7 Christmas marketing ideas to ring in the new year

Christmas spending is forecast to hit record highs this year after toned-down celebrations in 2020. Shoppers in the UK are expected to spend upwards of £84.7 billion this Christmas season. That’s a 6.3% increase over last year and a 1.9% increase over pre-pandemic levels. 

It’s clear shopper enthusiasm is back and ready to make this the best holiday season yet. Implementing Christmas marketing strategies will help you match that energy and fuel your own seasonal comeback.

A successful marketing strategy is crucial to your general business success. It helps you see how your products or services fit into your target market and communicate that to your potential customers. It requires thoughtful planning and intentional execution. 

It’s no different when it comes to Christmas sales. With the right strategy, you can leverage this time of the year to engage customers, boost sales and keep business growing into the new year. 

In this guide, we’ll share seven Christmas marketing ideas for both traditional retailers and ecommerce stores.

Top Tip: You know marketing matters to your success, but it can be tricky to know where to begin when you’re just starting out. Learn tactics for success in our guide to building a marketing strategy from scratch🎄

Table of contents

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1. Create a Christmas gift guide

The holidays can be a stressful time for shoppers as they look for just the right gift ideas for friends and loved ones. Make your brand an easy choice with a tailored catalogue of go-to gifts. 

A gift guide can be as simple as putting all the products you offer that might make good presents in one place, like assembling them all on a landing page with a holiday theme. 

A designated gift guide or catalogue takes the guesswork out of holiday shopping and saves people time. It’s all about getting the right item in front of your customers and helping them see it in the light of Christmas giving. 

This page from TraidCraft’s website is a simple but effective example.

traidcraft christmas gift guide

Amp up the selling power of your gift guide with value-added features that provide a personal touch, helpful suggestions or customer interaction.

Consider the following suggestions to make gift-buying even easier.

Filter your guide for easier searching

Help customers get to what they want quicker by letting them filter items by relevant categories. For instance, if you sell books or novelty items for all ages, you may want to add a filter by age function. Customers can then find gifts appropriate for young children, older children, teens or adults. 

For those looking for, say, a small office gift on a budget, you can offer a price filter. For example, gifts under £20. 

In the TraidCraft page above, you can see that there are categories on the left side of the page that let shoppers narrow down their search. Make shopping as frictionless as you can by helping shoppers find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

Create gift bundles

Help buyers find relevant accessories or add-ons by grouping items that go together. Make the purchase decision easier by offering a discount when the items are purchased in the bundle. 

To make the most of this strategy, think about your best-selling items. Are there accessories or complementary goods you can package with them? For example, if you sell gourmet tea, you can pair it with a holiday mug. 

When you provide this kind of one-stop shopping, you motivate customers with a bargain. And you’ll sell more with each purchase. 

2. Offer holiday deals countdown

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only times you can promote holiday deals. Get into the holiday spirit with rotating sales. Christmas countdown deals are great marketing tactics on two fronts: 

  1. They instil a sense of urgency (e.g., Today only!)
  2. They keep customers coming back to your company again and again.

Here are some ways you can get in on the countdown action.

Advent deals or “12 Days of Christmas” promos

Do a countdown with a new promotion or value-add for customers each day leading up to the big day. Offering a daily deal keeps customers coming back regularly. It also makes use of the scarcity principle. People are more likely to jump on a deal when they know time or stock is limited. 

A countdown also adds a sense of fun and will get people following you—adding you to their social media feeds and checking back in anticipation of the daily deal. You’ll gain followers and inspire conversations in the comments, building a small community as you “host” this holiday event. 

You can go with a “12 days of Christmas” format or extend your offerings with an event spanning the first 24 days of December. 

So many sales can be a lot for a small business, but you can still participate with special offers that don’t involve deep discounts. For example:

  • A surprise giveaway
  • A one-time discount code
  • A new Christmas-themed quiz
  • An announcement about a new product line 
  • A fun Christmas fact from history 

Use your imagination to come up with exciting ways to keep people coming back for more.

Top tip: A good marketing strategy is crucial for any small business success. But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Learn how to develop an effective and affordable strategy in our free eBook on marketing on a budget 🎅

Flash sales

Flash sales are another way to create a sense of urgency and inspire a closer following. These are pop-up sales that are not announced in advance but are only available for a short time—only days or even hours. 

Let people know through your site or social media that these will be happening on a daily or weekly basis. They’ll have to check back to see what the sale is and act quickly to take advantage of it. 

3. Publish holiday content

Inbound marketing relies on content customers interact with. Take a break from the everyday to focus your blog posts and social media posts on holiday-themed topics. 

For example:

  • Release a podcast focused on the business aspects of Christmas. For example, an event planning company might do an episode on how to host virtual office Christmas parties. They can offer value for those doing things differently this year due to the pandemic.
  • Create a Christmas edition of your regular email newsletter. Make your email marketing more festive with a holiday-themed header. Personalise it with a holiday message acting as a Christmas card to your subscribers. Focus an email campaign on a holiday memory or discuss the history of a well-known holiday tradition. Include tips for using your products or services to manage the holidays.
  • Write a seasonal blog post. Highlight Christmas time traditions or include relevant holiday how-to’s or helpful guides. For example, check out this post by The Teacup Attic showcasing top Christmas picks for tea lovers and discussing why each makes a great gift.

seasonal blog post the teacup attic christmas picks for tea lovers

Top Tip: Creating content that adds value is a crucial part of a strong digital marketing strategy. It establishes you as an expert and expands brand awareness, attracting new customers. Learn about how it serves your marketing funnel in our complete guide to creating a digital marketing strategy 🤶

4. Get seasonal with ads

However you’re doing your advertising (Google, Facebook ads, direct marketing, etc.), target holiday shoppers with a seasonal version. People’s search habits change this time of year. Meet the demand by making sure your ads show up as holiday-relevant. For instance: 

  • Boost your digital ad game. If you’re running pay-per-click campaigns, expand your keywords to include Christmas-related terms. Update your search words to match the shift in what people are searching for during this time of the year.
  • Connect your brand with seasonal imagery. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the right one can communicate a lot to potential customers looking to buy for the holidays. Link your brand to Christmas by adding festive graphics to your ads.
  • Embrace nostalgia. Evoking emotions helps make content memorable. Don’t be afraid to appeal to consumers’ hearts in your ads. Think about the anticipation surrounding the release of the biggest holiday commercials of the holiday season. People crave heartwarming content.

    You might release a video in the spirit of these popular campaigns. Or publish an ad that links your product to a fond memory. Whatever your tactic, tying your brand to the holiday with a strong emotional connection will help people remember you throughout the holidays and beyond.

5. Get in on the gift-giving

What better way to ensure happy holidays and get people’s attention than by offering freebies. If people are coming to your site or your online store, they’re likely Christmas shopping. And everyone appreciates a little help with the costs. Here are several ways you can use your generosity to simultaneously offer some Christmas cheer and drive more traffic to your business.

Do a holiday-themed giveaway

This is a perfect time to offer a gift to your customers. You can offer gift cards or something from your favourite catalogue or partner with another business or individual to offer something your customers would want. 

Have people enter for a prize drawing the old fashioned way, filling out a contest entry on your site, or go for a more modern approach. Social media giveaways are especially popular for generating hits and engaging followers. 

Post the giveaway to your Instagram or Twitter account. Then ask people to enter by following your account, liking the post and sharing it on their own media accounts. You’ll build customer loyalty and extend your reach at the same time. For example, check out the instructions for this giveaway by H.R Candles Co.

hr candles holiday themed giveaway post

Offer free shipping

With so much Christmas shopping happening online, delivery fees can start to add up. Show customers you care (and give them an incentive to order from you) by including a seasonal freebie that everyone can appreciate: free shipping. 

One recent study found that 45.6% of UK shoppers are more likely to buy from an online retailer that offers free shipping. Consider offering free delivery for the period before Christmas. 

If you already grant free shipping after a certain price point, drop spending minimums during the festive season. Or gift free shipping to everyone who signs up for an account or rewards membership on your site. Customers will be glad to save shipping costs, while you’ll collect data, expand your email list and increase conversion rates.

Whatever your policy, promote it visibly with a banner on your home page and announcements on your social media. Free shipping is a valuable perk—let people know about it up front.

Send custom gifts to valued clients 

Show existing clients you appreciate their business with branded gifts. Small gestures can have a big impact. Sending top customers something thoughtful with your company’s name on it strengthens your client relationships. (And good news: these can be tax deductible!) 

You can stick to office supplies like work diaries or laptop bags with your logo on them. Or get more personal with customised housewares or throw blankets. Whatever your choice, you’ll be spreading good cheer and keeping your company top-of-mind with clients who keep your business strong.

6. Engage people with interactive holiday content

Holiday-themed surveys, polls or submission requests are great ways to engage people with your brand. They can turn visitors into subscribers. They’re also a way to collect data on your target market. And the data will shape your future campaign ideas as you use it to personalise emails and target ads. 

Try one or more of the following non-selling ways to connect with your market.

  • Run surveys on Christmas spending plans. Ask people about their shopping habits or most-sought-for gifts. The results will offer an insight into your target markets trends, and people will be interested in seeing how their plans compare.
  • Poll people on holiday preferences. Add a bit of fun Christmas competition by pitting popular traditions or holiday favourites against one another, like this Instagram poll from In the Post.

    Set up daily or weekly polls on your site or social media platforms. Provide a fun bit of trivia as people vote for their favourite and check back to see the final results.

in the post instagram poll

  • Invite followers to submit memories or photos. Get people into the holiday spirit by asking them to contribute pictures with your product in a holiday setting or memories of certain holiday traditions. Challenge them to share on Instagram with a curated hashtag. Or have them upload to a specific page on your site so people can peruse others’ contributions.
  • Add a quiz to help customers find the perfect gift (and help you collect data). This is a particularly strong value-add and more likely to turn participants into customers. Provide a quiz that asks questions about the person they’re shopping for. Then provide a result from your catalogue that would make the perfect gift.

Top Tip: Connecting with the right audience is essential to making your strategy work. Learn how to attract your ideal customers in our guide to building an effective marketing strategy ⛄️

7. Team up with a nonprofit organisation

Marketing to make your season profitable is important. But you may also consider using your powers of promotion to benefit a cause you care about (or better yet, one that aligns with your brand’s purpose). Consider partnering with a charity to do some good this season, and benefit both you and the foundation you choose.

Recent global research shows that consumers are more likely to buy from brands that have a strong purpose. Importantly, it also found that they stay loyal to those brands. Running a campaign to help a charity shows customers what you value. Consider the following ways you can make giving a part of your Christmas marketing campaign.

Give those in need a merry Christmas by giving a percentage of purchases to a specific charity. You can give a portion of all sales made during a specified time, or tie the promotion to a specific item or service. 

Like this campaign from Ella’s Kitchen from a few years ago. The company donated 25p to FareShare from every Jingle Belly dinner pouch sold, a charity feeding families in need.

ella's kitchen donation campaign

Let customers in on the action with virtual volunteering

Consider ways you can get customers directly involved in your charitable efforts. There are lots of virtual ways for people to connect. For instance, host an online “party” going live on Facebook or Instagram video and raising funds in real time. 

Let people donate as part of the check-out process. Offer a field that lets them opt to contribute funds to the charity and specify the amount.

Or post a “giving tree” on your site where people can choose specific needs to fill. Advertise the tree with links on social media or digital ads. Then populate the tree with specific needs your chosen charity has and the option to donate the specific amount to meet them, or an amount that your organisation will match. 

Wrapping up

Christmas is a great time to build relationships with existing customers and onboard new ones. Getting into the Christmas spirit offers new marketing opportunities. Many of these holiday marketing tips can be profitable year-round, but giving them a holiday spin taps into the unique market trends happening this time of year. 

Take a few ideas from this list, or come up with some of your own, and engage with customers in making the season brighter and cheerier for all.

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Photo by Tofros.com, published on Unsplash

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

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