The Ultimate Holiday Checklist- Part 1: Marketing

Holiday Cheklist with cookies and Christmas present.

Is it really that time of year already? For many people the answer is an emphatic “No!” (especially if they don’t like Christmas music 🎵❄️). However, if you are a business owner you need to be thinking ahead and preparing for the holiday season long before it starts. Your business needs a plan to capitalize on the wave of shopping frenzy that will soon grip the world.

  • 2018 Holiday sales hit a record $998 Billion
  • Shoppers are predicted to spend 5% more than 2018


Those are some high stakes! People will be spending like crazy, giving the economy a good boost. However, you only get a slice of this hypothetical Christmas ham if you have your foot in the door. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, “40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.” That means you needed a holiday marketing strategy yesterday!

So let’s hurry up and get started! Here’s what we’ll cover:


With your website now on the nice list, you can focus on getting your marketing strategies ready to go. The best marketing campaigns follow a consistent theme, which builds your company branding and recognition. This is especially important during the holidays, when you want more people to recognize and remember your company over your competitors.

Be prepared! Create graphics ahead of time that can be used in email marketing, social media, and more. If you’re looking for an easy, quick way to make these graphics, try using Canva. This awesome tool has a free version, is super easy to use, and even has it’s own app so you can create graphics right on your phone or tablet!

Compel customers to shop with you by showing them why your business is unique. If you are offering a special promotion different from your competitors, show that off to your customers. Whether you are offering a higher discount, rewards perks, free shipping, or any other unique reason people should shop with you, remember to highlight it often during the holidays.

Small businesses can also create urgency to shop through countdowns or expiration dates. This gives customers a reason to shop sooner rather than later.

Three of the most popular marketing strategies during the holidays are email marketing, social media marketing, and Google Ads.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a widely used strategy any time of year because the people on your list are already interested in your business. You can build your email marketing list by starting with your own customers, and adding a signup form to your website.

Plus, email marketing boasts some of the highest Return On Investment (ROI) rates compared to any other digital marketing strategy. Small businesses can really take advantage of this during the holiday season.


Promotions are your chance to really WOW your subscribers! People will want to be on your list in order to get the best deals. You can take this a step further by adding incentives specifically for email subscribers only. For example, if you’re already offering 15% off on Black Friday, you could consider offering 20% off only for email subscribers. This is great for your email list, but it also allows you to track this special better by knowing that anyone who redeems 20% off saw your email promotion.

Increase Frequency

During the Holiday season, increasing your email frequency is not frowned upon at all. In fact, it’s much more accepted during November and December than it is the rest of the year. The reason for this is that consumers are getting bombarded with promotional emails daily, and you want your emails to show up higher in their inboxes and more frequent. This will increase your brand recognition with the intention that the consumer will remember your business when they decide to shop.

Remember to pay attention to your competitors during this time as well. If they’re sending emails out more frequently, you should too! You don’t have to copy them, but you should try to do your best to compete.

Segment List

Your list might consist of past customers, potential customers, repeat customers, and more. Every contact on your list is unique, so they shouldn’t all be getting the same email. While sending every campaign to your entire list is still used, it’s becoming an uncommon practice. Every email you send out might not be relevant to each contact on your list. Send more relevant emails by segmenting your list.

Segment – dividing your email list into separate sections based on set criteria such as interests, purchase history, and more.

By narrowing down your audience, you can send emails that they will actually be interested in. You can also add a little extra special touch with personalization.

Each email marketing platform has different personalization options, but most generally have the ability to add first name, last name, and more. For example, you could use first name customization and include a subject line such as “20% Off during our Holiday Sale, Randy!”

Adding small touches of personalization to your email campaigns catches attention and many times encourages customers to shop with you.

Social Media Marketing

Email marketing is great for connecting with past customers and those that may be close to converting, but what if you want to find new customers? That’s where social media marketing can be beneficial.

Social media marketing allows you to connect with both new and repeat customers. You can use social platforms to build your brand image and following. Once you have a good following, you can focus on turning those followers into customers.

Give those followers a reason to shop with you over your competitors. Highlight what makes your business unique and show that you’re more than just products or services for sale.

You can also consider investing in some social media ads during the holiday season. Social media ads are a low cost investment compare to other ad strategies, and a small increase in your budget can go a long way here during the holidays.

Social Specials

You can take your social media marketing a step further with giveaways and specials during the holidays. You can also tailor these specials specifically for social followers, so if you offer them a unique coupon code or discount you will easily be able to track it.

If you need more ideas or tips for social media marketing during the holidays, check out our Last Minute Social Prep for the Holidays blog.

Google Ads

Google Ads are another great addition to your marketing strategies during the holidays. These do tend to be more expensive than social media ads, but it’s worth it during the busy shopping times.

Google Ads are great for driving more immediate traffic to your website. You can enhance your ads by focusing on multiple keywords, and you can even turn campaigns on and off as needed.


Win back shoppers through Remarketing features in Google Ads. Remarketing ads target consumers that viewed your website but did not convert. These are a great way to remind them what they’re missing out on.

During the holidays, you can decrease the amount of time someone is on your list so that they see your ads faster and more frequently in a short amount of time.

If you would like to optimize your ads even more, check out this post on Prepping Your PPC Account.


November and December are busy times for most businesses, whether you sell online or strictly in store. Get your website and marketing prepared in advance so that you are ready for Black Friday and the madness after. Spend more time focusing on the day to day operations of your business without having to worry about your website or marketing strategies running properly.

Remember, Santa can’t make Christmas happen without help from his team of elves. So, if you need any advice or an extra helping hand during this time, our team of elves is at the ready!

Kaitlyn Anthony

As our newest graphic designer, Kaitlyn is always looking for new ways to creatively meet the needs of clients through design. Kaitlyn continuously looks for opportunities to learn something new and stay up-to-date on current design trends. In her spare time, Kaitlyn can be found exploring the great outdoors with her camera in one hand and an iced coffee in the other.

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