There are tons of holiday season marketing guides. And they all tell you to do the same things. The problem is that everyone is reading the same information and trying to use the same tactics.
This guide is different.
We’ve compiled a list of the 30 most effective holiday marketing ideas that have been proven to work.
This is a resource for quickly identifying ways to drive more holiday season sales. You’ll find tips on everything from influencer marketing to web design.
Not all of these tactics will be relevant to your business. And we haven’t gone into great depth about implementing each strategy.
If you see a tip that could work for your store, make a note, do more research, and include it in your holiday marketing strategy.
Are you ready for a lucrative and successful holiday season?
This year we’re not leaving any money on the table.
Let’s dive in.
Why is the holiday season so important in eCommerce?
The holiday season is a time for celebrating with friends and family. It’s also a time when we spend a lot of money.
On average, November and December holiday sales account for around 25% of total annual retail sales. In some niches, that figure can be significantly higher.
That’s why staying on top of your game during the holiday shopping season is so important.
U.S. holiday eCommerce revenue is set to reach $224.31 billion, a 6.1% increase on 2021 sales.
If you don’t have a holiday marketing strategy, you risk missing out on the peak eCommerce sales period.
30 Strategies to market your eCommerce business during the holiday season
You’ll find 30 holiday marketing campaign ideas listed below. We’ve organized the tactics into the following categories:
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Web Design
- Influencer marketing
- Email Marketing
- Holiday Sales/Pricing Strategies
If you need inspiration for products that sell like crazy during the holidays, check out our list of 34 hot product ideas for the winter.
Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC)
PPC campaigns can be a cost-effective way to get your products in front of the people most likely to buy from you. You can use Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and other platforms to grab shoppers’ attention and promote your best holiday promotions.
1. Produce festive ads
Add a holiday feel to your ads by focusing on festive experiences. Remember that most shoppers buy gifts for friends and family rather than themselves.
Here’s an example from John Lewis that highlights the experience of giving gifts and the happiness it can bring.
You can make your holiday campaigns more impactful and relevant by using phrases like “gifts,” “Christmas,” and “New Year’s” in your ad copy.
2. Retarget customers
Did you know that 70% of people will leave your eCommerce store without making a purchase?
By targeting people that have already visited your store, you can capture some of those lost sales.
Remarketing ad campaigns are super-effective. You can show ads on social media and third-party websites displaying the products that people have already shown an interest in purchasing.
On average, people spend around 15 hours Christmas shopping. With remarketing, you can make sure your product stays top of mind.
3. Narrow in on your buyer personas with segmentation
Precise targeting is one of the most significant benefits of PPC advertising. You can use keywords, demographic data, location, interests, and more to narrow in on your target audience.
Segment your audience by product, gender, age, and other variables to create precise ad groups. Then, you’ll be able to make the ad as relevant as possible for each shopper.
4. Start promoting holiday products early
Does it feel like the holiday season seems to start earlier each year?
That’s because it does.
Most people now plan to complete most of their holiday shopping before December. According to a recent survey by Statista, 81% of people start buying Christmas presents before the end of November.
Only 19% of shoppers leave holiday shopping until December.
That means you’ll have already missed out on potential sales if you don’t kick-start your holiday ad campaigns until December.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO takes more time to see results, but it can still be an important part of your holiday marketing strategy. Boosting your ranking in search results can attract more targeted web traffic for free.
A highly-optimized website can increase your online visibility. You can attract potential customers and generate more sales for your eCommerce store.
5. Create a well-optimized FAQ section
Including an FAQ section on your product pages is a great way to target long-tail keywords that shoppers are using. You can answer questions about the product type and the specific product you are selling.
Here’s an example from a water flosser brand:
This holiday marketing tip is a great way to boost the authority of your page and drive more traffic. You can attract shoppers that are actively considering purchasing your product.
FAQ sections also help shoppers overcome any barriers to purchase without having to leave your store to find additional information.
6. Optimize your product pages
You can optimize your seasonal product pages with purchase-intent keywords that potential customers are using. For example, targeting keywords like “gift idea,” “Christmas gift,” and other seasonal search queries can help you attract holiday shoppers to your store.
It can be challenging to rank for short-tail keywords, so think about long-tail terms you can target. Free keyword research tools like Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest can help you narrow in on the right keywords.
7. Write seasonal blog posts
People use search engines to find gifts for their friends and family. Creating Christmas gift guides and seasonal blog posts can attract those searching for inspiration.
Here’s an example from a shaving brand:
You can create content on gift ideas for boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, siblings, and more. This content is also great for sharing on your social media channels.
8. Guest post on third-party websites
Guest posting can increase domain authority and boost your ranking in search results. It’s also an excellent way to boost brand awareness and get your eCommerce store in front of potential customers.
You want to find websites and blogs that are related to your products. For example, if you sell camping equipment, you could reach out to outdoors and adventure blogs to see if you can contribute a guest post.
Social media marketing (SMM)
Social media is an excellent way to connect with your audience and build brand awareness. According to a recent study by The Influencer Marketing Factory, 97% of Gen Z consumers use social media as the primary source of their shopping inspiration.
With the right strategy, you can reach and convert potential customers.
9. Holiday-Focused videos on YouTube
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Over a billion people are active users, so it’s guaranteed that your target audience is on the platform.
The best way to promote your products is through holiday-focused videos. For example, you could create a “Holiday Gifts For Her Gift Guide” like the example below:
Think about the topics your audience is searching for at this time of year, and create video content that they would find helpful. The more you can niche down, the better.
10. Use seasonal hashtags
Using hashtags, you can capitalize on seasonal trends on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Research which hashtags are trending and relevant to your products on these platforms.
A good way to do this is to see what leading retailers in your niche post. You’ll typically see some branded hashtags, but there will also be seasonal tags you can use for your content and products.
11. Competitions and giveaways
Hosting a competition or giveaway on social media can be a great way to increase your reach and engage your existing followers. Ask your followers to like or share your post to be in with a chance of winning a prize.
If you search Instagram for the hashtag #christmasgiveaway, you’ll find over 367K posts!
The reason this tactic is so popular is that it works. Who doesn’t want to win free stuff?
You can generate interest in your product without breaking the bank on ads and paid media.
12. Leverage user-generated content (UGC)
Social proof is a powerful tool for eCommerce sales. Around 85% of consumers find UGC more authentic than branded content.
You can encourage your customers to contribute UGC by offering exclusive discounts and rewards. Once you have some high-quality UGC, share it in your social posts, product pages, and promotional emails.
13. Reach gen Z shoppers on TikTok
For Gen Z, TikTok has become a go-to search engine. Senior Google vice president Prabhakar Raghavan stated at a tech conference earlier this year, “In our studies, something like almost 40 percent of young people when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
You can reach younger consumers by leveraging holiday trends on TikTok.
That includes hashtags like “giftsforher,” but it could also be educational and problem-solving content around your products. You can also partner with TikTok creators to expand your reach on the platform.
We’ll cover some influencer holiday marketing tips later in the guide.
14. Use social commerce
People scroll through social media for gift ideas, inspiration for holiday decorations, recipes, and more. Instead of making these users go to your website to make a purchase, you can save them the click by implementing social commerce.
In 2021, 35.9% of U.S. internet users made at least one social commerce purchase. There are a bunch of Shopify Apps to help you implement social commerce. You can also harness Facebook Marketplace and other platforms.
Web design plays a crucial role in conversions. A well-designed store makes it easy for shoppers to discover your products and convert.
You don’t have to redesign your store for the holiday season. Instead, you can implement the easy festive web design tips below to boost holiday sales.
15. Use festive photography
There are heaps of festive photography resources online you can use to create seasonal promotions. Royalty-free images can help keep costs down, but they do have downsides. Your competitors might be using exactly the same photos.
You can stand out from the competition by purchasing exclusive usage rights for some key images. Alternatively, you could get creative and use your camera or smartphone to shoot your own festive promotional snaps.
16. Simplify the checkout process
The holiday season is a busy time for everyone. Shoppers have a long to-do list, and patience is at an annual low. You can make things easier for potential customers by making the checkout process as simple as possible. For example, offer multiple payment options and consider adding a guest checkout option.
17. Give your store a festive makeover
You can make your store more festive and boost holiday sales with just a few seasonal additions.
For example, you can switch your hero image to something more festive or include a banner promoting your seasonal products. There are also a bunch of Shopify apps that you can use to create a festive feel.
The White Christmas app adds a snow effect and festive music:
There’s a reason why brick-and-mortar retailers spend so much redesigning stores for the holiday season. When people feel festive, they are more likely to open their wallets and spend.
Influencer marketing can help you reach online communities. You can partner with content creators and influencers that achieve high engagement over the holidays.
The existing “relationship” between influencers and your target audience can make sponsored posts and product recommendations more impactful.
18. Focus On One or Two Seasonal Products
You’ll get better results if you focus your influencer campaign on one or two seasonal products. Holiday shoppers are looking for gifts, stocking fillers, and other festive items.
Keeping your campaign limited to a specific holiday product can make it more relevant and appealing to your audience.
Need some help finding hot seasonal products to sell?
Check out our FREE list of 250 Hot and Trending Products to Sell in 2023, all hand-picked by our eCommerce experts.
19. Offer exclusive discounts
You can reduce costs by implementing a performance-driven holiday influencer marketing campaign. For example, you can share unique discount codes with your influencers and pay a commission on the sales that they generate.
Shoppers get a discount, and your influencers get paid based on their performance. This type of affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to boost conversions without breaking the bank.
20. Start a christmas countdown
Christmas countdowns are a popular way to increase awareness and generate buzz around your range of holiday products. You can get your influencers to promote specific products each day leading up to the holidays. Offering discounts, bundles, and limited-time offers is a great way to get people to visit your store.
Email marketing is one of the best marketing tactics for eCommerce stores. It’s easy to measure, easy to automate, and cost-effective. So whether you want to hype your Black Friday promotions or capture last-minute gift sales, email marketing can be a lucrative marketing channel.
21. Use seasonal emojis
The holiday season is the perfect time to make use of festive emojis. It can help subscribers quickly understand your email and make it stand out in a crowded inbox.
A study by Return-path found that emails that include emojis in the subject line receive higher open rates over the festive period.
You can include Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, a turkey, a snowman, and gift emojis to make your emails more eye-catching.
22. Target abandoned shopping carts
There are many reasons someone might leave your eCommerce store without completing a purchase. Sometimes, a simple email reminder can be enough to bring the shopper back to finish the checkout process.
According to Motcoms, cart abandonment emails can increase online sales by 20%. They also reduce cart abandonment by 6.5%.
There are a bunch of tools to help you automate cart abandonment emails. Check out our review of Klaviyo to see if the email marketing tool is the best option for your store.
23. Share holiday gift guides
Coming up with gift ideas for friends and family isn’t easy. You can take the stress out of Christmas shopping by sending a holiday gift guide to your subscribers.
This is an excellent way to promote your products while helping your audience with useful content.
Like the example above, categorizing your seasonal products into price brackets is a good way to cater to the needs of a larger audience.
24. Target last-minute shoppers
While most people get the bulk of their Christmas shopping done early, many of us aren’t that organized. Email marketing can help you get your products in front of last-minute shoppers.
The big thing here is delivery times. If you can guarantee that your product will arrive at your customer’s door on time, you can capitalize on last-minute sales.
This can be challenging if you run a dropshipping store. An alternative is to create an e-gift card that last-minute shoppers can give to friends and family.
Want some more email marketing tips? Check out our comprehensive expert guide on how to create an email marketing strategy for your eCommerce store.
Holiday sales/pricing strategies
Pricing is a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions. It’s even more influential during tough economic times when budgets are stretched.
Potential customers are looking for bargains and deals this holiday season. You can use pricing strategies to stand out from the competition and encourage sales.
25. Capitalize on up-selling and cross-selling opportunities
These strategies will be familiar to most eCommerce entrepreneurs. But it’s surprising how many stores don’t use up-selling and cross-selling tactics.
Up-selling is a technique to increase average order value (AOV) by encouraging shoppers to upgrade their purchase to a more expensive version of the product.
The more expensive product could have additional features, premium materials, or another benefit that makes it more appealing to customers.
Cross-selling is a technique to increase AOV by promoting related products. For example, if you sold a kids’ camera, you could promote memory cards or camera cases like the example below:
According to McKinsey, adopting cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and boost profits by 30%.
26. Offer personalized discounts
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?
Also known as the Pareto Principle, it states that 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.
In eCommerce and dropshipping, 80% of your sales revenue will come from around 20% of your customer base.
You can reward these loyal customers with personalized discounts during the holiday season. A personalized discount shows your appreciation and encourages them to spend more in the run-up to the holidays.
27. Use decoy pricing
Offering discounts isn’t the only way to make your products more appealing to customers. One of the best sales tactics is decoy pricing.
You can make a mid-priced item appear like the best deal by showing more expensive and cheaper alternatives. Shoppers think they are getting a balance of price and quality.
For this tactic to work, your mid-priced product needs to be almost as good as your expensive product and much more appealing than your lower-priced option.
Check out our guide on eCommerce pricing strategies to learn more ways to maximize sales with pricing tactics.
28. Offer bundle deals
Bundles are a great way to drive impulse buys. Even if a shopper only planned to buy a single t-shirt, they can end up purchasing a baseball cap, keyring, and more.
You can offer bundles of selected products. Bundling a popular product and a slow seller is an excellent way to shift inventory that takes a long time to sell.
There are lots of useful Shopify Apps to help you implement bundle pricing strategies.
29. Research your competition
Price-conscious holiday shoppers will check your competition before committing to a purchase. You can increase the chances of making a sale by contrasting your pricing with your competitors.
Depending on your branding and supplier costs, you can price your products higher or lower than competing stores.
Pricing your products higher can create the illusion of more value. Discounting your prices lower than competitors can also be effective, especially if your product is very similar.
30. Drive sales with flash deals
Flash sales are one of the best holiday marketing strategies. This tactic inspires FOMO (fear of missing out). Offering a significant discount with a ticking clock timer to create urgency is a powerful sales tactic.
You can run multiple flash sales at set times during the day in the run-up to Christmas. That way, you’ll keep shoppers returning to see which products are included in your flash sale.
3 Examples of successful holiday marketing strategies
We’ve covered the theory, so what do these strategies look like in practice?
Let’s look at how successful brands have used these holiday marketing tips to make sales during the festive season.
Pandora makes a lot of its annual sales revenue during the holidays. The Danish jewelry company uses a few of the holiday marketing tips mentioned above.
In 2017, Pandora produced a series of high-quality video ads on the Facebook Ads platform. The video ads used festive language and advanced segmentation, with the campaign starting in September to capture seasonal sales.
The successful holiday marketing campaign generated a 10-point lift in favorability, a 61% increase in purchases, and a 42% lift in the number of buyers.
Black Friday is one of the biggest days of the year for Target. The retailer has expanded its holiday sales period over the years to capitalize on seasonal sales in the run-up to the festive period. In 2021, Target started its Black Friday Deal Days in October.
Instead of releasing its deals all at once, Target keeps up excitement and interest by gradually announcing product deals. Flash sales are also important to the retailer’s holiday marketing efforts.
Target announced sales growth of 8.9% over the holiday period in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The New Zealand outdoor clothing brand Icebreaker is another successful holiday marketing campaign example.
Icebreaker created an 11-part email marketing campaign to boost holiday sales. The campaign was designed to convince shoppers to buy Icebreaker clothing as gifts for friends and family.
The company chose an aggressive sending frequency of 3 emails per week. This helped to cut through the noise and get their messages heard over the holiday sales season.
The campaign achieved excellent results. Icebreaker tripled its Black Friday sales, with 58% coming directly from the email campaign.
Driving eCommerce sales this holiday season
The holiday season can make or break your eCommerce business. So you need to be at the top of your game to capitalize on the boom in online sales at this time of the year.
Hopefully, you feel inspired by the examples and holiday marketing tips above.
And remember, a customer isn’t just for Christmas. So once you’ve earned a new sale, focus on retaining the customer in the new year and beyond.
Contact our support staff if you have questions on anything eCommerce related or want to learn more about our SaleHoo products.