The holidays are fast approaching and it’s time for business owners to start preparing. Brands are strategizing and starting their holiday marketing campaigns earlier every year, and it’s no surprise since small businesses claim the holidays account for more than 30% of their total yearly sales.
Shoppers are checking off all the people on their lists, so it’s vital that you are top-of-mind when they’re brainstorming where to go to satisfy their retail and holiday needs.
8 ways to ‘sleigh’ holiday marketing campaigns
With some timely prepping and extra effort, you can certainly “sleigh” your sales goals this holiday season with these ideas.
- Be festive and fun with your branding.
- If all is calm, then all is bright.
- Provide answers by creating a gift guide.
- Get festive with a unique holiday special.
- Make the holidays a win-win with a contest.
- Partner up because the more the merrier.
- Give back to get more.
- Don’t forget to spread the love.
Use these eight festive marketing strategies to increase sales, get in front of more people, and make 2019 your best year yet.
1. Be festive and fun with your branding
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or your brand lives online, this is the time of year to go big on branding.
People are dazzled by holiday lights and tinsel everywhere they look, so don’t let your business seem blah next to all the others.
You know what your email inbox looks like in December. It’s overflowing with festive emails and clickable content.
- Do your emails reflect the excitement of the holidays?
- Does your business look like it’s a holiday headquarters?
- Are your store windows flashing holiday cheer?
If not, let’s fix that.
Bedazzle your logo
One easy way to get festive is to change your logo to cliche holiday colors like red and green. Think that’s too corny? Here are 15 famous brands that have altered their logo for the holidays. If that’s still too off-brand for you, try working with more muted variations like white, gold and silver.
Add festive graphics
The next way to “sleigh” your holiday marketing campaigns is with some festive graphics. Catapult your website visitors into the holiday spirit with a temporary holiday home page banner.
Next, share holiday-themed graphics on social media throughout the season. Post fun holiday quotes, announce sales or seasonal specials and share important information using these exciting graphics. The good news is they can be reused throughout social media, emails and online.
Being festive shows your customers you’re in the holiday spirit and it adds personality to your business.
It’s also a smart way to humanize your brand, which will improve sales and the reputation of your brand in the long-term.
2. If all is calm, then all is bright
Holiday-crazed shoppers are anything but calm. Thankfully, this craziness creates a sales opportunity for you.
Make it a stress-free holiday by simplifying things for your customers.
Offer a gift wrapping option, extend your store hours, grant free shipping or delivery, validate parking, and simplify return policies.
You can appeal to the rare proactive shoppers or inspire people to shop early by offering an early-bird special or layaway option.
Not only can you make the shopping experience stress-free, but also fun!
Host a special shopping event and holiday party that brings your community together. Your customers will have fun and get their shopping done at the same time. Talk about a win-win situation.
But, it might not be possible for your business to offer all of these options.
During this stressful time, you can be a light to your customers. Simply providing a snack to a weary shopper or helping someone carry something to their car can change someone’s day.
Next-level customer service and a simple smile go a long way — especially during a time of year when shopping malls become a battle zone and your customers are trying to get through the chaos.
By adding a little extra zen to their errand running, your will quickly entice them to stay longer in your store and on your website.
3. Provide answers by creating a gift guide
While we’re discussing ways to make life easier for your customers, let’s talk about a clever way to promote many of your products simultaneously: gift guides.
Match the typical holiday recipients — husband, daughter, grandma, best friend — with your corresponding products.
If your own selection of products or services isn’t wide enough to span this group of gift recipients, you can add other companies’ products. Just be sure to choose like-minded businesses and those who complement your brand without any competition.
Not only does bringing in outside sources improve the quality of your gift guide, it also has the potential to expand your audience reach.
How? Contact the brands and tell them you’re including their product in your gift guide. Chances are, they will be happy to share that guide with their followers too, which puts your brand in front of a whole new audience.
Who knows? Maybe they’ll return the favor in their own holiday marketing campaign and include you in their content in other ways.
These helpful guides are popular and come from brands and influencers alike.
Make a mental note to tap some local or like-minded bloggers in your industry who release gift guides and take the time to email them. Ask to be considered for their guide this year or if there’s another way you can work together. You miss all the chances you don’t take.
In addition to a gift guide, brainstorm other ways your products and services can be incorporated into the holidays.
- Can they be used in a holiday recipe or used in a unique way at a holiday party?
- Can they make holiday shopping easier?
- Maybe something you sell would be a nice donation for a charity or can become a tax write-off?
Get creative and think about how you can make your business more holiday-friendly.
4. Get festive with a unique holiday special
The next way to improve your holiday marketing campaigns is to boost sales with a holiday special.
If you have an eCommerce store, try offering free shipping, discount codes or a small gift with purchase. Even a small stocking-stuffer can persuade a shopper who is on the fence about a sale.
A holiday special, no matter how small, also provides that added incentive for last-minute shoppers on the hunt for a last-minute deal.
After the holidays, most retail businesses experience down time. Keep customers checking back with your business long after the holidays are done by providing a coupon with holiday purchases for a future purchase. That way, customers are willing to revisit your store to take advantage of this new incentive.
5. Make the holidays a win-win with a contest
Another unique holiday marketing idea is to host a contest.
Advertise an attractive gift package and announce the winner a week or two before the holidays are over to keep the excitement going through the season.
To enter your contest, ask people to follow you on social media, share your post and/or tag some friends.
Another entry option is to create a quick landing page with an email capture form, or use a survey tool like TypeForm to capture email addresses and contact information.
Not only will you excite your audience with a fun contest, but you’ll drum up some new followers and capture some extra email addresses, which you can market to year-round.
Social media is a great platform for these contests and giveaways.
Because social media posts gain impressions by engagement and shares, contests often become popular content on timelines, spreading your cause and also increasing brand awareness.
Contests engage your audience and influence loyal fans (or new ones!) to participate. Amplify your voice and share your contest via emails and any other communication channels you’re already using. The more shares and engagement you can create, the more you expand your organic reach online to get in front of more and more eyes over the holidays.
6. Partner up because the more the merrier
They say the more the merrier, right? Bring that mentality to your business and leverage this friendly time of year to find some new partners. Team up with other businesses in your neighborhood or industry and run a holiday special together or invest in some seasonal advertising that promotes both of you.
If you have similar goals or complementary resources, you can even throw an event together. If an in-person event isn’t possible for your business, partner with a like-minded brand online to host a holiday giveaway on social media or find another way to co-promote to each other’s audiences.
Sharing is caring, and if you can discover a lucrative way to become allies with a fellow business, it’ll be sure to boost sales this holiday season.
Partnerships open new doors and introduce the possibilities of endless opportunities all year.
If it’s not the right time to work with another business, why not join forces with your loyal customer base?
Make holiday shopping a family affair and attract kids with holiday cookie decorating or hiring a Santa Claus for photos. Try your best to find these partnerships long before the holidays begin — the more time for planning and working out details the better.
7. Give back to get more
The holidays are a popular time of year to give back too, and that can have a positive effect on your marketing. Consider partnering with a charity to spread some holiday cheer to those who are less fortunate.
There are many ways to aid a charity as a business, and you can use your status to also get your community involved as consumers by either donating money, buying an extra item to donate, or offering their own time or volunteer hours.
Working with a charity gives you newsworthy content to share on social media and within your content marketing, such as on blogs and within emails. An added bonus is the fact that people respect and promote businesses that are trying to make a difference.
People are happy to make a purchase for a good cause. Your decent deeds improve any word-of-mouth marketing and positive talk about your brand.
8. Don’t forget to spread the love
If you only take away one strategy from this article, be sure to spread the love this season.
Do everything in your power to make your customers feel appreciated. That means being extra thankful and grateful in all communications and interactions.
Send an email just to thank your audience — no selling or advertising involved. Share a social post with pictures of customers and revel in joyful memories.
While holiday shopping lists are what bring your customers in during the season, your love and quality customer service will bring them back year after year. Use this time of year to build your community and strengthen the relationships with your audience through gratitude.
This is where small businesses can stand out. Every business is competing with one another for shoppers’ purchases. Small businesses — even those with loyal buyers — are no exception.
There are ways to compete with big box stores, but excellent customer service and genuine interactions are a big way to get ahead.
While department stores herd customers like cattle and people become numbers, you can make a difference with targeted marketing and embracing small interactions with each customer you encounter.
You’ll capitalize on all the good service you’re sharing when people happily leave positive online reviews and don’t hesitate to tell their friends about your great store.
It’s never too early to start planning your holiday marketing campaigns
It’s smart to plan ahead and start preparing for the holiday season as early as you can.
Here’s a holiday marketing checklist to help you get organized before you begin implementing the marketing strategies listed here.
As the holidays roll around, stock up on hot chocolate and take time to prepare your team and business. A strong holiday marketing campaign will help you stay on people’s radars before, during and after the holiday season. It’s time to crush those sales goals. You got this — “sleigh” away!