Christmas is big business.
The Holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year and your company deserves to share in its riches, no matter your industry or preferred holiday – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or New Year’s. Here’s how to market your company during Christmas
Gallup studies report that Americans will spend more than $1 trillion dollars nationwide during the holiday season. They will buy items from every industry including, online & mail order stores ($146 billion), food and beverages and beverages ($130 billion), jewelry ($9.0 billion), and surprising the least amount on hobby and toys ($3.7 billion).
Every business type (product, service, and B2B), not just retail or online stores, can profit from increased holiday spending by using a little creativity, some preplanning, and one or more of my best Christmas marketing ideas below.
Included in each idea are specific examples by industry including restaurants, salons, services, and B2B business to business. These are proven ways to promote your company which are budget-friendly and doable too!. These holiday campaigns are sure to delight your customers and turn browsers into shoppers.
Let’s get busy making merry and making cash!
What is Christmas Marketing?
Traditionally Christmas marketing had been considered advertising campaigns focused on standard Christmas purchases such as toys and gifts. Nowadays Christmas marketing has dramatically expanded in all ways including, themes, time frame,s and holidays.
The six months of September to February of the following year encompass holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, year-end tax savings, school break, and New Years.
Promotional themes have gone way beyond standard family gift-giving to include treat yourself gifts, community relationship building, public relations charitable causes, and B2B year-end tax savings
Why Launch Christmas Marketing Campaigns?
The most important reason to create your own Christmas marketing campaigns is to profit from consumers and businesses increased spending habits during the holidays.
People are out spending lots of money so you want to present your company’s products and services attractively.
Consumers are expressing their love for family members with gifts, traveling to relatives, entertaining friends, decorating their homes, and buying new fashions for holiday parties.
Businesses are taking advantage of holiday deals to outfit their offices and stores. While many firms are planning end-of-year purchases to take advantage of tax savings.
In addition to the sales opportunities there are customer relations building options of Christmas marketing you can benefit from. This is a time of year when you can strengthen existing client relationships, create new customer connections, support employee and vendor associations.
Also there are great ways to publicize your company to get free media coverage for your charitable endeavors and creative marketing programs.
Holiday Design Contest
Annually Starbucks asks their customers to submit designs for their holiday coffee cups. It’s a big success and gets customers interested in their holiday menu.
You could ask customers to help design some of your holiday items including seasonal logos, window displays, christmas cards, limited edition Christmas tree ornaments, packaging, slogans, ads and holiday menus.
Have some fun and use your social media accounts and website to solicit contest entries. create brand engagements. Award the winner some cash or gift certificates, then publicize their name and design.
Everyone loves giveaways. You can give all sorts of things – discounts, information, upgrades, exposure, warranties, promotional items (pens, pads, etc) accessories, special access, future bundle packages, and prizes! Use the number 12 – as in 12 days of Christmas – for a series of 12 days of giveaway items to both new and existing customers.
Giveaway Ideas for your industry:
- Restaurants – Free dessert with dinner, photo of them featured on your favorite customer.
- Retailers – Fashion styling session with a designer, coupons for the whole year on the 12th of each month!
- Services – Upgrade service to include additional items such as expanded coverage or quicker response.
Use social media and email marketing to contact your customers and promote the campaign on your website.
Help your customers answer that age-old Holiday question, “what gift should I give to him/her”?
Create interesting gift guides on your website and share on your social media, website, email marketing, and texts.
Focus your guides on categories of people such as gift guides for husbands, wives, bosses, employees, service providers, neighbors, teachers, postman, house cleaners, and girlfriends/boyfriends.
Service providers, you two can create gift lists which can include gift certificates, special services for mom, dad, and perhaps a subscription service for your boss.
Don’t forget stocking stuffers. People love to buy inexpensive and fun items as stocking stuffers. Create a list, or display in your store, and include small items.
Last Minute Holiday Deals & Flash Sales
The majority of holiday shoppers (me included) procrastinate until the last minute to do their Christmas gift buying.
Help those shoppers finish their buying needs by offering last-minute holiday deals, discounts, coupons, personal shopper services, and quick shipping schedules.
Launch a flash sale – a previously unannounced and super attractive deal for a limited time (days or hours). Notify your customers via text message, email, website pop up and social media.
Festive holiday decorations are not just whimsical they can be money making!
One of my clients, a dental clinic, always wins the local town Christmas tree contest with their original and beautiful decorations. It is a huge boost for their community relations, brand awareness, and gets lots of local publicity in the newspaper and on the radio.
New patients have booked appointments saying that they learned of the dental office while reading the newspaper article about the holiday decoration contest. They were impressed with the dentist’s community spirit.
So be sure to decorate your business place even if it’s only an office. Examples of tasteful and culturally sensitive decorations include simple Christmas trees, white lighting, and interior decor.
One of my business consulting clients does a nice job in their office entry by switching out the area rug to a solid red one and adding masses of red poinsettia plants. It is simple but effective and elegant.
Decorate Your Website
While you are busy decorating your physical business don’t forget your digital real estate.
The same dental office I described above (who always wins the town holiday decorating competition) also decorates their website.
During the Christmas season, they update their website with a flurry of snowflakes and playful elves to make their pediatric dental patients smile.
Have fun on social media and seasonally decorate your profile accounts and share helpful holiday tips.
This is the best time of year to share interesting winter visuals, heartwarming stories and holiday tips that directly relate to your business and customers needs. Examples for a restaurant would be to share tips on how to cook for large groups, easy recipes for holiday entertaining or resource guides on how to buy hard to find ingredients (like roasted chestnuts) plus a small amount of coupons spell announcements and sales promotion.
Use your social media platforms for contests, coupons, surveys, giveaways and just plain old fun. Post your ugliest christmas sweater and worst singing of christmas music.
Self Gift Buying for Self One for Me One for You
A large majority of Christmas shoppers buy gifts for themselves while shopping for others.
Leverage this buying habit by offering two-for-one deals – one is a gift for someone else and the other is a gift for the shopper to keep for themselves. This can quickly double your sales by appealing to your buyers personal desires.
My fashion boutique clients sell lots of double gift sets – two scarves, two handbags, two sweaters bundled as one product. One to give one to keep.
Holiday Decorate Your Fleet
While you are decorating your store and restaurant don’t forget about your trucks, vans and company cars.
Vehicles (boats and planes too!) can be decorated with holiday greetings on magnetic signs, seasonal lights or a festive wreath. These make your vehicle stand out and bring attention to your company, brand, goods and services.
Holiday Food Creations
How about asking your customers to create a special holiday dish for your restaurant menu.
If you own a pizzeria how about asking your patrons to submit ideas on Uncle Nick’s favorite pizza pie! The winner could win local fame, his photo on the wall and a few pizza pies. My submission would suggest green and red peppers with reindeer sausage (ouch).
Another idea is to create special dishes that are holiday-themed such as all-red, or green or traditional holiday fare. Mexican restaurants could serve red chili and green chili dishes or Santa’s favorite chili.
Showcase your philanthropic side by staging promotions that help raise funds for charities.
These could be local charities or your customers favorite charities. Consider staging an event such as a Christmas tree decorating contest where people submit design ideas for your company tree. The winner gets to pick their favorite charity for your corporate annual donation.
Your attractive, limited edition, holiday ornaments can be appreciated and displayed in your customers homes.
Consider designing your own ornament as a customer gift which includes your branding tastefully. Everybody likes to receive free gifts and this is one could be retained and used annually.
Holiday Edition Products and Packaging
Use the holidays as inspiration for special edition products and packaging. One of the most successful holiday only products are Yankee Candle seasonal fragrant candles evergreen, cinnamon and snowflake. Being in limited supply increases consumer demand and buying urgency.
Consider different packaging colors and designs as limited time options. Photographers could offer holiday family portrait sessions with seasonal backgrounds and props. Coffee shops can debut special edition menu items such as pumpkin spiced baked goods. Fitness studios can offer a series of – New Year New You – workout classes.
Use Online Notifications Messages and Banner Bars
Let technology be Santa’s helper. Use online devices on your website such as push notifications These are the little messages to pop up when people visit your website and remind them of your special Christmas promotions. Read more about how to market with push messages here.
Use them to give special coupons, introduce flash sales or your extended holiday shopping hours. Another tech marketing tip is to use a brightly colored bar across the top of your website with a rotating set of holiday promotions. Check out these effective website messages using this bar (called a hello bar).
Holiday Mobile App
Perhaps your business type is well suited to the creation of a helpful mobile app. Help your customers keep track of their holiday information shopping list, recipe collection, gift budget and holiday card contact information.
The goal is to make it a fun easy-to-use app that your customers will find truly useful. Your brand messaging and links to sale pages can appear in the footer and sidebar of the app.
You can make the holiday app available on your website for free download and promote it in your email marketing and text messaging campaigns.
Even non-techies can create mobile apps in just a few clicks using AppyPie. Check it out
Host a Holiday Community Event
Support your community and local charities by hosting a breakfast or lunch fundraising event. Consider hosting the event at a senior center, children’s school or food bank to support their charitable efforts. If you own a restaurant, you could host the event at your place which will give you extra brand promotion.
Partner with other businesses who can donate food and door prizes to share the work and community goodwill.
These types of heart-warming events often attract media attention, resulting in positive business publicity while spreading holiday joy to those in need.
Partner With Other Businesses
Double your christmas marketing success by partnering with a complimentary business to create innovative promotions. Together you can bundle deals and promote each other’s offers.
One of my fashion clients partners with a trendy nightclub that their customers frequent. The retailer promotes the nightclub concerts while the nightclub both displays fashion merchandise and distributes boutique discount coupons.
The best partner promotions are when you both share a similar customer demographic but are not directly competitive. Examples of good partners include christmas decoration installers and caterers or hair salons and fitness gyms.
Small Business Saturday Program
In the US Small Business Saturday is November 28th which is the weekend after Thanksgiving – traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses has hosted the event for the past decade with a record high last year of $20 billion and reported spending. Check with your local chamber of commerce to find out how you can join and benefit from the Shop Local Shop Small promotion.
Mail Christmas Cards
At first glance, this may seem old-fashioned advice, but that is exactly why it is so effective. Because so many businesses have completely switched over to digital communication people are receiving very few holiday cards so your card will stand out.
Times may have changed, but humans still enjoy receiving beautiful christmas cards to display in their homes and appreciate that you thought of them during the holidays.
Nowadays email messages are often considered more of a burden than a joy. Also most emails are only viewed by only one person and then deleted instantly. Compare that to an attractive printed christmas card that is displayed in the office for lots of people to enjoy.
Select cards that are self-referential for your business. This means that the cards communicate your selling points in addition to holiday greetings. Here’s an example from one of my companies, an advertising agency.
I selected trendy, artistic cards from museums to communicate that our design agency was on the cutting edge of fashion. My cards stood out from other boring, more generic cards.
Check out my guide to the best Christmas cards for businesses including those I recommend for specific industries here.
Display Impulse Items Near Register
Smart retailers always all have low-priced items near their cash registers for quick impulse purchases such as snacks and phone charging cords.
Recently when I was shopping at a luxury department store they had mini boxes of Godiva chocolates near the register. That was a brilliant impulse item for this retailer’s customers who are primarily women – well-known for loving chocolate (like me).
Use this time-tested technique for your business. Your restaurant could display gift cards near the register, or at the bar, where there is lots of customer interaction. Plus you could also have a rack of flyers with your holiday catering menu.
My cafe clients get lots of office breakfast catering jobs from her morning coffee customers who see her flyers when they pick up their drink orders. You may be surprised at how many of your restaurant customers are unaware that you offer catering (even though you have told them and advertised before!). Help them with their holiday celebrations, meeting and home parties.
Every business should have gift cards or gift certificates available and prominently displayed and throughout the holiday season (and all year long too!).
People are looking for interesting gifts to give their family and work colleagues. Put up prominent signs inside your establishment and on your website about your gift-giving options.
Recently I attended a wedding and purchased a gift certificate at the couple’s favorite local restaurant. I bought this gift because I knew that this couple, who had both been married before, and had all the toasters they needed – would really enjoy time together having a romantic meal.
Send a Email Marketing Series
Utilize the power of email marketing to connect, inspire, educate and persuade your audience.
Remember the rule of four for email marketing success. For every one sales message (promotion, discount, deal) that you send, be sure to send three (or more) high-value information based emails your customers will find truly useful.
Examples for a fitness studio series of emails; ways to add exercise to a busy holiday season, how to avoid fattening holiday party fare and healthier versions of seasonal dishes. On the 4th email you mention your gift certificates and discounted New Year – New Year membership packages.
Text Message Reminders
Yes you can use text messaging to send special deals, coupons and gift buying reminders.
BUT some of the more customer appreciated (and thus more effective) texts are heartwarming holiday stories, inspiring quotes, suggested travel destinations, funny christmas videos, beautiful seasonal photos and fun holiday activities.
The very best way to sell is not to sell! I know that sounds weird but it’s true.
Instead of always selling, give value to your customers and fill their needs by using your expertise. A good rule of thumb is three helpful info only messages and one sales message
Here are some text message ideas for your industry.
Text links to hair styling video tutorials for holiday parties. Then you could mention that you are open for in-salon styles if they don’t want to DIY their hair.
Text tips on how to style outfits to look great at holiday parties.
My fellow entrepreneurs, I encourage you to try at least one, or more, of the Christmas marketing ideas discussed above.
Don’t worry if you can’t implement or afford all of these holiday promotional ideas. Just pick a few that you think will be most meaningful to your customers, relevant to your industry and showcase your business’s unique selling points best.
Restaurants can stage charity events showcasing their tasty dishes, consulting companies can send Christmas cards with industry-specific graphics (like these for construction firms) and fashion boutiques can email 12 days of fashion styling tips for holiday parties.
Use Christmas marketing to spread holiday cheer, make your customers smile and your bottom line sparkle.
Good luck in your holiday promotion campaigns.