Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here.

How did this happen? You planned to create a fiendishly creative marketing strategy for the festive season back in October. Now all of a sudden several weeks have zipped by. The festive season is just around the corner and that well-intentioned marketing strategy is nowhere to be seen.

Don’t panic.

Sure, in a perfect world you’d be executing a well-planned campaign by now. But come on. The business world is rarely perfect. Happily, there’s still time to act. HMS Festive Marketing might be about to leave the jetty, but our last-minute marketing ideas will make sure you don’t miss the boat altogether.

No strategy? No problem.

Create a holiday offer

Your first port of call (must stop these nautical puns) is to create your offer. That applies whether you have an e-commerce business, if you run a subscription service with monthly fees or if you run an agency-style service where you invoice your clients as you complete work for them.

  • Get 25% off your next order with discount code XMAS25
  • Refer a friend and we’ll give both of you three months for free
  • Introduce us to someone who you think might be interested in our services and get £250 off your next invoice

The ins and outs of your offer are down to you. Free gift wrapping. Discounted subscription for life. It’s your call. But before you turn to your marketing team or in-house designer and demand miracles, remember that a poor offer is almost impossible to market well. The secret is to create an offer that’s so compelling and irresistible that people can’t help but act.

Feed your customers knowledge with an advent calendar

Do your customers and prospects know about all the great stuff you sell? One festive-themed idea that’s relatively easy to knock up is an advent calendar style campaign. Each day, send an email to your subscribers focusing on one (and only one) of your products and discount each product until February. It’s as simple as one image and a short description. Done.

Not in the e-commerce game? Perhaps you could focus on one aspect of your service each day instead. Or a different benefit that your work brings to your clients. Or a (super-concise) case study each day that shows how you are the best in the business. The opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Go create.

Roll out your offer across all relevant channels

Your offer is important, but what’s even more important is how you distribute that offer. How you get the word out. Because even if your offer includes free back rubs for life, your strike rate will be 0% if nobody knows about it.

So think about your marketing channels. Email is a no brainer. But what about Twitter and Facebook? Or more visual media like Instagram and Pinterest? Use the channels that are right for you and your offer. And hey, be confident. Just remember not to cross the line between getting out amongst the people and being spammy.

Turn online traffic into footfall

Running successfully online but worried about footfall in your shop drying up? Here’s an idea. Offer your community the opportunity to buy a £25 in-store voucher for £10 online. (Or whatever values you wish.) Okay, you might lose your profit margin on one or two items. But there’s a good chance that people will spend much more than the value of their voucher once they are in-store. Unique voucher codes for each customer will make sure the offer isn’t abused.

Send a Christmas card. A proper one.

Do not underestimate the power of a hand-written Christmas card, sent by good old fashioned snail mail. You have the home addresses of your customers, right? Send a festive note to say thanks for sharing the year with you. Got the business addresses of your regular clients? Hand-write them a card thanking them for their business. It’s thoughtful. It’s a lovely gesture. It’s unexpected. And unexpected makes you memorable. Worth the negligible postage costs.

In a nutshell…?

  • Create a festive holiday offer – as irresistible and compelling as you can muster
  • Make sure people know about your offer – thinking carefully about the channels you’ll use to spread the good news
  • Turn online traffic into footfall for your shop with discounted in-store gift vouchers
  • Surprise your customers/clients with a festive note or Christmas card