Running A Business

Holiday Marketing Campaigns: Strategies for Success in 2023

Dec 11, 2023 • 10+ min read
Mother and daughter doing holiday shopping
Table of Contents

      The holiday season is a golden opportunity for businesses to boost their sales and strengthen customer relationships. A well-planned and executed holiday marketing campaign can make a significant impact in getting your brand noticed and maximizing your revenue potential. This guide will provide insights into effective holiday marketing strategies and ideas to help your business shine brighter this season.

      Holiday marketing strategies

      1. Lean into local.

      According to a survey from Bankrate, 72% of shoppers aim to shop with a small business this holiday season. These shoppers understand the challenges small businesses face and are eager to support their local community. Make it effortless for them to do so.

      Shoppers want to feel good about their purchases, the recipients, and the places they buy from. Share your story to let customers know how much you value their patronage. Provide them with all the positive vibes they desire as they enter and exit your online or physical store.

      Embrace the local spirit by taking steps to support small businesses in the community:

      • Collaborate with neighboring businesses to offer special promotions.
      • Whenever possible, work with local suppliers and manufacturers.
      • Hire local talent for live events.
      • Give back to charities and nonprofits in your community.

      2. Nail your online strategy.

      In today’s digital era, nailing your online strategy is critical for a successful holiday marketing campaign. Customers are increasingly turning towards online shopping, and a well-executed online strategy can significantly boost your holiday sales.

      Ensure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Highlight your holiday deals on your homepage and consider creating specific landing pages for your holiday marketing campaigns. An efficient, attractive website design can make a big difference in customer experience and overall sales.

      3. Update your holiday hours.

      Keeping your customers informed about your operating hours during the holiday season is essential. Customers appreciate knowing when they can visit your store or reach out for customer service. It’s crucial to update your holiday hours on both your website and your Google Business profile.

      On your website, prominently display your holiday hours on the homepage and the Contact Us page. Make sure it’s easily noticeable to avoid any confusion.

      Updating your Google Business profile is equally important. Many customers turn to Google to find out if a business is open before they make a trip. To update your hours on Google, sign in to your Google My Business account. From there, click on the “Hours” tab, and then the pencil icon next to “Add special hours.” You can add the dates and times your business will have altered hours due to the holiday season.

      Remember, accurate information boosts customer trust and satisfaction, contributing to successful holiday marketing campaigns.

      4. Prepare your staff.

      Long waiting lines are hated by everyone and often result in customers abandoning their plans. So, how can you avoid this? One effective solution is to hire extra staff. This will ensure that your store remains well-staffed, even during peak shopping hours.

      Training your staff to provide exceptional customer service and increase sales can also make a significant impact on your holiday marketing campaign’s success.

      5. Plan your holiday communications.

      Now’s the time to overcommunicate rather than undercommunicate. Yes, your customers’ social media feeds and email inboxes will likely flood with messages—but they’d rather get up-to-date notifications on delivery expectations than silence.

      Use your website, social media profiles, email program, and more to keep customers in the know:

      • What deals can they expect this holiday season?
      • Will there be any expected shipping delays?
      • What’s the cutoff date for shipping by Christmas?
      • Are there any products you anticipate will sell out quickly?
      • Where can customers find your deals? Your website, Amazon, retailers?

      Don’t leave it up to guesswork—give your customers all the FAQs and answers they need.

      6. Brace for impact.

      Anticipate demand upfront. Cash flow forecasts will help, but plan for the worst so you’re not caught off guard.

      • Website: Make sure your website’s ready to handle a jump in traffic. The last thing you want is a site crash on Black Friday.
      • Stock up on inventory: Don’t miss out on sales by understocking products—plan for adequate inventory.
      • Hire extra help: Prioritizing online sales doesn’t mean you’ll need less help. There are still customers to serve, orders to fulfill, and sales to make—make sure you’re staffed appropriately.
      • Budget for increased marketing: It takes money to make money. If you want more digital sales, plan on more digital spend. If money is tight, consider getting a business line of credit to expand your working capital.
      • Upgrade your email account: Avoid unnecessary overages by estimating your email volume in advance. If your email volume (marketing emails, shipping notifications, support, etc.) is set to skyrocket this holiday season, consider upgrading your account in advance.
      Promotion ideas

      Strategies to boost sales and draw in holiday shoppers.

      With the right strategies and creative holiday marketing ideas, your business can effectively attract holiday shoppers and significantly enhance sales, thereby making the most out of this festive season.

      Offer gift cards.

      Gift cards are often overlooked by small businesses. While they may seem expensive upfront at $1-$2 per card, the stats on gift cards may change your perspective. A whopping 54% of U.S. consumers buy gift cards as holiday gifts. On average, 61% of gift card recipients spend more than the card’s value. So, despite the initial investment, your returns are likely to increase. If physical gift cards aren’t your preference, consider offering digital ones. This is especially appealing to the younger demographic who prefer keeping gift cards on their phones.

      Offer free shipping.

      While it’s true that not every business can implement this strategy, it remains a powerful method to attract customers. A 2023 Gartner survey found that 45% of holiday shoppers identified free shipping as one of the top drivers for a purchase decision. If it’s feasible for your business to join in, it’s advisable not to hesitate and seize the opportunity.

      Hold a photo contest.

      Humans have four fundamental needs: food, water, shelter, and the desire to see photos of themselves on the Internet. Take advantage of this by organizing a delightful holiday photo contest. Ugly sweater pictures are consistently well-received, but the theme options are limitless.

      Add coupons to purchases.

      During the holiday season, customers have come to expect and appreciate the presence of coupons. If you choose not to offer any, you may miss out on potential business. To reward your loyal customers and attract new ones, consider utilizing the tried-and-true method of offering a good old-fashioned coupon.

      Partner with a charity.

      Apart from spending money during the holidays, consumers also seek to make a meaningful impact with their purchases. When you support a worthy cause, the positive effects are felt by all.

      Provide gift wrapping.

      Offering a useful service at a fairly low cost is a great way to endear customers to your business. Whether you have a retail store or operate online, make it clear that you are happy to provide gift wrapping for your customers.

      Use a window display.

      If you have a physical store, why not borrow a tip from the good old days and create a captivating holiday window display? And if your business operates exclusively online, no worries! You can transform your website into a modern holiday window display that leaves a lasting impression.

      Share the sample love.

      If product samples are relevant to your business, consider giving them to potential customers during the holiday season. Additionally, try sending some samples to bloggers and product reviewers, as they can help spread the word through gift guides and articles. It’s a great way to increase visibility and reach a wider audience.

      Stand out from large competitors.

      Ways to stand out from large competitors.

      In the face of stiff competition from large corporations, small businesses can leverage their unique attributes and creative holiday marketing campaigns to stand out and secure their market share during the festive season.

      Fight the fights you can win.

      In the online marketplace, competition is fierce. Your local ecosystem may have a few direct and indirect competitors, but in the world of e-commerce, you’ll be up against thousands of businesses, both big and small. To succeed during the holiday rush, focus on the battles you can win.

      Don’t waste your energy on pricing wars or trying to outdo big-box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart on delivery speed. Instead, choose the battles that truly matter and where you have an advantage.

      Create connections.

      No matter how low the prices at Wal-Mart’s floral department, chances are you don’t have a personal connection with them. However, when it comes to your local flower shop, it’s a different story. The owner probably knows you by name, remembers your arrangement preferences, and even remembers your special someone. When it comes to building personal relationships, your larger competitors just can’t compete.

      Provide exceptional customer support.

      The holidays are wild for everyone—not just your small business. Offer relief from the chaos by taking your customer support to the next level.

      If you’ve traditionally relied on phone support, consider expanding your service channels to include social media, chat, video, and email. And if your schedule is jam-packed, consider hiring and training specific customer support help.

      Holiday campaign examples

      Holiday campaign examples from successful small businesses.

      Several small businesses have conducted successful holiday marketing campaigns, setting a benchmark for others. These examples demonstrate creative strategies and effective execution.

      1. Death Wish Coffee: This company initiated a “Golden Ticket” campaign during the holiday season. Each order shipped in November included a golden ticket offering a chance to win prizes. This lottery-style campaign not only boosted their sales but also solidified customer loyalty by making shopping a fun and rewarding experience.
      2. BarkBox: BarkBox has always been skilled at creating holiday-themed boxes, but their “Home Alone”-themed box was a big hit. The company took the popular holiday movie and turned it into a unique and festive product offering, which drove customer engagement and sales.
      3. Erin Condren: Renowned for personalized and custom products, Erin Condren, a stationery company, launched a “Gifts that Give Back” campaign during the holiday season. The company pledged to donate a portion of its holiday sales to a non-profit organization, thereby connecting with customers on an emotional level and promoting social responsibility.

      Successful holiday marketing requires strategic planning, creative ideas, and a deep understanding of customer needs. With the right strategies and execution, your small business can navigate the holiday rush and achieve growth. Remember, the holidays are about connecting with customers, sharing the festive spirit, and showing appreciation for their loyalty and support.

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      About the author
      Grant Olsen

      Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on and Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.

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