According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season accounts for as much as 30 % of some stores’ annual sales. But during this time of year, it can be a challenge to capture consumers’ attention, given the number of holiday sales and promotions they’re bombarded with. If you’re looking for ways for your business to stand out during the holidays, this article is for you.
Here are the top 25 Christmas promotion ideas to boost your sales this holiday season:
1. Host a 12 Days Giveaway
John Birchall, Social Media Marketer, Proko
We had our first “12 Days of Proko” event last holiday season, and it helped carry sales through January. The promotion allowed some of our free users to try out samples of the premium drawing courses that we offer on our site (along with getting other fun goodies). It also increased daily traffic to our site because users wanted to see what we would offer each day of the promotion. We promoted the 12 Days of Proko event across all our social media accounts and our newsletters.
Traffic increased on average by about 20-30%. Some days we saw our visitor amount double for the day. Sales spiked dramatically on the days where we offered sales and were low during the rest of the event (most likely caused by people waiting and seeing if there would be more sales on another day). After the event, sales picked up from where our average was and remained steady going into January and beyond.
2. Try a Buy1-Give1 Promotion
Ren Jean Chong, Marketing Manager, B1G1 (BUY1GIVE1)
At B1G1, instead of BUY1GET1, we advocate BUY1GIVE1. Every time you make a sale, you give back to a cause that resonates with your team and your clients. This ‘gift of giving’ concept ties in perfectly with Christmas – the season of giving. Additionally, B1G1 provides Gratitude Certificates to our participating business members, which they can present to their customers to thank them for contributing towards a very special cause. Customers absolutely love how easy it is to be a part of a giving community just by frequenting your business.
3. Ride Around Town In a Christmas Car Tree
David Klar, CEO, Trendsformers LLC
One example of a project we’re trying that is literally over the top is the Christmas Car Tree – the only car roof mounted lit Christmas tree in the world! During holiday season, we rent zipcars and mount our tree along with waterproof bluetooth speakers and drive around NYC blasting Xmas Jingles and handing out a flyer with a hefty discount code on our website. Thousands of people have been taking photos and posting to social media, and it has already resulted in calls and coverage from various media outlets (getting additional millions of eyeballs on our product).
We also started getting calls from small businesses with fleets of cars or delivery vans/trucks to place this on top of their entire fleet as a way for them to stand out, spread cheer, and make their customers smile during the Holiday season all the while bringing attention their brand. This has been a really exciting marketing tool for them and they’re already coming back for more.
4. Use Scarcity as a Strategy
Chris White, Co-Founder & CEO, Shinesty
Do something that helps you stand out instead of blending into the sea of holiday discounts and free shipping. We use scarcity as our tactic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Black Friday this year we will be releasing 4 new Christmas suits that are small batch (only 100 made). This scarcity is good for us because it drives folks to our site on days we want, and is good for our customers because those who shop on these days will have access to new products that no one else has. They won’t be wearing the same thing as anyone else to any of their holiday Christmas parties. This is a tip that can be applied to many types of merchandise.
Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business
Every holiday season, there are certain items that seem to disappear off the shelves in minutes. Keep a close eye on your running stock totals by using a point of sale (POS system that has an integrated inventory management system. With Lightspeed, you can set up automated reminders to reorder stock once it dips below a certain point, and generate purchase orders on the spot. Start a free trial today, and see how Lightspeed can help you stay on top of the holiday hustle.
6. Don’t Forget the “After-Christmas” Christmas
Robert Russo, CEO, PromotionCode
It’s easy to become enamored with making sales in the run up to Christmas, but remember that December 26 is a top-three sales day, and 66% of Americans expect to shop then. Until December 30, well-timed “Sad Your Kids Didn’t Get You Our-Product-Here?” offers can be well-received via email. There’s the added benefit of not having to fight through pre-Christmas Big Box Retailers’ blitz of emails as well. Savvy small business owners understand that sales are sales and that as long as they’re made, it doesn’t matter if they come before or after Christmas.
7. Solve a Holiday Pain Point
Deemer Cass, Business Development Advisor, Real Christmas tree delivery services
A small business’ focus should revolve around a single, strong USP (unique selling proposition) that has a proven demand. For example, we sell real Christmas trees. They have a fresh smell and look good, but there’s one thing that really annoys people. Needle-drop. We know that, we did our research. So we focus on that single USP. We now sell only Nordmann Fir trees, the “non-drop” type. We also offer a complimentary watering stand that keeps the tree fresh for longer, minimized needle shedding. If you have a small business this is where promotions and discounts should be focused – your product’s tender spot.
8. Update Your Website to Cater to the Holiday Mood
Rekha Panda, Founder & Marketing Director, RAEKA Beauty
No matter what you are selling, you need to go with the mood of your customers. And as the seasons change, moods change. RAEKA Beauty is an ecommerce platform, so to prepare for the holidays, we start changing the colors of our website and social media picture themes. We begin to make everything more sparkly and colorful, and depict friends who are happy together. This reflects the mood and joyous feeling everyone begins to have as it gets closer to the holidays. Since it is also a time for gift giving, we have started offering gift cards. This is the time of year when people most buy for others before they buy for themselves.
9. Give a Gift Card with Purchase
AJ Saleem, Academic Director, Suprex Tutors Houston
I am the owner of a startup tutoring company, Suprex Tutors Houston, and my company is near a Starbucks. My unique promotion is a free Starbucks’ gift card with any tutoring package, and it is especially great during times when Starbucks is busy and has special drinks like holiday drinks. I usually see a 25% increase in new clients and new packages.
At Fit Small Business, we also recommend that you help your customers give the perfect holiday gift to friends and family—sell gift cards from your business. VisitSquare to learn how simple it is to start selling gift cards.
‘Tis the season for special sales and extended business hours! Don’t lose out on the holiday rush by letting your online listings state shorter business days than you’re actually operating. Use Yext to update your information across Google, Bing, Facebook, and more. Keeping your information accurate will bring you more holiday shoppers, so scan your listings today and have a successful, jolly Christmas.
11. Throw a Business Block Party
Evan Harris, Co-founder & CMO, SD Equity Partners
Creating a networking event disguised as a block party with your immediate business neighborhood is a fantastic way to increase sales over the holidays. Everyone loves to celebrate, and getting different businesses involved with a “Block Party” is a great way to drive traffic to brick and mortar stores, while also providing a creative outlet for websites and content creation.
These types of events are incredible lead building tools as everyone has big plans for the upcoming business year. It is a great opportunity to roll out new projects and products as well. You can take this a step further and include a charitable aspect to the party and help spread the holiday cheer. Last time we had this type of event, it resulted in a few dozen leads, which carried us well into the new year.
12. Run a Holiday-Focused Email Campaign
Jacky Chou, Vancouver SEO Expert
At the end of the day, email marketing is still the highest converting channel for an ecommerce site. An email drip campaign with the theme “12 Deals of Christmas” was a strategy I used for my clients which turned out to be the highest converting campaign to date. To go into more granular details, you would have separate automated drip campaigns depending on what they have purchased in the past. This can be achieved through tools such as Zapier or Hubspot.
13. Offer a Gift with Purchase
Zondra Wilson, Founder & CEO, Blu Skin Care
Blu Skin Care, LLC offered free weight bands and 1-pound free weights with purchases of $100 or more. We also offered a 20% discount off all purchases for the holidays. It has worked very well for our company. In 2015, we experienced a 15% increase in sales during this time, and the promotion went from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.
14. Get Featured in Gift Guides
Jennifer Boaro, Designer & COO, The Cat Ball
Many publications will post articles on the best holiday gift ideas, and one of my favorite Christmas promotions is to get our product included in these holiday gift guides. We create and make the Cat Ball® cat bed, a modern pet bed design with a unique hexagonal shape and two openings. Christmas gift guides work well for us because our product is really photogenic, and we can provide entertaining images for bloggers and magazines. We got published in some top gift guides, including a “weird gift guide” in the Huffington Post.
15. Pay Attention to Holiday Keywords
Brian Gill, Founder & CEO, Gillware Data Recovery
One of the things that we pay attention to during the holiday season is keyword research. Some business owners will target the same exact keywords each and every holiday season. As a result, they wonder why their sales are down. While every business will always have their main, core keywords, it’s critical to take advantage of seasonal searches.
One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing Google Trends to figure out new keywords that can really jump start holiday campaigns. If you’re able to associate core keywords with trending terms, you will likely be able to capture some new website traffic. Each holiday season, we notice a great amount of search queries dealing with winter storms, blizzards, ice storms, power outages, and disaster recovery. With that seasonal knowledge, we’re able to mold marketing campaigns around it.
16. Pick Up on Relevant News or Current Events
Shaun Walker, Creative Director & Co-Founder, HEROfarm Marketing & Public Relations
In Christmas 2011, my marketing and PR agency brought tongue-in-cheek humor to customers of a little-known small business. We decided to exploit everyone’s favorite holiday and scare the bejeezus out of all shoppers by reminding them that if the world did, in fact, end in December 2012, the year 2011 would be the last Christmas on Earth. At its core, the campaign was designed to inspire customers to spend what could be their last days doing the things on their bucket list (i.e., climbing a mountain, starting a band). There was even a section devoted to choosing products based on your expected destination after the Rapture: Heaven or Hell.
Constantly scan the news and see if there is any way you can hook yourself onto a developing story and how doing so will benefit the public. If you take a stand with the story or issue that has already garnered headlines, you can become a first mover, and then you easily become a shaker.
17. Try a “Summer in December” Promo
Marc Haddad, Owner & CEO, PGA Junior Golf Camps
We launched a holiday promotion last summer to push summer camps for the PGA Junior Golf Camps. We did a reverse of the standard, ‘Christmas in July’ to a ‘Summer in December’ by bundling a gift (in this case a golf club) which parents could put under the Christmas tree and then a gift card for the summer camp. We positioned it as the gift which ‘celebrates a kid’s two most favorite times of the year — Christmas and Summer vacation.’
We utilized the usual promotional channels–digital, PR, email–and beat sales expectations by 30%.
18. Host a “Bring a Friend” Holiday Event with Prizes
Laura Cummins, Chief Creative Officer, Nine Dotz Consulting
I helped a client coordinate a ‘Bring a Friend’ holiday shopping event. Throughout her spa, we set up stations that offered a sampling of the spa’s most popular services. Customers who brought a friend were entered into a grand prize drawing. The grand prize was a gift basket filled with spa products and a gift card for their most popular spa package.
Everyone received a goodie bag filled with awesome samples, plus a special promotion, such as a discount off their next visit. The spa gained new customers by showcasing their space, services, and products. We had close to 30 people attend throughout the evening, and 10 people booked future services based on the sample services they received that evening.
19. Make a Fun Holiday Video
Tim Calpin, CMO, ChannelApe
As an inventory management platform, it’s hard explaining what we do and what our value proposition is to potential clients. So we created a dynamic video — something shareable that could also act as a webmercial. We wrote a rock n’ roll theme song and cut our brand video to it. Check it out here
Now that the holiday really is approaching, we are going to release a version of this that’s “themed.” We’ll put a Santa hat on our logo and record a song in the vein of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” or “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”
20. Give Your Customers Money
Ivana Taylor, Publisher, DIY Marketers
My favorite holiday promotion involves direct mail. You write a letter to your “neighbor.” In the letter, you tell them that you’ve decided that you want to give them the money to come to your business. Remind that this is NOT a coupon, it is cash (a gift card). If they come and spend less, you will give them change, but trust me — that will not happen as much as you think it will. Make the value of the gift certificate something significant, something worth driving or taking action for. If you’re a restaurant, consider $25; if you’re a gift shop, consider $50.
Take the money you would have spent on advertising — say $5000 — and instead use it to run this holiday campaign. Do not trade the quantity of people for the quality of the gift. In other words, you are better off sending 100 letters with $50 inside than 1000 with $5 inside. It’s the value of the gift certificate that drives the traffic, not the volume that you send.
21. Match Your Promotions to Your Content & Social Strategy
Susan Payton, President, Egg Marketing & Communications
Often businesses have several things going on at the same time during the holidays: they’ve got whatever promotions they’re doing, and then they have their social media campaigns and blog calendar. Often these things aren’t aligned.
If you create a calendar of promotions, you can tie them all together. For example, if you’re planning a mega Black Friday sale, you could write a blog post on how to stay stress-free on the big shopping day, and you could post sneak peeks of whatever you’re marking down on Instagram. By aligning your marketing efforts across the board, you’ll have better results for your holiday promotions.
22. Showcase Your Holiday Offerings on Facebook
Kris Johnson, Marketing Coordinator, The Gantry Restaurant & Bar
One of the best ways to promote a business during the holidays is through paid advertising on social media. As a restaurant, we’ve found it really useful for showcasing our holiday menu and any special events that we’re hosting.
Facebook in particular offers incredible targeting options, which allows us to really zero in on our desired demographic. I prefer Facebook ads over Google Adwords because they’re way more visually appealing. Facebook Ads are only allowed to be 20% text, which means there’s a ton of space to grab your audience’s’ attention while motivating them to click through or buy. Our return on investment has been phenomenal with this approach. Our average cost per click for all campaigns (prompted posts and ads) was roughly $0.25. Our engagement rates averaged 1.5% with impressions in the six figures.
23. Leverage Your Email List
Allison Tetreault, Content Marketing Strategist, Toast POS
The holidays are a great time to utilize the customer list that you’ve been building all year, whether through email campaigns, loyalty programs, or online ordering. Send an email out to your customer base early, and encourage them to make reservations, buy gift cards for loved ones, or order your food online.
Make sure to include a QR code with a link to your online ordering website or gift card portal. All iPhones with iOS 11 now have QR codes built into the camera, so they’ll be making a comeback! Also, include a “Refer a Friend” link in the email, encouraging customers to forward the email to their friends, so you’re not only reaching out to existing customers but making new ones.
24. Lure Customers With Mystery Envelopes
Jeremy Hood, President, Independent Restaurant Consultants
Our best Christmas promotion idea actually targets sales in January but begins in December. You will want to come up with a list of prizes and have a printer print these prizes on cards with corresponding envelopes and stickers to seal the envelopes.
Customers must open the envelope in the restaurant in front of staff (to prevent them from peeking). Put an expiration date on it to create a sense of urgency), and allow one envelope to be redeemed per customer. We would give away about 1,500 “mystery envelope gifts” and get about 20% back. Of the 1,500 envelopes, about 1,450 would be small prizes like free drinks, appetizers, and desserts. There would be one grand prize and a handful of some bigger items like merchandise or catering packages.
The Santa Tracker is a website theme that uses interactive maps and games to engage the customer. It will be released on December 1, and has created quite a following. Since Google released an open source version of the Santa tracker last year, businesses can include their very own version of the Christmas themed application on their website. They even have an Android version for mobile.
From a marketing standpoint, incorporating the Santa Tracker application increases the interactivity of your website during the holidays and allows you to connect and engage with new and old customers. This, in the long run, creates a better pool of sales leads that will instantly recall your business because of their Santa tracker experience.
One great Christmas promotion idea to promote your business is offering a holiday guide to your customers that reflects your brand. It doesn’t have to center on your product; more customers will appreciate gift giving suggestions or holiday suggestions that they can apply in general. You can come up with a theme that centers both on holiday traditions and on your product or service.
For example, if your business happens to be involved in property security, you an appeal to parents by posting a witty eGuide on how to effectively hide presents from their children. End the article with a direct call to action for your product on the last page as a reminder to be safe throughout the holiday season.
Over to You
Christmas is just around the corner, so there’s no better time to act on your holiday promotion ideas than now. But whatever marketing strategy you employ, the crucial thing to remember is that underneath all the flare should be a genuine desire to be part of a memorable holiday experience for your customers.
Would you like to share your own Christmas promotion ideas? Let us know in the comments below.