The Ultimate Annual Guide to Holiday Marketing

The Ultimate Annual Guide to Holiday Marketing

We all know people like to splurge on items they’ve kept their eye on throughout the year during the holidays.. businesses (and marketers!) would be crazy not to bank on this golden opportunity to increase their revenue and end the calendar year a bang. We’ve created the perfect, holiday marketing campaign checklist to ensure that you make the most out of your marketing strategy next holiday season.

Your Holiday Marketing Guide

The pandemic has still not left our lives, so the holiday marketing guide should not be over-the-top but rather deeply rooted in basics.

  • Audit previous holiday marketing campaigns: Research previous year’s sales statistics and customer data to craft the perfect holiday message. Try to avoid previous mistakes and indulge in previous successful strategies, customer base, and demand.
  • Stick with holiday marketing strategies that fit your audience: Don’t just blindly copy your competitor. The secret of excellent holiday marketing lies in knowing the target audience. Do extensive social media promotions to share special holiday offers for younger customers.
  • Schedule for syndication: Find opportunities for content syndication to save time and money and a unified customer experience.

Essential Dates for Holiday Marketing

dates for holiday marketing campaigns
  • October 31, Halloween
  • November 25, Thanksgiving
  • November 26, Black Friday
  • November 27, Small Business Saturday
  • November 28- December 6, Hanukkah
  • November 29, Cyber Monday
  • November 20, Giving Tuesday
  • December 13, Green Monday
  • December 24-25, Christmas Eve, and day
  • December 31, New year’s eve

Step by Step Guide to Holiday Marketing

  • Step 1: Examine previous trends, peaks in traffic and trends, and which channels were most successful.
  • Step 2: With the existing data, holiday marketing strategies mark out goals like building customer relationships, brand awareness, and increasing revenue.
  • Step 3: For a holistic, cross-channeling approach, employ holiday email marketing and SMS marketing and, if budget permits, Facebook ads too.
  • Step 4: Persuade new traffic to fill up sign-up forms so that you can use given details to do SMS and email holiday marketing to let them know about holiday special offers and coupons. Keep promoting your campaigns through teasers on chosen channels. After the holiday season is over, offer audience discount codes for the following year’s shopping to retain new customers.
  • Step 5: Segment subscribers through their previous purchases, the current level of engagement.
  • Step 6: Modify messaging for various customer segments and stages of campaigns. Create content like promotional ads, social media posts, email, a central page for all information regarding holiday offers.

Holiday Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

  • Generate a gift-giving guide based on different kinds of people, ages, interests. This short and quick list would benefit shoppers with little time but a long list of people to gift to.
  • Team up with micro-influencers whose followers resonate with your target market.
  • Retail businesses offer exciting gift wrapping to customers so that while shopping for gifts, the gift-wrapping burden is also taken care of.
  • With the rise of social media generated unboxing videos, use sturdy packaging material, premium stickers, exciting gifts, handwritten personalized notes inside the boxes.
  • Design contests and giveaways so that participants engage with your social media account exponentially to win a prize.
  • Decorate your online platform accordingly, depending upon the holiday dates. You may create CTAs, on-page greetings, and social media copy to make a mood for the holiday season.
  • Employ a countdown timer to increase anticipation for the upcoming special offers and employ dedicated landing pages built specifically for such important holiday dates.
  • Advertise your digital or physical gift cards on web stores and social media accounts. To entice customers to purchase them, offer lucrative deals and discounts with them.

Best Holiday Marketing Ideas

  • Showing gratitude: Sending a thank-you mail or physical card to show appreciation to customers, so they return to you to shop more.
  • Great customer experience: Provide your customers’ valuable tips and tricks regarding gifts and unique holiday recipes to alleviate customers’ stress during this season.
  • Early marketing campaigns: Start your holiday marketing campaigns as early as August or September to excite last-minute shoppers as well as those who buy gifts in advance.
  • Free rewards: Entice shoppers with free rewards to splurge more with your company. For example, offer freebies with a $70 purchase to entice them to spend more rewards.
  • Hashtags: Use hashtags to spread the word about campaigns and offers and attract new customers. Create hashtags for customers while posting pictures with their purchases for user-generated content.
  • Market your brand: While promoting your products, promote your brand’s image to leave a lasting impression on your customers.

You can use email marketing strategies, retargeting customers, appealing to shoppers’ sentiments, video marketing campaigns, etc., for holiday marketing tips.

Successful Holiday Marketing campaigns and What You Can Learn from Them

  • “Santa Tracker” by Google: The OG of holiday marketing, Santa Tracker enables users to follow Santa on his gift-giving journey worldwide. By combining mythology and technology, Google promoted its map service, which appeals to kids and adults in a fun-loving way.
  • “Elf Yourself” by Office Depot: Another engaging way of promoting brand awareness- Elf Yourself lets users capture pictures of themselves using the elf cutout filter. The app now allows augmented reality ( users can print their elf pictures as holiday cards) too.
  • “Home Alone, Again” by Google: This nostalgic video charms any viewer who grew up watching the Home-Alone movie series during holidays. The video starts with Google Assistant reminding Kevin that he is alone in his home, and later on, organically shows him the intelligent features to fight off bad guys.
  • “The Holiday Odyssey” by Target: A 2015 campaign in which Barbies, Minions, Star Wars characters appear in small videos. Target used these short clips and multiple marketing channels, including a dedicated website, social media platforms, and even took “Odyssey” to physical stores to attract a larger audience.
  • “Red Cups” by Starbucks: Since 1997, Starbucks has used reusable festive-themed coffee cups during the holiday season to promote brand management. It’s a powerful tool to engage customers in a stylish and cohesive brand identity tradition that they can look forward to every year.
  • Misunderstood by Apple: steeped in sentimentality, this short film by Apple shows a young boy busy with his phone, refusing to spend time with his family during the holidays. In the end, the boy is creating a montage of family clips using the latest iPhone. This serves to subvert the idea that the phone takes people away from their family and at the same time promotes the latest technologies of the latest iPhone.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid During the Holiday Season

  • No pre-planning: Don’t overwhelm yourself by planning ahead. But plan to hire seasonal workers, excess inventory, extra packing material to fulfill the flurry of customers. If things go out of stock, let customers reserve products when they come in stock. Keep up with your website host to ensure the website can handle the extra traffic during the holiday season.
  • Lack of live chat & support: Avoid upsetting your customers by setting up a live chat and support system to help them make the right choices regarding their purchases. Get your team fully acquainted with the live chat and support system and set up automated messages to make the process faster.
  • Not investing in a paid advertisement: To attract responsive customers, create a personalized audience based on Facebook followership. Target new and returning consumers depending on their activities by enticing them to finish the order for what they’ve placed in their basket.
  • Lack of email marketing strategy: To take advantage of email marketing, plan your campaigns, design holiday email templates, send post-purchase emails, segment your list, offer lucrative deals, employ the use of urgency.
  • Not optimizing for mobile sales: Most of the customers visit and make orders through their phones, So, make the email templates, landing pages simple to render well on phones.
  • Poor checkout experience: Maintain frictionless checkout, minimize the number of checkout pages, allow ordering without signing up, stop using captcha, maintain short delivery times to attract new customers to your websites.
  • Not using Youtube and social media enough: To sell more products, use a Youtube marketing strategy like GoPro to allow users to upload exciting footage of their purchases. Decorate your social media accounts with festive themes. Put up a calendar chart for essential dates, host virtual events, use hashtags & offer exciting rewards.


The holiday season is the time to spend more, give more, and enjoy more. Now that companies and small businesses are armed with holiday marketing tips for 2021, they should create a holiday marketing checklist to get more eyes to become more buys.

TheExpertCafé Team

A distinctive community of marketers based out of the US that conducts market research surveys on niche segments of digital marketing to influence the future of marketing. We welcome marketers like you to join TheExpertCafé and use your industry experience to help decision-makers chart the course for new marketing products and platforms.

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