Very Merry Marketing: A How-To Guide for Successful Holiday Marketing
5 tips for successful holiday marketing

Launching a successful holiday marketing campaign can make-or-break your entire year. It can also make-or-break you, if you don’t keep a tight grip on the holiday marketing reins.

But being stressed out, stretched thin, disorganized, and pressed for time are not requirements for a successful holiday marketing program.

In fact, that’s the opposite of what the holiday season should feel like…

We’ve helped hundreds of small businesses launch successful holiday marketing campaigns, and we’ve learned a thing or two (or three) along the way. We put together this how-to guide, not only to help you craft a compelling promotional offer that drives holiday sales, but also to reduce the sense of stress and overwhelm that so often strips the “merry and bright” right out of the season.


the time to get started is now

Like, right now. There are only 35 days left until Black Friday, and they are going to go by fast. Procrastinating now will stress you out (and cost you more money) later, as you scramble to get the right pieces in place at the last minute, incurring rush fee after rush fee.


come up with a killer promotion

We’re not saying that customer loyalty goes out the window as people shop around for the biggest, baddest holiday promotions…but customer loyalty kinda goes out the window as people shop around for the biggest, baddest holiday promotions. That means your promotional offer needs to be truly valuable.

Don’t fine print it to death. Don’t make it impossible to redeem. Don’t wrap it up in red tape.

Straightforward dollar- or percentage-off discounts are always a hit. Gifts with purchase work, too—as long as the gift carries good value. Free bonus gift cards with the purchase of a qualifying gift card are one of our favorite offers, but make sure the free bonus gift card is just like a regular, every day, normal gift card that can be redeemed without question.

If you don’t feel like you’re giving something away, then your offer probably isn’t strong enough. ‘Tis the season for profiting, sure…but, more importantly, it’s the season for giving.

Come up with as many special offers as makes sense for your business. Will you offer different promotions to your existing customers than you will to the general public? Will you be participating in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and/or Giving Tuesday? Or will you lump all of these mini-holidays into one 5-day long promotion?

Outline the details of each promotion you’ll be offering throughout the holiday season, so you can move on to the next step: creating a comprehensive library of marketing materials.


create your holiday marketing materials

You know what your special offers are going to be. Now, we need to make sure your consumers know. Make sure your holiday messaging is everywhere your target audience is. Below is a list of potential placements where you may want to promote your holiday offer—you’ll likely need to develop copy and graphics for each:


Website hero image


Website banners or tile ads


Website pop-ups or fly-ins


Website landing pages


Social media posts and ads


Social media stories and reels


Email copy and graphics


Email signature graphics


Direct mailers, bill stuffers, fliers, or in-store signage


focus on the feelings

The holiday season is deeply emotional, so instead of developing copy and graphics that are focused on your product or service, try to use language and art that creates a feeling.

Think about how your product or service fits into your consumer’s life, and be authentic about it. For example, if you’re selling health and wellness products, you might want your marketing materials to create a feeling of confidence, or vitality. If you sell lumber, focus on the emotional significance of a handcrafted gift. If you sell outdoor or adventure gear, focus on the incredible experiences your gear could help make possible.

Whatever feeling you’re trying to create, make sure you’re not overreaching or overselling. We’re sure your products and services are amazing, but they probably aren’t going to end hunger, negotiate world peace, make an infant sleep through the night, or make someone filthy rich. Remember: authenticity sells.


set it and (kinda) forget it

You’ve got your messaging and graphics ready to rock. Now, it’s time to get everything scheduled, so you can set it and (kinda) forget it.

Most websites make it possible to schedule the publishing of new hero images, pop-ups, and fly-ins. You can schedule Facebook and Instagram posts, ads, stories, and reels in Meta Business Suite, and there are plenty of other social media scheduling tools—like Hootsuite, Sprout, Zoho, and SocialPilot, etc.—that make it possible to pre-schedule content for LinkedIn, X, TikTok, Google My Business, Pinterest, YouTube, and more. Emails can also be scheduled in advance. 

Basically, you want to be able to spend the time between Black Friday and the New Year doing nothing but monitoring the performance of your campaigns, making minor tweaks to improve clicks and conversions as needed, and otherwise enjoying a low-stress month celebrating the holidays with family, friends, and loved ones.


don't forget the basics

During the holiday season—at least personally—we take the time to connect with and express gratitude for the people who mean the most to us. 

In business, it should be no different.

If it’s in the budget, send a high-quality branded gift to your loyal customers (but get on this now—time is running out fast to get these gifts ordered and delivered in time for the holidays). Same thing with a printed holiday card: the time to get these designed and printed is now.

A personalized holiday email is just as nice of a touch, but send these from your personal email—not your email marketing system—if reasonable. Take the time to draft a personal message, thank your customer for their loyalty, let them know what might be coming down the pipeline in 2024, and wish them a wonderful holiday season.

The holidays are going to be here before you know it. Make this the year you get ahead of the holidays, plan out your marketing strategy, execute it seamlessly, and drive record sales—all while actually enjoying the merriest season of the year alongside the people you care about most.

Of course, another surefire way to take the stress out of the holiday season is to hire us to help design, implement, manage, and monitor your holiday marketing program. If you’d like our help this holiday season, now is the time to let us know. Complete the brief form below, or call (617) 433-8026 to chat about your vision of sugar plums…

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Written by Robin Agricola

Robin is the founder and CEO of Birdhouse Marketing & Design. She holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing from UMass Boston, as well as undergraduate degrees in Marketing Communications and Creative Writing from Emerson College. She founded Birdhouse Marketing & Design, LLC in 2012, and the rest is history.

October 20, 2023

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