7 Strategies for a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign

When it comes to decking the halls of digital marketing, CEOs and founders have unique insights to share. From leveraging emotional storytelling to using hyper-targeted paid search ads, we’ve gathered strategies from top industry leaders for creating a successful holiday marketing campaign.

Why Do Brands Need a Holiday Marketing Strategy?

The holiday season represents one of the most lucrative times of the year for businesses. Consumers are in a buying mindset, looking for gifts, deals, and experiences that can make their celebrations special. A well-crafted holiday marketing strategy allows brands to capitalize on this increased consumer activity. Here are several reasons why having a holiday marketing strategy is essential:

  1. Increased Sales Opportunities: The holiday season drives a significant spike in consumer spending. By strategically planning holiday campaigns, brands can capture a larger share of this increased market activity.
  2. Brand Visibility: A well-planned holiday campaign enhances brand visibility and ensures that a brand remains top-of-mind when consumers make their holiday purchases.
  3. Customer Engagement: The holidays are a time for storytelling and emotional connections. Effective holiday marketing can deepen customer engagement through heartwarming narratives, festive promotions, and interactive experiences.
  4. Building Loyalty: Special holiday deals, personalized offers, and exclusive products can strengthen customer loyalty. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to return even after the holiday season ends.
  5. Inventory Management: Planning ahead for holiday campaigns allows brands to manage their inventory more effectively. Anticipating demand helps prevent stockouts and overstock situations, ensuring that customers have a smooth shopping experience.

7 Strategies for a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign

1. Leverage Emotional Storytelling in Campaigns

During the holidays, people are more receptive to messages that evoke warmth, nostalgia, and joy. Creating a campaign that tells a compelling story, which connects your brand to these universal emotions, can resonate deeply with the audience. 

For example, a video campaign that showcases how your product can bring families together or create memorable moments can capture the holiday spirit and drive engagement. Plus, using real customer stories or testimonials as part of your narrative can add authenticity and boost trust in your brand.

Jason Hennessey, CEO, Hennessey Digital

2. Create Short-Form Videos With Holiday Tunes

Create short-form videos because they’re quick, attention-grabbing, and perfect for capturing that festive spirit during the holidays. At the same time, pair them up with in-season or trendy holiday tunes for a more winning campaign combo.

These videos not only entertain but also connect with your audience on an emotional level, making your brand stand out in the holiday buzz. They’re easily shareable across social media platforms, maximizing your campaign’s reach. Remember, it’s the holidays, so it’s all about spreading joy, and making your brand a part of these moments will help you generate more successful campaigns.

Daniel Willmott, Founder, Shortformvideo.co

3. Combine Sentimentality with Customization

Blend sentimentality with customization. By tapping into the sentimental allure of the old days, companies can stir up cherished memories that strike a chord during the festive season.

Merging this element with individualized email communications or special deals reflecting past buying patterns does a lot in strengthening the consumer’s rapport with the brand. Such a strategy not only heightens involvement but also propels sales by making customers feel singularly appreciated.

For example, a promotional effort might showcase classic-themed advertisements with contemporary updates that cater to personal tastes, forging an engaging link between bygone and current shopping journeys.

Raisha Shrestha, Marketing Manager, Ling

4. Create Memorable Zero Waste Gift Experiences

For our holiday marketing strategy last year, we decided to focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for our customers. We launched a campaign called “Give the Gift of Zero Waste,” encouraging customers to purchase our plastic-free products as sustainable gifts. To make the campaign even more impactful, we partnered with local charities, donating a portion of our proceeds to organizations working tirelessly to reduce plastic pollution. 

The response to our campaign was overwhelmingly positive. Customers were excited to support a company that shared their values and appreciated the opportunity to make a difference with their holiday purchases. The campaign was a huge success, generating a 57% increase in sales over the previous holiday season. 

Beyond financial gains, we were delighted by the campaign’s profound resonance with our customers. Many shared heartwarming stories about using our products to establish meaningful and sustainable holiday traditions. 

Our campaign aligned with our values, inspiring individuals to reduce waste by embracing reusable fabric alternatives over conventional gift wrap. This initiative built meaningful connections with our patrons, who appreciated the opportunity to contribute positively to the environment. By offering a platform for conscious choices, we not only increased sales but also established long-lasting relationships based on shared values.

Chaitsi Ahuja, Founder and CEO, Brown Living

Let’s take a brief break to learn how to create a holiday marketing campaign from Printful.

5. Offer Hassle-Free Shipping and Returns

During any holiday season, customers are often under pressure to find the perfect gifts within tight timeframes, which can lead to an increase in returns and worries that a package might not arrive on time. When businesses provide fast, free, and reliable shipping options, they can alleviate their stress and enhance their shopping experience. 

Implementing a hassle-free returns policy reassures customers that if their purchase isn’t quite right, they can easily return or exchange it, which builds trust and increases the likelihood of a purchase. This flexibility helps to improve customer satisfaction and encourages repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

To make this a success, any business can start by partnering with reliable shipping carriers to ensure timely deliveries and offering multiple shipping options, including express delivery. By implementing clear, straightforward return policies and communicating these policies effectively across your website, emails, and packaging, you can further ease customer concerns.

Tom Richards, Director and Founder, Adbetter

6. Connect Through Authentic Video Testimonials

I always emphasize the importance of using video marketing for any holiday campaign. The holidays are filled with emotion. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and make goals and plans to become better versions of yourself next year. Video is a great way to make an emotional connection with customers during this season. We are able to tell stories and demonstrate how our supplements can better our lives at an emotional level.

During last year’s holiday season, we ran a video campaign featuring customers who shared stories over video about how our sleeping tablets helped them sleep, or how our energy supplements allowed them to engage in more holiday activities. The authenticity of these testimonials really connected with viewers, and during the rush to Christmas, our video referrals brought in 42% more traffic to our website. 

Conversion rates for those who watched our videos were also 25% higher than for those who did not. Video marketing isn’t just about entertaining customers; it’s about connecting with them in a meaningful way that shows them how our products can help them, ultimately generating sales and retaining customers over the holiday season.

James Wilkinson, CEO, Balance One Supplements

7. Use Hyper-Targeted Paid Search Ads

Focus on hyper-targeted paid search ads combined with compelling, season-specific landing pages. At AQ Marketing, we’ve seen a significant impact from campaigns that integrate specific holiday keywords like “Christmas gift ideas” or “Holiday sales event” with high-intent terms such as “buy,” “purchase,” and “order now.” 

For example, during a recent holiday season, we helped a local small business boost their sales by 25% through carefully crafted paid search ads. These ads directed users to customized landing pages featuring limited-time offers and seasonal products. The key to this success was ensuring the landing pages were visually appealing, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly, complete with festive imagery and clear calls to action.

We also leveraged social media ads targeting specific demographics and locations to complement the paid search strategy. By offering exclusive holiday deals and promoting user-generated content, like holiday-themed photo contests, we increased engagement and drove traffic to the website. In one campaign, a coordinated effort across Facebook and Instagram led to a 30% increase in site visits and a 20% uptick in conversions during the holiday season.

Robert P. Dickey, President and CEO, AQ Marketing

Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Even the most well-intentioned holiday marketing campaigns can go wrong. To make the most of the holiday season, brands should steer clear of these common pitfalls:

  1. Starting Too Late: Holiday marketing campaigns require ample time for planning and execution. Starting too late can lead to missed opportunities and rushed campaigns that fail to resonate with consumers.
  2. Ignoring Mobile Shoppers: More consumers are shopping on their mobile devices. Ignoring mobile optimization can result in lost sales and frustrated customers.
  3. Overlooking Email Marketing: Email remains a powerful tool for holiday marketing. Neglecting to craft compelling and personalized email campaigns can mean missing out on a direct line to interested customers.
  4. Being Insensitive to Diverse Celebrations: The holiday season is not limited to Christmas. Brands should be mindful of the various holidays celebrated during this time and ensure their campaigns are inclusive and respectful of all traditions.
  5. Overpromising and Under-Delivering: Promising more than you can deliver can damage your brand’s reputation. Ensure that your promotions, delivery times, and customer service capabilities are realistic and reliable.

Example of a Holiday Marketing Campaign

Let’s explore a fictional company, Frosty Delights, a boutique ice cream brand known for its artisanal, seasonal flavors. We’ll outline a detailed holiday marketing campaign that leverages the unique aspects of the brand while maximizing engagement and sales during the holiday season.

Campaign Overview: “Frosty Delights Winter Wonderland”

Objective: Increase brand awareness, drive sales, and enhance customer loyalty through a festive and interactive holiday marketing campaign.

Campaign Elements

  1. Limited-Edition Holiday Flavors:
    • Concept: Introduce three exclusive holiday flavors: Peppermint Bark, Gingerbread Bliss, and Eggnog Swirl.
    • Strategy: Create anticipation with teaser posts on social media leading up to the launch. Use high-quality photos and videos to showcase the new flavors.
    • Tactics: Offer a special “Holiday Trio Pack” at a discounted price for early buyers.
  2. Engaging Content:
    • Concept: Develop a series of heartwarming stories centered around holiday traditions and the joy of sharing ice cream with loved ones.
    • Strategy: Produce short videos and blog posts that feature customer testimonials and behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the holiday flavors.
    • Tactics: Release content weekly to keep the audience engaged and looking forward to new updates.
  3. Interactive Experiences:
    • Concept: Host in-store events and online workshops where customers can learn how to create their own holiday-themed ice cream sundaes.
    • Strategy: Set up “Frosty Delights Pop-Up Parlors” in key locations with festive decorations and tasting stations.
    • Tactics: Offer exclusive event discounts and giveaways to attendees, both in-person and virtual.
  4. Social Media Integration:
    • Concept: Launch a “Share Your Frosty Moments” social media contest.
    • Strategy: Encourage customers to share photos and stories of how they enjoy Frosty Delights during the holidays using a specific hashtag (#FrostyWinterWonderland).
    • Tactics: Feature user-generated content on the brand’s social media channels and offer prizes for the best submissions, such as a year’s supply of ice cream.
  5. Email Marketing Campaign:
    • Concept: Create a series of festive and personalized email newsletters.
    • Strategy: Segment the email list to tailor content based on customer preferences and past purchase behavior.
    • Tactics: Include special holiday recipes, exclusive discounts, and early access to limited-edition flavors in the emails. Ensure the emails are visually appealing with holiday-themed designs.
  6. Charitable Component:
    • Concept: Partner with local food banks and charities to donate a portion of holiday sales.
    • Strategy: Promote the charitable aspect of the campaign in all marketing materials to encourage purchases that give back to the community.
    • Tactics: Host a “Give a Scoop, Get a Scoop” day where customers who bring in canned goods receive a free scoop of ice cream.

Detailed Timeline

  • November 1-15:
    • Announce the upcoming holiday flavors and events on social media.
    • Begin teasing the “Frosty Delights Winter Wonderland” campaign with sneak peeks.
  • November 16-30:
    • Launch the limited-edition holiday flavors.
    • Release the first heartwarming story video and blog post.
    • Start the email marketing campaign with a special offer for early purchases.
  • December 1-15:
    • Host the first round of in-store events and online workshops.
    • Launch the “Share Your Frosty Moments” contest on social media.
    • Continue the email marketing campaign with festive content and reminders about the social media contest.
  • December 16-31:
    • Ramp up social media engagement by featuring user-generated content.
    • Promote the “Give a Scoop, Get a Scoop” charitable event.
    • Send final email push with last-minute holiday offers and event reminders.

Metrics for Success

  • Sales Data: Track the increase in sales of the limited-edition flavors and holiday trio packs.
  • Social Media Engagement: Monitor the number of posts, likes, shares, and comments related to the campaign hashtag.
  • Email Campaign Performance: Analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates for the holiday email series.
  • Event Participation: Measure attendance at in-store events and online workshops, as well as the amount of user-generated content submitted for the contest.
  • Charitable Contributions: Calculate the total donations made to local food banks and charities through the “Give a Scoop, Get a Scoop” event.

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