There’s nothing small about holiday marketing when it comes to small business.

In 2020, consumers spent over $784 billion during the holiday season. That’s an increase of more than 8 percent, and there’s no reason to believe 2021 will be any different.

Hopefully, you’ve already started thinking about some holiday marketing ideas and a plan to make sure you get a piece of all of that holiday spending.

But if you haven’t, don’t worry!

The goal of this holiday marketing plan is to get you ready for the upcoming holiday season and offer simple strategies to help you be a better marketer and make the most of this important time of year.

Download our free 2021 holiday marketing plan

In this free holiday marketing guide, you will learn

  • How to prepare your marketing for the holidays
  • How to build holiday momentum for your business
  • 5 must-try holiday marketing ideas

Get the actionable advice you need to plan for a record-breaking holiday season!

Download the guide, Holiday Marketing 101: Practical, step-by-step online marketing advice to help you grow this holiday season.

holiday marketing guide
Click the image above to download the guide.

How to prepare for your holiday marketing

Before we dive into our plan and specific holiday marketing ideas, let’s review some of the key holiday season dates that all small businesses should be aware of.

Seasonal shopping days

Aside from the usual rush around traditional holidays, don’t forget the big shopping and giving days that kick off the season:

  • Black Friday: November 26th, 2021
  • Small Business Saturday: November 27th, 2021
  • Cyber Monday: November 29th, 2021
  • Giving Tuesday: November 30th, 2021

Things to keep in mind as you head into the holiday season

1. Create a great holiday offer.

With so much competition from the “big guys” and other local businesses, coming up with a compelling offer could be the secret to this year’s success.

Learn more: How to Create a Small Business Saturday Offer

2. Leverage the marketing channels that matter

The holidays are a busy time for your customers. That’s why it’s important to use the right channels to get in front of the right people at the right time.

Think about all of the ways people can find and communicate with you online. You want to be able to communicate with existing customers as well as potential new customers. Think about optimizing your website, using email marketing, social media, and even online listing and review sites. You’ll want to think about your organic strategy as well as extending your reach with paid options like Google Search Ads and social media ads.

example holiday social media post
Here’s a great example of effective use of social media for holiday marketing from the Concord Cheese Shop!

3. Get organized and plan your schedule

Decide on the messaging you’ll use for each channel and plan out your schedule. Determine when you’ll run ads, send emails, and share on social media to engage your current and potential customers.

Screen shot of Constant Contact free online marketing calendar which can be downloaded and printed out
Make planning your holiday marketing easy with our downloadable Free 2021 Online Marketing Calendar.

Learn more: Why it’s time to start planning your holiday marketing

4. Plan to stay connected during and after the holidays

Encourage new customers and prospects to join your email list before and during the holiday season so you can continue to influence them year-round.

Learn more: Creative ways to grow your email list

4 must-do holiday marketing ideas

Holiday marketing planning can be a little overwhelming. When in doubt, focus on at least implementing these top four holiday marketing ideas to set yourself up for success.

1. Offer a coupon

The key to a great offer is that it’s compelling enough to get people to act. You can add a coupon to any email and let customers redeem in-store or online.

holiday email idea coupon
Holiday coupon example from Inn at Seaside, Seaside Oregon

Learn more: 12 Effective Sales Promotion Examples

2. Plan an event (in-person or online)

Hosting a holiday event is the perfect way to thank customers for their continued support. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with your audience face-to-face.

Learn more: 7 Top Event Marketing Strategies and Ideas

3. Run a contest

Contests are a great way to engage your audience and can help generate buzz during the holiday season. Come up with a prize that your customers will love, and encourage them to enter by providing their email address.

4. Always add value for your customers

If running a promotion doesn’t fit your business, you can still do something special for your customers by sending a thank you email or offering something of value.

Learn more: How to Add Value this Holiday Season without Offering a Discount

Executing your holiday marketing plan

Now that you’ve done some preparation and explored our holiday marketing ideas, it’s time to actually get to work on executing your plan! Here are five foundational things you should be doing for your small business this holiday season.

1. Update listing and review sites

Think about all of the listings and reviews sites that show up when someone searches for your business name or products or services you offer. Don’t forget about Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp and any other listing pages that come up in an online search.

Update your information with holiday hours, and any current offers where you can.

Learn more: 6 Things You Must Do to Optimize Google My Business

2. Update your website

You’ll want to drive people to your website to make a purchase or to sign up to your email list to receive an exclusive offer. 

Make sure your website is up to date with your holiday hours and offers as well.

Learn more: How to Decorate Your Website for the Holidays

4. Create and send your holiday email offer

Use email in your holiday marketing strategy to announce your holiday plans, remind people about important dates and deadlines, and thank people for shopping small during the holiday season.

holiday marketing website example

Learn more: 30 Creative Email Marketing Ideas with Examples

5. Amplify your efforts with paid advertising

Increase the chances of people finding your business or oganization with paid ads on social media and Google.

Drive people to take advantage of your holiday offer directly or to sign up to your email list to receive your exclusive offer.

Learn more: Paid Social Ad Options For Your Business

Planning for post-holiday success

After Christmas, it’s important to still stay top-of-mind to keep the holiday momentum going.

After the holidays, many shoppers continue shopping through January 1st. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2020 more than 66% of people planned to shop during the last week of December.

Use the three ideas below to continue your success well into 2022 and beyond.

1. Create a post-holiday sale or offer

Stay top-of-mind and encourage sales with a special end-of-year or after-holidays sale. With a special offer, you can reach new people and influence existing customers to spend with you.

Bring in new customers through paid advertising tactics that highlight your promotion and encourage existing customers to shop with you again through social media and email marketing.

Discounts and promotions are also a great way to add value to your email program for your subscribers.

Learn more: Post-Holiday Tips to Keep Sales High

2. Make marketing messages more relevant with segmentation

Over the holidays, you’ll be collecting data that can make future marketing messages more powerful. From ads to email and social media, you want to make your messages as relevant as possible for each potential customer.

With email, you can use click segmentation and holiday purchases to fuel content for future messages.

For your paid ads, you want to utilize keywords, location targeting, and even demographic information to better monetize your ad spend in the future. Create different ads for different groups in your audience.

Learn more: How to Segment an Email List (with Examples)

3. Show your value into the new year

In order to build an effective online marketing strategy, you’ll need to show your value and expertise in all channels. You don’t want to be selling all the time.

Create content to provide answers to the questions that people have and search for answers for online. This type of content not only shows your expertise, but also helps them use your products or services better. You want people to see success with whatever it is you offer.

After the holidays, people are planning out their New Year’s resolutions. This is another opportunity to provide value that sets them up for success and helps them along the way.

Learn more: Tips for Building a Solid Content Marketing Strategy

Ready to get started with these holiday marketing ideas?

Don’t wait to start preparing your holiday marketing! By taking small steps now, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success and make this your most profitable season yet.

And if you need help, we’ve got you covered. Contact our live Helpline to speak with a Marketing Advisor today by visiting ConstantContact.com/Marketing-Advisor or calling 1-888-IDK-MKTG (1-888-435-6584).