Whether you listen to Christmas music year-round or dread the holiday rush, there’s no denying that the holidays are the most profitable time of year for many businesses. In fact, estimates from the National Retail Foundation attributed between $755.3 to $766.7 billion in sales last holiday season alone.
In order to capitalize on some of the biggest shopping days of the year, here are a few of our favorite holiday marketing ideas and advertising tips.
General Tips for Holiday Advertising
Before we dig into the tactics that can help boost your business during the holiday season, it’s important to understand the bigger picture of marketing during the holidays. Here are five goals to keep in mind when planning your holiday marketing campaigns.
1. Be Timely
It’s never too early to start planning your holiday marketing ideas and initiatives. Pages can take up to 45 days to rank, so we recommend moving any web-based tactics live no later than mid-October. While Christmas isn’t until the end of December, many people start shopping in early- to mid-November, well before Black Friday deals hit.
2. Be Brief
With advertising competition at an all-time high, attention spans are short. Keep your messaging short, sweet, and impactful for the best results.
3. Stay Focused
Online noise and increased ad costs mean that your holiday advertising ideas have to be sharply focused to make an impact. If you have a limited budget, focus on a few key days of sales based on historical data from years past.
If you’re looking for the strongest return possible on a small budget, remarketing is another great option, as you’re likely to see a higher conversion rate by advertising to former and current customers.
4. Respect Your Brand
Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that your blue brand has to transform to red and green! Consider what the holidays look like visually for your business, and allow your foundational brand to shine through in every marketing initiative you undertake.
Here are some holiday angles to consider:
- Feel-good, charitable, emotional, and grateful
- Exciting, flashy, and full of great deals
- Fun, bright, and family-focused
- Non-denominational, winter-focused, or inclusive of all winter holidays
When choosing a direction for your holiday marketing ideas, always consider your business’s brand, tone, and overall marketing goals. Slapping a graphic Santa Claus on your year-round advertising simply doesn’t cut it.
5. Be Truly Competitive
Don’t expect to own the market and see a massive boost in sales if you’re only willing to offer 10% off and free shipping. In order to succeed at marketing during the holidays, you’ll need to be generous with your sales and special offers, especially to loyal customers who have waited all year to make a big purchase and get a great deal.
If you’re a service-based company, consider offering vouchers or pre-orders that customers can buy now and use later. Not only does this create urgency and encourage sales, but it allows you to pre-schedule and guarantee your next year of business ahead of time.
Holiday Search Optimization
In order to rank during the competitive holiday season, you’ll need to foster strategic search engine optimization (SEO) on your website year round. That being said, here are a few considerations to keep top-of-mind to expand your optimization during the holidays.
Holiday SEO & PPC Strategies
SEO and PPC should be a major focus when it comes to holiday marketing ideas. Making timely gift guide landing pages for holiday search terms is one of the best ways to capitalize on the busy shopping season.
Fill these pages not only with best-selling products but thoughtful content that will help customers who are unfamiliar with your business make a quick and easy purchase. And, be sure to focus on internal linking and all of the usual SEO-boosting suspects to get your pages ranking.
Keep in mind that like with any paid medium during the holidays, you’ll pay more per click than you do during other times of the year. The heavy competition can be discouraging when deploying your holiday marketing ideas through PPC, but it can pay off big if you are strategic in your keywords and bids.
The Merits of Google My Business
An often-overlooked element of your website’s search engine optimization is your Google My Business (GMB) profile. This panel allows customers to view your company’s store hours, reviews, and updates without even having to click through to your website.
Be sure to complete your GMB profile before the holiday season begins, and revisit it frequently to ensure your hours, contact info, and other store details stay up to date.
Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns: Signups & Savings
The holiday season is one of the best times to grow your email list organically. The trick? Offering direct, valuable savings to customers to encourage them to sign up. Once you have a customer hooked, here are a few tricks to prevent them from unsubscribing:
- Use subject lines to create urgency around sales and deals
- Create email automations for abandoned carts
- Offer valuable content like gift guides and product tips
Inboxes are especially cluttered this time of year, so be sure that each email you send has a true purpose and won’t simply frustrate your customer to the point of unsubscribing.
Holiday Social Advertising Strategies
With high costs and oversaturated platforms, social advertising during the holidays can be incredibly competitive. You’ll have to be at the top of your game if you want to stand out among the crowd.
Giveaways, contests, and other content that encourages audience engagement can be particularly helpful in breaking through the noise. While you have limited space to get your message across, try to think about your audience and speak directly to them in a novel and creative way to grab their attention. At the end of the day, authentic ads that showcase great deals will do far more than screaming at users with all caps and bright flashing signs.
Writing Content for the Holiday Season
When it comes to holiday marketing ideas, content is everything. Here are three tips to keep your content thriving and bringing in new customers.
1. Be Timely
We can’t stress enough the importance of timeliness when it comes to seasonal content. It can take weeks or months for your content to be indexed and served to users. And, many users start researching holiday decorations, gifts, and more up to two months before the big day.
That means any search-driven content you have planned needs to go live no later than October. It may feel strange working on holiday copy before fall has even arrived, but it will pay off big time come the holiday season.
2. Consider Your Unique Holiday Customers
During the holidays, millions of people shop for gifts at stores they’re unfamiliar with. One of the best ways to earn a new customer is to make sure they have everything they need to make a decision (and a purchase), even if they’re unfamiliar with your industry.
Consider building out your product pages further to aid in product comparison and streamline decision-making. Product guides that go over sizing, features, and the differences between product models can also make online shopping a breeze for those unfamiliar with your store.
3. Utilize Internal Linking
Internal linking is one of the top ways that Google understands the architecture and content relationships on your website. This means that high-quality internal linking can help your holiday-themed blogs gain traction faster when every day counts.
Use links with purpose. No reader wants a constant bombardment of product links without any explanation to help them make a decision. Be sure to include plenty of helpful and educational content links, as well.
Breaking the Mold with Creative Holiday Campaigns
With so much noise online, you’ll need to think differently when brainstorming holiday marketing ideas if you want to stand out in your customers’ eyes. Consider the go-to marketing tactics of competitors and industry leaders, and then brainstorm adjacent or opposing ideas to get started.
One of our favorite innovative holiday marketing strategies over the years was a digital holiday card we created for local law firm Barley Snyder. They wanted a unique and memorable way to wish their clients and colleagues a happy holiday season. We planned, designed, and animated a custom digital greeting card that was equal parts meaningful and charming.
Check out the full Barley Snyder case study.