaign that spreads awareness or you could host recycle drives.
Don’t forget Your Social Media
Since its rise, social media has impacted the world immensely and poses effective opportunities to build your business. Make sure you extend your promotional campaigns to your social media business profiles as well. Here are some ideas for campaigns:
- Host events on Facebook Live and invite your target customers and people who like your Facebook business page.
- Share posts about giveaways on your social media handles.
- Promote limited period offers.
- Circulate your blog articles you wrote for the holiday season.
Make sure that you use gift cards to engage your customers. According to a study by PWC, 42% of consumers are inclined to receiving gift cards. Make sure that your promotional efforts include gift cards. This includes social media promotions, email blasts, store offers, etc. This will help you engage with your customers and build your sales.
Pay Attention to Seasonal Keywords
Seasonal keywords are keywords based on holidays and events that affect the search habit of consumers. According to an article by Digital Donut, the most common keywords people search for around this time are “gifting keywords” based on gender/family members (example: Hanukkah gift ideas for my wife). Aside from these, keywords based on price also trend during this period. Such keywords tend to be high competition keywords with high search volume. You need to make sure you build your PPC ad campaigns around these keywords.
Provision for Last-Minute Shoppers
Last minute shopping is a real issue that needs to be addressed. As comical as that sounds, imagine the number of heads you’ll turn when you provide solutions to people who haven’t had the chance to finish their holiday shopping. You should create print advertisements and distribute them to supermarkets and grocery stores. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, 13% of last-minute shoppers plan to buy gifts at grocery stores. Make sure that you have enough inventory to supply to the needs of these people.
The holiday season is a great time to scale up. The sales and branding opportunities are huge given that the holiday season comes with a large volume of purchase activity among consumers. Take this as an opportunity to gather customer data, build and better customer relations and experiment with growth experiments with your marketing activities. Let us know what worked for you!