Between Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, the holiday season is huge for e-commerce businesses.
In fact, up to 30% of all US retail sales are expected to happen on digital channels this year!
Ready to get in on the action? Now is the time to get creative with your holiday marketing ideas!
Below, we highlight 6 holiday marketing ideas to help you cut through the social media noise and engage with your customers this season:
Holiday Marketing Ideas #1: Run a Holiday-themed Instagram Giveaway
Running a giveaway on Instagram is a great way to boost brand awareness, get more followers, and promote your products – plus, they’re really easy to set up (and even easier to participate in).
The key to a successful giveaway is proper planning – you’ll want to define the purpose and goals of your giveaway well before you dive in.
For example, if you’re launching a new holiday product this season (more on this below!), you could tie your giveaway to larger marketing goals, such as raising awareness around the product launch.
Or your goal could be as simple as getting more Instagram followers or increasing brand awareness – there’s no wrong answer! Just keep in mind that the goals you set will influence the type of giveaway you run.
Once you have some clarity around your goals, you can begin to strategize how to best accomplish them with your giveaway theme, rules, and structure.
For example, if you want to grow your following, this will inform things like the type of prize you pick, the rules for entry, and your long-term plan for keeping new followers engaged with your content.
Check out how Blume uses giveaways to get as much traction and as many new followers as possible. In order to enter, participants are asked to follow their account (along with two others) with the option to get more entries by re-sharing Blume’s post on their Instagram Stories.
Partnering up with another brand or an Instagram influencer with a similar target market and audience is a great way to get more traction – you get to share each other’s audiences and reach hundreds or thousands of potential new customers… all from just one Instagram post!
Hilma, an all-natural wellness remedies brand, did this recently, partnering with Baggu, Stojo, and Spacey Studios to promote their giveaway.
While these brands are all within different spaces, they have a similar target market (young, design-conscious consumers), which is why it’s such an effective partnership.
This is exactly the kind of brand collaboration you should be looking for – one that has a similar target market and an audience that would be interested in your products.
Holiday Marketing Ideas #2: Run a Customer Appreciation Campaign
The holidays are all about showing appreciation for the people around you, and as a brand, this includes your followers and customers.
So why not run a customer appreciation campaign?
There are plenty of ways to show your followers you care – for example, some brands use UGC (user-generated content) to give their customers a virtual shout-out.
The skincare brand Curology often runs customer appreciation campaigns that act as a “soft promotion” for their business and products.
This strategy works great if your customers and followers already love tagging you in their Instagram Stories or regularly use your branded hashtag in their posts.
With Later, you can use our Collect features to view all the Instagram posts that you’re mentioned or tagged in in one easy dashboard, and then add your favorites to your media library.
This makes finding high-quality UGC for your customer appreciation campaign really easy!
Another great way to show your appreciation is to create a promo code specifically for your Instagram followers.
Underwear brand MeUndies did this recently by offering a 40% discount on select products to their Instagram followers.
If you’re looking to get even more Instagram users involved in your promotion, you can also use Instagram Reels to share your promo code. Since Instagram Reels are heavily shared on the Instagram Explore Page, you can potentially reach many more users.
And finally, you can simply say thanks!
What’s great is that this doesn’t require a huge campaign or big budget. A simple acknowledgment can go a long way.
Holiday Marketing Ideas #3: Launch a New Product
The holiday season is an e-commerce frenzy, so why not take the opportunity to launch a new holiday-inspired product?
Of course, as you probably know, a lot of work and planning goes into launching a new product on Instagram, so it’s important to start early.
Depending on your business, you may need a few weeks or even a few months of lead time for product development, launch strategy, creating your launch assets, working with influencers, and a lot more.
Check out our guide to launching a new product on social media for more tips!
But if you can work out all of these details in time for the holiday season, it’s totally worth it!
Cruelty-free cosmetic brand Lush is a great example. Every fall and winter, they launch a series of new holiday-inspired products – from their “Very Very Frightening” shower gel to their “Jingle Bells” bath bomb.
Whatever your budget, you can get creative and make a huge impact on Instagram. Even a small “pop-up” campaign can drive a ton of traffic and conversions for your online store.
Holiday Marketing Ideas #4: Give Back to Those in Need
The holidays are about much more than consumption – they’re also about giving back to those in need.
That’s why a lot of brands are choosing to opt-out of holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday and do something a little more feel-good instead.
The reality is that many consumers don’t need special discounts or coupon codes, they just want to know that your business aligns with their values.
By associating your brand with a charity or social cause, you can benefit from showing your values in action, which is something that modern consumers care more and more about.
In fact, according to a report from Unilever, 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. And when choosing between two brands of equal quality and price, 90% of US shoppers are likely to switch to a cause branded product.
A great option is to support a charity that reflects your business’s values and role in your community – check out how millennial clothing brand MadHappy launched a donation portal to raise proceeds for 3 charities they felt passionate about.
You can even get your Instagram audience involved by using the donation sticker for Instagram Stories.
With just a few clicks, Instagrammers can support their charity of choice, or help spread the word to collect donations from their followers.
Another option is to donate a portion of your holiday sales, fees, or profits to a charity or social cause. For example, if you’re launching a new product this season, you can build this into the promotional strategy.
Ethical clothing brand Kotn does this every year. In lieu of running a Black Friday campaign, they use the holiday to raise proceeds to build schools in the Nile Delta, a region of Egypt where they source the cotton for their products.
These are just a few ways to give back during the holiday season. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the rise cause and keeping your audience informed (and hopefully inspired!) about the work you’re doing to make the world a little bit better.
Holiday Marketing Ideas #5: Run an Influencer Marketing Campaign
If you’re looking to make as big a mark as possible this season, it might be a good idea to outsource some of the promotional work to influencers.
Partnering with Instagram influencers is a great way to introduce your business to new audiences, raise your profile, and get your customers into the buying spirit during the holidays.
The holidays are one of the most lucrative times for e-commerce businesses, but they can also be one of the most competitive.
Influencer marketing is a great way to break through all the clutter and get your brand (and products) noticed.
Of course, as with all influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to go into a partnership with a clear idea of what you want to achieve, including the number of sales you’re hoping to make, how you want your product to be featured, and more.
Keep in mind that most influencers are getting flooded with pitches this time of year, so it’s important that your pitch be as clear and concise as possible. The easier you make it for your partners, the more likely they’ll be to respond.
And give yourself plenty of time to find the right influencers for your campaign! Influencer marketing is all about reaching a niche and engaged audience who would be interested in your products, and this only happens when there’s an authentic alignment between yourself and your influencer partner.
Once you’ve found the right partners for your holiday campaign, it’s time to let your creativity fly!
It’s important to show potential customers what’s unique about your product and why it belongs on their shopping list.
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By using a trusted and authentic voice to deliver your message, your business has the opportunity to create a story that makes sense for both your brand and resonates with your influencer’s audience.
Holiday Marketing Ideas #6: Share a Free Downloadable Resource
Even if you’re aren’t an e-commerce brand, the holiday season still presents a huge opportunity to gain more traction with your target audience.
One way to do this by creating a free downloadable resource and using it to gather email addresses.
Once you have someone’s email, you can send them value-packed messages that help drive conversions for your products and services.
Think about your ideal customer or client. What can you offer them that they wouldn’t think twice about signing up for? This is your “lead magnet” and it should be something of value that relates to an end-result that your business offers.
Some examples include:
- A free download or worksheet
- A challenge
- A mini-course
- A free sample
- An exclusive offer for subscribers
Check out how Artifact Uprising recently used Linkin.bio by Later to promote their digital guide to making a wedding album.
When their followers tap the link in their bio, they’re brought to a clickable, optimized landing page. Then can then click-through to the download page where they’re asked to submit their email address to download the resource.
Here’s the good news: we just released a free version of Linkin.bio, so everyone can start driving more website traffic and reaching their sales goals through Instagram with Later!
Holiday marketing campaigns don’t have to be overly complicated and can deliver great benefits to your business.
Whether you do a few simple things to “dress up” your brand for the holidays or commit to a full-on campaign, follow our holiday marketing ideas to get the most out of this busy season!
Start scheduling your holiday content now with Later — it’s free!
Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.