The Best Guide to a Successful Holiday Marketing Strategy30 min read

The Best Guide to a Successful Holiday Marketing Strategy

Are you looking for better ways to increase your sales this holiday season? Do you want to differentiate your brand from your competitors? Do you want to improve your personal relationship with your customers? 

Naturally, one of the main goals for your holiday marketing strategy can be sales. However, it should not be your only goal, because you could be losing out on a lot. Especially during the holiday season, thoughtful and personalized communication always wins. 

Personalization has become one of the hottest trends in marketing. And today’s shoppers want not only to purchase products but also demand better experiences with the selling brand. 

However, many marketers think that personalization is too expensive, and they need to invest much more to sell more. But behold, marketers out there! This is where you could be wrong! Before you spend your entire budget on fireworks and dancing reindeers, consider fine-tuning your basic communication with thoughtfulness and simple Interactive Content. 

This blog article will help you to add a personal and interactive touch to your Holiday Marketing Strategy this holiday season while also giving you ideas, tips and mistakes to avoid. Check it out! 

Table of contents:

What makes a great Holiday Marketing Campaign?    
16 Holiday Marketing ideas to boost sales 
Mistakes to avoid in your Holiday Marketing Campaign 
Ways to add a Personal Touch to your Holiday Marketing Campaign 
3 VERY important things you should not forget when planning Holiday Marketing Campaigns 

Interactive Guide about Online Advent Calendars - Banner - Dot.vu

What makes a great Holiday Marketing Campaign?  

For years, global players, such as Google, Disney, and Amazon, have created holiday campaigns that evoke customers’ emotions instead of adding to the holiday noise. What do these companies have in common when it comes to their campaigns during the holiday season?  

They deliver the right content at the right time to the right target audience, and they create memorable customer experiences.  

A good holiday marketing strategy should not simply mirror your competitors’ content and strategies Thus, the key to creating a successful Holiday Marketing Campaign lies in its uniqueness, individuality, and delivering the right message to the right target group. Here a few tips to follow to achieve this:  

Use a Content-Driven Approach 

Content is king! By now, customers are by far much more familiar with the concept of e-commerce and online shopping, as it has been there for more than a quarter of a century. Also, special holiday campaigns, running in the last quarter of the year, have become a common practice for almost every business. Because of this, customers have become used to being bombarded with special offers and discounted prices from an almost unaccountable number of brands. To cut through the holiday “noise”, a more unique and “content-first” approach can help you catch the attention of (potential) customers. Particularly, personalized content is best when it comes to creating efficient holiday campaigns. For instance, personalized shopping experiences, such as gift guides and shopping assistants can be helpful in many ways. 

Create INTERACTIVE Holiday Content Marketing 

The trick of including personalized content in your holiday campaign is not a new concept. However, creating personalized content that is interactive is a new approach only a handful of innovative companies have been using. Interactive Content helps you to go beyond the classic approach of just talking to your customers. By creating content that is interactive, your customers are involved, taking action, and being part of your holiday marketing campaign. 

There are different types of Interactive Content, and depending on your goals and target audience, you should pick the one that fits best. For instance, an Online Advent Calendar is great to motivate your customers to come back every day until Christmas to your website to unlock new surprises and games. By integrating Marketing Games into your calendar, your customers experience some fun, which they will positively relate to your brand. Generally, it is recommendable to combine interactivity with incentives, such as offering discounts, prizes, or free shipping for customers who interact with your content. Your customers will have a fun and positive experience with your brand and be more inclined to make a direct purchase. 

Your possibilities of using Interactive Content for your holiday campaign are endless! 

This is the branded Dot.vu online advent calendar
Click on the image to try our branded Online Advent Calendar!

Simplicity is key!  

It can be easy to be caught up in the hustle of all this holiday marketing strategy, campaign, and content planning. Essentially, the key to keeping calm is to do as the Scandinavians do: keep it simple. In other words, start in time and start small with your holiday marketing campaign planning. Additionally, to keep it also simple for your customers, pitch only one idea, one benefit, and one emotion at the same time in each message. The emotion will draft your customers in and will help them remember your brand and products/services. Show your customers what your products/ services can provide and how they can benefit from buying them.  

16 Holiday Marketing ideas to boost sales  

1. Help your customers with a Gift Finder 

For the majority, finding the perfect gifts for the whole family and friends can turn out to be one of the toughest tasks of the year. Some might panic and buy products that have no value or purpose for the receiver. To avoid this, creating a simple Gift Finder can be a great way to promote your products. Plus, it’s a great way to improve the shopping experience of gift buyers. Moreover, it will draw people to your products and will guide them through their buying journey. For instance, your business is selling cosmetics, which are one of the most popular gifts during the holiday season. However, the offer of different types of cosmetics can be quite overwhelming for your customers. Thus, an Interactive Gift Finder can help you to break the barrier and lets your customers easily find the perfect gift for their loved ones. 

Related article: 11 outstanding Interactive Holiday Gift Guide examples 

This is a Christmas Gift Finder, ideal for holiday marketing strategy

 

2. Offer gift cards 

To expand on the previous thought, some of your customers buying a gift for someone else might still be indecisive about their purchase. In these cases, a gift card might be the best option. Thus, if you do offer gift cards, ensure that your customers know about them when they enter your shop, your website, or your Interactive Experience. This note might be a simple text, a graphic, or a link to a landing page, specifically developed for this type of product. To offer more personalization, give your customers the option to customize an Interactive Gift Card with a personal message. 

3. Free gifts 

Level up your holiday sales by offering free gifts with each purchase for a limited period. It shows your holiday spirit, and more importantly that you value your customers and want to reward their loyalty. In turn, they will feel more special, and it will motivate their buying decision. Offer something inexpensive along with every purchase of a certain amount. Even though the gift is free, you will be able to increase its value by making it this season’s limited edition. Even better: As the free gift comes only with a certain purchase amount, it will increase your sales and boost your conversion.  

4. Discounts 

Another simple, yet effective way to boost sales is to offer your customers a discount code to redeem in your shops and on your website. You can send these discounts to your newsletter email list. Discounts are ideal to reward your loyal customers and incentivize them to add more to their shopping carts. Moreover, this holiday marketing strategy leads to better brand perception, boosts sales, and increases conversion rates. 

5. Bundle items 

“Get 2 for 1”, ever heard of a commercial like this? Especially around the holiday season, businesses like to use this strategy to boost sales. Consider bundling some of your best-selling items together into a gift box. However, it is important that these items match together. A popular example of such a bundle item are perfumes, sold together with the matching body lotion, packed in a pretty gift box. 

Customers tend to perceive the value of bundled items higher and in turn, look at it as a “bargain”. If you want to multiply your chances to sell more, consider discounting the bundled items, as also the “bargain” perception increases. In turn, the average cart spending and your conversion rate will most definitely significantly increase. 

6. Free shipping 

One of the expectations customers have today is that retailers offer free shipping. No matter the size or value of the product, free shipping is an incentive the majority of customers expect, especially during the holiday season. However, free shipping can be expensive for your business. Therefore, one solution could be to simply adjust your pricing to absorb the increased costs. And no worries, a slight increase in pricing is often overlooked by customers when they notice the banner “free worldwide shipping”. 

Another advantage of this is the chance that sales increase, as shoppers tend to shop more when they are provided with free shipping. 

7. Go for omnichannel 

To place your products the right way, use an omnichannel approach, covering online (e.g. your website, social media, ads, email, etc.) and offline (e.g. billboards, appointment shopping, etc.). With an omnichannel approach, you can create more brand awareness. Considering that your customers might come across the same product on every channel they are on. Additionally, you can increase your chances of standing out from your competitors. Your competitors might not have the ability to promote their products through every platform that they are represented on. 
Overall, use all your channels to place your holiday marketing promotions and manifest your sales offers clearly to attract and invite your visitors to make a conversion. 

8. Find a spot to place stocking fillers and impulse buys 

Most of your holiday season sales will be from someone who is buying a gift for another person. Probably not only one other person, but many others. Buying so many gifts can get expensive and thus, most people might have a budget for each gift. Thus, use this knowledge and consider placing some cheaper products strategically on your website. For instance, place a “others also bought” or “you may also like” call-to-action element at the footer of your web pages or your Interactive Experiences. If you are selling t-shirts, you might want to suggest some jeans or jackets. That way, your customers can quickly and easily add the product to their shopping cart and increase their average cart spending. 

9. Create Holiday Marketing Campaigns for other holidays than Christmas 

The holiday season does not only entail Christmas but also smaller, more niche holidays like Singles’ Day or Hanukkah. Catering to a demographic, you reach more audiences, engage a smaller portion of followers, and keep them loyal. 
Also, before the actual holidays, there are many dates throughout October, November, and December, that you can leverage to boost your sales at the end of the year. Thus, there is a wide range of dates in the last quarter of the year that e-commerce owners can capitalize on. 

This is a social singles day flipbook template by Dot.vu

10. Make your brand identity reflect the holiday spirit 

Your visual identity is one of the main contacts that customers associate with your brand. Therefore, make your visual identity reflect the holiday spirit and adapt your pages and social media profiles with holiday-related details. 

Also, make sure to update your imagery on all channels. The holiday spirit should be felt by all your visitors, who see your ads, visit your website, read one of your newsletters, or participate in a contest on your social media. The essence of the holidays can be added by using festive graphics, a video, or animations. For instance, adapt your logo, create special holiday icons, introduce an AI character that helps your customers with finding gifts, etc. Also, a holiday slogan such as “Carry on and keep Jingling” can help to communicate your current promotion. The key is to make it eye-catching and appealing to buyers. In other words, create a festive, appealing, and engaging visual identity during your holiday marketing campaign. 

11. Give a feeling of exclusiveness 

Another one of these holiday marketing strategies is to create a feeling of exclusiveness to increase your sales this season. Rewarding your customers with early VIP access before the holiday rush helps you attract them to purchase before the holidays. In addition, your customers will feel extraordinarily special, because they can get good discount codes and exclusive access to your shop before everyone else. Moreover, use this strategy to grow your email list via an invitation pop-up on your website. Send out the invitations for early access, discounts, and exclusive offers before the holiday season officially starts. 

12. Create sense of urgency for Holiday Marketing Strategy 

It is common knowledge that people are led by emotions, often without realizing it. Especially, when seeing that an offer is not permanent and only limited, consumers tend to react more impulsively. Special sales days, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas are the ideal times to leverage the effect of urgency. For instance, use countdowns for your campaigns by offering a limited-period offer, or discount. Use a countdown on your website as a popup or banner or create an Hourly Surprises Experience.  

This is a Black friday hourly scratch cards template by Dot.vu

13. Collaborate with influencers 

Social media platforms, especially Instagram and YouTube, have made it possible to find new ways to target customers through influencers. Partnering with influencers is one of the most common holiday marketing strategies for global brands. Particularly in December, influencers tend to post a lot about the holiday season and often organize their own contests, such as an Online Advent Calendar. How about collaborating with an influencer by sponsoring one of your products for the advent calendar giveaway. In return, you will increase exposure, and reach new audiences. Collaborating with influencers, especially before and during the holiday season will help you increase your website traffic, boost your sales and drive your holiday marketing ROI. 

14. Use User-Generated Content 

Creating valuable content for your customers is extremely important because if they had a positive experience with your brand, they are more likely to share it with their family and friends. Statistics show that 85% of consumers find user-generated content more authentic than content promoted by a brand. Thus, using user-generated content as a holiday marketing strategy should be a no-brainer. For instance, create holiday-specific hashtags and encourage your customers to share their stories with your brand. To incentivize participation, reward your customers, and reach new audiences. You can also create Interactive Contests to incentivize participation to your user-generated content.  

15. Leverage your PR-Skills 

Next to its high spirits, the holiday season is also popular for businesses to launch new products. Part of launching a new product is obviously to get it out into the world. To do that, a traditional PR outreach can be key. Create a basic press release and send it to relevant online magazines. The reason for this approach is simple: The closer the Holidays, the closer these online magazines want to create content that is relevant for their customers. That content can, for instance, be a gift guide for your loved ones. Particularly gift guides can be the perfect place to promote your products! 

16. Create a magical event for your best customers or employees 

Another great Holiday marketing idea could be to create an event for your best customers or your employees. Employees are often forgotten when it comes to Marketing campaigns, but they are often your best supporters and promoters. So, creating an event with gifts, music, drinks and nice Christmas food might be an extra push for them to talk about your company, and encourage their friends and family to buy their gifts there!  

Mistakes to avoid in your Holiday Marketing Strategy 

1. Last minute planning 

By the beginning of October, you should have your marketing strategy and plan in place. Plus, at the latest by the end of the month, you should start implementing it. Good things take time, and thus, do not wait until November for your holiday marketing campaign planning and its initiation. Tools like Asana, Dot.vu, and SEMrush can help you plan, prepare, and schedule your content for the holiday season. 

This might seem a little self-explanatory, but you can never start planning early enough! 

2. Not doing any Holiday Marketing Campaign  

Not everyone loves the holidays.  However, you should not refuse to engage in the festivities and not plan on publishing any holiday-themed content. No one likes a Grinch. Dampening others’ spirits will not win you new customers over or maintain a good relationship with the existing ones. 

However, adding holiday buzzwords to your next email or publishing a “Happy Thanksgiving” post on social media will not cut it. To successfully boost your sales during the holiday season, you need to put your red stocking cap on and get into the festive mood. However, do not emulate a false holiday cheer to avoid coming off as phony. As with many things in life and business, also the amount of your holiday marketing depends on the balance! 

3. Focusing on one holiday only 

The era of technology and eCommerce has given customers convenience and many new events to shop for the holidays. Shopping events, such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Singles’ Day, free shipping day, and Cyber Monday are great opportunities for every business to share special offers for their customers, increasing sales. For example, Cyber Monday alone was predicted to generate over US$11.8 billion+ in sales in 2021. That shows that the holiday season is an incredible time to take advantage of. 

Having different offers throughout the holiday season is a great way to keep your customers engaged. Keep in mind that how you present your special offers to your customers is crucial to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Interactive Content, such as  Interactive Flipbooks, Interactive Videos, or Marketing Games can help you get the attention of your customers. 

4. Not addressing all of your customers – also your existing ones 

To most of us, it might seem common sense. Still, during the hectic holiday season, when companies try to reach new customers with their holiday-themed campaigns, they often forget about their old and regular customers. 

This is where a thoroughly planned strategy and plan comes in handy! Paid advertising is becoming increasingly more important for every business. Thus, if you do not normally pay for advertising, this is the perfect time to splurge. For instance, you could use different ad campaigns on Google Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads to target different audiences. 

Adapt your strategy a few times and find the best way you can focus on gaining new customers without neglecting your current ones. 

5. Having no email marketing strategy or sending too many emails 

Have you ever noticed that in the last quarter of the year, you receive more emails than usual? Data shows that on Black Friday alone 116.5 million emails were sent, which is more than any other day. Moreover, Black Friday emails saw the highest number of open and click rates. Generally, customers who purchase products through email are likely to spend 138% more than the ones who do not receive email offers. Obviously, email marketing is important and can be responsible for around 20% of online holiday site visits

However, considering your own experience with holiday email marketing, you will notice that it can easily be overdone. Thus, be mindful of how many emails you pile up in your stream and what purpose each one has. 

Overall, it is the emails that are creative, short, and add value that catches your customers’ attention. For instance, a simple, but catchy subject line and preview text must spark interest, so your customers will open the email. To shorten your content per email, work with links and interactivity. That way, your customers who want to learn more will click the links. Gift guides, product descriptions, or discount codes, for instance, are valuable to your customers, as they get inspired and can save money. 

In a nutshell: ramp up your email marketing around the holidays, but do not become a spammer. Rather focus on creating strong emails that focus on the most important values you want customers to know and send them out at the right moment. 

6. Focusing on only one marketing tactic 

While you are spending time focusing on one or two marketing tactics, use the holiday season to try new avenues. Using only one marketing tactic limits your potential customer reach, and also lacks the creativity and authenticity customers expect in today’s digital reality. 

For instance, leverage the power of social media. As a retailer, you can even benefit from social shops such as on Instagram or Facebook. In general, if you have not done so yet, increase your social media activity during the holidays. Create a content calendar with key holiday dates, publish holiday-themed posts, and use festive hashtags to share your promotions. Particularly, YouTube is visited by around 68% of shoppers before making a purchase.  

7. Not using Interactive Content 

When creating content for your holiday marketing campaign, consider making it interactive. Interactive Content offers you endless possibilities to generate more leads, boost sales and collect zero- and first-party data

For instance, asking questions in the form of an Interactive Quiz, including visuals can be fun for your customers. Also, Holiday Gift Product Catalogs, which help your customers to find the perfect gift for their loved ones are a unique method to inform and educate them. 

This is a Christmas wishlist flipbook template by Dot.vu

Overall, try to aim for at least three different channels to promote your holiday marketing campaign digitally. For example: 

  • Your website in holiday-themed colors, pop-up windows and landing pages 
  • Paid advertising via Google Ads, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads 
  • Emails, e.g., with discount codes 
  • Blog articles that are holiday-themed and deliver value 
  • Social media posts 

4 ways to add a personal touch to your Holiday marketing Campaign  

Rising above the noise in your customers’ information overflooded days is particularly difficult during the widely commercially used holiday season. The solution to this issue could be in the form of hyper-personalization marketing combined with images, animated GIFs, and video. Generally, 65% of humans are visual learners. Moreover, we humans process images 60,000 times faster than plain text. This proves that personalization, but also visual content is trending and becoming more relevant in marketing. 

Thus, utilize the data you collected with your previous marketing activities to personalize your visual content for the holiday season. For instance, a personalized Interactive Virtual Tour can help you reach your customers in a unique way, helping you stand out from the everyday information overload and marketing collateral they see regularly. 

Related: Cookie-pocalypse: How to use first-party data in a cookieless world

Personalized Interactive Virtual Tour by Dot.vu
Click the image to experience an Interactive Virtual Tour

1. Thank your customers with personal messages 

Getting together over the busy holiday season can be a challenge. Thus, you should not forget to send a year’s end thank you message to your customers. All your leads and customers would surely appreciate a nice card celebrating the season. However, do not turn your holiday greetings card into a discount code or sales pitch, which is what most companies tend to do. For one moment, try to forget about conversion statistics and all those performance metrics you are meticulously focused on throughout the year. Use this single “Thank you and happy holidays” card to be a bit less serious and simply appreciate the trust and loyalty of your customers. That way, you will be perceived as less of a corporation and more of a human entity. 

2. Engage your audience with a personal video 

If a picture speaks 1000 words, a video speaks a million! Personalize your Interactive Video, based on historical data, such as name, birthday, interests, or real-time interactions, such as views or clicks. 

While in traditional, impersonal videos, the audience watches passively, an Interactive Video includes and engages them. For instance, your viewers can engage with you in a video through tags and hotspots, or by answering questions. The personal touch will make your customers feel truly valued, increase the likelihood they will tell others about your brand, and keep them coming back for more when they are in a position to buy again. 

This is a personalized interactive birthday video by Dot.vu

3. Invite your customers to a holiday-themed webinar 

The holiday season is the perfect time to truly connect, engage and strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers. Particularly, a webinar event can drive brand affinity for your company and set you up for more customer retention in the next year. 

How about setting up a holiday-themed webinar that is engaging and makes your customers want to spend time with you. Invite them to a fun, casual, and virtual happy hour or any other kind of event. This will allow your customers to get an inside perspective of the people behind your company – instead of simply the product or service. Most importantly, focus on building an event that offers value, and ensures a trusting and long relationship with your customers. 

This is an interactive virtual tour example by dot.vu
Click the image to get inspired for hosting a webinar!

4. Work with a charity 

Finally, the holidays are a time of emotions, love, and giving. Particularly, charities use this time to get some fundraising for themselves. For this season’s holiday marketing strategy, consider teaming up with a charity for an event like Thanksgiving. For instance, you could donate a certain percentage of every sale to a specific charity. Another idea is to donate money for every product purchased. Also, you can give your customers the chance to do good through the checkout process, donating to the charity you are working with. 

Despite which option you are choosing, working with a charity is a good way to increase your brand perception. Most importantly, you do something good for society! 

3 VERY important things you should not forget when planning Holiday Marketing Strategy 

1. Audit your previous Holiday Campaigns 

Particularly the past years have shown that the behavior of your customers is constantly changing – whether it is because of time or different occasions affecting our society. This change in customer behavior should give you reason enough to look back at the statistics and customer data of your previous years’ holiday campaigns. With the insight, you can understand if your customer base has changed and what they now value. Moreover, you can learn where your holiday campaigns performed well, where you won and where there is room for improvement. 
Overall, analyzing your previous campaigns will help you avoid making the same or similar mistakes again. 

2. Define your goals & plan towards them 

A goal is what keeps us learning, improving, and growing. Without a goal, your brand will not see much more sales around the busiest time of the year. Therefore, your holiday marketing strategy and the campaign could go to waste. Now you might think: “Well, is it not obvious? Our goal is to make more sales!” But how are you planning to achieve this goal? 

The answer is S.M.A.R.T. goals! S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. To jog your memory real quick or to understand what S.M.A.R.T. goals are, briefly head over to Smart Insights

3. Promote your Holiday Marketing Campaign  

What a dream! You have created your best holiday marketing campaign, yet, and you cannot wait to see how it helped boost your sales. But hold on with the euphoria, because first, it is time to figure out how you will share your holiday campaign with your target audiences. For instance, you could implement some of the following promotion tactics per your channel. 

Email Marketing 

Think of a specific group that could be interested in your special offers. Well-targeted emails will often take priority over mass messages, as most purchasers have only a limited amount of time to shop. Even if you have identified your recipients, it is important to create relevant and valuable content that catches their attention. When creating your emails, focus your subject line on what your offer solves. The body copy itself should be short and crisp, incorporating personalization to create a better connection with your customers. Do not forget to add call-to-action buttons to your emails that allow your customers to shop away and share your offers with their network. 

Social Media 

Instagram has started a new trend of offering their business users a chance to sell products via the platform. With this step, Instagram is one of the first social media platforms to adapt to the younger generations’ behavior of leveraging social as a shopping tool. Thus, social media is a great way to share your holiday campaign through traditional posts, but also through the shopping experiences offered by those platforms. 

Also, the holiday season provides an interesting opportunity to look for social media platforms you have not tried yet. The reason for this is the fact that your potential customers are looking for inspiration and help – digitally and offline. Nevertheless, remember to switch up your messaging on social media to not repeat the same post over and over again on various platforms. 

Blogging 

Is blogging dead? Definitely not! Blog articles are an effective way to attract more customers to your offer and can be approached in different ways. For instance, you could create a simple promotional blog article, which heavily focuses on a quick introduction to the offer, advice on how to use it, and a compelling call to action to drive people to your shop. Another example of a type of blog article is one that aims to educate your audience rather than sell them anything.  

Paid Advertising 

63% of shopping opportunities begin online, in most cases on Google or Amazon for research purposes. Thus, including paid advertising in the promotion of the holiday marketing campaign is a must. Google Ads – both with text ads and Shopping ads – is essential to attract more clicks and drive sales this holiday season. But, don’t forget that ads on Social Media platforms are also extremely valuable during the holidays.  

Wrapping It Up (pun intended) 

The key to a great holiday marketing strategy is to keep your customers in mind during every decision you make. That also means you should not forget to establish lifetime value with your brand. In other words, whatever you choose to do to create a strong holiday marketing strategy, your brand personality and values should always remain front and center. Moreover, your authenticity will always speak to your audience and create a natural connection, which will shine through all of your messaging and allow you to generate genuine and lasting customer relationships. 

On the Dot.vu Marketplace, you can discover hundreds of Interactive Content templates. These templates are customizable and will enable you to give your customers a personalized brand experience. If you would like to learn more about how to add a personal touch to your marketing campaign, book a meeting with us today! 


Other articles you might be interested in:

make the best out of your seasonal marketing campaigns
4 Amazing ways to use an Online Advent Calendar
How to find success with online advent calendars - Dot.vu - Blog
Christmas interactive posts / Dot.vu blog
christmas marketing ideas with interactivity
11 Outstanding interactive holiday gift guide examples Blog cover

Subscribe to our blog!

* indicates required