6 Tips for a Successful Holiday Marketing Strategy

Patti Garren

Patti Garren About The Author

October 27, 2020 at 8:15 AM

6 Marketing Tips to Get in the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is fast approaching, and for many, it’s a time to be with loved ones while for others it represents a fresh start. After spending so much time away from family, this year’s celebrations will be a needed departure from the isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Determining how to market during this time is crucial for businesses seeking to be effective in an era marked by so much change and upheaval. Striking the right chord between fun and festivities while remaining sensitive to the year’s hardships will be tricky to navigate for most.

If you want to appeal to the growing excitement for those special times of the year, and set the proper tone with your audience, the following tips for developing a successful 2020 holiday marketing campaign is just what you need.

1. Show a Vision of the Holiday Season

The idea of togetherness and the holidays often go hand in hand, and aligning your brand with this notion can be key in making you top choice with holiday shoppers. In your marketing, try to paint a clear picture of the holiday season using lively messages and visuals that highlight the kind of unbridled joy these times can bring. Focus on family and friends spending time together while staying mindful of small gathering guidelines. Showcase groups involved in holiday traditions like setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner or hanging ornaments on a Christmas tree. Maybe even consider portrayals that exemplify the spirit of the seasons like people helping each other. These measures will position your company alongside your customers’ feelings about the holidays creating an unshakeable emotional connection.

Coming together while staying apart will be on everyone’s minds this year, so consider incorporating virtual celebrations into your marketing mix. This will allow you to show that your company cares about staying connected while giving your audience an opportunity to celebrate safely.  With a captive audience, you can give everyone a glimpse of what’s to come for the holiday season and show how your business is adjusting for the times. 

In 2015, a full 5 years before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Target executed a similar strategy to appeal to holiday shoppers. The "Holiday Odyssey" campaign they employed featured famous characters and celebrities in short videos with warm messaging that appealed to children and adults alike. Deployed on multiple marketing platforms, the video shorts were supplemented by a social media virtual experience and physical "Odyssey"-themed stores that made the campaign ubiquitous. This cross-platform approach was far-reaching for the company and made Target synonymous with the holiday spirit.

2. Share a Countdown to the Holidays

As the holidays near you’ll want to find ways to tap into the consumers growing excitement for their arrival. Adding a countdown clock to both your website and social media pages is a great way to get this done. Allowing users to sync the clock with their existing calendar apps, setting reminder push notifications with fun, holiday-themed messaging, and building participation incentives with the clocks used are all great ways to amplify anticipation for the season. 

In addition, adding CTA (call-to-action) buttons to the countdown can encourage users to enter their email for an insider offer or big day sale sneak peek. This is a great way to directly reach in-market customers and boost sales while giving your customers something to look forward to and plan for in the coming weeks. 

3. Give Sneak Peeks of Sales

As mentioned before, sneak peeks are a good tool for building buzz and if you're planning on offering deals on your products or services during the holidays, this tactic is sure to rev up your audiences ahead of time. The current climate has put a strain on many families' budgets making online deals a growing hot topic among shoppers. A 2019 Think Google article cites a 90% growth in mobile searches for “best deals” reflecting a vast increase in interest for valued savings even before the onset of COVID-19. If you can appeal to those customers long before the sales begin with sneak peeks, they'll be more likely to come to you before competitors. Here’s how you do that:

  • Run digital display ads on apps and websites frequented by your target audience
  • Run OTT (Over-The-Top Television) ads in programs that appeal to your customers
  • Sending a direct email campaign targeted to your desired demographic, retargeting them on social media 

Doing so can entice prospective and existing customers with the anticipation of what you will have to offer them this holiday season.

4. Host a Food or Toy Drive

Giving is a core tenant of just about all holiday observances, and with need being greater now than any time in recent history, will be a necessary part of this year’s practices. Either starting or getting involved with a community-based giving campaign can be an effective way to market your business while doing good. Food and toy drives are timely during the holidays and starting one early this year can give you some additional time to sanitize gifts and begin coordinating deliveries with families. To make your drives even more enticing consider incentivizing participants with mystery offers, limited gifts or special “one day only” style discounts.

5. Produce a Holiday Team Commercial

Concentrating on the needs and desires of your customers is a good start to getting your marketing in-tuned with the holidays, but don’t lose focus on the most important part of your business; your employees. To maximize your reach and get your entire team in the holiday spirit, you can produce a holiday-themed commercial that includes members of your organization delivering a thank you to customers and partners for all of the support they've given throughout the year. You can then run the commercial on all of your platforms including social media pages and your website.

Holiday team commercials can be a great way to show customers that you appreciate their patronage, while giving employees an opportunity to be visible and recognized for their hard work. This can lead to increased customer and employee loyalty and remind consumers why they've chosen you over your competitors. Commercials showing appreciation to customers ultimately gives your business a sentimental human touch that people will especially want to see around the holidays, as Amazon's Let's Smile Together campaign showed.

6. Set Up Days for Giveaways

In spite of the coronavirus and the looming elections, holiday shopping is expected to be solid this year with forecasted growth in ecommerce predicted to be up 30%. Despite this expected spending, a sure fire way to draw in consumers is to simply give them something for free. When executed properly, giveaways can generate interest, stimulate sales, and build goodwill for your brand. Choosing a product that has a low cost for you to stock, but carries a high perceived value with your customer base can be a great way to keep the financial impact of a giveaway to your business low. Using those products, execute a doorbuster giveaway (i.e. free gift for the first 100 shoppers) to help drive consumers to physically shop, or conduct a similar execution digitally for online shoppers. However you choose to run it, a giveaway campaign can help your brand stand out.

For most companies, holiday sales accounts for a very large percentage of annual revenue so marketing effectively during the season is imperative. Using the tips above can help you start laying the groundwork for success, but to magnify your efforts for high efficiency and peak results, consider working with a media partner. With their help, you can maximize your reach and bring your marketing ideas to life this holiday season.

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