How to get the most out of holiday marketing

Holidays are a great time to connect and celebrate traditions with your family, friends, and  customers. And strong, well-planned holiday marketing campaigns can unite communities, inspire action, and tap into nostalgia.

To get the most from the holidays, plan your campaign early so you’re not scrambling for ideas or throwing something together at the last minute. After all, we’re supposed to enjoy them, right? Even though holidays are “built in” to our calendars, they’re not always built into our workload, so planning ahead will allow you to relax and celebrate with your loved ones when the holidays arrive.

Build a strategic plan

Even holidays that just last one day require marketing campaigns that might take weeks to develop. Start brainstorming sessions as early as six months before major holidays so you can flesh out a full marketing strategy and execute the plan. It might feel strange planning for end-of-year holidays in July, but by the time the season comes around, it will be worth it. Trust us, we’ve been there.

For minor holidays, your runway can be shorter, but at least two to four weeks ahead can allow time for thoughtful posts, campaigns, or celebratory emails to your customers. Remember that while holidays can be focused around gift giving or enjoying experiences together, they aren’t a quick fix for sales. Don’t let the holiday hype get in the way of your overall marketing plan, but do consider them for the opportunities they can bring – more sales!

Decide the objective

Like all marketing campaigns, you’ll need to decide the objective of your holiday campaign. What do you want your customers to feel, think, or do? From there you can implement common holiday themes, or put your own spin on tradition. Using this time to think creatively will ensure you stand out from other holiday campaigns – which can become extremely competitive.

Instead of simply wishing your customers a happy holiday, look for creative themes to help your customers connect with your brand through your campaign. Maybe that’s writing a heartwarming story, implementing a holiday folktale into your campaign, having the entire office dress up as holiday characters and recording a holiday jingle (just an idea), or doing the biggest sale of the year! Use the opportunity to create something special and memorable so you can stand out among the generic “happy holidays” marketing.  

Deliver value

Standing out also means delivering value. When businesses don’t plan ahead, they sometimes think offering a measly discount will be good enough to get some extra holiday sales. This way of thinking leads to spamming your customers instead of giving them something to get excited about. It’s the holidays after all! We all want good gifts.

Especially if your product or service has nothing remotely close to do with holidays, a discount by itself just shows you hopped on the holiday bandwagon. Instead of offering a discount, consider putting together a holiday gift guide, limited-edition holiday product, or giveaway. If you do offer a discount, make it worthwhile for their pocketbook. A 5% coupon for the holidays is easily forgettable, whereas 25% or a lot more could be enticing enough to cash in on.

But again, the goal isn’t to hijack the holidays. Consider how your product or ideas can impact your consumer to enjoy the holiday even more, or simply focus on content around celebrating the holiday with them.

One way to do this is by asking for user-generated content, which are posts from people (your customers) that you share on your social media channels. For example, you could create a holiday-esque hashtag for your brand and ask users to tag your company and use the hashtag to show what they’re doing for the holidays. Share their content on your social media, or enter them in a fun holiday giveaway for participating! 

Consider partnerships

One way to spread holiday cheer is by partnering with non-profit organizations or other brands that share your vision. Instead of a campaign around what you sell, you could create a marketing campaign asking for donations to a preferred charity or organization that helps those in need during the holiday season. If there was ever a gift that really kept on giving, it would be this one.

This type of campaign can benefit the charity, boost your brand awareness, and enhance a positive reputation with like-minded customers. You can also integrate a limited-edition product in partnership with a non-profit in which a percentage of proceeds goes directly to them.

Be mindful

While the holidays are often a happy time, they can be hard for some people who have lost loved ones or that don’t relate to the particular holiday. One way to be mindful of these customers is to provide an “opt-out” in your email campaigns so that they can be temporarily removed from holiday marketing. This show’s respect for their circumstances or decision not to celebrate certain holidays, and treats them like the valued customers that they are.

Launching your holiday campaign

No matter what you’re celebrating, we hope this guide will help you plan ahead and get the most out of marketing during the holidays. Replace “happy holidays” with your memorable holiday campaign and watch your sales become even more of a reason to celebrate!

How do you plan and optimize your business strategies when it comes to holidays? Have any specific tactics that have worked well? Share with the community in the comments below! 

Did you enjoy this article? You might also like our Digital Marketing 101 series, practical advice for small businesses in the digital space.