Top Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses on a Budget
If you’ve been to the mall or almost any retail store this past month, chances are you’ve already spotted the holiday decorations. You’re probably thinking to yourself, like me, “I’m trying to enjoy the lovely fall weather, why are we rushing into the holidays?” That’s my ‘weekend’ mindset.
However, when I walk into work and put on my marketing hat, I know how important it is for small businesses, like bigger retail establishments, to take advantage of the holiday shopping season to market its products or services.
As you see with the retail store example, larger businesses tend to step up their promotions during the holiday season. Thus, if you want to stay top of mind throughout a time when people are in the giving mood, you need to intensify your marketing efforts.
Holiday marketing is just one of many small business marketing challenges.
During the holiday season, marketing your small business could be a particularly arduous task due to time and marketing expertise challenges. As a small business, CMA understands those marketing challenges first-hand, especially during the holidays.
Here are top seasonal marketing ideas for small businesses on a budget:
1. Create a holiday marketing campaign
When approaching holiday marketing, don’t just think in terms of a one-off marketing piece. Instead, create a successful holiday marketing campaign by implementing multi-channel marketing including direct mail, email marketing and social media.
Think about this example, to execute a single strategy across multiple channels:
A holiday card is an excellent place to start. One of the biggest benefits of a holiday card is that it offers you an opportunity to give your holiday marketing campaign ‘legs’. Along with mailing it to your customers and prospects, you can promote it through other channels like email and social media.
What’s a better way to get into the holiday spirit, than to receive a holiday card in the mail? In today’s digital age, mailing a printed holiday card enables you to be more personal and brings nostalgia to a campaign. It’s also a fun way to put a festive and creative holiday themed marketing piece in the hands of your target audiences. Be sure to include your key messages, branding and a call to action.
CMA has been creating its uniquely branded holiday card for more than 25 years and has received dozens of awards for its creativity. NJ Ad Club recently honored CMA for its 2018 holiday card. Fun photos of the company’s employees are intermingled throughout the design. The combination of creativity and people reinforce CMA’s branding and corporate culture. There’s a different theme each year.
If it fits within your budget, think about mailing a token holiday gift, with your printed piece.
Brainstorm different gift ideas, as it should:
- Complement your theme
- Reinforce your branding
- Include contact information
One of the paybacks is that if the gift is unique and something that can be used all year round, the recipient will have a constant reminder of your business. To keep costs down, choose one that can be mailed with the marketing piece and won’t require hefty mailing costs.
Another idea is to provide a special offer. Depending on your business, a holiday promotion can consist of:
- Special holiday sale
- Limited time holiday offer
- Discount code
- Free initial report, trial or consultation
Consider promotion ideas, your unique selling proposition (USP) and how you want your prospects and customers to come through your sales funnel.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective vehicles to reach prospects and customers. In addition to the impressive data on the benefits of email marketing every day, email marketing statistics show that people specifically love getting emails on special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays.
Indeed, sending emails during these events can increase revenues by as much as 20 percent. The special occasion makes it feel less like a marketing email. You’ll also usually catch people when they’re in a good mood and more receptive to converting.
If you have a social media marketing and/or other direct marketing campaign in place during the year, then you should have been capturing email addresses through a landing page. This is a perfect time to use that email list of customers and prospects.
Email a digital version of the holiday card to users, so they can interact and engage with it on their desktop. For optimal viewing, you need to make it mobile-friendly. By producing a platform where users can be a part of the conversation, you’ll make the digital execution of the card interesting, dynamic and interactive.
Email marketing makes it easy for users to share information on social media. Regardless of how they interact with your brand, this will ensure that your message will be delivered to your target audiences.
As part of the strategy, post your holiday marketing piece on all of your social media platforms, including the most popular ones for businesses, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Utilizing social media is another beneficial way to reach your target audiences electronically and encourage social sharing.
2. Team up with a local charity
What’s a better way to get into the giving spirit than to join forces with a local charity during the holidays? Like other marketing initiatives, small businesses should be aligning themselves with local charities all year round and especially during the holiday season. It’s an effective way for small business owners and the team to be visible in the local community.
Besides the ‘feel good’ benefits, small businesses can promote it on social media and tag the charity. This will show support and increase positive exposure. An added bonus is that you’ll gain followers and engagement.
You can work with a local charity through:
- Volunteering your time
- Donating needed items
- Speaking at local events
- Lending your expertise
CMA cares about its local community. It’s a vital part of who we are. As such, the firm has dedicated more than 3,000 hours to its community, over the past three decades, through volunteering, fundraising and offering pro bono services. During Thanksgiving every year, CMA collects canned and boxed goods for a local organization that helps the homeless in Central New Jersey.
3. Supply helpful holiday content
The key to any successful content marketing campaign is having an active blog, with high-quality content.
Some of the advantages of having a blog include:
- Positioning you as an industry thought leader
- Showcasing your expertise
- Validating your small business
The holiday season is an ideal time to focus your blog on holiday-related topics, which will be of particular interest to your audience.
CMA has an active blog all year round, which provides helpful tips on marketing and association management related topics. During the holiday season, it focuses its blog posts on themes related to marketing during the holiday season. It’s imperative to time the blogs appropriately. In the case of holiday marketing, CMA posts its blogs in October which is the perfect time to start thinking about it.
4. Hold a contest on social media
People love winning things! It could be the smallest trinket, which someone likely doesn’t even need. Nevertheless, there’s something exciting about entering to win an item that gets people involved.
Therefore, together with sharing your holiday marketing piece on social media, also think about holding a contest on this channel. This will help you to showcase your offerings in a fun way. If the person who wins your contest positively shares your business offer or product, there’s another benefit. Referrals are one of the best ways to gain business and social media is essentially a public referral forum.
Think outside of the box by partnering with other local businesses—such as a restaurant, spa, hair salon, coffee shop and/or retail store—who likely will donate an item or gift card.
That small business will capitalize on gaining a new customer and the additional marketing exposure you’ll be generating through your holiday marketing campaign.
Do you want to learn more about how to market your small business during the holidays? Contact us today, to get the conversation started.