The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and according to the National Retail Federation’s latest consumer survey, those celebrating the winter holidays are expected to spend an average of $875 on gifts, decorations, food, and other seasonal items. Similarly, 43% of holiday shoppers say they generally start their holiday shopping before November. So, there's no doubt that this season is an excellent opportunity to attract new customers, boost sales, and strengthen your relationships with current customers.

Holiday marketing campaigns are your ticket to tapping into this surge in spending and ensuring your business benefits from the festive spirit. They can help to significantly impact the bottom line, setting the stage for a successful start to the coming year. With the right holiday marketing strategies, businesses can stand out from the competition and engage with their customers with unique campaigns that help build customer loyalty and brand recognition.

What is a holiday marketing campaign?

A holiday marketing campaign is a targeted promotional effort around a specific holiday to attract guests and increase sales. It typically includes a combination of social media posts, email newsletters, and in-store promotions to create excitement with customers.

A strong holiday marketing campaign is great for boosting sales and brand visibility, especially during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, etc. This kind of marketing strategy can vary in size and scope, but there's no doubt that running a campaign is key during these times of the year. It can turn any holiday into a profitable one, allowing businesses to take advantage of the increased consumer spending.

To run successful holiday marketing campaigns, creativity and a deep understanding of your target audience are required. By planning ahead, you can create a campaign that captures the holiday spirit and drives the desired results for your business. Here's a simplified step-by-step guide:

1. Set clear goals

Setting clear goals for your holiday marketing campaign is like setting your course on your phone before embarking on a journey—it provides direction, purpose, and a tangible destination. Whether you aim to boost sales and brand recognition or foster deeper connections with your existing customers, outlining these objectives is important.

By defining your goals from the beginning, you gain a focused strategy and ensure every step you take contributes to achieving those holiday dreams. With a clear path in mind, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the holiday season's marketing challenges, and your efforts are more likely to bring in more sales and, ultimately, more long-term customers. So ask yourself, what do you want to achieve during this time?

  • Are you aiming to sell specific high-margin seasonal products or services?
  • Do you have specific events, shopping days, or extended hours you're trying to promote?
  • Is the primary goal to build customer loyalty and turn holiday foot-traffic into year-long regulars?

2. Know your audience

Understanding your customer base, unique preferences, and behaviors can help you craft a campaign that resonates with them. You can gain valuable knowledge by conducting customer surveys, analyzing your customer database, and reviewing your social media metrics. Additionally, you can review sales reports from your retail POS or restaurant POS, use CRM tools, monitor email engagement, and website analytics to gather insights.

By recognizing what your audience wants during this special time of year, you can also create messaging that speaks directly to their desires, boosting engagement. This approach makes your campaign feel personal for every customer, fostering lasting connections and brand loyalty. Ultimately, this turns a holiday marketing campaign into a memorable, shared experience that strengthens customer relationships.

People standing near Christmas lights and doing some shopping.
To create a successful festive campaign, understand your customers' behavior and preferences. Photo by Sam Headland / Unsplash

3. Prepare your staff & upgrade your tech

Ensuring a smooth and successful campaign during the holiday season also requires preparing your staff and optimizing your tech in advance. With the holiday period typically bringing a surge of customers and orders, it's crucial to have sufficient stock, ingredients, and supplies to meet the increased demand, along with recruiting additional staff to manage the rush and optimizing your website for faster loading times to prevent any delays or frustration. Providing exceptional customer service is also crucial, and upgrading your tech stack for payments, point-of-sale, reservations, labor management, and overall business operations not only enhances the customer experience but also contributes to the overall effectiveness of your holiday campaign.

4. Create engaging content

Holiday marketing campaigns require creative, engaging content that can connect with your customers and leave a lasting impact. The content should align with your brand identity and resonate with the consumers. It can take different forms, like blog posts, email newsletters, social media updates, videos, etc. Planning in advance is a smart move, and a content calendar can help organize the campaign strategy. Here are some holiday marketing tips to create compelling content and spread holiday cheer: 

  • Strike a balance between the holiday spirit and brand values to maintain a festive and authentic approach in your marketing.
  • Consumers who make purchases after seeing promotional emails spend 138% more than those who don’t receive any at all. So, use email to keep your audience informed about deals as well as holiday hours or changes. 
  • 56% of people use social media to research products or services during the holidays. By posting festive content few times a week, you can create excitement around your services or products. Don't forget to engage with your followers and invest in some targeted ads with your best content.
  • Collaborate with local influencers or other businesses in the community to expand your campaign's reach. 
  • Stay current on holiday trends using viral TikTok sounds, branded memes, holiday hashtags, and design trends in your social media content. This helps you create a current, relatable, and entertaining experience for your customers.
  • Make sure your marketing materials are optimized for mobile devices, as much holiday shopping is done with smartphones. Ensuring accessibility can significantly benefit your campaign's success.

5. Offer promotions

Offering an attractive holiday promotion is a crucial aspect of your campaign. Consumers often look for great deals and discounts, and sometimes, they will wait until there is a sale or promotional offer to shop. So, take into consideration what you have learned about your customers, what they like, and when they tend to make bigger purchases.

When you offer special promotions, sales, or exclusive holiday bundles, you can grab the attention of potential customers and incentivize them to choose your business over others. It's a win-win strategy that can significantly boost your holiday sales and make your campaign more appealing and effective. Also, this is a great opportunity to reward your loyal customers with personalized promotions or time-sensitive discounts that only they can redeem.

6. Measure and adjust

Regularly analyzing your campaign's performance using key performance indicators (KPIs) helps you gain insights into what works and does not. It's essential that you remain flexible and learn to adapt quickly, as consumer behavior can change rapidly as well. By monitoring your campaign's progress, you can make real-time adjustments to maximize your efforts and ensure you are reaching your intended audience effectively. This approach ensures that your campaign remains on track and continues to deliver your desired results.

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