Christmas is Coming: Holiday Marketing Strategies to Start Prepping For

It’s never too early to start preparing for the holidays!

Although I haven’t begun my Christmas shopping yet, I have started strategizing holiday campaigns and expectations, as you should be too. Retailers big and small have already begun hinting at the holiday season and are excitingly awaiting the launch of their holiday campaigns.

Once summer comes to an end, which is just about at it’s end, the holiday season is here before we know it. Don’t leave your business in the dust by not planning ahead like your competitors are.

Start mapping out your holiday campaigns and strategies with these holiday marketing tips.

1. Chose Which Holidays to Celebrate

When I use the word “holiday” I’m not talking about just Christmas. We have a handful of holidays to celebrate, one right after another, starting with Labor Day in September. A lot of holidays, to be exact:

  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Christmas
  • New Years
  • Did I miss any…?

With that many holidays, not every business has the time nor necessities to develop a marketing campaign for each. It also may not make sense for your business to try and develop an entire campaign for each individual holiday. Sit down with your team and decide which holidays make the most sense for your company and what offers to promote per holiday.

2. Develop the Holiday Offers

Each holiday offer needs to be unique to the holiday and relevant to what you actually have to offer. For example, a local nail salon would be better off promoting a discount on a Halloween themed mani-pedi package than they would a buy 1, get 1 50% off type of deal.

Is there a specific type of offer that works best for your product and customers? I’m sure there is and if you haven’t figured that out yet, test! Use this upcoming holiday season as a perfect opportunity to test 2 to 3 different types of offers to see which ones your audiences responds to best.

Here’s a few of the most commonly used holiday offers:

  • ___% Off your total purchase
  • Free shipping when you spend $___
  • Free shipping on your entire order
  • Buy a $50 gift certificate and receive a free $5 gift certificate
  • Sign up for our email newsletter and receive ___
  • BOGO
  • Save $5 on every $20 you spend
  • Free gift wrap with purchase of $___ or more

With so many different types of offers to chose from you should only be focusing on promoting what makes the most sense for your customers, and that doesn’t always look like the generic holiday offer your competitors are running.

HubSpot does a great job of standing out when it comes to holiday campaigns. They created customizable holiday ecards that HubSpot customers can use to wish their own clients and customers a happy holiday.

HubSpot customers are generally agencies or firms who have their own clientele and lengthy list of customers. Having a pre-made holiday ecard template to quickly and easily send out to a mass clientele list simplifies my life and makes me love HubSpot even more than I already do.

Though this isn’t a direct sale or percentage off type of offer, it’s free holiday content that made my already existent love for a company (HubSpot in this case) grow. Plus, it’s now something I look forward to (brand loyalty) and wonder what they’ll do this year (brand recognition).

3. Create Holiday-Worthy Content

In addition to choosing your holidays and deciding on which promotions to use, you’ll need to add some sugar and spice to your content calendar over the holiday season. Regardless of industry, there’s got to be some sort of angle you can tie into the holidays you’re looking to promote and actually publish blog posts about.

What I mean is that you don’t have to be a home decor retailer in order to talk about 10 Tablescapes to Step Up Your Holiday Game. Sure, you’re business / service needs to be relevant, but that’s why you’re only promoting and writing about the holidays that make the most sense for your business to promote in the first place.

Have blog posts written and ready to publish explaining each holiday promotion, as well as holiday reads that just focus solely on the holiday and it’s relevance to your business, or local area if you have a storefront. This will help with search (SEO) and keep your business relevant with the times of the year.

Here are a couple examples of this:

A brick and mortar business who is promoting an offer for Veteran’s Day can publish a blog post highlighting local Veterans in the area, as well as Veteran’s Day events to attend nearby.

A larger corporate company like Pizza Hut can create content about how pizza should be the NEW traditional meal for Black Friday shoppers who are busy shopping all day and can’t stand the idea of touching another piece of turkey.

In addition to blog post content, you should also have a bit of holiday feel spread throughout the content on your website, email newsletters, social media pages, social media posts, and all branding material.

4. Advertise Your Holiday Promotions

You figured out which holidays you want to promote, assigned offers to each one, and updated your content calendar with turkey and snowflakes. The next step is to make these holiday promotions known.

Social Media

Social media is one of the most effective ways to spread holiday cheer. Not only can you update your social media pages with holiday touches, but you should publish posts featuring each new holiday offer. With social media, it’s nice to give people a heads up notice, and then a last minute notice.

With all of the content we digest each day, we’re likely to forget that you’re holiday promotion launches next week, but we still appreciate the heads up. Publish info about each holiday promotion a week ahead of time and follow up the day of and during the promotion with additional info on your social media pages.

Social Media Advertising

If a majority of your demographic is using social media, which they are, head on over to Facebook and promote holiday offers using Facebook and Instagram ads. Plan your social media ads strategically, matching their ad timeline with other promotions like blog post publish dates, email newsletter sends, and the holiday itself.

You also want to focus on retargeting to last year’s list of holiday customers. Since they bought from you last year, they’re likely to purchase from you again this year. Upload multiple lists of past customers and create retargeting campaigns on social media to spread awareness for each new holiday offer.

Whatever ad spend budget you’ve set aside for Q4, you should be putting 60 to 70% of that budget towards your holiday promotions, whether that’s with social media ads or PPC ads.

PPC Advertising

If social isn’t their thing, which I highly doubt, Google Adwords is a perfect place to advertise if you have a large enough budget to bid above the competition.


Still reading this post? What are you waiting for?

Start nailing down your holiday marketing gameplan. The holidays will be here before you know it!

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

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