E-Commerce, Strategy

7 Tips for Effective Holiday Marketing

It’s that time of year again: time to schedule your end-of-year time off, check your gift-giving list and create your company’s holiday marketing strategy. Whether you’ve been brainstorming ideas and taking inspiration for months or you need tips to get a solid strategy out the door quickly, we’ve got takeaways you’ll find helpful. Learn from our experts about effective holiday marketing strategies you can start implementing today. 

1. Schedule Your Content in Advance

The more time you allot for your holiday campaign in your content calendar, the more you can tease special deals or exclusive products. Some companies like Sephora or West Elm even promote teasers and presales or offer holiday products several months to half a year in advance. While you may not need to think that far in advance, planning out your content could prove useful for future promotional campaigns. The latest you should start planning out your holiday strategy is mid-October, with posts, promos and ads popping up throughout the next couple of months. 

Christmas advertisement from IKEA promoting an early Christmas sale

2. What Will You Offer?

Gift-giving is as intrinsic to this time of year as holiday cookies and cards from loved ones. Around the holidays, consumers expect special offers, discounts or exclusive deals, so get creative with how to frame your products or services around the holidays. Before you start writing posts or ad copy, determine what you’ll have to offer prospects or customers. From there, you can strategize about how to present this offer. At that point, you’ll be ready to write stellar copy. 

Whether you decide a discount for loyal customers is your best bet or a short social campaign with gift ideas based on your product line, commit to the offer. If you’re offering a discount, use discount codes for e-commerce convenience. Since more and more consumers shop on their phones, a mobile-friendly shopping experience is crucial. Make it as easy as possible for them to add your discount code to their order. If you’re promoting your products as gift ideas, create a cross-channel campaign with emails, social or SMS messaging. 

If you’re running multiple offers or campaigns, segment your audience for a more targeted approach. Provide early access sales or discount codes to loyal customers, or use an “abandoned cart” messaging strategy with a simple reminder email and special discount in the spirit of giving. 

Christmas-themed social media post from Papa John's

3. Stay True to Your Brand

What do your marketing materials look like most of the year? If your brand keeps things professional, a sudden shift to holiday sparkles and cozy, familiar language would be jarring for customers. You can still incorporate holiday cheer without breaking with your brand voice; add holiday messaging that maintains your messaging pillars, so it won’t be surprising to customers when you share a little joy. If you’re not a Bojangles’, don’t be a Bojangles.’ Stick with what works for your brand and customer base. 

Holiday-themed social media post from Bojangles' that reads "The seasoning of joy is here"

4. Inclusive Marketing is Key

November and December are more than a Thanksgiving-to-Christmas pipeline. There are a variety of holidays and celebrations around this time of year, and for others, it’s simply any other month. Still, many people do view this time of year as a chance to get together with loved ones, regardless of the holidays they celebrate. You could focus on beloved pastimes embraced this time of year, like baking or making snowmen—Campbell’s Soup has a long tradition of using snowmen in their holiday campaigns. Using inclusive terms like “happy holidays” recognizes and celebrates the season, centering the holidays your customers celebrate and helping them feel seen. 

5. Show Gratitude

Being grateful toward your customers should be part of your everyday marketing, but ramp it up another notch at the holidays. This is a time of year when we recognize how good we’ve got it. Still, that doesn’t mean your messaging can’t have something concrete behind it. Rewarding your customers or leads adds goodwill that can pay off later! Adding an email to your regular nurture campaign with an offer for free shipping or another juicy incentive shares your gratitude in a tangible way. 

Another way to show gratitude is through giving back, either through community involvement or charity work. Consumers, especially Gen Z, love to know the companies they support are giving back in a tangible way. Showing your work is a great way to share the love. 

6. Nostalgia is Your Friend

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for nostalgia marketing. You’ll likely scroll your social feed and see plenty of cozy scenes straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. From Coke’s soda-loving polar bear to Hershey’s classic Kisses holiday bells ad, using elements that evoke childhood wonder or family togetherness is a classic move for holiday marketing. This is the time of year to get creative with your brand while maintaining consistent voice and messaging. That could mean something as simple as adding a holiday wreath to your social media icons if more extravagant nods to the season are out of character for your brand voice. Some holiday embellishments are a fun way to celebrate the season!

holiday ad for Hershey's Kisses

7. Go Local with Influencers

Do you have a local presence that you’re proud to share with your audience? Try partnering with a local micro-influencer. Micro-influencers are social media mavens who usually have a following for their hyperspecific content, whether it’s knowledge of local budget-friendly buys or trendy restaurants in their state. They typically have a follower count between 10,000 and 100,000, and by partnering with them for sponsored or co-branded content, you’ll have an audience that’s tailor-made for your sector. Audiences also typically trust micro-influencers more than celebrity influencers, whose recommendations are perceived as less credible. 

Start Early

The holiday spirit sparks up earlier than you may think. If you’re unsure where to start, we have plenty of ideas to get your inspiration flowing. Whether you level up with a data-driven approach to better target your audience, save time and augment your workflow with AI or want to tell a story your audience will love that’s just right for the holidays, our marketing experts can give a leg up to your digital strategy.