Holiday Marketing Strategies: How to Increase Sales During the Top Shopping Season

Discover holiday marketing strategies to help increase sales during the most popular shopping days of the year

Are you ready for the holidays? If you’re a business owner or marketer, that means being prepared with the best holiday marketing strategies that bring results.

Regardless of your location or niche, the holidays are the busiest season for consumers and businesses alike.

In 2023, holiday sales in the US reached over $960 billion (that’s inching towards $1 trillion!), reflecting an increase of 3.8% in spending compared to the previous year.

What will the upcoming holiday season be like? If past years are anything to go by, every business needs to come up with out-of-the-box holiday marketing strategies to boost conversions and enjoy some of that potential revenue.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar store or e-commerce business, let’s explore the popular US holiday shopping days of the calendar year (not just Black Friday…), and dive into some holiday marketing strategies and tips to make your holiday season a happy one (from a sales POV).

The seasonal marketing calendar highlights plenty of opportunities during the year to leverage increased interest in shopping and gift-giving. Take note that some holidays and dates vary according to region. Use these dates as a guide to creating holiday marketing strategies at the right time, with the right themes.

Here are the most popular shopping days specific to the US holiday calendar that marketers should take note of:

Halloween (10/31)

For some spooky Halloween campaign ideas, dress up your website in a scary theme and don’t forget to change up your profile photo to something Halloween-related.

Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November)

One of the most sacred national holidays originating from the harvest festival. A day of getting together, food, and giving thanks, so make sure your promotions and campaigns are aligned with these themes.

Black Friday (Friday after Thanksgiving)

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday was birthed from the holiday shopping high, becoming the most marketable day of the year. Plan your campaigns and discounts months early and send your email blast weeks ahead so that your customers can prepare for what you will be offering. 

Cyber Monday (Monday after Black Friday)

The Monday after Thanksgiving, and perhaps the biggest sales opportunity of the year. Together with Black Friday, it’s come to be known as Cyber Weekend. For e-comm store owners, prepare your website for the increased traffic on the day. Be active on social media to engage your target audiences, and drive interest with contests, one-day promos, or free trials.

Hannukah (dates vary in December)

The eight-day Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates victory over the Greeks two thousand years ago. This is a great time for social media promotions and to team up with a Jewish community to sponsor a cause.

Christmas (12/25)

The festive season for every family. Plan as early as August, redesign your website closer to the season, and start posting shareable Christmas-related content on social media early. Organize giveaways, challenges, and promotions that will get people talking and sharing.

New Year’s Eve (12/31)

In celebration of the coming year, it’s the time for countdowns, downloadable calendars, and new hashtags. Check out these tips for New Year campaigns that will kick off your new sales year with a bang.

Martin Luther King Day (third Monday of January)

Celebrate the legacy of the most revered leader in the civil rights movement. Leverage the moment to promote your brand’s commitment to social awareness and community values, all hot topics, especially for the younger millennial and Gen Z audience.

St. Patrick’s Day (03/17)

A holiday that celebrates the Irish heritage and culture, St Patrick’s Day marketing is a great time to pull out everything Irish, from green-themed promotions to Guinness beer and shamrock shakes.

Easter (date varies in April)

This is the perfect spring holiday for engaging children and families. Whether it’s an Easter egg hunt or an online Easter egg design contest, there’s a treasure box of ideas you can develop for your Easter marketing campaigns, for kids and grown-ups alike.

Mother’s Day (05/10)

The day to celebrate motherhood with an appreciative vibe. Harness user-generated content to create brand awareness through social media hashtags. Invite people to post photos of themselves with mom for a chance to win prizes.

Memorial Day (second Sunday in May)

This day is for all the military personnel who sacrificed in the service of country. Celebrate patriotism by giving away vouchers and discounts, expressing gratitude to those who serve.

Father’s Day (third Sunday in June)

From emails to cards, make everything dad-centric and design promotional materials that are highly shareable. Tickle their funny bones with dad jokes or tug their heartstrings with relatable dad stories.

Fourth of July

Independence Day is a time to go all out in your campaigns because everybody’s celebrating. This is the time for fireworks, food, and decorating your digital assets with the American flag!

Tax-Free Weekends

Prepare and schedule early so people can save money this weekend and remember to bundle tax-free items together. See the tax-free weekend dates for various states here.

Labor Day (first Monday of September)

Celebrate the achievement of workers by offering raffles and giveaways or holding contests whether online or in-store.

Columbus Day (second Monday in October)

Commemorating the landing of Christopher Columbus in America, it’s a great time to promote interactive and educational content, like quizzes, infographics, and emails. Be creative with your tags and captions and offer short-term discounts for the holiday.

What’s the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year?

Between online and in-store sales, this is not a simple question to answer. However, the overall Thanksgiving sales season takes the lead as the busiest shopping days of the year. In 2023, 68% of US consumers planned to shop online during Black Friday while under a third planned to shop in-store. Certainly, people are shopping and spending, but as in previous years, the online shopping trend appears to have the most momentum.

And while it’s not exactly a ‘holiday’, the top spending event in the US is back-to-college season. During this time, the expected average spend per shopper is over $1300.

What are the top spending holiday days among consumers? Find out so inform your holiday marketing strategies

Source 

You can have all the data from different sources presented to you, but be sure to study your own metrics and not just rely on the hype. Every business is different and what works for one may not work for the other.

Holiday Marketing Strategies and Tips

Here are some holiday marketing strategies and hacks to get you geared up for the holiday season:

Reviewing past data is everything

Come holiday season, the first thing you need to do – whether you’re a B2B, B2C, e-commerce, or brick-and-mortar business – is review what you did in previous years, what your competitors did, and what the trends were. Take note of how much your holiday marketing spend was and, of course, the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

Review your products and offerings

If you are offering new services or products, this is a great time to promote awareness and build anticipation before launch. For existing products, plan campaigns to boost interest and sales.

Tip: Implement a creative discount strategy. For example, if you’re selling sunglasses, make the first pair full price and then the subsequent set 30 percent off.

Brainstorm possible promotions and offers

This is the part where you apply all your findings from #1. Now it’s time to incorporate all your learnings in brainstorming your campaign ideas for the season.

Devise your marketing plan and strategy

  • Set SMART goals: Just because you feel that you know the business like the back of your hand doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to achieve. Switch or come up with new goals, but make sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
  • Set the budget: After outlining all your holiday campaigns, estimate your budget based on how much you spent last year, and what you hope to achieve differently this season. Take into account your ROI to determine what amount is appropriate for this year’s holiday marketing project.

Schedule your calendar

Plan ahead and plan early. This will help you avoid unnecessary costs. What’s ‘early’? Your holiday campaign should be good to go by October so those early-bird shoppers can catch your products.

Update your website

Your website may be expecting much heavier traffic during the holidays. Aside from making sure your load speed is at optimal performance, here are some more tips on how to prepare your website for the season:

  • Prep your website with SEO. Simple as it may seem, prepping a website to make sure it’s visible and dominating on the SERPs is most often overlooked but make sure you check it twice come holiday season!
  • Create a tantalizing holiday landing page with these tips.
  • Publish blog content for Black Friday or Cyber Monday a month early. This will remind your clients of what’s coming and also promote awareness for your brand.
  • Have a timer on your website that counts down to the promo in your store. Put the date and link all over your social media posts.

Try native advertising

Native advertising is a form of paid advertising where you promote your ads and content on premium publisher sites on the open web. This means breaking out from social media advertising and reaching consumers on news, sports, and other websites where they like to spend their time.

In fact, ads on the open web perform significantly better than social media. They are 24% more likely to lead to purchases. One of the top holiday marketing strategies you can try is to add native to your paid advertising mix. Make sure to start early so you give your target audience plenty of time to warm up to your campaigns. Check out this starter guide to creating high-converting content for your native campaigns.

Make the most out of social media

While you should expand your paid advertising channels with native ads, social media is still crucial for your holiday marketing strategy. Update all your social media profiles with your holiday offers and pair them with visuals that visitors won’t be able to resist. Don’t forget to set up your goals and measure your social media performance using tools like Hootsuite or Semrush Social.

Email new and old clients

The immediate lead-up to Cyber Weekend is the best time to send email blasts and draw attention to your newsletter. This is when people are scrolling their inboxes for those deals they might have missed a day or a week before. Don’t forget to reach out to new prospects and also reconnect with past customers. There’s no harm in doing this during the holidays when they are probably bargain-hunting like everyone else. Give an update about your latest offerings, or simply remind them of the perks of doing business with you.

Your Holiday Marketing Strategies Don’t End with the Holidays

There’s a ton of things you have to prepare for if you want to ensure a successful holiday marketing campaign. As the holiday season comes to a halt, your work carries on, with measuring and analyzing the performance of your holiday marketing campaigns, so you learn what worked and what didn’t, and take note for next year –  all part of the overall excitement of the season.

With proper planning and the right holiday marketing strategies, you’ll be able to take control of your business come the holidays and beyond. So, put the fun in your holiday campaigns and shine the entire season!

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