9 Ideas for a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign

The holiday season.

Time for cheer and fun.

Time to get together with family and friends.

Time to celebrate traditions.

We all have memories connected to the holidays.

Maybe the whole family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins,  played football on Thanksgiving as the turkey was in the oven and after dinner all the men fell asleep in the couch.

Maybe your grandma made the best Latkes. All crispy and brown and greasy. And you ate them with your hands and dipped them in applesauce.

Maybe you all had cookies and hot chocolate the night before Christmas.

The holidays are important for us and an  important time for companies of all sizes.

We walk down the streets and companies and stores have decorated their windows with snowflakes, and Christmas trees and Menorahs.

At the malls we can meet Santa and let our children sit in his lap.

All is part of holiday marketing. For a new business the first holiday season can be complicated to understand and hard to know what and how to do it.

Holidays are a perfect time to connect with your prospects and celebrate those feelings of camaraderie, gratitude and disconnectedness. Marketers can leverage these feelings to deeply engage with their customers on an emotional level and build trust and credibility.

The holidays are a popular time to market, so it’s important to put a lot of thought into your holiday marketing campaign. You want to appeal to everyday emotions while also standing out from the crowd. There’s a lot of spending that occurs during the holidays — the trick is to get your customers to spend with you and not your competitors.

Here are 9 good ideas for  a successful holiday marketing campaign:

1. If you did holiday marketing last year, start by looking over what you learned.

What campaigns worked? Did you perhaps offer free shipping? Or did you have coupons?

Do you remember what someone else did last year that you thought was a brilliant marketing campaign? Look at what they did and see if you can use some of it.

What on your website did attract the most traffic during the holiday season last year? Maybe you had a gift guide that got a lot of attention. Or maybe someone wrote a blog post. Whatever worked last year is a good thing to try again.

Look over what you used the most last year to get your marketing out. Did you use Google ads or a newsletter? Or maybe reviews or Twitter.

Photo: Chelsea Francis

Photo: Chelsea Francis

“Choose which channels are going to be your highest priority and which fall more in the “when we have time” category. Email marketing is typically the #1 channel during the holidays. Maybe Facebook is where you’ll need to be vigilant for customer support and promoting your holiday offers, while Twitter might play second fiddle (or vice versa).”

–Olivia Raymer, 9 Ways to Prep Your Business for the Holiday Season.

Also look at current trends and data. Ask yourself what worked for you company the last few months. Look at what your competitors are doing for the holiday season to get some inspiration.

“Each holiday season has its own nuances. As new trends take shape, small business owners can use them to create a marketing plan that takes advantage of current issues, preferences, concerns and opportunities.”

Julie Knudson, Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips for 2015

If you didn’t do holiday marketing last year, this year is your opportunity to start collecting data for next year

2. Plan a personalized campaign.

Instead of hoping your customers will be seen with your products and spread the word, why not take the next step and let them physically insert themselves into your ad? OfficeMax saw an enormous boon using this strategy with the “Elf Yourself” social-media campaign. The site drew 193 million visits and continues to evolve with new characters, dances and animated graphics. If you visit the site you will see how the count of elves made is constantly going up.


Personalize your own ad campaign by allowing customers to get involved and put themselves in the mix. The more innovative and fun the experience is, the more likely they are to share it on social media and beyond.

3. Make sure your website works on mobile.

“Mobile usage is growing steadily, and if you don’t have a mobile strategy this year it’s likely you will be driving customers into the arms of your competitors.”

Josh Steimle, “9 Steps to Prepare Your Website Marketing for the Holiday Shopping Season,” Forbes)

You know how frustrated you get when a site doesn’t work on your phone. You don’t want your costumers to have that experience when they visit you. Consider creating a mobile version of your website if you haven’t already.

4. Get your staff involved.

Studies show there is only a 2 to 8 percent overlap between employee and company social networks. In other words, getting your staff involved can exponentially boost your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

Some companies feature their staffs directly in commercials, while others simply encourage their employees to participate and share the personalized campaign. However you choose to do it, you can’t afford to ignore your employees when planning your holiday marketing strategy.


5. Hit key emotions with your campaign.

Winter in the City

People tend to think their decision-making is purely rational, but the truth is all people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally.

As a result, a successful holiday marketing campaign should be an emotional one. Focus on the feelings that fit the season, including friendship, “home for the holidays,” good will, giving back and gratitude.

A good way to do this would be content marketing. Make a short video. Write a blog post about the holidays. Create a game where you chase down presents or delicious chocolate Gelt coins.

Content marketing is a way to market without marketing. You want to create a bond with your costumers.

TD Bank’s #MakeTodayMatter campaign featured these emotions, and as a result generated 3.5 million hits and gained media coverage around the world.

“On one level, of course, this is simple a bold, well-executed marketing stunt, designed to generate holiday cheer for the bank through a viral video and publicity. (Indeed, the centerpiece clip has millions of views after just a few days on YouTube. TD has scored in this realm before, notably with “Automated Thanking Machines”  which has amassed almost 18 millions views since July.) That said, I give the bank extra props on this one. Lots of brands create powerful holiday ads, but TD went the extra mile by putting its money to work helping local communities.”

–David Gianatasio, Ad of the day: This Generous TD Bank Stunt Is the Perfect Ad To Watch On Thanksgiving,


6. Create a shareable campaign 

While it’s hard to predict what will go viral, it’s possible to maximize your chances. One important element is that the campaign is easy to share. Consider that 74 percent of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influence of their purchasing decisions. When someone receives your campaign from a friend, it means so much more than seeing it in a commercial or Facebook ad.

Some ways to make content shareable include adding social icons to marketing content, allowing recipients to share with a single click and creating engaging tweets that are begging to be shared.

7. Include online deals.

Millions of Americans shop online from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. In 2014, $1.5 billion was spent online on Black Friday alone. Online networks make it easy to feature deals with fun campaigns such as countdowns, contests and games. Don’t discount the power of email when reaching out to customers and advertising your deals both online and off for tempting in-store deals.

Other important days to remember are:

Small Business Saturday November 28

This day is to encourage people to buy from small businesses. It started in 2010 and it has grown ever since.

“As any small business owner can appreciate, gaining more attention than normal for your business is not easily done and yet always valuable. And with a whole nation rallying behind small businesses on November 29th of this year, why not get involved? As a customer or small business owner, being a part of a powerful movement to support small businesses isn’t just a trend to take part in… but instead a proven movement worth embracing.”

–Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, “Small Business Saturday Becomes Holiday Tradition in Communities Across the County in Only Five Years,”  Forbes


Cyber Monday, this year November 30th.

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. And as we all know Thanksgiving is the start pistol being fired for holiday shopping. After people have digested their food, they realize that it is only a few weeks before the gift giving is expected.


In 2015, Hanukkah lasts from December 6-14

Hanukkah, the festival of light,  is an eight day celebration of the brave Maccabees who fought the Syrian army and liberated the temple in Jerusalem.

Photo: Jessika O'Sullivan

Photo: Jessika O’Sullivan

“The story of Hanukkah is not about military victory, but about miracles, especially the miracle of a few people triumphing over tremendous odds in a struggle for the right to practice their religious beliefs.”  The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays, Malka Drucker).

A lot of families celebrate this holiday by getting together and giving small gifts. Your company can always have deals and discounts to accommodate this tradition.

Green Monday this year on December 14

Green Monday is the second Monday in December and is the third biggest online shopping day of the year.

Free Shipping Day on December 18

Free Shipping Day

This day companies offer free shipping and delivery by Christmas. Free Shipping Day have grown and generates almost as many sales as Cyber Monday.


Super Saturday or Panic Saturday on December 19th

This is the last Saturday before Christmas and people who haven’t yet done their shopping are looking for deals and savings.

All these dates except for Hanukkah leads up to Christmas. The climax of holiday shopping.

“Christmas shopping is big– so big that two-thirds of all annual seasonal spending is for this one day.”

–“A Handy Holiday Marketing Calendar,” VerticalResponse Blog


7. Create a consistent experience across all channels.

Multi-channel marketing is the norm for professionals from retailers to insurance agents. However, it’s crucial to create a consistent user experience regardless of which channels your customers are using. But there’s more to it than recreating your branding and color scheme on social media. The deals you’re offering should also stay consistent. Train your staff to fluently understand your individual deals, online-only offers and any restrictions that apply.

8.Decorate to commemorate the season


Google does this. No one can miss when they change the Google search page in remembers of someone famous or because it is Halloween, Hanukkah or Christmas.

You don’t want to make your clients or costumers to feel like you are a Scrooge.

“Whether or not you have a real space to decorate or just a virtual world, having a theme and design for you holiday communication is a great idea. Show costumers that you are feeling festive.”

Olivia Raymer, 9 Ways to Prep your Business for the Holiday Season

We aren’t all Macy’s but we can still decorate and it doesn’t have to be a hassle.  Some lights and bulbs or a Menorah in the window.

Holiday wordsOr change your template to a wintry theme or a red and green theme. Use words and expressions that speak of the holidays: cheer, family, I believe, ho ho ho, magic, wishes, warm, presents….




9.What to do if you aren’t big online

Perhaps your company doesn’t draw the most of your sales from internet. What can you do to make the most of the holidays?

Have an event to start the holiday season. You can have Santa come to your store or have a night with hot chocolate and cookies. This will draw customers to your location and they will leave with a festive feeling.

Tell costumers what you have that the big companies don’t. Quality, experiences  and service perhaps.

Use posters and flyers to draw your costumers to your company.

If your company gives out a calendar every year you can have sales and offers printed in the calendar.

The Holidays are the Perfect Time

The holidays are the perfect time to build an emotional bond with your customers. The positive feelings of family, giving and gratitude are already at the forefront of the season and your marketing campaign can piggyback on those emotions. In addition, personalize your campaign to your customers and get your staff involved. With a sharable campaign, hot online deals and a consistent multi-channel experience, you’ll be positioned for maximum holiday-season success.

How do you plan to market this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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