10 Holiday Promotion Ideas for Small Businesses (w/ Examples]

Ahmet Özçelik
Ahmet Özçelik
Business Development Manager
A woman smiling and looking at christmas decoration inside a store

If you’re looking to launch a marketing campaign during the holiday season, you need to be strategic and smart about it. 


Because the competition is fierce and everyone wants a piece of the holiday cake. You might be thinking, “This is a good time to increase my sales,” but so is every other business owner or marketer.  

To help you stand out, here are the top promotional options for you.

Let the show begin.

Idea #1: Get seasonal - as early as possible!

Wanna ensure your holiday campaign gets off to a good start and has a massive impact?

Then, you need to hit the ground running by launching seasonal promotions before the holiday season begins. 

Why is this important?

According to a recent survey, shoppers often plan their holiday shopping quite early.

The report showed that last year, over 50% of respondents started their holiday shopping season in September. 

So, most people are willing to start shopping early to make sure that they find what they're looking for. 

Here's what that means for you… 

You need to start promoting festive content before December so your audience or subscribers can be holiday-ready. 

This way, you're raising awareness, building anticipation, and laying the groundwork for customers to buy from you.  

Engaging your followers and subscribers can be as simple as posting holiday content sometime before December.

Example: Beadsbyhama

A good example of this idea is exactly what Hama, a Denmark-based bead brand, pulled off. 

Image Source: Instagram

They officially opened their festive season with a Christmas-y post on November 4. 

That’s something you can do too and if you want, perhaps make yours a bit earlier. 

Then, as the holiday season approaches, this next idea will help you take things up a notch.

Idea #2: Offer holiday discounts and offers

There’s no doubt that consumers are generally willing to spend money on gifts during holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

But how do you make them spend that money on your business? 

Offer holiday discount sales and special offers.

This is one strategy that can significantly boost your sales. 

We’re not just saying that. 

According to a Deloitte survey, promotional events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday will attract about 66% of shoppers this year compared to 49% in 2022. 

Now imagine running your offers even beyond those events. Aside from the fact that promotions are a “special holiday shopping tradition”, the current economy is a bit unstable. 

So offering discounts will most likely influence shoppers’ decisions during the holiday season. 

Here’s an example to support this idea.

Example: Whitestore

This furniture and decoration store collaborated with House of CC, an influencer, to create promotional content for their products. This post, uploaded a few days into November, included a 20% discount code.  

mage Source: InstagramI

With the engagement the post received and Christmas around the corner, it’s safe to say customers will have jumped on it already.

Idea #3: Create memorable holiday shopping experiences 

Imagine this for a moment: customers lining up in front of your in-person store to buy products or your email buzzing with notifications of orders coming in.

Sounds like an experience you’d like to have? 

Well then, this is an idea you can implement. 

By creating memorable holiday shopping experiences for your customers, you offer them a value they can’t find elsewhere. 

And trust us, that’s something they’ll remember and invite others to experience too. 

Now how do you create a memorable experience for your customers?

You can explore different options: 

  • Sprucing up your retail store so it looks like a li’l’ slice of Christmas heaven.   
  • Optimize your landing pages and checkout so they offer a seamless experience.
  • Create a useful gift guide

Your call!

Let’s see how COS, a clothing company, does it. 

Example: COS

For their holiday promotion, COS created an imaginative and useful holiday gift guide for shoppers. 

Image Source: Instagram

Then, of course, they shared it with their social media audience for inspiration. And to show them the shopping options COS offered for the holiday season. 

The idea is simply to create an experience to keep your audience engaged and boost your website traffic with holiday shoppers. 

In addition to this, you can also produce festive content for your social media audience. You know, to build hype and anticipation.

Idea #4: Create festive social media content

What do we mean by creating festive social media content?  

Simple: producing content that'll put you on consumers' radar for the season.

Good thing is, there are many occasions to celebrate on your social media before the holiday. 

You can create content for Halloween, Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday. 

Then, just before the festive season fully kicks in, you can produce for Christmas and New Year's.  

Wondering how to create festive content? 

Well, you can collaborate with UGC creators or micro-influencers on Insense to produce holiday content. All you have to do after login to Insense is:

  • Create a new campaign.
  • Fill out the creative brief.
  • Get matched with creators.
  • Get festive content for your holiday marketing campaign.

Alternatively, you can even launch a festive email marketing campaign

Either way, remember to include holiday hashtags and ensure the holiday emails you send out are thoughtful, to show people that you’ve got them covered. 

Wanna see an example?

Example: SamsoniteUSA

Samsonite, a travel brand, has begun creating quite a lot of holiday content and it’s not even December yet. They’re partnering with different creators to produce videos that’ll make viewers anticipate the holiday season. Just like the one shown in the screenshot below:

Image Source: TikTok

That’s something you can do too — produce videos consumers can interact with. 

Even though posting photos is good, videos are an even better option. 

About 96% of respondents have said videos are very helpful when buying something online.

Idea #5: Offer free gift wrapping with every purchase

Here’s a practical digital marketing idea that can boost customer experience. 


Because it saves them the stress of wrapping items from scratch, especially if it’s a special gift for their loved ones. 

While it might seem insignificant, it goes a long way in helping you build a strong, long-term relationship with your customers. 

And who knows, it might bring in a few sales or referrals your way.  

Here’s an example of a brand that launched a holiday-themed gift-wrapping campaign.

Example: Dr.Cardin

Dr.Cardin, a shoe brand, offered free gift wrapping for their 2021 holiday campaign. They even added a customized handwritten card to the package.   

Image Source: TikTok

The idea was simple: make customers' lives as easy as possible during the campaign. So, what else can you do to boost your holiday sales?

Well, you can…

Idea #6: Organize social media holiday contests

You know what social media contests are right? 

They’re campaigns you run on social media where you encourage your audience to engage in exchange for special prizes and offers. 

Now this idea is a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

It’s gonna help you connect with your audience and in turn, give them a great opportunity to win a prize. 

Here’s what organizing giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes offers you:

  • Increased sales.
  • Increased brand visibility and brand awareness.
  • New customer acquisition.
  • Long-term relationships created with customers.
  • User-generated content from your audience.

Now what prize you give depends on you. 

You can give out coupons, gift cards, branded gifts, or a free product. 

Not sure if it’s worth it?

Check out this example from Nutella. 

Example: Nutella

Nutella, the popular Italian spread, organized a contest in November 2022. 

Image Source: Instagram

They invited their followers to share photos of their favorite Nutella holiday recipe for a chance to win a free trip to Italy. The campaign garnered over 500 posts on Instagram alone. 

Bottom line? 

When you organize holiday contests, everyone wins.

Idea #7: Set up a holiday referral program

The holidays are that time of the year when bonds are stronger. There are get-togethers and everyone just seems to know something about someone. 

You know how it is, right?

As such, it’s one of the perfect times to set up a holiday referral program. 

If you’re not sure what that means, it’s giving people an incentive when they share your product or service with others. 

Why should you consider launching referral loyalty programs? 

Because it’s a well-structured program that can help you:

  • Expand your customer base.
  • Boost brand awareness.
  • Reduce customer churn and create long-term relationships with potential customers.

Uhn, I don’t know about this idea. Referring has a bad rep already.

Well, let’s look at the numbers. 

Did you know that referrals, which are recommendations from friends and family, influence as much as 90% of purchases?

Simply put, launching referral programs can help you drive organic conversions like you’ve never seen. 

Here’s an example of this idea from Netflix. 

Example: Netflix

So the thing with Netflix’s referral program is that it’s active even beyond the holiday season. 

Netflix's referral program
Image Source: Netflix

Here, users can spread the word about the platform and get free credits to renew their subscriptions. Your incentive can also be in-store credits or a free gift once a customer refers someone they know. 

Now, even though referral programs are great, sometimes you want to do something different.  

That’s where digital events come in. We’ll talk more about it in the next section. 

Idea #8: Organize social media holiday events

Now by social media holiday events, we mean something like a live stream or webinar that your audience finds particularly effective.

Webinar? During the holidays?

You can think of them as catch-up events that can give your loyal customers inspiring gift ideas. 

The kind that can help you build a deeper connection with your audience and give them enough reason to patronize you during their holiday shopping.

A good example is what Sephora, the cosmetic brand, did.

Example: Sephora

In December 2020, Sephora organized what they called Beauty Chat Rooms on Instagram for their social media fans. It was a special event that provided their followers with holiday hair styling and makeup tips.

Sephora post in partnership with Gisou
Image Source: Instagram

So by seeing different tips, their audience kinda got nudged to choose Sephora for makeup-related gifts. 

Solid idea, right?

Idea #9: Partner up with influencers to make holiday surprises

Now, if you want your holiday promotional campaign to blow up, then here’s an idea you need to incorporate. 


Well because influencers are like genies on social media, with the power to influence the buying decisions of their audience. 

According to Twitter, about 40% of users say that they've bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.

Impressive, right? 

So, how do you partner up with influencers

That’s where Insense comes in! 

We’ve got a Marketplace of over 20k influencers, making it easy for you to find creators aligned with your brand style. 

Now to find influencers on Insense, here’s what you need to do: 

  • Visit our Marketplace.
  • Find influencers, using filters like location, age, niche, and more. 
  • View their profile for performance and ratings. 
  • Create a campaign. 

The good thing about using Insense to find Influencers is that you can do everything without leaving the platform. 

From finding the influencers to sending them a brief, chatting with them, receiving the content, and more.

Let’s see an example of a brand that’s made good use of influencer marketing.

Example: Cybex

Cybex partnered with Angolan model and influencer Maria Borges to create ads for Cybex’s stroller. 

Herapradel Instagram Post in partnership with Gucci
Image Source: Instagram

Maria described the product as comfortable and perfect for freely moving around with a toddler. This would translate to her audience as a good holiday gift for themselves or close friends. 

One more idea and we can wrap this up. 

Idea #10: Use an early bird offer

Last but not least, you can leverage an early bird offer for your holiday campaign. 

For instance, you could offer a $50 discount for the first 10 customers on Thanksgiving Day. 

Offers like that would get your audience looking forward to the day, with everyone trying to be among the first ten. 

But then, it doesn’t have to be money. It could be a free product or a coupon. 

Here’s a good example from Coffee Collective. 

Example: Coffee Collective

For this brand, their early bird offer was a 5% discount for customers for a limited time. 

Image Source: Instagram

So customers and potential clients could enjoy the discount until Coffee Collective decided the time was up. 

Key takeaway here?

Feel free to be creative with how you want to run your early bird offers. 

Still want new ideas you can try?

We’ve got something for you in the next section. 

How to Uncover More Holiday Marketing and Promotion Ideas

There are several holiday promotion ideas you can leverage during the holiday season aside from the ones we outlined further up.

But, how do you find them?

Here are a few marketing tips:

  • Spy on your competitors: Yup that’s right, take a sneak peek at what your competitors are doing during the holiday. Go through their social media, newsletters, and websites. What post has got the most engagement? You want to study what they did and see how you can modify it to create yours. 
  • Use AI (artificial intelligence): You’ve got options like ChatGPT or Google Bard as options. You can write a prompt to get ideas from them. 

For instance, what alternatives aside from the options available in XYZ can I use for my holiday marketing strategy? Just remember that for AI the best output is usually dependent on your input. So you might have to refine your prompts several times to get the best results.

  • Get in your customer’s shoes: You can do a deep dive into your customers’ minds to think about what they’ll find valuable. Research is how you can get this done. You know, using surveys or tracking user heatmaps on your site. 

And with that, we’ve come to the end of this guide.

Learned a thing or ten about holiday campaigns, didn’t you?

You’re welcome!

Now Over to You

Creating a solid marketing strategy for your holiday campaign would do your business a lot of good this season. 

By now, you should have different ideas on how to get started. 

But if you don’t, a good place to start is to collaborate with influencers and creators. 

They’ll produce content for your marketing campaign and set you on the right path to success. 

Need help getting started with that? 

We're happy to oblige.  

Book a demo with Insense now and let’s show you how to leverage influencer content for your social media holiday campaign.

Happy holidays!

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Ahmet Özçelik

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