How to Utilize Holiday Celebrations to Market Your Small Business

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Holidays are exciting times in our lives and culture. We look ahead and make plans to celebrate holidays - sometimes with religious significance, often because that’s when we know our families traditionally gather together, and occasionally, just because we really need a day off work!  

For businesses, many holidays present opportunities to connect with customers and drive sales. End-of-year holidays are prime examples. During this period, the gift-giving season is an opportunity for many businesses to focus marketing efforts around holidays such as Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Christmas, and Boxing Day - each being a huge opportunity for sales. Holidays also give your business a chance to reach out and make connections with customers, showing the human side of your business. You can send out greeting cards or fun content articles that can help promote your business during the holiday. 

Whatever the holiday, you have the opportunity to market your business, and we’ve laid out some strategies to help you.

Prepare Your Calendar
With holidays popping up throughout the year, you will want to make sure that you prepare your business calendar in advance. Your team will want to have the time to prepare any marketing materials needed for the different holidays, such as sale fliers, content articles, greeting cards, and marketing emails. 

Depending on your corporate identity, the holidays that you focus on may vary significantly. For example, if your products or services are Earth-friendly, Recycled or “Green”, then Earth Day may provide a wonderful opportunity to get your message across to consumers. Similarly, while not all businesses see Oktoberfest as a key marketing opportunity, a producer of German-inspired Sausage, Beer, or Schnitzel may spend much of the year focused on this celebration. 

Not every holiday will require the same level of preparation, either. It’s really important to know your audience. Some holidays that are celebrated by a very wide audience may suit a big sale or event. Others may only be relevant to a certain group or region, so a simple social media campaign or holiday e-card to your customers may be more appropriate. 

For each holiday that you’ve included in your marketing calendar, plan out what strategies you plan to use. Consider how long you’ll need to be marketing for that specific holiday and its planned activities, promotions, and communications channels, and plan accordingly.

Depending on your business priorities and your customer base, there is a wide range of holidays that you might want to consider. Here are a few:

Holiday Marketing Recommendations

Offer a Freebie or a Sale
Sales events and free items are a big draw for customers and can be a solid way to drive your overall sales. Black Friday is the biggest example of a sales event and look how many people show up for those deals. The anticipation of great deals can bring in more customers, and subsequently, bring in more profit. Find other holidays where you might be able to sweeten the deal with a “gift with purchase”, a coupon, or a “while supplies last” sale that can build a sense of urgency, and let your customers know about it!

Make sure to plan in advance for any sale or freebie offer. For example, if you are having a Buy One Get One Free sale, make sure you order enough product ahead of time to account for the amount being sold. If you have an online coupon or sale that you are running, be sure to optimize your website so customers can easily find where to redeem that sale/coupon. Having a fast and navigable website is particularly helpful because customers might abandon the sale if they can’t find it or it takes too long. If you are giving out a gift to people who purchase a specific product or who spend a specific amount, be sure to have enough on hand. Plan to have extra staff available for these sales events to help with the increase in business. You’ll want the sale to run as smoothly as possible, so prepare in advance for anything that might come up and you can have a successful sales event. 

Create a Video and Digital Ad
With the rise in video streaming and internet use, video marketing has become incredibly important to many businesses. In fact, 87% of video marketers have reported a positive return on investment, indicating that you should probably make use of video marketing if you aren’t already. With video marketing, you can show your product in action. Plus videos these days can be easily shared through social media, email, and even in digital greeting cards! If you plan to send greeting cards for holidays, consider including video ads. 

Don’t forget about digital ads either. Digital ads can be useful to bring consumers to shop in your online store, and maybe even convince them to visit your store in person. Digital ads are designed to find the consumers where they are and lead them to your store, either online or in person. Use digital ads to showcase any holiday-related products or deals you’re offering in order to bring in more customers.

Email and Social Media Marketing
Email marketing is an important tool for marketers. Emails can be highly personalized based on the information that the consumer has provided at sign-up, and they’re delivered directly to that consumer. Plus, email marketing platforms provide measurement and feedback very quickly for your campaigns, which gives you the chance to make adjustments to your strategy to make it more effective.

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For holiday campaigns, you may want to take a “soft sell” approach. Keep in touch with your customers with a personalized story about you and your small business, and how much you appreciate your customers. E-cards can be the perfect way to thank your customers for their support during the holidays and will make them feel good about shopping at your store. 

Be active on social media as well. Share your video ads to your social media accounts and interact with your customers there. Offer exclusive holiday discounts through your social media posts to make those customers and followers feel special. Increase your posting frequency leading up to a holiday to garner more excitement. Paid Social Media Marketing provides very specific targeting options that may help you reach a whole new audience that wasn’t previously aware of your products or services. 

Decorate Your Store or Website
Most holidays come with some form of recognizable decor or color palette. Spring holidays typically feature florals and pastel colors. For the Fourth of July, the colors red, white, and blue are everywhere. Update your storefront for any upcoming holidays to make your store feel more festive and welcoming. Customers want to feel like they are making the most of a limited-time opportunity, so decorations for the occasion can help them feel better about shopping at your store.

Don’t leave the decorations for just the store either! You can change the banners or decorations on your website’s homepage to match any current holidays. Try some pumpkin designs and warm, earthy colors on your site for fall events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Carry these colorful themes into your social media profiles or cover photos, too. Visitors to your digital channels will appreciate that you keep the page up to date with the current season and holidays and be more likely to shop and purchase. Ensure that your website is SEO optimized, and remains easy to navigate through your designs, and remember to optimize the site for speed and activity, especially around the more well-known and lucrative holidays where you will have increased traffic.

Showcase Your Personality
Most importantly, you will want to make your store and brand feel as human and relatable as possible. Customers will engage with you and your store if they feel you are appealing to their emotions. For some holidays, be fun with your ad, email, and social media campaigns, and maybe throw a few light-hearted jokes into your content.

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For more sentimental holidays, have social media posts and email campaigns tell a personal story about you, your business, or even an employee at your business. 

If you do community outreach work or make donations to local charities, highlight those moments so your customers can see what your business is all about. Maybe send a personalized thank you e-card after a purchase to thank your customers for supporting your small business. Build relationships with customers and appeal to their emotions to make a lasting impact. Customers will want to continue to support your store if they can see the humanity and authenticity in your brand.

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