Already got the holiday shopping fever? Well, even if you haven’t, your customers sure have. Experts predict that in 2023, 38% of shoppers will start buying gifts as early as the end of October. The cheer is on the loose.
This means that if you want to ramp up your holiday revenue, it’s time to think about campaigns and promotion strategies.
However, some of the tried and true tactics of previous years may not work this time. We’ve all been through a lot. The world has changed, and so have people’s habits and their relationships with brands. A simple giveaway or a limited-time discount may not cut it anymore, because people will look not only for the best deals but also for brands that address social issues and are trusted by social media influencers.
With this in mind, let’s look at some creative content-driven holiday promotion and marketing ideas you can use to delight your customers and increase sales.
#1 Put Together an Interactive Gift Guide
A gift guide is a thing you cannot go wrong with. Holiday shopping is stressful, as people often have to cram it into their ever-expanding to-do lists. So your customers will definitely appreciate an easy and fast way to find that perfect gift.
While it’s okay to go with traditional gift categories such as ‘For Her’ and ‘For a Colleague’, you can make your guide even more valuable by categorizing items by interest and personality. People will love it if they can quickly find a gift for their favorite ‘foodie’ or ‘dog-lover’. And keep in mind that while helping your customers in this way, you also shorten their journey from the guide to the shopping cart.
Check out this cozy and elegant Holiday Guide by Maveron for some inspiration:
#2 Offer Free Gift-Wrapping
Gift-wrapping is another chore that no one likes, apart from a few fans. Offering to do it for your customers may be a small gesture, but undoubtedly an appreciated one.
Besides boosting your brand value, this may also result in extra attention on social media when people start posting their unboxings on Facebook and Instagram.
#3 Include Handwritten Notes or Cards in Your Holiday Orders
Holiday marketing shouldn’t be elaborate or overly expensive. If you send out any physical orders, handwritten cards are an easy way to add a personal touch. They will help connect with your customers, boosting their loyalty to your brand.
And if your messages are especially cute or funny, people might feel like sharing them online, bringing you a few extra highlights on social media.
#4 Be Creative About Your Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns
The competition is especially rough during the holiday season, and your customers’ inboxes will be flooded with special New Year marketing promotions and limited deals. Nothing is wrong with jumping on the bandwagon, but why not try something new if you want to stand out? Here are a few things you can try:
- Send your customers a holiday to-do list with a few links to your products or services. It’s a delightful holiday promotion that doesn’t look too salesy, yet provides plenty of opportunities to remind people about your brand and encourage them to buy from you. Here’s how we did it at FlippingBook:
Or if you want something more laconic, here’s a great example of an unusual Thanksgiving email campaign from Bonobos:
- Run a countdown campaign. This could be a series of holiday marketing emails along the lines of ‘10 days of deals’ or something similar—whatever feels relevant for your company. Even if offering physical gifts is not your style, you can still provide useful content. A health- or food-related company might share some healthy holiday snack recipes. A flower shop could delve into stories behind holiday flower traditions or suggest flower gift ideas—if it is informative and entertaining, it will capture people’s attention.
#5 Organize an Online Workshop
If your business deals in knowledge and services, and you don’t have anything tangible to offer, you may feel like most of the holiday marketing tips are not working for your case. But you too can and should participate in seasonal festivities. In fact, you have the perfect opportunity to do something different this holiday season.
Hosting an online event is a great way to connect with your audience and establish your expertise in your field (and, of course, promote your products.) If you are an interior designer, you can do a workshop on decorations. A travel agency? A gym? Share tips and tricks, invite an expert for a live interview—the opportunities are limitless once you start thinking about it.
#6 Get Social Influencers on Your Side
People buy from the brands they trust, but they buy even more willingly from the people they trust. Recent data shows that influencer marketing ROI is 11 times greater than traditional banner ads.
The best part about this type of marketing is that it’s for budgets of all sizes. With micro-influencers (5,000–20,000 followers) and nano-influencers (1,000–5,000 followers) on the rise, you can benefit from this channel without spending a fortune on it.
#7 Host a Holiday Market to Connect with Your Customers
Source: Secret Boston
Offline events require heavier investments, but they have their advantages. 69.7% of people believe in-person events are the best way to learn about new products or services. Another 82% believe these events provide an ideal networking environment. What does this tell us? People love to meet up and socialize, especially during the holidays.
So, if you're a local business that depends on building a community and wants to foster stronger relationships with its customers, this holiday promotion idea might be just right for you.
#8 Partner Up with a Charity
What's a better way to honor the Christmas spirit than to give back? After all, that’s what holidays are about—being grateful and generous to the people around us.
You can donate a portion of your holiday marketing campaign revenue to a local charity or a fund you support. And you can make it fun! For example, one of the best Christmas promo campaigns, a famous ‘Believe’ campaign by Macy’s, encouraged people to write a letter to Santa on a dedicated website. For every letter, Macy’s gave $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Not only will you help change things for the better with a campaign like this, but you will also get an opportunity to share your values with your audience and spread the word about your brand.
# 9 Post Behind-the-Scenes Content on Social Media
This holiday marketing idea might leave you puzzled at first, but it does make sense, we promise.
The importance of human connection during the holiday season cannot be emphasized enough. And social media is a perfect medium for your company to appear more personal and approachable. Showcase your human side by posting some photos and videos from your office life. Whether it's wrapping presents, decorating the office, or light-heartedly pranking colleagues—anything that brings a smile to someone scrolling through their Instagram feed will help them remember you the next time they need your services.
#10 Offer Something to Both Early and Last-Minute Buyers
Anxiety works in mysterious ways. Some people quell it by doing everything literally two months earlier than necessary. Others put their holiday shopping off till the last moment—unless these shoppers are just waiting for last-minute discounts). No matter what products and services you offer, a large portion of your buyers probably falls under one of these categories. And they will be extremely grateful if you recognize their struggle and cater to it.
To reach out to early birds, start your holiday promotions and marketing campaigns as early as mid-November. It can be a well-crafted holiday catalog or an extra bonus for buying before a specific date. Praise people for being caring and thoughtful, and they will remember you when it’s time for holiday shopping next year.
Last-minute buyers, on the other hand, need reassurance rather than praise. They will also appreciate express delivery options, a good range of ready gift sets, and perhaps an option to get a personalized consultation to help them choose the gift faster. As time is a big issue with these buyers, it makes sense to target your local community. This way, you will be able to deliver everything on time and keep your clients happy.
#11 Run a Referral Contest on Social Media
This type of holiday promotion may take a bit more effort than a giveaway, but it’s bound to be efficient. After all, word-of-mouth marketing is still the best kind of marketing, because people listen to people rather than to brands.
Social media is a good channel for it as it’s much easier for people to share your message there. But if you want to go all out on this idea, you might want to create a separate landing page for the contest. It will make it easier to promote the contest online and via email, boosting the number of your participants.
The best thing about this is that you can choose any incentive you want, be it your own product or a third party product. It’s great for companies that sell services or knowledge and cannot usually delight their buyers with physical gifts. Just remember what your goal with the contest is, make it easy to participate, and enjoy the benefits it brings.
#12 Try a Hashtag Holiday Marketing Campaign
Do you remember the #IceBucketChallenge? It wasn't the first time an organization encouraged people to share their experiences on social media using a special hashtag, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.
You can create your own memorable hashtag campaign, too—and the holidays are the perfect time to do so. You can ask your subscribers to share their experiences with your products or brand in exchange for a chance to win a prize or a highlight on your account.
Here's how Starbucks did it: they asked customers to color standard Starbucks cups and share them on social media. The result was fantastic—people showcased their creativity, and Starbucks trended on Instagram.
#13 Be Active During Holidays Even if it's a Slow Season for Your Business
Winter may not be your most profitable season if you provide summer-related goods or, say, run a summer school. However, you can benefit from these festive times too. As one of the holiday promotion ideas, you can try offering bonuses for early sign-ups and preorders. People plan ahead, especially with big events or educational programs, and they will be delighted by the opportunity to get a great deal.
You can also do something personal: host a get-together, show a bit of your backstage preparation for the high season, send out gift cards with promotions. Anything to show your customers you keep them in your thoughts and to remind them about yourself.
#14 Try Holiday Video Marketing
If you’re thinking that you shouldn’t bother with video marketing unless you can land Wes Anderson as your director, think again. Of course, big-budget, often animated holiday video ads are beautiful and effective. But a smaller video greeting can work just as well. Here are some holiday video marketing ideas if you’d like to benefit from the popularity of video content:
- Holiday greetings. Holiday season is the time for giving back, so it’s a great idea to show a human side of your business through a short and sweet video with greetings and thanks. Sing a song for the customers who've been with you throughout the year, give a hint for what’s coming next, or just wish them happy holidays—sincere emotions will create a connection between you and your audience.
- Product videos. Do you have a seasonal case for using your products? Show it! Educating your customers on how your product works for them during holiday time is a great way to encourage them to shop with you. Alternatively, you can add some festive lights and holiday atmosphere to your usual product video to drive more attention to it.
- Short social media video clips. Video is an amazing type of content for social media. Make simple how-to clips on holiday-related topics, showcase your products, share live, share something personal and fun from the life of your company. It’s a great way to reach out to people whose inboxes are overflowing with emails and who don’t have time to read long posts or even browse your website. And the best part—you can easily repurpose existing videos for your social media without too much effort.
And if you’re feeling tired of the usual ‘Holiday greetings’ routine, you can try something different, like the guys from Leeco Steel. Their Holiday video is hilarious, genuine and incredibly cute. And all it took them—getting the team to say a couple of words on camera and some boldness!
#15 Create an Advent Calendar
The advent calendar is a great tradition helping to get into the festive mood right from the start. It can also become an effective marketing tool and an excellent opportunity to promote some of your products and services in a fun and unique way.
The main idea behind the advent calendar is receiving a small gift each day building up to Christmas. So you can turn it into a contest selecting a new winner each day and giving them a small gift, physical or digital, as a token of appreciation.
As for the activities, the participants can be asked to answer questions about your brand, solve puzzles, perform some action—decorate a Christmas tree, for example—and share the results.
Struggling with gift ideas? The advent calendar is a wonderful way to partner up with other brands, and get your participants something that you don’t usually provide. You can also go with something as simple as a discount for your product or a free upgrade—no one could say no to an incentive like that.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out this example of the Christmas Advent calendar filled with the Gingerbread latte recipe, gift-wrapping video tips, interactive GIFs, and other festive content.
While you can make a full-fledged digital advent calendar and put it up on your website or create a dedicated landing page for it, social media and email are also great channels for this holiday promotion. Just think about your game-mechanics and objectives. If a winner is selected randomly and their credentials are required, a website would be a better place to create a smooth user experience. If, however, you want more live interactions with your audience, go for Instagram or Facebook.
Here are some creative advent calendar ideas to get you inspired.
Tips to Ensure Your Holiday Marketing Campaign is a Success
The holiday season is always hectic, and even the most careful planners can overlook something important. So here is a short list of things to remember when preparing a holiday promo campaign:
- Set up goals and metrics. Even if you try a new approach and don’t know what to expect, it’s important to set some expectations about the outcome. This will help you make solid, data-driven decisions next year.
- Prepare your sales and support teams. Marketing campaigns are the most effective when all client-facing teams work together to deliver the best customer experience.
- Track the performance. The more data you get, the easier it will be to analyze the success of your campaign. By the way, did you know you could track your PDFs in the same way as your emails? FlippingBook lets you track the interactions with your documents, which can be helpful if you want to check the performance of your Gift Guides or other holiday-related PDF collateral.
- Use social media to maximize your outreach. Even if you focus on email marketing, don’t forget about social channels. It’s especially important if you want to connect with Gen Z consumers and Millennials. For instance, you can use Facebook to post your holiday guides and videos. Also, remember to get your account verified to prove your credibility and increase Facebook engagement.
- Make use of ready-made materials. Some companies like Envato offer a great variety of holiday designs and other digital assets, so you don’t have to prepare everything from scratch.
- Optimize for mobile devices. People are glued to their phones, so don’t forget to check your content for a smooth mobile experience.
- Don’t leave the preparations till the last minute. We all know that everything is possible if you pull up an all-nighter before the deadline. But wouldn’t we be much happier and saner, if we didn’t have to?
- Send over any free products for review well in advance. This way, your holiday marketing advertising has maximum effect. Bloggers can try them out and post about them in time for those early shoppers.
For marketers, the holiday season may be the busiest time of the year, but it’s also a great opportunity to boost end-of-the-year revenue and brand awareness. We hope our list helps you find the perfect holiday campaign idea. Now it’s time to start planning! Just don’t forget to have some fun along the way.