The holidays are here! Is your business ready? Even if you’re just getting around to starting your holiday marketing now, it’s not too late. Follow these 25 tips to maximize your outreach — and your profits — this holiday season.

Stand out this season

  1. Repetition sells, so market often. Send multiple emails, direct mailers or holiday cards announcing your sales. Remember the old advertising rule that says repetition is the key to success.
  2. Create limited-time offers to encourage customers to buy now.
  3. What do you have that the big box stores don’t have? Highlight what makes your company unique in your marketing materials. If you can’t compete on pricing, emphasize quality, experience and white-glove service.
  4. Concentrate on marketing your niche products to a highly targeted audience. Read more about segmenting your audience in our free guide and in this infographic.
  5. Introduce add-on incentives, such as a vacation drawing entry with every purchase or spend over a certain amount.
  6. Host a holiday season kick-off event to bring customers in — such as a tree-lighting ceremony with hot chocolate and a visit from Santa — and make sure customers leave with your holiday catalog.
  7. Use email, social media and your website to let customers know about your upcoming deals.
  8. Feature your upcoming holiday specials on your blog, and reinforce the reasons why it’s better to buy from you than from your competitors.
  9. Create quick landing pages to advertise your deals and easily collect visitors’ contact information. Here’s what you need to know to create effective holiday landing pages.
  10. Make shopping easy for your customers by sending a unique gift catalog with suggestions for everyone on their list.
  11. Send holiday emails that readers can’t wait to open. Here’s our guide on doing just that.

Holiday marketing on a budget

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go broke. Try these tips to get more bang for your buck:

  1. Encourage multiple sales by offering customer loyalty cards or referral cards for discounts, or perhaps a set percentage off for every customer who refers a friend.
  2. Partner with other businesses in your community. According to the Small Business Administration, “It’s likely that many of the businesses in your community also rely heavily on the holidays for a good chunk of their income. Is there a way you can partner with complementary stores or restaurants to cross-promote each other’s businesses? For example, a cosmetic store and a hair salon might develop a promotion that offers a time-limited discount off each other’s respective goods and services, if the customer frequents both.”
  3. Feature a different product, service or discount every day for a holiday-themed eight or 12 days. Use social media and landing pages to create excitement about what each day’s special will be.
  4. Offer gift cards or gift certificates; these also have the added benefit of generating sales into the New Year.
  5. Use social media to post about exclusive events, two-for-one deals, buy-one-get-one promotions and more. For an added boost, a tiny amount of advertising spend will get your social posts seen by a larger audience.
  6. Host a competition or contest. Fast Company has some good tips: “Invite users to participate by submitting videos, photos, stories, and other personal touches (‘Tell us your worst holiday gift’). Likewise, convert winning submissions into community spotlights, whether by highlighting contributors online, incorporating their submissions into ad campaigns, or making victors featured guests of honor at neighborhood events. Holiday giveaway prizes should also reinforce the promotion’s theme, provide unique experiences, or play to wish fulfillment. Hint: ‘Cozy up with a romantic five-course Italian meal with seasonal wine pairing’ sounds better than ‘dinner for two at Alfredo’s.’”

Bonus budget tip: Check out Everything Holiday for limited-time holiday deals that will help get your message out this season!

Incorporate print into your holiday marketing

Email marketing and print marketing go hand-in-hand, particularly at the holidays. Seasonal print marketing is more than just holiday cards. Check out the print marketing tips below, and read more about including print in your seasonal campaigns at the PsPrint blog.

  1. Use posters and flyers to reinforce your marketing campaign, especially in targeted high-traffic and shopping areas.
  2. Employ giant floor stickers to bring customers to your best (or most profitable) in-store product displays.
  3. Try direct-mail postcards with coupon codes to get customers to your website or store.
  4. Finders, keepers! Print coupons on business cards and leave them in strategic areas where your target customers are likely to find them.
  5. Print door hangers to distribute to targeted neighborhoods.
  6. Keep your business top-of-mind every day of the year. Give away 2018 calendars to ensure you’re the brand customers see day in and day out.
  7. Give away branded holiday magnets to customers. They’ll think of you every time they open their refrigerator.
  8. Consider partnering with a restaurant to print table tents that promote your company to their customers.

Bonus holiday marketing tips for nonprofits

If you’re a nonprofit, the holidays are an especially busy time because of where they fall on the calendar. Don’t hesitate to ratchet up your marketing as the final days of 2017 approach. Charitable giving is especially high when people are in the holiday mood and as the tax year draws to a close.

  • Simplify the giving process by making the “Donate” button easy to find on every page of your website. Don’t forget to add it to your social media pages too.
  • In your marketing materials, don’t shy away from highlighting the tax benefits of donating.
  • Create an email campaign encouraging your subscribers to give charitable donations in their loved ones’ names, instead of exchanging traditional gifts.

Bonus holiday marketing tips for restaurants

Restaurants are especially busy during the final weeks of the year. Take advantage of the season with these tips:

  • Offer holiday catering, even if catering is not part of your usual services.
  • Create holiday-themed menus, and advertise them with social media and email.
  • Announce that you’re donating a portion of proceeds to a local charity or food bank.
  • It’s not too late to launch a #DineSmall campaign ahead of Small Business Saturday this weekend.

Join 140,000 small business owners

Get expert tips and email inspiration delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been revamped for accuracy and relevance.

© 2017 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

Related Blogs

Ready to apply what you've
learned about Email