14 Fun & Festive Holiday Marketing Ideas to Try This Year
With pumpkin spice lattes back in season, it is hard not to have the holidays on our minds. Halloween is creeping up on us, and we’re about to be in full-out holiday season. What could be more exciting!
While it might seem early to plan for winter, it isn’t! The earlier the better. After all, Mariah Carey already has her Christmas tree up…
While not all of us love baking reindeer-shaped cookies and belting our rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” the holiday season is a perfect time to connect with your customers in a cheery way. Whether it be to show your loyal clients you care, to warm up current leads, or even entice new ones with some powerful branding campaigns, there’s a tremendous chance to use the seasons to your marketing benefit.
Here are 14 captivating holiday marketing ideas to get the wheels turning.
#1: Create Seasonal Google Ads Campaigns
Whether you’re in retail, B2B, finance, or insurance, Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) is a great place to get seasonal! How can one do this? Create a campaign targeting holiday shoppers!
For instance, if you sell women’s apparel, you can target keywords like “gifts for mother” or “holiday sweaters.” Then create specific ads and landing pages offering incentives to shop with your store during the holiday season.
Perhaps you give free shipping if they purchase over $100 worth of clothing? Or let’s say you gift wrap for free? Maybe you offer $20 off if the gift is ordered before a certain date? Highlight these benefits and make sure your landing pages capture the spirit of the holidays.
Not in B2C? Not to worry! There are still ways to get creative with your Google Ads campaigns during the holidays. As holiday shopping goes underway everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, so promote some special seasonal discounts on AdWords. Take advantage of ad extensions to take up more space in the results, get a higher chance of site visits, and highlight the special things your company is doing for the season.
Here are a few quick Google Ads holiday marketing tips to remember:
- Use seasonal ad copy! Include words and phrases like “holiday” and “tis the season.”
- Ad extensions are your friends – Eat-up more real estate on the SERP during this competitive time.
- Highlight special offers and seasonal deals.
- Instill a sense of urgency with copy like “40% off if you order before Nov 15!” or “Take Advantage Before It’s Too Late!”
- Make sure you’re relevant – Conduct holiday-related keyword research.
- Set up ad scheduling to bid on the times when your shoppers are searching.
Keep in mind that everyone is looking for a deal during the holiday season! Pairing this with a sense of urgency in your ad copy is a way is a great way to win over hectic seasonal shoppers.
#2: Gift Yourself with Some Shopping Campaigns
If you sell physical products and you’re not using Google Shopping, now is the time to treat yourself to your first Google Shopping Campaign! These are the perfect treat for your busy online holiday shoppers because they’re extremely convenient and can lead to purchases happening almost instantaneously.
Of course, the challenge will be standing out next to your competition in such a visual manner, but as long as your images are enticing and your campaign is set up properly, these babies can work wonders on converting shoppers during the holiday season. Check out our guide to get started if you’re new to Google Shopping.
#3: Break into the Instagram Ads Game
Instagram is the perfect place to make your holiday game shine! Users are already there posting family selfies and pictures of their decorations, so why not break through the clutter with a fun holiday ad? While posting organically to your account is great as well, to really stand out it’s worth throwing some money behind your very best holiday pics.
Whether it be your team dressed in ugly sweaters or your office dog with a monster mask on, get creative and cheery and bring in those Instagram hearts! Check out this example from a restaurant in my neighborhood. Not only did they get seasonal with a new drink recipe (pumpkin margarita, yum!), but they placed it near a carved pumpkin and used some seasonal emoji’s in their ad copy.
Here are some more great tips for marketing a restaurant on Instagram.
#4: Run a Holiday Giveaway on Social
Speaking of Instagram, another great way to utilize the platform is by running a social holiday giveaway. I’d recommend running a social campaign across all the major platforms your business uses (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.) to get more and more eyes on your business.
And who doesn’t like free stuff, especially during the holidays (hello, re-gifting!)? Whether it be a big discount, a free add-on with an order or just something completely for free, get into the holiday spirit of giving. Typically, asking followers to comment, share, like, etc. are great tactics to get even more engagement on your giveaway.
Check out Dan’s guide on how to use an Instagram giveaway to grow your following, and for even more ideas and inspiration check out some Instagram Marketing Campaigns we loved!
#5: Get Seasonal in Email
If you’re not incorporating the holidays into your email marketing campaigns, you’re making a big mistake! Holidays instill powerful memories into your shoppers’ minds, so enticing them with fun seasonal emails is a great way to connect in their inboxes.
For instance, this marketing email from Rent the Runway instantly caught my eye. I may not have ended up renting for Halloween specifically, but it did remind me that I could use their service for an upcoming wedding.
Pay close attention to your email subject lines when marketing for the holidays. Similar to ad copy in your seasonal Google Ads campaigns,it’s important to give them an incentive to shop with you, and instilling urgency is a great stategy for your subject lines. Here are a couple examples that work well.
#6: Amp Up Your Remarketing Game
Remember that time you almost bought that dress, and then you saw it again and took that as a sign, so you went ahead and bought it? Sadly, that was not fate, that was remarketing! Remarketing is when you cookie your audience to later remind them what they’re missing out on.
Hopefully you’re already remarketing, but if you aren’t you need to be! Remarketing gives you a chance to remind potential customers that they abandoned their shopping cart or landing page. The holiday season is a what I like to call a mandatory remarketing season because people are busy and making decisions fast. Therefore, if they dropped off your website or left their cart half full, they might just need a quick reminder.
This is where remarketing comes into play. When configuring your remarking lists for the holidays, ensure your membership duration is shorter than normal. For instance, if you typically allow users to be added to your remarking list for 30 days, reduce that to 15 days. That will increase the chances of the individual seeing your ads more frequently closer to the holiday.
And make sure you’re remarketing on all the channels you’re advertising on (Facebook, Google, Instagram, Bing, etc.)
#7: Segment Users Based On What You Know
As a digital marketer, you and I know both know that you’re sitting on piles of user data that you can use to your benefit for future campaigns. The question is, are you actually using this data?
If not, there is no better time to get crafty with your segmentation messaging then the holiday season! Personalizing your messaging is a proven strategy to connect with consumers on a deeper level. If you have a large segment of mothers that express interest in your products or services, create content that shows how your business empathizes with how stressful the holidays can be with a full house of kids. Target a segment of leads with similar hobbies with ad copy relevant to those interests.
Utilizing the data you’ve collected through platforms like Facebook, Google Analytics, and Google Ads is a great place to start. Also take advantage of lookalike audiences on these platforms to go after a new segment of leads similar to a high converting audience.
#8: Conduct a Holiday Themed Webinar
Does your company hold a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly webinar for customers or prospects? Webinars are a great way to teach your audience in a more personalized manner, which can in-turn lead to a natural sale or upsell.
However, webinars are common. I probably get about 20-60 webinar invites in my inbox every month from various companies I’ve come across over the years, but the problem is those webinar invites often go unnoticed. This is where holidays can really help add a fun element to an otherwise rudimentary webinar invite.
HubSpot is no stranger to this strategy. They often take advantage of the festive season to promote seasonal webinars like the one below.
To make your webinar even more enticing, tempt your audience with a free gift. For example, at the end of the webinar offer attendees a holiday discount code or free shipping on their next order.
#9: Pull at the Heart Strings
When I picture the holidays I see Christmas lights, cookies, Santa Claus, and reindeer, but what I feel is that warm fuzzy feeling of enjoying time with family. While holidays may not be loved by all, most people have an emotional tie to them. And we all know that emotions drive action, so now is the time to get emotional with your marketing.
Emotional doesn’t mean you need to make every one of your audience members cry – even using humor in your messaging can go a long way during the holiday season. If you need some inspiration, check out Huffington Post’s article featuring some of 2016’s best holiday ads.
#10: Get Creative with Video
There is no better way to communicate a holiday message than with video. Whether it’s a festive webinar invite video that you send via email, a video added to your customer page to wish all of your customers holiday cheer, or a wacky video that you post on social media of your CEO dressed as a reindeer, get creative, and have fun with video to spread the cheer throughout your marketing campaigns.
A fun fall-themed video from the team at Wistia
#11: Throw a Holiday Party
Throw a holiday party? Ho-ho-hold up! That sounds expensive… Well, it can be, but you can be strategic as to who you invite. For instance, you may decide to focus your invitations on a select group of your hottest local leads, and simply have them come to the office for some holiday drinks, appetizers, and games. There’s no better way to build strong relationship with prospects and customers then giving them actual face time, so why not use the holidays as an excuse to do just that. Create a festive e-invite, and get the eggnog cooking!
#12: Advertise on Amazon
If you’re in the retail business, you need to be putting some money into your Amazon ads.
James Thomson, President of Prosper Show, has some advice for Amazon advertisers to abide by during the holidays. “If you sell on Amazon, be sure to get your FBA inventory to Amazon by November 10, at the latest,” says Thomson. “If you expect to sell through most inventory, calculate the cost of a stock-out vs. holding more inventory…. It’s usually better to have more inventory in FBA. And don’t forget to plan for inventory you expect to sell in January…so many companies run out of inventory in early January when suppliers are slow to replenish.”
Unfamiliar or unsure if you want to advertise on Amazon? Check out this guide to learn all the details about advertising on Amazon.
#13: Create Festive & Entertaining Display Ads
Do you have an in-house designer? Perfect! If not, you might want to start thinking about your needs from outside resources soon to plan for your holiday display campaigns.
Festive images on Facebook and the display network can really help create a cheerful connection between your brand and your leads. The example ad below from Hotel Tonight’s holiday campaign last year really hit the nail on the head. The image pops out and immediately grabs you in, and makes you laugh because who doesn’t have the one (or more than one) crazy relative? This ad is relatable, entertaining, and festive all at once.
#14: Build Customer Loyalty with Personalized Gifts
Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget about marketing to your customers.
Last year, in my previous role managing a large set of high-paying and strategic customers, I spent several weeks planning the physical gifts I wanted to mail out to people. I also ordered a huge set of family-style holiday postcards with festive pictures of my colleagues on them, and organized a card-writing party (which of course was accompanied by homemade holiday cookies and Mariah Carey’s Christmas album).
Small acts of personalized kindness towards your customers make a huge impact, and can strengthen the relationship, turning a happy customer into a brand advocate.
Use these tips to make all of your holiday marketing dreams come true!
P.S. We've got plenty of seasonal marketing ideas for more than just the holidays! Check out these posts (with more to come!):