5 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Sales

holiday marketing tips to boost sales

If you think your holiday marketing plan is only about tackling your upcoming Christmas campaign, then think again. We’ve got some holiday marketing tips to help you take on everything from Halloween and Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday, Boxing Day, and every holiday sales day in between.

Despite the pandemic holiday retail sales grew 8.3% to $789.4 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).  The increase was more than double the 3.5 % average holiday increase over the previous five years.

The NRF anticipates with the economy accelerating its recovery that overall retail sales for 2021 will grow between 10.5% and 13.5% to more than $4.44 trillion this year. This is a revised forecast from earlier this year.  Whether the NRF forecast is right or wrong, now is the time to get your holiday marketing plan in gear.

To help you out, we’ve gathered some holiday marketing tips to help with your preparation. Not all these ideas will work for every business, but find the ones that might work for you and tailor them toward your products or service.

Most of these holiday marketing ideas are budget-friendly and easy to coordinate, but they do take some planning. Get a head start now so your holiday selling season goes smoothly.

1. Partner with a charity or cause

Whether you already have a favorite charity you give to or it’s something you want to start doing, donating to a nonprofit organization benefits more than just the receiver.

Along with the obvious feel-good factor for you and your employees, partnering with a charity can also generate customer loyalty, strong community relationships, increased brand awareness, and a hike in your profits.  And the holidays are a great time to start a new charitable partnership as consumers are in a giving mood, and obviously, everyone is shopping.

For instance, a business that sells small-batch pet food could partner with the local animal shelter and donate proceeds of each sale, or actual product. The partnership could be publicized on both partners’ websites and social media accounts as well as including it on promotional materials and product packaging. This could be as simple as adding a starburst label callout to the front of existing products or marketing brochures that showcases the partnership. Offering a place for customers to donate pet supplies or sponsoring a local blanket drive or adoption event could also strengthen community relationships.

No matter what product or service you sell, this type of partnership costs little, and both partners reap valuable rewards.

Things to consider when picking a charity to partner with:

  • Find an organization that shares your company’s, and more importantly, your employees’ values
  • Choose a good fit for your product or service (Don’t partner with a children’s charity if you sell craft beer)
  • Know what your company has to offer, whether it’s time, money or publicity
  • Research your charity and make sure it’s well run
  • Make it a year-round partnership

Whether it’s putting a jar on the counter of your salon to collect money for the local women’s shelter or donating $1 of every online candle sale to the American Red Cross, there are amazing benefits for everyone involved.

2. Everyone loves a contest!

Taking advantage of increased holiday sales traffic, whether it is online or in-store, is a must.

One great holiday marketing tip is an online contest. It’s a great way to pick up leads, followers, and new customers. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money.

Don’t have a lot of followers? Then a good solution would be a Tag-a-Friend contest on Instagram for example.

It’s simple to host this type of giveaway. Using the small-batch pet food as an example again, they could post a cute or funny photo of their favorite pooch and state the giveaway and rules. To enter, followers are asked to comment on the post and tag a friend and then a winner is chosen randomly.

It’s that easy, and these types of contests are a great way to pick up a lot of free followers and advertising along the way.

Have a good social following already? Try a Post-Your-Own-Picture giveaway to increase engagement.

The pet food owner could have followers post a picture of their pets doing something silly or sweet, maybe even featuring the pet food product, accompanied by a custom hashtag. The more people who enter, the more leads and new customers you get.

Come up with a fun, image-focused campaign that’s easy for customers to enter and share. To easily organize a fair contest, check out a sweepstakes site like Rafflecopter.

If you’re a storefront business without an online social presence, then in-store contests can also be a simple way to garner customers. It can be as easy as customers dropping their name or business card in a fishbowl or guessing the number of candy canes on the store’s Christmas tree.

Want to go bigger?  Have a holiday party for customers and local residents

3. Use the power of influencers & bloggers

Start on this one early if you want help from social media influencers or bloggers. Especially if you want to partner with ones with large followings that can help your business most. But small influencers with a very targeted niche or local audience can also be extremely valuable.

If you’re unfamiliar with influencers, they are individuals with large followings based on their knowledge of specific industries, items, or topics. They post regularly about their specific topic and their followers are completely engaged and take heed of the influencer’s views and recommendations.

For instance, there are numerous pet food influencers that our example company could use to promote their product. Companies like Influence.co are devoted strictly to helping businesses and influencers find each other.

Research, research, research.  Sit down in your spare time and Google.

Find local bloggers or ones that cover an industry that’s related to your product or service. Check out their blog, see if people are visiting their site and commenting on posts. You can use a site like websiteiq.com that estimates website traffic.

Build a relationship with the blogger you feel is a good fit. Show them you’re authentic and let them see the value in showcasing your product. If you’re sending a product to review, make sure it’s ready to go and represented in the best light.

Also, the most important holiday marketing tip of all:  get a signed contract with any influencer or blogger you work with.

As NYC travel and lifestyle blog, Sher She Goes says, you should have a contract ready from the beginning.  Even if it’s a one-page deal, it will not only protect you financially but show that you’re professional as well.

4. Add a holiday coupon in summer & fall packaging

At the end of summer, whether you have a storefront, online shop, or both, start offering holiday shopping discounts. Simply tuck an exclusive offer in orders and shopping bags to incentivize customers to return to buy their holiday gifts.

For larger packages or carryout bags, you can easily add a larger personalized holiday card/coupon that customers will see instantly when they open their packages.

If you have smaller products, create your coupons using custom business cards that will fit easily in packaging. These are great to personally hand out to loyal customers as a special appreciation for their business as well. Want to print the cards yourself on-demand? Try printable business cards you can design and print when you need them.

Get creative. Whatever size card you choose for in-packing, your goal should be to make it refrigerator-worthy.  A great offer, combined with a fun slogan or cute photo (see dogs & cats) can mean the difference between getting clipped to your customer’s to-do list or tossed in their trash.

You can easily add to this campaign by including it in social media posts and email. Create holiday-themed posts that coordinate with the cards you include in packaging then send to your customers and followers.

5. Offer a last-minute holiday deal

There are procrastinators everywhere.  The average shopper completes only about 50% of their shopping by December 15, according to NRF past data.  Target those shoppers and give them an incentive to shop with you. Think about things like a 20% sitewide or in-store discount. Or offer a good deal on a customer-favorite item or service that’s sure to lure in last-minute buyers.

Once you have them in your store or on your site, tempt them with other inexpensive Christmas gift ideas. People are always looking for items they can buy quickly and cheaply for neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Keep that in mind when pitching products on your homepage or placing products by the cash register.

Lastly, pay attention to shipping deadlines as the holidays are near. If you offer online holiday deals, you need to be able to get your customers their items when needed. Don’t overpromise.

Do you have any great holiday marketing tips you’ve tried that worked or not?  We’d love to share it with our readers to help them with their holiday marketing and sales. Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Melanie Neff

Melanie has an extensive writing background built on an impressive journalism foundation. As a reporter for USA Today and The Los Angeles Times for almost 20 years, she covered everything from the Los Angeles riots, fires, and floods to LA Lakers, Raiders and Clippers games and movie premieres. She followed her newspaper career with a long tenure covering commercial real estate financing and development. Melanie has been writing about small business marketing and labeling needs for the last 12 years. She thrives on reading, researching and expanding her knowledge of everything going on in today's business world and looks to provide the most valuable information she can to her readers.