The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

9 Best Darn Holiday Marketing Ideas

The holidays can be one of the busiest and most profitable selling seasons of the year for small business owners.  The key to your success is marketing. Leverage the goodwill of the season by implementing your own holiday marketing campaign.  Here are 9 of the “best darn” holiday marketing ideas from small business owners across the US that will give you some ideas to get started.

1. Thanksgiving Cards Make a Difference

Send out a Thanksgiving card to clients & potential clients. You can go the catalog route… or send a series of personal notes. One previous client had his kid draw something and he made copies…depends on your style. But I guarantee your card will stand out since Thanksgiving is traditionally not a card-oriented holiday.
Rita Kueber

Beaumont School

2. Rubber Stamp It

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When I was a caterer, I used a rubber stamp on every piece of mail, every check, every bill that went out of our office; it said (in big red letters….) ‘who’s catering your Christmas party?”

Celia Milton

www.celiamilton.com

3. The Early Bird Gets The Worm

In a nutshell; we believe that the early bird gets the worm. At Medelita, we begin planning our holiday sale in June and begin promoting it in early to Mid-October. We are currently building up interest on Facebook, for our upcoming sale, and a recent post asking who planned to shop the sale got a lot of positive feedback. As we grow closer to launch, we’ll expand to include emails, ads, etc…

Our holiday sale starts on Thanksgiving Day, offering our customers the ability to pre order at a 20% discount for the upcoming holidays. This ensures they don’t miss out on popular sizes or styles of our lab coats and scrubs that frequently sell out.

80% of our orders also get customized with embroidery, adding a personal and professional touch that our customers love.  Knowing this, we offer free expedited shipping and embroidery up until December 20th.

Angela Sherlock
Medelita.com

4. If you Sell It They Will Come

We are a small computer company located in Middletown CT. What we did last year that worked really well was a “Black Friday” special. We ended up selling all of our equipment at cost which really brought in tons of traffic and more sales after the special was completed. We advertised the sale over all social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogger to generate buzz. We also sent out a specials press announcement and released information on the sale a couple months prior in our monthly newsletters. We are planning on doing something very similar this year to once again bring in a great amount of traffic to the site and increase sales for the future.

Shane Hardy
All Star Software Systems

5. Themed Holiday Events

Here are a few themed holiday marketing ideas from Le Potager Décor in Fullerton, California.

  • Fall Open House: With this event, we posted a page of a few of our recently acquired items that we bought on our summer road trips. People came specifically to buy a certain item they saw on this page. This was our best event (money-wise) yet.
  • Annual Paris Flea Market: People love this event! They call the store all year long, asking when it will be taking place. It’s an outdoor event where
  • vendors come to set up their wares, and the store is open as well. That day we offer 15% off in the store.
  • A Day of Pampering: We will be having an esthetician give 15 minute mini facials. A local business will be setting up to give mini foot massages. A
  • vendor will be having a trunk show with her soap line.
  • French Apple Harvest: A day where will be offering sweet and savory dishes made with apples and using items from our pantry. Also being served: Calvados brandy and French apple cider.

John Reed and Jennifer Owens
Le Potager

6. “Best Darn” Contest

I have a line of fine glass Christmas ornaments with a Latino flair. Since tamales are very popular during the Christmas season I started a Best Darn Tamale contest with a list of locations to purchase tamales across the USA as a cheap, let say, clever way to draw people to my website during the holidays. I figured that if people love Mexican cuisine they will also probably love my ornament designs. Ads for my ornaments are of course sprinkled down the sides of this popular web page.  In fact the tamales are so popular we started doing tamale workshops last year and it has grown into a whole subcategory for my business.

Darlene Tenes
CasaQ

7. Holiday Gift Guides

We are a retail home furnishings, accessories and gift boutique in Fairfax, Virginia. One of the best holiday marketing practices for our business has been to develop an online gift guide slideshow. We send the slideshow link via press release (attached) to local media outlets and have had good success with getting our ideas picked up in publications. We also send it to our customers via our email newsletter. It allows us to present our customers with images, details and pricing of our top picks for holiday gift giving at very little cost. Our clicks through rates are extremely high as customers love being able to browse from home. It entices them to then come into our store to purchase and see what else we have to choose from.

Ann O’Shields
The Nest Egg

8. Holiday Cards With a Twist

Christmas cards are almost mandatory nowadays. However, most people get inundated with an avalanche of cookie-cutter Christmas cards that might be “pretty,” but few people take a second glance at them. Christmas cards are a fantastic way to bring you attention, but only if you do it right. Add a personal flair, make it humorous, and stop taking yourself so seriously.

Last year, some lawyers and their staff sent a Christmas card from their criminal alter egos. The resulting card was unique, stood out from the sea of cards most people got that year, and allowed them to show a side of themselves that no one would otherwise know. Not only was it great for personalizing and marketing their firm, but the photo shoot itself was great office bonding.

Tripp Watson
The Watson Firm

9. Holiday Gift Guides on Blogs

My business has received the best return on investment from blog holiday gift guides. I simply submit a product or a small fee and my award winning learning kit series gets promoted to my target market, parents! Small businesses should target blogs that reach the same market, research the blogs stats to be sure the audience is wide reaching and form an alliance. It may not be for long but blog gift guides are still a fraction of the cost of an advertisement in a print magazine!

Christy Cook
Teach My
www.teachmy.com

Have more ideas?  Share them here in the comments section.  I will pick a random winner to get a copy of my book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz- Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”  Contest ends midnight Nov 5th, 2011.

Want to get more inexpensive and practical small business marketing ideas?  Sign up for my free marketing newsletter and grab your free download of my eBook at http://23kazoos.com.

About the Author: Wendy Kenney

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