3 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

3 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

It’s never too early to start researching holiday marketing ideas and preparing your small business for a successful Q4. Taking inventory lead time into account, most product-based businesses start planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday by September. If inventory alone isn’t your main concern, why would you want to plan so far in advance?

  • Companies see an 80.1% spike in sales during Q4.
  • Ad cost increases 140% over the holiday season while Average Order Value goes down.
  • Revenue Per Email is 4 x higher on any given day compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


Competing with large corporations for wallet share isn’t easy, especially during the holiday season. We put together three holiday marketing ideas for small business owners, so that you can make the most of your budget and maximize your sales in Q4.

1) How (and When) to Prepare for Black Friday

When it comes to holiday marketing ideas, the most important part is knowing how and when to get started. Most companies begin prepping for the holidays in September or earlier. We recommend focusing on two areas in particular.

First, make sure you have enough dedicated staff to handle the increase in customer communication. Train your employees and get them ready to answer the following questions:

    1. When will my package arrive? How long is shipping and processing?
    2. How do you handle returns?
    3. Where do I put in my promo code?


If hiring additional staff is daunting, another marketing idea is to add a chatbot to your website. Chatbots minimize the time commitment for customer-facing employees, while getting valuable information from customers. The information can be passed on to Customer Service Representatives to help answer these critical questions when customers are considering making a purchase. Chatbots can be also be repurposed past the holidays to streamline all customer communication on your website.

Inventory is the second area your small business should focus on in advance of the holidays. We mentioned it before, but inventory is a big one! Make sure that you have enough inventory ordered, and review your supply chain to plan for any hiccups that could create unhappy customers during the holiday season.

2) How to Find New Customers (and Get Old Customers Back)

Our second marketing idea for the holidays is how to find new customers and get your old customers back to make a purchase during this highly competitive time of year.

New customers usually come at price because paid media is effective at reaching new audiences. The top 4 most popular advertising platforms are:

  • Facebook Paid – Targeting users based on profile details, location, and demographics
  • Instagram Paid – Similar targeting strategy to Facebook, but with the highest user engagement of any platform (10x more than Facebook)
  • Paid Search – Advertising in search engines based on keywords, ex. Google Ads
  • Instagram Organic – Posting brand-generated content to an owned audience based on follower count, hashtags, and location to increase user engagement


For returning customers, most revenue-generating activities come from email marketing. Email marketing is very effective because it can be personalized for your customers, and delivered straight to their inbox. It allows small businesses to send offers to their most engaged customers, instead of advertising coupon codes to everyone and potentially damaging the brand image. Because of the level of personalization and exclusivity available through email, it remains the most effective ad platform for returning customers.

Here are a few successful examples of holiday marketing ideas for email offers, based on historical data:

  • Site-wide discounts – Entire site 20% off
  • Specific product discounts – Buy one get one free jeans; 15% discount on all shoes
  • Coupon codes – Use code HOLIDAY30 for 30% off your entire order
  • Free shipping on all orders – This one speaks for itself!
  • Free shipping by order value or location- Free shipping on orders over $50; Free shipping on all domestic orders


3) How to Measure the Impact of Your Efforts (to Get Better Every Year)

Our third holiday marketing idea is measuring the impact of your efforts. Monitoring the performance of your marketing and sales campaigns helps you know what worked for your business… and what didn’t.

It’s important to keep track of the return on investment (ROI) of successful campaigns to replicate them in the future, and to know how to allocate resources for future campaigns. The top 3 platforms used for analysis are: Google Analytics, Shopify Analytics, and email service providers (ESPs) like Hubspot, Mailchimp, and ConstantContact. Click here to learn more about which marketing analytics make sense for your business to track.

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