50+ May Marketing Ideas (and Examples) for Any Business or Budget
If April showers bring May flowers, then now is the time for your small business to bloom. But how do you get your business to stand out to customers and apart from competitors? By incorporating creativity, core values, and causes into your content. And the good news is, every month of the year affords unique opportunities for these three Cs. And this sunny month of May is especially jam-packed. We’ve got National Small Business Week, Women’s Health Week, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Bike to Work (or Wherever) Day, Star Wars Day, and so much more.
In this post, we’re going to arm you with everything you need to produce great content this month. This includes:
- A list of May awareness causes, themes, holidays, and observances.
- Free and easy marketing ideas around these themes, particularly for small and local businesses.
- Real examples of blog articles, social media posts, events, and promotions to help you brainstorm for your business.
Read on for 50+ ways to express your brand voice, engage with your audience, and show customers your creative side this May.
May awareness causes
- Small Business Week (May 2-May 8)
- Public Service Recognition Week
- Women’s Health Week
- Motorcycle awareness
- Stroke victims
- Celiac disease
- Mental health
Holidays and observances in May
- Star Wars Day – May 4th
- Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby – May 5th
- Teacher Appreciation Day – Tuesday of the first full week in May
- Mother’s Day – May 9th
- Peace Officer’s Memorial Day – May 15th
- Bike to Work Day – third Friday in May
- Armed Forces Day – 3rd Saturday in May
- Geek Pride day – May 25th
- National Burger Day- May 28th
- Memorial Day – May 31st
May marketing ideas and examples
We've got loads of ideas for you for May—for Facebook and Instagram posts, blog posts, events, promotions, and more. We've organized them by themes and holidays, but you can find industry-specific ideas within each theme.
1. National Small Business Week
First and foremost, National Small Business Week happens annually every first week of May. The event was postponed until September and turned into a virtual celebration in 2020 due to COVID-19, but it's back on in 2021 starting May 2.
Dedicated to raising awareness about small businesses and celebrating the hard-working owners behind them, this week will be packed with ample marketing opportunities. Here are some ways to make the best of National Small Business Week:
- Run a deal-a-day for the week, promoting different products/services each day. Or, run an online sale with a link to your landing or product page in your Instagram bio.
- Get return customers: Give out coupons with purchases this week, that can only be redeemed on an upcoming holiday or on the last day of Small Business Week.
- Get more leads: Offer a downloadable, small business-themed piece of content that is of value to your target audience in exchange for their email addresses. You could also create a guide outlining the specials offered by other small businesses in your neighborhood. This is a great way to connect and network with nearby businesses and strengthen your ties to the community.
- Promote your promotions: Write a blog post with a schedule of the deals, events, and contests you’re running and include it in your emails and social media posts.
- Increase your exposure: Use #nationalsmallbusinessweek and #nationalsmallbusinessweek[your location] and other relevant hashtags in your social media posts and promotions.
- Run an Instagram giveaway for a free product or service. Entrants post a photo to Instagram of themselves at your business, using a custom hashtag. Announce the winner at the end of the week.
- Connect: Don’t forget that educating yourself about small businesses and networking with other small business owners is important for your marketing success as well. Attend local events, SBA events, or follow along via live streams.
- Build community and expand your reach: Team up with other complementary small businesses and create an event.
- Give back: Make an extra effort to give back to your community by shopping at, posting reviews, and engaging in social media with other small businesses during the week.
2. Kentucky Derby
Use the Kentucky Derby in your May marketing efforts. Get creative with derby fashion or horse-themed decorations, promotions, contests, and events. For example,
- Change up your storefront with a derby theme to grab attention and attract customers.
- Blog about derby fashion and outfits for men and women.
- Throw a derby party with derby hat contests and mint juleps.
- Host a cooking or cocktail-making class.
- Run a derby hat contest on Instagram or Facebook.
- Use derby hashtags such as #kyderby, or your own custom hashtag (like #derbyatjoes) so that people can find you and follow along.
3. Cinco de Mayo
In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, there are many ways to infuse a Mexican-American spirit into your marketing. For example:
- Food or fitness businesses can post recipes or videos of recipes on social media.
- Give out coupons the day before or a few days before, redeemable on Cinco de Mayo.
- Share a festive discount “code word” on social media, customers who mention the code in-store get 15% off.
- Use a triumph or underdog theme. This holiday comes from Mexico’s unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Give your customers the victory over high prices, long lines, slow service, and more with particular deals.
- Use the number 5 in your promotions, such as get the fifth one free, $5 specials, 5% off, 5 for 5, etc.
- Throw a party or cooking class revolving around Mexican food and culture.
- Consider offering your followers information about where to enjoy Cinco de Mayo. Remember, not everything you post should be in an effort to make a sale. Providing useful information gives your followers another reason to keep watching you on social media.
4. Teacher Appreciation Day
May 2nd is Teacher Appreciation Day—a perfect time for preschools to market themselves to new parents in anticipation of the new school year.
- Throw a party for teachers or have students write thank you letters to show off on your blog, in email newsletters to parents, or on social media.
- Update your website content with new teacher bios and pictures.
- Did anyone receive a new degree or have a teacher accomplishment to share? This is the perfect time to showcase them in an “About Us” page on your website. Doing so not only highlights your teaching staff, but it also can improve your SEO.
5. Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is prime time for any business, not just the flower shops, salons, and spas (although it is advantageous!).
- Flower shops and bakeries can offer special Mother’s Day products, and discounts for Mother’s Day gift-givers, either on this day or the day before as well.
- Salons and spas can create Mother’s Day-themed gift certificates, or offer 2-for-1 deals for mothers and daughters celebrating together.
- Combine products and/or services into attractive gift packages that make gift-giving easy.
- Businesses that get a spike in traffic on Mother’s Day can hand out coupons with purchases that are redeemable at a later time (ideally a time when business typically gets slow).
- Preschools can have their little ones create Mother’s Day cards or crafts to send home. Make sure to post the pictures on social media or follow up with a blog post or email newsletter to communicate with parents!
- Run a Mother’s Day photo contest on Facebook.
6. Memorial Day
Here are some ways to show your patriotism and love for the good ol’ USA through your business marketing on Memorial Day.
- Promote red, white, and blue-themed recipes, outfits, flower arrangements, jewelry, and other products and promote on Pinterest and Instagram.
- Host a BBQ or picnic for your community, and give out branded swag like sunglasses or water bottles.
- Participate in or sponsor a local event.
- Use quotes, images, and other posts on social media to show your support for those who have lost their lives for our country.
- Run a charity race or ride to remember our troops and veterans.
- Memorial Day is often celebrated with gatherings (small ones during COVID-19), and Groupon will feature seasonal deals on its site. Try running a Groupon deal geared for families and groups. You could offer winter and spring products and services at a discount or even introduce your summer deals.
- Run long weekend deals that encourage others to check out your business during their mini-vacay.
7. Warm weather/spring cleaning
Take advantage of the warmer weather and provide information and helpful tips to your customers in accordance with your business.
- Contractors, landscaping companies, and painters should boost their May marketing efforts to get new clients for the spring and summer months. Try sending out postcards encouraging homeowners to get their homes and gardens in top shape for summer.
- Now’s the time to run that gutter cleaning sale or post pictures on Facebook of your most recent outdoor paint job. Build your content authority with SEO-optimized blog posts about seasonal maintenance.
Speaking of spring cleaning, why not do a little of your own by going through your website, ad campaigns, social media profiles, and listings to make sure information is up to date, photos are relevant to the season, and links are working properly. You may want to refresh some of the evergreen content from last year that performed well around this time.
- Gather up your top reviews from last year and share them on social media. These make for enjoyable Tweets with no pressure to click a link or read more. You might also share success stories with before-and-after photos to get clients excited about the warm weather.
- What better time to get the chatter going about your business when people are getting excited about the warm weather? Word of mouth marketing is important for small businesses. Offer existing clients a discount or incentive for each new client they refer who becomes a paying customer.
April showers bring May flowers. If you own a flower shop, May marketing is your time to shine! (If you don’t, there are still opportunities!).
- Host that flower arranging workshop you’ve been thinking about.
- Start a Pinterest board to see if Pinterest is right for your business, or grow your Pinterest following with your creations linked to your online store or blog.
- You don’t have to be a florist to use flowers in your marketing. Spruce up your office, restaurant, or storefront with flowers. Nothing says “spring” like fresh-cut flowers that add a pop of color to your business space.
- Buy flowers from a local florist and introduce yourself. Supporting other small business owners is the first step to getting more word-of-mouth referrals.
May is the start of wedding season and a perfect time to market your business to new people who are in town. Unless, of course, you’re hosting a virtual wedding this year due to the pandemic. Here are some wedding-based marketing ideas for both live and virtual weddings.
- Caterers, event planners, DJs, photographers, bakeries, and other wedding-friendly services: Use social media to engage customers as much as possible. Whether you’re hosting the bachelorette party at your restaurant, baking the wedding cupcakes at your bakery, or photographing the event, be sure to take pictures and share them on Facebook and other social media platforms. You may also want to ask and see if you can use the special custom hashtag for the event. This is a great way to put a name to the features of the wedding that stick out to guests (who can become or refer you to new customers) and their social media audiences.
- Landscapers can capitalize on wedding venue owners looking to perfect their property.
- Or perhaps you want to run a virtual wedding planning campaign, through organic content or paid ads.
- Fitness and nutrition businesses can provide workouts, recipes, blog posts, and tips on getting to your healthiest and best version of yourself in time for these heavily photographed events.
10. Star Wars Day
Star Wars Day simply can’t be ignored with its rising popularity. Run a webinar or live stream on this day to help add some creativity to your copy.
Or, organize a live or virtual Star Wars trivia night or contest. The prize could be discounts on future purchases or even a small cash prize for the winning team to share.
11. Bike to Work Day
Perhaps a surprise to most, Bike to Work Day is kind of a big deal in most major cities. Many metro areas have websites to register for the day and to organize large bike-riding groups. Look for information regarding your local Bike to Work Day activities and post useful information for your followers.
Or during COVID times, there may also be a Bike to Wherever Day in your community:
12. Geek Pride Day
Geek Pride Day offers you the opportunity to geek out over anything you think is the bee’s knees (a technical geek term). Geek out over a topic in your industry that you’re passionate about, or ask your employees about what they geek out on. Or, ask your social media followers questions related to the day.
Not only is it important to support worthy causes, but statistically, people are more apt to do business with companies that share their values. This restaurant got a repost from an ALS-focused organization to help drive customers to their fundraiser:
You could also post infographics that educate the public:
14. Public Service Recognition Week
For Public Service Recognition Week, post a thank you to the men and women who make our lives better by devoting their days to public service professions. Public service employees range from police officers to county clerks to city bus drivers. Say thank you!
15. Peace Officer’s Memorial Day
As a part of Public Service Recognition Week, we have Peace Officer’s Memorial Day on May 15. In addition to our troops and veterans, no one deserves our adulation more than those who serve and protect our cities. Take a moment to give a big thank you to your town’s protectors and even offer up specials specifically for Peace Officers.
16. Women’s Health Week
During Women’s Health Week, get creative about how you show appreciation for your female consumers and think of fun ways to engage them with your shop and on Instagram.
This influencer partnered with integrative health providers to share women’s health educational content and resources:
This fitness center took their spin class outdoors to shake things up a bit. This is a great idea, especially during the pandemic. If lugging out equipment isn’t an option, go for a yoga class, dance class, or boot camp. This is also a great way to show potential customers how awesome your classes are.
Final tips for your May marketing
Whatever you decide to do to promote your business in May, be sure to recap your events, promotions, and festivities in your next email newsletter or blog post so that those who missed out will want to join in the fun next year. Also, be sure to send follow-up emails to any new leads for your business. And during your campaigns, post real-time photos and user-generated content to encourage more participation.
We provided over 50 ideas in this post, so let’s finish off with the holidays, awareness causes, and themes we covered:
- Small Business Week
- Kentucky Derby
- Cinco de Mayo
- Teacher Appreciation Day
- Mother’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Warm weather/spring cleaning
- Star Wars Day
- Bike to Work (or wherever) Day
- Geek Pride Day
- ALS awareness
- Public Service Recognition Week
- Peace Officer’s Memorial Day
- National Hamburger Day
- Women’s Health Week
Interested in more marketing ideas for every month of the year? We can help with that.
- 15 January Marketing Ideas to Start the New Year with a Bang
- 20 Fabulous (and Affordable) February Marketing Ideas
- 30+ Creative and Cost-Friendly March Marketing Ideas
- 20+ Free April Marketing Ideas to Freshen Up Your Content Calendar
- 50+ May Marketing Ideas for Any Business or Budget
- 50+ Free June Marketing Ideas for Sizzlin' Hot Campaigns
- 37 Free and Creative July Marketing Ideas (With Examples!)
- 57 Easy & Engaging August Marketing Ideas (With Examples!)
- 17+ Free and Creative September Marketing Ideas
- 21+ Free and Effective October Marketing Ideas
- 19 Simple Yet Superb November Marketing Ideas (with Examples)
- 20 Super-Festive December Marketing Ideas
And for planning, check out this marketing calendar template from our friends at LOCALiQ.