Some brands create promotions that delight consumers instead of adding unnecessary holiday noise. Check our favorite ideas below and use the ideas to fuel your own holiday advertising ideas. Find out about some of the best Christmas marketing ideas that can put you at the forefront of your customers’ minds this holiday season. Take action and get started with one of these strategies.
When should I start marketing for Christmas?
For consumers, the Christmas shopping season is kicked off on Black Friday. For business, however, waiting until the middle or end of November to start your Christmas marketing campaign is a big mistake.
One big question is when do consumers start to think about Christmas shopping? According to Google Trends and Delante, searches for “Christmas Gift” in the United States generally start to climb in mid to late October.
So what does that mean for your Christmas marketing campaign? Start early! You don’t have to go all in on Christmas marketing in October, but having your strategy planned and ready to go with enable you to run full speed ahead once the holiday season kicks off.
Define your goals & plan for them
One way to help kickstart your Christmas marketing strategy is to define your goals. What does a successful holiday marketing campaign look like to your business? Is it a certain number of sales? A revenue number? Higher site traffic? More followers on social media platforms?
The possible goals are endless, but it’s important to look at your business specifically and find a goal or goals that can help drive your business forward. For example, local retailers may focus on increasing the number of sales during the holiday season. An online retailer may focus on SERP impressions or website traffic. Whatever the goal is, have a clear direction to steer your Christmas marketing plan.
Without further ado, let’s just into our 25 brilliant examples to add to your Christmas marketing campaign.
1. Add Christmas flair to your brand
Almost any business can add a festive flair to its brand. Temporarily update your logo and social media profiles to get into the holiday spirit. You can also update your website, in-store Christmas decorations (Christmas tree anyone?), email marketing, print advertising, and even your mobile app. Anywhere customers may be coming in contact with your brand is a great opportunity to tell them “Merry Christmas.”
2. Offer Christmas gift suggestions
Deciding what gift to get someone is half the battle of holiday shopping. Give your customers a boost by offering a curated list of the best gifts to give that they can get right from your store. Include some customer testimonials to attract more attention and eliminate some of the work for your shoppers.
The retail chain Boots took this to a new level by creating dozens of lists and categories for all the gift-giving scenarios, but starting with a list or two to get your customers’ wheels turning can really build good rapport and boost sales.
3. Offer a free Christmas checklist
The Christmas season is a time for getting together with family and friends, but it can also bring some stress as well. Checklists are a great way to keep track of the numerous Christmas work that must be done and some brands have stepped in and made such checklists available to their customers for free.
Make a list of the must-see Christmas movies or must-try recipes. You could opt for a checklist where followers can include only the list items relevant to them. You can offer these as a download on your website, on social media, and as a printed copy in your store.
4. Bundle items
When items are bundled together, the perceived value increases. This effect is multiplied whenever bundled goods are discounted. This is a great way to increase the average order value. Below are some examples of bundling items:
- Buy one get one free
- A living room set sold at a discount compared to each piece being sold separately
- Buy a cleaning set at a discount when a jewelry piece is purchased
This is a perfect opportunity to get creative with your Christmas marketing! If you need more ideas on what to bundle, ask your customers what would be most enticing to them.
5. “Countdown to Christmas”
Gerhard Lang of Germany is credited with creating the first printed Advent Calendar in the early 20th century. This tradition has evolved through the years to include chocolates, candies, and other prizes. Businesses have taken the calendar to another level by announcing new promotions or prizes each day throughout the Christmas season.
An ideal Christmas marketing campaign engages your audience and keeps your business top of mind. Adding new promotions each day can do just that because customers can come back and spread the word when a new promotion is relevant to them.
6. Set up a festive photo competition
Christmas-themed photo contests provide an exciting method for Christmas marketing. This contest can be run through social media, your website, or even in person. This can help get your audience excited about engaging with your brand.
If you are a local business, sponsoring a festive photo competition is also a great way to spread holiday cheer throughout your community. You can set up specific guidelines to feature different aspects of your local community in the competition.
7. Break into the social media ads game
Social media platforms are a great way to shine during the holiday season! A lot of your other Christmas marketing ideas may include some aspect of social media, and one way to make sure those initiatives are seen is to pay for social media ads. The first step to running social media ads is to determine which platform to use. Instagram and Facebook are both excellent options for retailers.
8. Run a Christmas giveaway
Running a Christmas giveaway can create a lot of buzz around your brand. Not only can contents and giveaways help build awareness and increase your social following, but on average, businesses saw an increase of over 34% of new customers acquired through social media contests.
Especially for small businesses, social media contests-and specifically Christmas giveaways-are a huge way to attract an audience that can potentially become your customers. Incentivize your current supporters to get new followers in exchange for a chance to win what you’re offering–could be cash, a free product, or something else entirely.
9. Create a Christmas video campaign
Of all the content available to consumers, 54% prefer to see video content above other types of content from the brands or businesses they support (HubSpot). So why not give your customers what they are wanting?
Christmas is a perfect time to run a video marketing campaign. And with YouTube being a common household name, posting your videos has become easier than ever. That being said, videos are so versatile that they can be used on multiple channels–your website, social media platforms, television, etc. Video is a great way to showcase your products and allow customers to connect emotionally with your brand.
10. Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing has become a popular way to help build a brand’s social media presence. Social media influencers or content creators have proven to be incredibly valuable for businesses to market to their customers especially during the holiday season when consumers tend to purchase more goods.
Not all influencers have millions of followers. One very effective influencer strategy is focusing on micro-influencers (those accounts with 1,000-10,000 followers). Micro-influencers are well known for having a higher engagement rate compared to mega-influencers. The average engagement rate on Instagram for a micro-influencer is 3.86%.
Find some local micro-influencers to work with during the holidays to boost Christmas sales. This could also be an avenue to run a holiday giveaway. The beauty of this sort of partnership is that it doesn’t have to end after the holidays, but can continue throughout the year either on a continual basis or for other specific social media marketing campaigns.
11. Use push notifications
According to Lexico Oxford, a push notification is “an alert (typically a pop-up or other message) generated by an application when the application is not open, notifying the user of a new message, update, social media post, etc.”. If your business already has or is involved in an app, sending push notifications is a great way to spread the word about Christmas marketing initiatives.
Push notifications in a browser
Push notifications aren’t exclusive to applications, however; your business can also utilize these notifications through a browser. If a customer comes to your website for some holiday shopping, you can prompt them to opt-in to notifications from the browser.
A word of caution with push notifications is to use them in moderation. Avoid inundating your customers with notifications day and night. With that said, push notifications are a great way to send information about special hours, exclusive offers, reminders, and other updates.
12. Nurture your database
In 2019, 3.9 billion people used email marketing worldwide. That number is continually rising. Email marketing is not a channel businesses should ignore. The holidays are a great time to run an email marketing campaign. A twelve-day Christmas campaign is a great way to set expectations for subscribers and to keep your business top of mind. If you don’t have an email list, these campaigns can easily be adapted to print or social media. One other great channel to incorporate into your marketing strategy this festive season is SMS Marketing.
Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing is a great way to nurture your database. 97% of all text messages are opened, which almost guarantees that consumers will see the messages you send. Again, be careful not to overdo it since text messages can reach consumers nearly everywhere they are. For best practices and tips on how to grow your opt-in list as the holidays approach, check out our Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing.
13. Segment users based on what you know
Take your email marketing or SMS marketing to the next level by segmenting your audience and sending them offers more relevant to them. Taking advantage of lookalike audience platforms such as Facebook, Google Analytics, or Google Ads is a great place to start. One example of how effective this can be is if you own a business with locations in both Chicago and Arizona, segment your database to send your Chicago audience cold weather-related offers, and remove your Arizona audience since that’s not as relevant to them.
14. Go greener with a digital catalog
Retailers know the power of a well-designed catalog, but with all the digital channels available now, why pay for all the extra printing and distribution charges for physical copies? A digital catalog still demands professional photography, layouts, and design; however, delivering the catalog in PDF format can make it accessible to more consumers through email marketing, your website, and social media links.
Another advantage of opting for a digital catalog is that you will be able to track how many times it is viewed and can even add trackable URLs for specific products within. Include coupons and special offers as well to help drive both online and in-store traffic.
15. Switch to holiday-specific advertising
Your ads both online and in print should be decorated with a little Christmas flair during the festive season. This is a great time for promotions of standalone products or as themed collections. With online ads, make sure they are linking to a specific Christmas landing page to make it easier to get customers to quickly purchase what was being advertised and remove any friction in their journey. The holiday design options are endless, so get creative!
16. Use Christmas season PPC words
It’s no secret that the holidays are a great time to up marketing initiatives for retailers, so how do you get your ads to stand out from the crowd? Try changing your AdWords campaigns to Christmas-specific keywords. In particular, keywords like “Christmas gifts near me” are used more during the festive season and grow more each year. So bid on relevant Christmas keywords to show up more for potential customers looking for what you offer.
17. Increase Christmas sales with coupons and discount codes
Consumers are generally expecting Christmas marketing campaigns that include holiday sales, so they may be disappointed to not see any from your retail business. Plus, coupons and discount codes boost sales:
- Businesses say a 48% increase in revenue per email for emails that included a coupon
- Online shoppers who use coupon codes spend 24% more than shoppers who don’t use them
There’s no one rule on how to use coupons in your Christmas marketing campaigns, but you can offer discounts when prospects join your newsletter, free shipping for opting-in to your SMS marketing list, or a chance to win a prize for referring a friend!
18. Build customer loyalty with personalized gifts
Local businesses are known for their ability to build real relationships with their customers. Lean into that with personalized gifts. For jewelry retailers, you could send a birthday or anniversary postcard each year or send a thank you note to customers who purchased an item from your gallery this year. Small acts of customized kindness toward your customers could significantly strengthen the relationship.
19. Create a cut-off date for last purchases
Creating a cut-off date for the last purchases-specifically in your online store-can 1. create a sense of urgency to encourage buyers to purchase early on in the season and 2. allow enough time for packages to be shipped and arrive before Christmas. Especially if you are a small business, creating a cut-off date can allow your team to focus on getting shipments ready and sent off in a timely manner. Here is the 2020 list of recommended cut-off dates for a few delivery providers in the United States. We recommend adding a few days buffer to prepare the order.
20. Offer free shipping. Period.
Free shipping is an incentive that many people expect especially during the holidays. Even if you choose to raise your prices slightly to accommodate free shipping, don’t fret; offering free shipping has been seen to increase an online store conversion rate by 20%. So more customers will be saying yes to your products if they are on the fence. Higher conversion rates equate to more sales and revenue for your business.
21. Host a local charity drive
Having a local presence gives local businesses an advantage since they are able to connect to the community and better build those relationships. Capitalize on this by working with a local charity group to give back. Collect winter clothes or canned food in-store and give the donations to those in need.
Businesses that are primarily online or are have locations across the globe. can also give back and support local initiatives. Macy’s has worked with Make-A-Wish Foundation for over a decade. Many people are already wanting to give back during the holiday season, so help magnify their efforts by hosting a local charity drive.
22. Join forces with another small business
Stand-alone hairdressers and nail salons or furniture retailers and home decor stores provide complementary products. Work with another small business in your area with products that support yours to effectively promote one another. This can be holiday-themed or be a holiday special or you can keep the partnership going year round!
23. Throw a holiday party
Networking can be a huge part of marketing for local businesses. Try attending local holiday parties or even host your own and invite members of the community or other business owners. There is no more effective way to cultivate a relationship with prospects and clients than face-to-face interaction. Make a festive e-invite, put up the Christmas lights, and bring on the eggnog!
24. Do not forget after-Christmas sales & promotions
Your holiday marketing doesn’t have to end on December 25th. Run an after-Christmas sale to clear inventory and get a few extra sales from those wanting to spend their Christmas cash gifts.
End of year survey
After the hustle and bustle of Christmas is also a perfect time to ask your audience to reflect on their holiday experience with your business. This can help you resolve issues that came up and avoid them in the future. It can also give you more Christmas marketing ideas for next year if your customers mention something they would have liked to see that you didn’t run this time around. Post the results to participants for more engagement