31 Essential Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips for 2023
Updated October 2023
How Will You Attract Holiday Shoppers in 2023?
For retailers, the holiday season is here. Succeeding in the next few months and into 2024 requires analyzing and understanding shoppers.
For retailers, the months leading up to peak selling season are a whirlwind of planning and strategizing as they strive to capture shoppers’ hearts — and wallets —. For shoppers, the holidays transform storefronts into portals of inspiration and shopping bags into treasure chests of childlike excitement.
Adapting to Changing Consumer Behaviors
However, in a world marked by constant change and shifting consumer preferences, accurately predicting holiday retail trends has become harder and harder. Last year, retail sales during 2022’s November-December holiday season grew 5.3% over 2021 to $936.3 billion, falling short of the National Retail Federation’s forecast amid continuing inflation and high interest rates.
After years of increased spending on services, that behavior could cool off while spending on durable goods remains high compared to pre-pandemic levels. E-commerce sales could remain strong during the holiday season as shoppers look for online deals to maximize their tight budgets.
For the second year, holiday sales growth is expected to slow, with retail sales predicted to increase between 3.5% and 4.6% this year compared to last year’s holiday season, according to a Deloitte report released Wednesday.
The report predicts that holiday sales from November 2023 to January 2024 will reach between $1.54 trillion and $1.56 trillion. The projections represent more moderate growth than last year when holiday sales increased 7.6% and reached $1.49 trillion.
E-commerce sales are anticipated to rise between 10.3% and 12.8% year over year, which could push online holiday sales to between $278 billion and $284 billion.
Higher Costs Will Impact Holiday Shopping
Inflation is slowing down, but that doesn’t mean costs are dropping. Due to inflation, more than half of 2023 holiday shoppers (56%) won’t be able to buy as many gifts as they’d like this year. But nearly 2 in 5 2023 holiday shoppers (39%) feel pressure to spend more money on holiday gifts than they’re comfortable spending, and 12% say they’ll likely need to use some of their emergency savings to buy holiday gifts this year.
Still, 2023 holiday shoppers are taking steps to save. Nearly 3 in 5 (58%) plan to shop this year on Black Friday, Nov. 24 — the day after Thanksgiving, for holiday gifts. About a third of 2023 holiday shoppers (34%) say they have a strict budget for the amount they’ll spend on holiday gifts this year.
Some shoppers plan to purchase gifts for fewer people (31%) or spend less per person on gifts (30%) this year compared with years past. And 29% of 2023 holiday shoppers say they’ll use coupon or cash-back sites and apps when making holiday gift purchases.
Start Your Small Business Holiday Marketing Early
The days when you could start your holiday marketing in December are long gone. Regardless of the service or merchandise you provide, in 2023, small businesses have to overcome new obstacles. The Christmas holiday brings some of the same challenges as last year’s, along with a few new ones, as gas prices rise and inflation in some parts of the world brings fears of a recession.
But history tells us that consumers won’t let current problems take away from their moments of joy. And that the brands and retailers they rely on won’t disappoint them.
Research suggests that this holiday season will start early, and shoppers are out and about already looking for great deals and holiday inspiration across online and offline platforms. From nostalgia-themed shopping trends to NFT gifting options and holiday gift cards, this holiday season will display a range of shopping themes and emotions and combine age-old traditions and modern, futuristic retailing into one.
And you can bet your competitors are already plotting their first moves. To help you compete in these changing times, here are 31 simple yet effective small business holiday marketing tips.
Remember that you do not have to do everything on this list for a successful holiday marketing campaign. Pick the ones that best fit your business and personality and start there. The idea is to have fun and be yourself, and at the same time, generate more business by reaching out to your consumers.
Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips
Kick Off Christmas Marketing on Halloween
Even those who aren’t in the USA see the effect Halloween has. Many Japanese and European companies now also leverage this holiday. A great Christmas marketing idea is to continue the hype of Halloween over into the holiday season.
40% of shoppers start buying Christmas presents before the end of October.
Encourage people that bought from you during Halloween to do their Christmas shopping with you. Use the hype of Halloween to draw attention to any specials you have coming up in the lead-up to Christmas.
Using Halloween imagery a week after the holiday can help you stand out against your competitors who have gone straight to the Christmas-themed promotion!
Add Christmas Flair to Your Branding
Something that almost any business can do is to update all branding with a bit of festive flair. Adjust your logo and social media profile pictures to incorporate elements associated with Christmas and use them throughout the season, both online and in any printed media, but make sure it doesn’t negatively influence brand recognition.
In addition, you can justify costs because you can reuse these images for several years. You can also add Christmas flair to your social media header images, either as a single Christmas-themed image for the duration of the festive season or regularly changed to reflect any promotional offers you have running.
Go Ahead. Decorate!
It’s Christmas, so dig out the ornaments and spruce up for the holidays. Decorating includes adding a few Christmas-related images to your website, a few snowflakes for your email template, and a holiday-themed profile image to your social accounts.
Customize Your Packaging
We all know how vital custom packaging is for your brand.
Packaging is the only thing that reaches 100% of your customers and is the first step in creating a memorable unboxing experience.
Unique Christmas packaging for your products over Christmas adds a touch of luxury and class and, if coupled with a Christmas edition product, can help create a sense of ‘exclusivity’ around your product.
And Christmas-themed packaging can be convenient for your customer, too. For example, a Holiday-themed mailer box or mailing bag can remove the need to wrap a gift entirely!
Listen to Your Consumer!
Ask your customers what they want. It is that simple! Do they want the latest gadget, or are they more interested in money-saving coupons? Post an online survey on SurveyMonkey or use your business website to survey your customers. Target your marketing campaign and messaging accordingly.
Bundle Popular Items
Want to take the gift guide to the next level? Consider bundling some of your most popular items together.
The benefit your customer sees is a ‘bargain.’ Products bundled together increase the perceived value of the items. This effect multiplies when you discount bundled items. Offering discounts increases your average cart spend as well as your conversion rate.
Look at your top-selling products to find the best products to bundle together. Then, find a product that compliments that. For example, is your top seller a set of steak knives? Bundle it with a knife sharpener.
Protip: Offer free postage on bundled items. Free postage or shipping (see below) will add to the value of the product perceived by your customer.
Offer Free Shipping
Today, buyers expect free shipping.
Whether a pair of earrings or an exercise bike, free delivery is an incentive many expect in 2023, especially during the holidays.
However, you may want to adjust your pricing to absorb the postage cost. Don’t worry, though. Customers often overlook this slight price increase when they see the words free worldwide shipping.
With a good Holiday campaign, you’ll attract many last-minute buyers the week before Christmas. So, it would help if you offered complimentary express postage until the latest possible date.
Last-minute buyers are more than willing to buy from you as they know they can get the product before the big day.
Create a Christmas Gift Landing Page
As Christmas includes exchanging gifts, this Christmas marketing idea is a perfect way to enhance the customer shopping experience and help them count on you for the best gifts by making the search process simple and inviting.
Your ultimate goal is to encourage a purchase. Make that as easy as possible. Any landing page on your business website needs to focus on that goal. Your landing pages should be straightforward and focus on one product or service. Feel free to ornament, but don’t let seasonal decorations detract from the primary purpose. Check out these tips for designing an effective landing page.
Create a Digital Catalog
Few of us sit and browse printed catalogs before going Christmas shopping. But a digital catalog is a great way to re-engage previous buyers.
Stunning imagery, well-crafted photos, and quality design are great ways to show off all your products the way a physical catalog does without all the printing involved!
The average Christmas spending per person in the U.S. is expected to reach $950 in 2023, up from $932 in 2022.Zippia
Create an interactive catalog and link each image to the relevant product page.
Links will help you keep track of your user’s flow through your website.
Your interactive Christmas holiday catalog can be marketed just like any other content – on social media, in a blog, and a link in your primary website navigation menu!
Encourage Impulse Buying
Most of your sales during the Holiday period will be someone buying a gift for another person. And chances are, that person has more than one person on their Christmas shopping list. Couple this with the fact that most people do their Christmas shopping online because it’s convenient, and suddenly, your ‘stocking filler’ products become a little more meaningful!
Impulse buying is where the UX and UI of your ecommerce store can play a vital role.
Consider placing cheaper products in your website areas where customers can quickly and easily throw the product into their cart.
For example, place a ‘people also bought’ or ‘you may also like’ element at the page’s footer after someone has added a product to their cart.
Add Push Notifications
Christmas is a great time to install push notifications on your website.
Push notifications give you direct communication with subscribers to tell them whatever you want.
Examples of effective push notifications are a flash sale, store hours, and the last call for purchases before Christmas. But remember to use them sparingly, as you don’t want to overload and annoy your subscribers with too much information.
Give Your Customers a Sneak Peek!
Promote your holiday specials early before all your competitors do! Host a preview sale or other special event at your location, or feature a special offer with a teaser image or video clip online.
Be cool, and give your customers a glimpse behind the scenes. Showcase your festive brand or perhaps your awesome customers. Show how easy and fun it is to prepare for the holidays with you and your team.
Offer Gift Wrapping Service
During Christmas 2022, gifts made up 65% of total spending. Therefore, offering such a service during Christmas is a beautiful idea. Customers who choose to save time and effort will praise such an opportunity. Many famous online stores constantly use this Christmas marketing idea strategy to provide service to their buyers.
Make Them Feel Special!
Offer existing customers exclusive deals. Simple things like “Free Holiday Shipping” or a special coupon, code, or discount on a future purchase work best. Offering your customers a deal your competitors don’t will entice consumers to buy from you.
Hold A Christmas-themed Contest
This Christmas marketing idea of hosting a Christmas-themed contest can never go in vain. If executed, your brand awareness will spread like wildfire.
You may organize a contest asking your customers to share photos of your brand products or videos of them singing Christmas carols. This type of competition will encourage them to engage more with your brand.
Additional engagement will create excitement among the customers to participate with full enthusiasm. It would help if you tried posting such entries on your social media platforms with proper planning following the season’s mood. The extra effort will drive Christmas sales and generate free publicity.
Reward Your Customers
Distribute coupons and offers to your customers on this Christmas occasion as an incentive for your customers. To receive these coupons and special offers, buyers will come to shop in your store or on your e-commerce site.
Offering rewards can also be a way to express gratitude to your loyal customers. This Christmas marketing idea strategy leads to an increase in conversion rate and sales.
Send Them a Card!
Sending anything by mail may sound strange in the digital age. But sending an actual holiday card can make your business stand out. Thank your customers for their support and loyalty, and wish them a happy holiday. Little things can have a significant impact!
Customize Your Email!
Start reflecting on the changing of the season. Including autumn and holiday-themed headers can make a big difference. Visual clues are essential to get your customers in the mood to purchase. Here are some creative ideas to start your holiday email marketing!
Create Holiday-Themed Videos
Christmas is when people get into the festive mood and prep their homes. Thus, people are upbeat about buying new decorative items and planning gifts for their loved ones.
Enhance your audience’s Christmas shopping experience by sharing videos on decorating gifts or the best gift options or selecting the right gift for loved ones. This type of information will bring out the joy of the holiday season among your customers.
Holiday-themed videos will engage them more with your brand as they learn something they are already looking forward to. In addition, such videos create a sense of a festive mood and encourage them to purchase more during the Christmas season. These videos aim to build brand awareness and target your customers.
Be sure to engage your customers through all of your social media channels. Get consumers excited about your brand. Social contests like ugly holiday sweaters or the cutest pet costume contests are a great way to engage your audience and collect email subscribers.
Don’t Forget Instagram or Pinterest!
Speaking of social media, don’t forget that Pinterest and Instagram effectively drive online sales more than other social channels. Create a holiday-themed Pinterest board that promotes your seasonal offerings and products. Be sure to include the URLs for all your holiday campaigns.
Offer Christmas Gift Cards
Gift cards can become an option for buyers who don’t know what to buy as a gift. Help these customers by ensuring gift cards are available at your store or on your website.
Gift cards are the simplest to attract more buyers. Offering gift cards at your e-commerce store entices customers to spend more, increasing sales and revenue.
Have A Holiday Party!
Why not invite your customers to a private event for your store? Give attendees a special incentive discount only valid for this one event.
Plan activities related to your specific business. For example, if you’re a salon, offer free classes on how to do holiday party hair. If you’re a housewares store, plan a cake-decorating workshop.
Or, if you’re a florist, host a wreath-making class. No matter what kind of operation you are, you can host a gift-wrapping party, where customers bring in (or buy) gifts and then learn how to wrap those gifts like pros.
Don’t Make Everything Promotional!
Stand out by sometimes NOT posting or sending out sales messages. They bombard everyone during the holiday season. Give your subscribers and customers a break by posting a team picture in Santa hats or your neighborhood decorated for the season instead.
Host A Local Charity – This Time Online
Christmas is the time to distribute gifts to loved ones. Big companies and product brands have an open-ended social drive that benefits particular charities, but it isn’t easy for small businesses to invest that much time and money.
They can try this at a small level by joining a local charity campaign online and promoting their brand awareness. Or you may collaborate and coin a charity offer yourself. These events announce the brand and name of sponsors. So, pay close attention to your local charity events to participate in one or more.
2023 is the age of personalization. Target your messaging to specific segments of your audience. And make sure to include the recipient’s name. “Merry Christmas Jennifer” is more heartwarming than “Dear Customer.”
Focus Your Christmas Marketing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
Even if you are a primarily brick-and-mortar business, you must still cater to your online audience. Not everyone will flock to your store the moment the turkey gets cold. Today’s cost-conscious consumer knows the best deals are found on Friday and Monday after Turkey Day.
It’s pretty apparent how big these two days are in the world of both retail and e-commerce. Be sure to create exclusive offers for both in-store and online consumers.
Black Friday 2023 is predicted to see a 6% increase in online sales, reaching $9.66 billion.Tech Radar
Of course, you can offer the massive discounts that all other retailers do, but adding value to each purchase will make you stand out.
Bring Black Friday and Cyber Monday buyers back for Christmas by doing the following:
- Offer a coupon that’s valid for the rest of the year,
- Add in a ‘stocking filler’ product for free,
- Offer free postage and free returns,
- Include an extended warranty or guarantee
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities to increase your sales. You can also use these occasions to grow an email list in the Christmas rush.
Note: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just 2 of many other events in the Holiday period that you can leverage. Check out other key dates for your Christmas marketing and plan your promotional events around them.
Celebrate Small Business Saturday!
Small Business Saturday takes place on the first Saturday in December every year and is a campaign that encourages consumers to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.
This Saturday is dedicated to small business owners just like you. Almost every city or small business association has special promotions, including special events, advertising, and PR campaigns. Be sure your small business takes full advantage.
You can advertise your business on the Small Business Saturday website for free, getting your brand in front of thousands of potential clients. In addition, getting involved with social media on the day and tweeting with the hashtag #SmallBizSat is a great way to spread the word about your business and get an idea of what other small businesses are up to during the festive season.
Don’t Overlook Other Holidays
There are many dates throughout October, November, and December that you can leverage. For example, Singles Day in China falls on Saturday, November 11. Another example is Hanukkah. The gift-giving holiday for the Jewish community starts on Thursday, December 7, and ends on Friday, December 15.
Perhaps a lot of your past customers are Chinese living in other countries. Or maybe your products appeal to your local Jewish community.
If you market everything as overtly Christmas themed you are potentially alienating other demographics that celebrate different holidays.ARIELLE KIMBAROVSKY – CODAL
By paying attention to more minor niche holidays like these and catering to different demographics, you engage a smaller niche of followers and keep them loyal.
And don’t forget: Half the planet celebrates Christmas in summer!
Plan for After The Holidays!
Today’s savvy consumers may even wait until after the holidays to complete their shopping. Smaller crowds and bigger bargains are usually incentives. Be sure to look beyond the traditional holiday marketing time frame to benefit from the entire season.
Getting Started with Small Business Holiday Marketing!
Now, you have our favorite small business holiday marketing tips. Use them to plan and implement your 2023 holiday marketing strategy and campaigns. Your holiday marketing will depend on your business, industry, and location, so feel free to adjust as necessary.
Here are a few things that will help you implement our small business holiday marketing tips:
- Take a look at last year. What worked, and what didn’t?
- Ask your team for input. How can they help?
- Consider bringing in outside help if you need it.
- Create as much content as you can ahead of time.
- Determine a budget, and stick to it!
- Be yourself, and have fun!
Here are some tools that will make things easier for you:
- Email Service Providers: MailChimp, Constant Contact
- Social Media Tools: SproutSocial, HootSuite, and Agorapulse
Of course, some of you don’t have time to consider any small business holiday marketing tips. Many small business owners are too busy. If that is the case, we recommend hiring an outside agency or professional to give you a hand. Not doing any small business holiday marketing is not an option! We are here to help!
How Are You Doing Small Business Holiday Marketing?
How did our 2023 small business holiday marketing tips work out for you? Do you have a favorite? Which one was most appealing to your target audience? Do you have anything to add to our small business holiday marketing tips?
Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And give your audience an early Christmas present by sharing our small business holiday marketing tips with them!
For more content relevant to your business or product brand – check out the range of articles on our web design blog. (This one, listing 30 creative holiday email marketing ideas, is an excellent place to start!)
Thank you! We appreciate your help ending bad business websites, one pixel at a time!