Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy

Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy
Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategies Podcast

Episode 21

Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy

For business owners and marketing professions Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy Planning starts in July. If you want to have a holiday season to remember you need to start planning in July to reap the benefits of a fantastic holiday season and beyond.

In This episode, I share with you the benefits of planning early and inspire you with tactics you can use and a plan on how to schedule everything out so nothing gets missed.

Hang on to your Santa hat!

Systems we recommend to help you with your Holiday Promotions Strategy

  • MailChimp for Email List building and sending. You can build Landing Pages with it Too!
  • Social Pilot for scheduling posts across all your social media channels
  • Tidio ChatBot to give great customer service on your website

Links to previous episodes I mentioned in the Podcast

Thanks so much for listening. If you have a question or a show topic suggestion fill out the contact form on our home page. I appreciate all your feedback.

You can also schedule a complimentary marketing evaluation as well. Let’s talk!

Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy Show Transcription

Welcome to marketing strategies with Audrey Kerchner, sponsored by Inkyma taking your small business to the next level with proven creative solutions designed to grow your awareness and connect to your customers. Now here’s Audrey. Hi there and welcome. I’m

Audrey Kerchner co-founder and chief marketing strategist at Inkyma. Inkyma is a full service marketing agency and we bring that big agency feel to small business owners, great customer service. And what we do is marketing strategy, branding, website, design, and hosting. That’s one of our favorites, content marketing search engine optimization, social media, and digital advertising. To learn more about what we do. Ask us a question, give us show suggestions, or to schedule a marketing evaluation for your business. Go to our website That’s i-n-k -y-m-a .com.

So if this is your first time, welcome. If you are a long-time listener Im using air quotes, cause we haven’t been on the air really long. Thank you so much for joining us truly. , I really appreciate it. I I definitely enjoy doing the show so much and I love all the feedback that I’ve been getting over the last several weeks. So we have quite a few shows under our belt. Go back and listen to all of them. They’re available on our website. We are on a Podbean, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible and Google. And if there is a platform that you prefer over all of those, just let us know and we’ll pop it on there as well.

As of this recording moment in time, it’s July, it’s in the eighties here in Colorado Springs. So you know what I’m thinking about right now? I’m thinking about Christmas marketing.

I know don’t cringe, don’t get scared. This is the time of year, many, many business owners that want to have a really great Christmas season start thinking about it way, way too late. And so the right time to start planning and thinking about what you’re going to do for your business this holiday season is right now in July and August. So I’m not just talking to online and in-person retailers, brick and mortars. I’m really talking to any business that sees a spike in sales, in profits, in service utilization during the winter holiday season. So we’ve got that traditional Christmas season shopping and purchasing process at retailers everywhere, right? They all come out of the woodwork, they’re everywhere, but I want you to think about other types of spikes that happen in that same timeframe. So travel-related, restaurants and another one, which I think is popular, but people kind of overlook is experience-based gifts.

And they’re really, really popular with millennials, millennials like experiential things, right? And they’re willing to pay for them, things that they can share with their friends, their families on whatever social platform they are using at that moment in time to say: Hey, look what I just got to do or look what just happened for me. And sometimes it’s just an awesome haircut in an awesome place. So look at what your company does and think about how you could possibly tailor that to a gift experience that could be given during the holiday season this winter. So let me give you an example of something that’s a little out there just to help you kind of start thinking and hopefully getting a little bit inspired: home cleaning services. So there’s two options in that home cleaning range, to have someone come in and clean your home. one is you could give a gift or you could purchase for yourself.

The person that’s hosting these really big events, these holiday seasons. So I’m talking about like Thanksgiving, , you’re hosting some form of Christmas or Christmas party, , for your family or even for your business. You could, , a cleaning company could offer a package where it’s a before the event and after the event, because whoever’s holding the event has to spend time cleaning to make sure it looks wonderful for the event and then clean up everything that happened during the event. Because usually by the time everybody leaves, it looks like a hurricane hit, , with dishes and stuff and everything like that. So that would be an amazing, , package to buy for yourself or to give as a gift. And then the other thing is, , special gift certificates for cleaning services could be a one-time thing, could be a monthly thing, could be a weekly thing.

And this could be really targeting towards new mothers, existing mothers from their husbands, their kids, or from a mother to a daughter, which I think would be really kind of special. It’s like, you know, mom’s still taking care of their kids, even though their kids have kids, this, type of thing. So hopefully that, , inspires you a little bit to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to offerings during the holiday season. So let’s talk a little bit about why I’m saying you got to start this in July and August, right? I’m not crazy pants about this. I’ve been through it. And sometimes I’ve had clients where I wish we started even earlier. Like we started the end of June and the reason you start so early is that you need a plan, not just a plan, but what you really need is a good plan.

And the reason why is if you plan for more sales, you’re going to get more sales because you’re prepared for more sales for that time of year, right? So the devil is in the details here. So you need to think about lead times, depending on who and what you’re going to market in your business. And then there’s just so many things that you have to follow up on and follow through on and conversations to have. And, you know, we all make this mistake where we think we have plenty of time to do this, but in reality, we don’t because everything’s not linear. You know, you talk about, oh, I need to schedule a meeting or have a conversation with this person. And that may not happen for a week and a half. And you just lost a week and a half in your timeline. So you could do all of your planning and it could take a, a timeline of 30 days, but that 30 days is spread out over six months because of other people’s schedules and that sort of thing.

So let’s talk about a couple of things that you need to think about when you’re planning. So ordering products so that you have enough inventory for when the season hits, right? If you’re planning for more sales you’re going to get more sales, you need more products, you need more packaging materials. If you’re going to offer shipping or gift wrapping, you need those materials. And those have lead times. You’ve got to think about it, especially if you’re going to have something custom made with your brand on it. That takes more time than if you’re just going to order a bunch of generic bags, campaign, design, and creation. So if you’re going to do a holiday promotion, you want it to have a holiday theme, which means you’re going to have to have creative work, done, graphic design, work, artwork, whatever.

And that’s going to, then you’re going to need to have ads created on social media, email banners, print materials, all with that same design. So it’s cohesive, right? That’s supporting your brand. It’s a campaign branded design. And in addition to that, you’re going to need to update your website and or update landing pages or create new landing pages. And I did a whole podcast on landing pages. So check that out so that you can decide if landing pages are going to be right for you for this type of a campaign, but this campaign is perfect for landing pages. And then I talked about this a little bit, but print materials for store, for packages, for boxes. If you’re doing shipping, you’re going to need all of that done. If you’re going to put postcards into your bags or your boxes, and we’ll talk about how you, or where you would use that in a little bit partnership discussions.

I have a whole tactics section that I’m going to go over with you guys. So, you know, just kind of wait for that, but partner discussions with other businesses and or charities, those discussions are going to take time and have to get scheduled on people’s calendars and then event signups. If you’re going to have a booth somewhere, or you’re going to have a special event and you’re going to have it at a location, then you’re going to need to book those in advance. And some of these event venues, as well as these markets or fairs, they book up early and they book up fast. A lot of the good ones they’re opening their booking tables now in July and August. And they may well be completely packed by September. So you got to look into that early, if that’s part of your mix.

So I can’t stress enough that you need to plan now to reap the rewards and benefits at the end of year. So now that I’ve gotten that whole timeline thing out of the way and you get it, let’s have some fun. Let’s start talking about Christmas and holiday marketing tactics.

You’re listening to marketing strategies and I’m Audrey Kerchner and we’re talking about Christmas planning in July to help maximize your sales this holiday season. So we’re going to have some fun talking about tactics now. So first before we dive into the tactics and all that good stuff, I want to make sure of course, if you’ve listened to any of my other show shows, you have to have a goal and you need to be very specific about who you’re targeting and what products you’re targeting. And I talk about this a lot in length.

If you listen to the strategy podcast, the landing page podcast, the email marketing podcasts, this is one of those, , type of campaigns where it’s gotta be really, really specific about who and what you want them to buy as your primary goal. I also want you to consider a secondary goal. One of the most wonderful things about the Christmas holiday season from a business owner’s perspective is that people are looking and they are shopping and they are buying. They’ve got like money. This doesn’t happen any other time of year. And this gives you the ability to grow whatever lists that you have in place, whether it be email, whether it be on social channels, , whether it be a customer list, these grow exponentially this time of year. And so when you keep in mind as a secondary goal to increase those lists, that gives you the opportunity to market, to more people throughout the entire rest of the next year.

So Christmas marketing is the gift that keeps on giving all year long, primary goal, get people to buy things, get specific people to buy specific things, secondary goal, build those lists so that you can keep marketing to those people that have already purchased from you. So the first tactic I want to go over with you is deciding what holiday events you’re going to promote in or on your store. And I’m talking about things like black Friday, cyber Monday, small business Saturday, and there’s a bunch of them coming out now like these organizations and things happen and they promote, so take advantage of that wave of awareness. We all know black Friday, people like they prep for weeks for black Friday. They go and they stand out at three o’clock in the morning. , so there’s already a high awareness there. So you want to kind of take advantage of that wave of awareness by making sure that whatever you’re supporting any of those, one of them that you have signage in your store, or if you’re online only that you have it in your website and then promote it on social media as well.

So if you are going to do cyber Monday, make sure you create a kind of sneak, peek to your deals on social and in the store and getting people kind of excited and curious. Cause like I said, they plan for this. They figure out, okay, I want this, this, this, or something like this. So I know I need to hit these stores and it would be wonderful if they saw your sneak peek and they put you on their plan. That would be pretty amazing. Second tactic I want to talk to you about is local events, holiday markets, fairs, bazaars. Sometimes they have them inside. Sometimes they have them outside. These are really great places for you to get out of your store or off of being just online and getting to meet people and talk to people. And this hits everything right? You get to meet people, talk to people, they’ll buy things.

You do these early in the season, like in the early December timeframe, those first couple of weeks and they’ll buy things there. Then you also get to hit your secondary call to action, which is to sign up for a newsletter or to follow you on Facebook. And then that way you can continue to talk to them throughout this particular season, in case they’re late shoppers, maybe they just went out and started browsing. They, they saw your booth, they picked up a card. They know where you are and they may come back and visit you the week before Christmas. Or they could be one of those Christmas Eve shoppers, but at least you’ve gotten their attention and you’re on their radar screen. The next one is in store or online specific events for specific types of shoppers. So I’m talking about the dads, the husbands and the kids here, those that normally don’t shop, don’t like to shop and only shop because they have to get their spouse, their loved one, their parents gifts.

If you create an event in your store, like a one or a two night event, or you do it, you know, for four weeks on a Thursday, consecutively and market to these folks have food. There have beverage, make it festive and fun, have extra staff on hand so that they can actually help them shop, pick stuff out, make them feel good about it. Not worried, not stressed, and then not only bag it, but rapid and get it ready for whoever it’s for. You’re going to attract more of those people rather than them just going to a store where they have to fend for themselves. , trust me, I have a son, I have a husband. Both of them would love something like this. If they figured it out and found out about it. The next thing I want to talk to you about is partnering.

So partnering with a local charity, let’s talk about charities first. This is where you can create ad language outbound in store communications, where you have teamed up with a charity where you’re giving X percent back for the entire holiday season for that charity. This is a season of giving and we see a lot of charitable organizations take advantage of that by promoting and creating their own awareness. They would love to partner with a store. I’ve seen so many of these great partnerships come up and they’re wonderful because they’re good for the charity. They’re good for the business. And then people feel better about when they buy a gift and they’re giving back to a charity. When you’re doing this, make sure that you pick a charity that is meaningful to you, your staff, something that comes from the heart, you’ll just create better awareness.

You’ll create better campaigns. You’ll talk about it more lovingly, which is what people want to hear, because if they hear your empathy and passion, they’re going to want to help support it too. We have a social responsibility podcast, did a great interview with a local bank executive on this. So I’m going to put it in the show notes. Definitely. If you’re interested in connecting with a charity, listen to that show, they’re going to give you some, wonderful information in there. The next type of partnership I’m going to talk about is small business owners, banding together and creating partnerships during the holiday season to create a shop around or a cross promotion. You can do this in-store and you can do it online. So other e-commerce retailers can do the same thing. So the concept is, is someone comes into your store and they buy from you.

 Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy Show HalfWay

And at the checkout counter, they are given a postcard, a coupon, whatever for a discount and offer to a companion store that you are partnered with so that when they go shop there, they already have a discount when they’re going in. And then that other store or stores, if someone goes there, they get a postcard coupon discount for your location. So what you’re doing is you’re cross-driving traffic and this can work with any retailers, but I think it works really best with companion type of businesses. So if you’re a clothing store partnering with a jewelry store or a shoe store or some other type of accessory, if you don’t carry those in your shop, or even if you do still partnering with those other stores that maybe carry something different or offer something different than you do would be really helpful. So for my non-traditional holiday businesses out there, I want to offer a different kind of cross-promotion example, if you will.

So let’s say you’re a travel agent and you are booking holiday trips or travel for people to go visit family. Not everybody goes and visits family this time of year. Sometimes they book trips to Disney, to Europe, to other parts of the world. Cause you know, it’s fun, but they do it in that timeframe because they have time off from work. So as a travel agent, you’re there to service your customers. Why not cross promote local kennels where, you know, the mass majority of your clients are local to you so that when they book their own travel plans, you can then help them book their pets, travel and accommodations as well. And then the local kennel can reciprocate that because many people love their kennels and they book well in advance to make sure that they know their pet has a spot at the kennel.

And then the kennel owner can say, Hey, if you need help with travel arrangements for wherever you’re going or whatever you’re doing this year, I’ve got an amazing travel agent who wants to give you this type of discount because you’re my customer. So that is a non traditional example of how to make this cross-promotion between business owners work really well for non traditional holiday businesses. So next I want to talk to you about digital advertising. You don’t want to run the same ads. What you want to run are the holiday specific ads. So in your goals, if you are targeting specific audiences with specific offers like the dads and the kids and the husbands for the special event night, right? That is a very, very specific target. That’s what you want to run an ad for, not just for generalized sales, come to our shop and shop.

No you want to advertise for all of this work that you’re putting into signing up for in-store or out external events or special things that you’re buying for this it’s okay at this point to turn off your traditional ads that maybe you run normally during the year for just generalized promotions and awareness and have these starting. So you can maximize that ad spend put as much dollars towards this as you can. So it’s okay to turn those off and run these up or you can run them side by side, but, but maybe turn down the traditional ones. Cause I think this time of year having holiday graphic design marketing materials is really the way to go. People are in the mood. They want to see festive things. So don’t show them just a generic ad that doesn’t have some type of holiday theme or a flare to it.

Along those same veins, email marketing campaigns. This has to be like one of my favorite things is doing a series of emails, a 12 days of Christmas, maybe not 12 days, maybe, you know, less days, but an email that goes out on a specific set of days that builds up with offers to each one, very festive themed and then email number one has this type of offer, email two has this type of offer and then they can use each one or they can use one of them. The beautiful thing about this is that you’re doing it over time. So you’re really hitting every type of Christmas shopper out there. You’re hitting the early shoppers when they start their whole process after Thanksgiving, or maybe even a little before Thanksgiving, you have to decide how early you want to do this all the way through where you could have your final email go out on Christmas Eve, if you have the ability to sell, still sell on Christmas Eve.

So in-person stores really where you’re giving them a special offer for, for being that last-minute shopper and everybody in between because people, you know, kind of continually shop, right? They’re the ones that just like “I shop, I shop, I shop, I shop” and then there are ones that get it done all at one time and they get to use the offer once and then maybe they share their offers with somebody else. So you really get to hit everybody on this one. And then the last one I’m going to talk to you about is social media. So wherever you promote your product service company business on social media, you want to create all of that ahead of time. Don’t count on being able to have the time during the season to create all of your posts, you know, make them fun, make them educational, do memes about holiday shopping and how it pertains to what you offer.

I mean, that kind of stuff is so much fun. And I always tell people, if you can figure out how to get a baby’s puppies or kittens into those, they’re going to rock. You know, so if you’re a jewelry store, then put a Tiara on a puppy that will just like go through the roof with a little quote in that says “every princess puppy needs a Tiara”. I think it would work like a charm. What I want you to keep in mind when you’re creating this whole entire schedule for that timeframe and scheduling those posts to come out, do a three-to-one ratio, three fun educational non-promotional posts for everyone CTA type of post. So you’re offering, you’re giving you’re being fun. And then you’re asking for a sale. If you’re always asking for a sale, people are going to start to ignore you.

So when we do social media for our, our clients, we follow that three to one ratio and it works really, really well. And you know, they’re more likely to look at your call to action posts if you’ve made them laugh earlier in the week. So now that we’ve gone through some tactics and hopefully they inspired you, I want to just kind of wrap up this section here with talking about creative design. I kind of mentioned this a little bit earlier, but you want to create a design for your holiday campaign. You want to theme and you may have done one in the past. I strongly urge you don’t use the same one over again. People have seen it. It’s been out there. We want your brand to be recognized. We don’t want them to say, oh, they use that same holiday campaign or that graphic last year, right?

We want it to be fresh and new. Christmas and holiday design always trends and changes. And so you’re going to get more attention if you change it up. And if you’re following whatever the trends are for this particular season, this is where you want to follow trends. So your brand, your logo, that’s like your little black dress. And then a campaign is something where you add something trendy and fun to that brand to get people to recognize it more. What I want to caution you on is color palettes. Don’t create a campaign. That’s going to clash with your brand’s color palette. And if you have just a color palette that just does not work with holiday colors, it’s really okay to use your logo in either black or white so that you don’t see the clash. Don’t just go ahead and use it any way.

Cause those are your brand colors, make it all work together. Your brand is still your brand. Your brand is not just a color palette. It’s your fonts, it’s your imagery. And so if you have a really strong brand using it in either just a block, color, gray or white is still going to help you stay on brand. And then the last thing, the holiday color palette is not just the traditional red and green. There are different shades of red and green that you can use. And also now, because of, you know, winter theme being very popular, you know, you can use blues, you can use silvers, you can use grays. So mix that up. But I do want to encourage you to keep at least a little bit of red in there as an accent color, only because of the fact that it’s so eye-catching and most of our social media platforms are either neutral or they’re blue.

 Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy Show Take Action Time

So that red is just going to pop right out when people are scrolling through. So hopefully you’re not groaning anymore about planning for Christmas in July and are ready to get started. And so now I wanna encourage you to take action. So let’s talk about the top things I want you to focus on right now, when you get done listening to this first plan. Now, hopefully, I’ve convinced you that it’s important to start now, July, August timeframe, pick your goals, what specific products or product and who do you want to market to, to create a lot more revenue this holiday season. And then don’t forget about that secondary goal of list building. email lists, social media platforms, clientele in your database, wherever you’re collecting people’s names, addresses, and email addresses. You want to think about getting more, as many people as possible so that you also get the gift that keeps on giving all year long, which is the ability to market, to people that have purchased or shown interest in.

You already pick your tactics, go back, listen to all of them. Again, write some notes, figure out what you want to do, do stuff that you think would be fun and engaging. Don’t make this a lot of work because you’re adding on to your already busy schedule to be prepared for the holiday season. So if you already have some businesses that you always wanted to partner with, now’s the time to open those discussions with them. Think about the timing of when you want to kick off all of these tactics. It’s not December 25th or 24th. Your marketing has to start before that. Is it the day after Thanksgiving? Is it December 1st? That is your launch date. And then you work backward from that date to figure out, can you really implement all of these tactics? Do you have the bandwidth? Do you have enough time to do this?

A lot of people make the mistake of going, oh, well I can still be creating things while I’m during the holiday season. And in reality, you can’t, you’re going to be so busy if this plan works, which it will because you’re starting now, you’re going to be so busy that you’re not going to have time to do more social posts or to create emails, get it all done and set up and ready to go on the very first day of launch, which is, you know, when you want everything to kick off and the promotions to start going out. And so what I will leave you with is this is a lot your gut work that you’re doing. Now, this could be part of your busy season as well, hire an agency, the agency that you hire should and can, if they’re the right agency to all of the planning and then all of the heavy lifting for you, creating the graphic design work, writing all of the email promotions, the social media posts, creating the ads, creating videos and images with your brand on them, for the ads, helping facilitate those conversations with any type of a charity or partner that you want to work with creating those cross-promotion pieces.

Christmas Holiday Marketing Strategy Show Wrap Up

And then during the holiday monitor and making sure that everything’s going out when it’s supposed to. So this is where hiring an agency is worth its weight in gold. Because while you’re working with customers, you just have that peace of mind that your agency is handling the rest of it. And so, since we’re talking about Christmas and giving income, he has a gift for you. We like to give back to the business community. We provide a 45-minute free consultation to talk about your business. Whether you want to talk about holiday planning, digital ads, figuring out what charities you want to work with. We’re here for you. This 45 minutes is for whatever you want or need to talk about your business. From a marketing perspective, go to our website And in the upper right-hand corner, click schedule a marketing evaluation, pick your date and time. And we are on the calendar. If you found this information, helpful, fun, exciting, consider sharing this episode with your other fellow business friends. We want the entire business community to thrive and grow. And so I want to make sure that everybody’s getting the marketing information they need. Thanks for listening and have an amazing day

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