9 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses (2021 List)

Domenic Smith
Domenic Smith
DTC brands independent consultant
Table of contents
Insense is a marketplace to collaborate with creators for UGC, posting, and whitelisted ads. 
Share this article

Have you tried holiday marketing in the past?

Either way, the holiday season is approaching and there’s still plenty of time for you to start exploring the potential of holiday-themed content on your social media and other marketing channels.

On that note, we want to give you some holiday marketing tips and show you how to create fabulous holiday marketing campaigns

These are some of the holiday marketing ideas we’re going to discuss in this post:

  • Putting together festive social media posts
  • Creating memorable holiday shopping experiences
  • Organizing social media festive events

We’ve got several steps to cover to make your marketing strategy all festive and cheerful, so let’s get started. 

Table of Contents

What Are the Benefits of Holiday Marketing?

Idea #1: Get Seasonal - As Early As Possible!

Idea #2: Offer Holiday Discounts and Offers

Idea #3: Create Memorable Holiday Shopping Experiences

Idea #4: Create Festive Social Media Content

Idea #5: Offer Free Gift Wrapping with Every Purchase

Idea #6: Organize Social Media Holiday Contests

Idea #7: Set Up a Holiday Referral Program

Idea #8: Organize Social Media Holiday Events

Idea #9: Partner Up with Influencers to Make Holiday Surprises

What Are the Benefits of Holiday Marketing?

We’ve promised to give you sparkly and innovative holiday marketing ideas to help you reach your target audience and make the most out of your social media marketing, content marketing, and other marketing channels; and we’re going to do exactly that. 

However, first, we need to share a little bit about the benefits of holiday marketing. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the first benefit. 

Benefit #1: Create awareness about your brand and products

Holiday marketing is a great way to raise awareness of your products and services and generally make more and more people aware of your brand. 

Brand awareness is all about people recognizing and recalling your brand

First things first, this time of year is quite different from any others. 


Because during this limited time, people are very determined that they want to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. 

Consequently, they do all they can to explore new brands, come up with new gift ideas, and find gifts that'll help them express their love in the best way possible. 

This means that you get a great opportunity to reach out to potential customers at a time when they’re open to marketing and sales messages probably more than any other time of the year. 

Benefit #2: Stand out from the crowd

Holiday marketing done right can also help you differentiate your company from the competition and basically show your audience that you can get them into the holiday spirit better than any other brand. 

This can be particularly useful in terms of memorability

What we mean is that an efficient and to-the-point holiday marketing strategy can place your brand top of mind when it comes to holiday gifts and gift ideas. 

A solid holiday marketing plan that makes your imagination, creativity, and uniqueness stand out can easily translate into a very successful holiday shopping season. 

Don’t worry if you can’t think of any imaginative digital marketing ideas at the moment.

 We’ll be sharing several of these a little further on so keep reading!

Benefit #3: Customer acquisition

The third benefit we want you to keep in mind when you start organizing your holiday promotions and sharing holiday cheer through your content is that holiday marketing can help you acquire new customers

The way it works is quite simple.

Seasonal marketing campaigns often create a sense of urgency because they last for a limited amount of time and happen when everyone is actively looking to buy stuff, which might make more people want to try your products.

On top of that, companies generally use their social media channels quite a lot this time of the year and so they manage to generate buzz around their brands, new products, promos, etc. 

This means that the more amazing content you create the more likely it is that people will want to check out your brand, visit your online store, or engage with your content. 

We’ve talked about the benefits, let’s get some action. 

Below you’ll find some of the most popular and effective holiday marketing ideas and local businesses - as well as ecommerce businesses - can make use of. 

Here we go. 

Idea #1: Get Seasonal - As Early As Possible!

The first tip we have for you to start preparing for holiday shoppers is to get seasonal as early as possible. 

A recent survey shows that shoppers often plan their holiday shopping early. 

More specifically, last year, 42% of respondents stated that they were planning to start shopping earlier than in previous years. 

This basically means that people are generally willing to start shopping early in order to make sure that they'll be able to find what they're looking for. 

Having that said, we need to note that it’s essential for companies to start putting festive content out there for their audience to see as early as they can. 

This will help them create anticipation and also allow them to better target and serve all their customers. 

Example: WMF

Getting your followers and subscribers holiday-ready can be as simple as starting to post holiday content just a bit before December. 

That’s exactly what WMF, one of the most well-known cookware companies, did. 

WMF Instagram Christmas post
Image Source: Instagram

They officially opened the festive season with a Christmas-y post on November 29. 

Moving on.

Idea #2: Offer Holiday Discounts and Offers

We’ve said it before; consumers are generally much more willing to spend money on gifts for their loved ones before Christmas and Thanksgiving. 

However, that doesn’t mean that they'll pay just any price. 

Holiday sales and special offers can significantly boost sales. 

In fact, a recent survey showed that promotions are a “holiday shopping tradition”, an inseparable part of the holiday customer experience, with 81% of respondents stating that promotions will probably influence their buying decisions this holiday season. 

Do we need to say anything more?

Let’s have a look at an example. 

Example: Virgin Media

British telecommunications company, Virgin Media, created a number of show-stopping, as they call them, customer giveaways, offers, and promotions in December 2020.  

Virgin media giveaway on Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

We can only assume that the company’s loyal customers must have enjoyed it quite a lot. 

Let’s get to the next one. 

Idea #3: Create Memorable Holiday Shopping Experiences 

Creating memorable holiday shopping experiences for your customers is another thing you should definitely consider doing this year. 

According to the Deloitte survey we looked at a little further up, consumers were expected to spend an average of $511 on gifts and gift cards in 2019. 

This average amount shows us just how much people invest in getting the right gifts for their loved ones. 

For that reason, you need to provide them with a shopping experience that’s worth it. 

It might be that you create the perfect setup in your retail store, that you optimize your landing pages and checkout steps to facilitate their experience, or simply that you put together a useful gift guide. 

Your call!

Let’s see how this clothing company does it. 

Example: COS

Creating an imaginative and useful gift guide is exactly what COS did in December 2020. 

COS holiday post on Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

More specifically, they created a guide which they shared with their social media audience to get them inspired and show them how many options shopping with COS would give them for the holiday season. 

Similarly, any promotion idea you may have or anything you can create can help you keep your audience engaged and boost your website traffic with holiday shoppers. 

Keep reading to find yet another holiday marketing campaign idea.

Idea #4: Create Festive Social Media Content

Creating festive social media content is one of the most important tips we can give you. 

In general, creating as much timely relevant content as you can is always a good idea. 

There’re lots of different holidays to celebrate on your social media

Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year's are just a few of the most popular ones. 

When it comes to holiday marketing ideas, festive content is all about creating social media content that'll put you on the radar of consumers for the season. 

It might even be through a festive email campaign

Either way, make sure to include all those holiday hashtags and send out thoughtful holiday emails to show people that you’ve got them covered. 

Wanna see an example?

Example: ARKET

ARKET, yet another clothing company, created quite a lot of festive content in December 2020, including Christmas-y photos and videos, like the one shown in the screenshot below:

Arket Holiday Post on Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

On that note, video marketing is a type you definitely give a try this year, whether it’s on your social media or website. 

A survey of US consumers gives us some very interesting data that prove how powerful video is.  

More specifically, 96% of respondents stated that videos are very helpful when buying something online. 

Let’s get to our fifth idea. 

Idea #5: Offer Free Gift Wrapping with Every Purchase

Moving on from video marketing, let’s focus on a very practical holiday marketing idea you can put together in no time. 

Enter…  free gift wrap!

I know it might seem like an insignificant thing to do for your customers, but, trust me when I say that every detail matters. 

A free gift wrap service with every purchase might not be enough of a reason to boost your holiday sales, but it can be very beneficial as it allows you to build a stronger, long-term relationship with your customers. 

We’re going straight into an example. 

Example: MAC Cosmetics

Our example this time comes from the cosmetic giant brand, MAC. 

What they did in the past holiday season is use email marketing to let their customers know that they’d be getting a free gift wrap for every purchase they made. 

Mac Cosmetics Free Gift promotion

As simple as that!

Keep reading to find out more about efficient holiday marketing efforts. 

Idea #6: Organize Social Media Holiday Contests

Social media contests and giveaways are always, always, always a good idea!

During Christmas time, contests are a must

They allow brands to connect with their audience and give followers the opportunity to win something. 

More specifically, giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes can help a brand:

  • Increase sales 
  • Increase brand visibility and brand awareness
  • Build new customer acquisition
  • Create long-term relationships with customers 

The prize depends entirely on you; it can be a coupon, a gift card, a branded item, or a free product. 

No matter what it is, just go for it!

Like we did before, we’re looking at a relevant example. 

Example: Oddbox London

Oddbox, a UK subscription-based service that fights food waste, organized a number of contests during November and December 2020. 

Oddbox London Instagram contest
Image Source: Instagram 

More specifically, they organized photo contests where they invited their followers to share photos of their culinary creations for a chance to win fruit and veg boxes of their choice. 

Author’s Note: Organizing a photo contest is a great way to get user-generated content too!

I can’t highlight this enough… organize holiday contests and be your audience’s Santa; they'll be thrilled!

Let’s move forward with our list of nine holiday marketing ideas. 

Idea #7: Set Up a Holiday Referral Program

The seventh idea we want to share with you is to set up a holiday referral program

Referral programs, in general, come with a number of benefits for both companies and consumers. 

Here are some of the benefits that a well-structured program can bring to a business:

  • Expand a business’s customer base
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Reduce customer churn and create long-term relationships with loyal customers

Word of mouth, which is recommendations from friends and family, has the power to directly or indirectly influence as much as 90% of purchases.

Statistics like that make us understand that referral programs can be a very strong element to drive conversions and make a wider audience aware of your brand. 

Let’s discuss an example. 

Example: Netflix

This particular example comes from the popular over-the-top video platform, Netflix. 

Netflix, like almost all companies of its size as well as smaller businesses, has a refer-a-friend program established that allows users to spread the word about the platform. 

Netflix's referral program
Image Source: Netflix

Referral programs come with discount codes for the referrer or referee or both, as well as with gifts and sometimes even cash. 

Author’s Tip: Write a promotional email as early as possible to start prepping your customers for your holiday referral program. 

Below is our second to last idea. 

Idea #8: Organize Social Media Holiday Events

Similar to organizing social media giveaways and contests, setting up social media holiday events for your audience can also be particularly effective.

Depending on the niche you're in, you might want to create catch-up events or events that'll give your customers inspiring gift ideas. 

Events in this case will allow you to come closer with your audience and give them an extra reason to engage with your brand right before they start their holiday shopping.

The following example will help illustrate this.

<H3> Example: Sephora

Cosmetics brand Sephora is known for creating fabulous and engaging content for its social media fans. 

Just around Christmas last year, they organized a number of what they called Beauty Chat Rooms on Instagram to give their followers holiday hair styling and makeup tips.

Sephora post in partnership with Gisou
Image Source: Instagram

Find the final idea we have for you below. 

Idea #9: Partner Up with Influencers to Make Holiday Surprises

Last but not least, we couldn't miss talking about partnering up with influencers

Influencers are professionals who have the power to shape buying decisions of their following and also bring them closer to specific brands and products they’re promoting.

According to Twitter, almost 40% of users say that they've bought a product because an influencer they follow posted a tweet of that product.

That’s quite impressive, isn't it? 

Let’s see an example of a fashion company that, like almost all in the industry, makes good use of influencer marketing

Example: Gucci

Gucci made a paid partnership with French influencer Hera Pradel, who has some 23.2k followers on Instagram, in December 2020 to advertise the brand’s Jackie Bag. 

Herapradel Instagram Post in partnership with Gucci
Image Source: Instagram

If you have a look at the caption, Hera calls the product the “dream bag”, the great holiday gift. 

We’ve covered all our marketing ideas and examples. 

We’re going to wrap this up and close with some final thoughts. 

Now Over to You

Having a solid holiday marketing strategy comes with great benefits, most of which we covered in our post. 

We've talked about some of the most prominent holiday marketing ideas and also looked at examples of big companies putting those ideas into practice. 

This holiday season, make sure to test out different things and keep your audience engaged. 

We're happy to help with anything you might need to create fabulous social media content that converts.

Feel free to book a demo and start exploring how your best social media holiday content might look :)

Share this article
Domenic Smith

Get started with Insense today

Start getting UGC and collaborating with creators for organic posting and whitelisted ad campaigns.

Diverse images of creators

You might also like...


Your Complete Guide to TikTok for Amazon Sellers

TikTok has an average CPC of just $0.51 - making it an affordable and highly effective way to drive consumers to your Amazon page.

Download for free