The 12 Rules of Christmas Marketing

By: on December 6, 2016

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and business was booming,
With customers focused on goods and consuming;
So here we’ve compiled some holiday tips
To help you ensure your business outstrips
The profits obtained this time last year,
As Christmas and Chanukah draw ever so near.
So sit back, relax and enjoy all the riffs
About Christmas marketing (with bonus holiday gifs)!

Read on for a list of fun tips you can use to market your business this (and every) holiday season!

Which of these tactics do you think would work best for your business?

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Tip 1: DO Keep It Simple

Christmas is a time for candy canes and oranges,
And so you might find yourself with . . . um . . .

OK, we’ll drop the rhyme scheme. But the point remains—the first thing to keep in mind for your Christmas marketing plans is to not get overly complicated or cutesy.

When you’re facing a higher than normal rush of customers, you want to make sure you have all of your basics (staffing, training, technology, delivery system etc.) hammered into place and fully functioning.

If you provide excellent service to your holiday customers, they’re more likely to become regulars.

As Mike Edwards, CEO of eBags, recommends:

Stay basic, offering great products at great prices, in stock. And provide the highest level of service you can on any touchpoint to build your reputation. The holidays is not a time to get fancy. It’s a time to execute.

Mike Edwards, CEO of eBags

Bart Mroz, co-founder and CEO of digital commerce consultancy SUMO Heavy, notes that this extends to your website, as well: “During the holidays, when more customers are using your site than any other time of year, code should be completely ‘frozen.’ This way, it ensures that your customers have a pleasant, consistent shopping experience on your site throughout the holiday season.”

Example: Create a sale or promotion for products you keep in stock year-round, instead of ordering a lot of holiday-specific items that will need to be sold by the end of December.

Tip 2: DON’T Freeze Your Employees to Save Money

It will save you a sleepless night visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

From The Muppet Christmas Carol

Tip 3: DO Focus on Fun

Dan Grech, vice president of marketing and public relations at OfferCraft, focuses on making marketing fun all year round. However, he points out this is particularly important during the the holiday season, and the festive atmosphere and extra downtime that come along with it.

You can use software like OfferCraft’s to create games—including games with holiday themes—that promote your brand or highlight special deals, incentives, sales and events.

Creating fun, interactive games and experiences will help bring your customers into the spirit of the season, especially when they may already be stressed out by holiday shopping.

If you can make customers’ encounters with your brand, store or service more enjoyable and memorable, they’ll choose you over your competitors. This extends into both promotions and the shopping experience itself. After all, there’s a reason that some of the top stores in New York City attempt to outdo each other each year with fun, engaging window displays.

Example: Distribute a holiday-themed puzzle as part of your marketing efforts, and offer a discount to customers who come in with the solution (and perhaps an extra discount to the first customer to do so).

Tip 4: DON’T Sell Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifles

Kids might shoot their eyes out.

From A Christmas Story

Tip 5: DO Be Charitable

Remember, the holidays are a season for giving, and you can get a lot of mileage (not to mention good karma!) out of appealing to your customers’ altruistic sides while being charitable yourself.

Anati Zubia, demand generation strategist at Infusionsoft, notes that you should, “Find a charity that makes sense for YOUR business (children, animals, education, community, sports) and help fulfill a holiday wish this year. This is a great way to share your business story in a impactful way.”

The story of your charitable campaign should be a major part of your marketing materials, in order to build up good will toward your brand.

If you give back to others in the spirit of holiday public-mindedness, you will draw in customers who are willing to spend more in order to put their money toward a good cause. Plus, you will give yourself positive publicity and, of course, have the satisfaction of using your business to do good in the world.

Example: Partner with a local charity and pledge to donate a percentage of your profits for every purchase made on certain days. Advertise this in your marketing materials, and ask the charity to do the same.

Tip 6: DON’T Trust Uncle Billy With Your Bank Deposits

He’s a nice guy and all, but do you really trust this goofball to handle money?

From It’s a Wonderful Life

Tip 7: DO Emphasize Gifting

Take advantage of the holiday season by doing something special that you can’t do throughout the rest of the year.

Mroz suggests creating a gift guide for your customers as a holiday-specific initiative to help reduce stress over what to buy for loved ones. In addition, he says, “If you create an online holiday gift guide or catalog with the right keywords, it can boost your website’s SEO significantly—resulting in more visitor traffic and more sales.”

If you directly focus your customers’ eyes on the types of things you sell that would make excellent gifts, you make their job easier and increase the likelihood that they will choose you among the sea of holiday competition.

You can also put together packages of items that may not have sold well during the year. Rod Austin, marketing manager at Pagely, recommends that you bundle together certain thematically-related items so that you can reduce inventory on less popular products.

Example: Put together an online gift guide that showcases how various products and services pair well to create a perfect gift package, and offer a discount when customers buy them together.

Tip 8: DON’T Tug on Santa’s Beard

And don’t tug on Superman’s cape or spit into the wind, while you’re at it, but those two are true year-round.

From Miracle on 34th Street

Tip 9: DO Cross-Promote With Others

Just as the holidays are a time for giving, they are also a time for coming together. This applies to business and brands as much as it does to families and friends.

While cross-promotion is always helpful for smaller businesses, the holidays provide a time where this is especially true. When everyone is scrambling to find the perfect gift, they become more receptive to marketing messages from already-trusted brands pointing them toward another brand’s goods or services.

Alex Onaindia, account executive at GreenRoom, explains that, “For companies of a smaller stature, specifically start-ups, it provides a unique and valuable opportunity to introduce your product to another brand’s loyal following while strengthening your relationship with the other company you’re working with.”

Finding brands the same size as yours to partner with will give both of you greater visibility during the season when consumers are most likely to be looking for you.

Example: Put out shared marketing material that emphasizes how your business and another brand complement each other (like a movie theater and a restaurant, or a pet store and carpet cleaner), particularly when putting together gift ideas.

Tip 10: DON’T Let John McClane Get His Hands on a Machine Gun

Ho, ho, ho.

From Die Hard

Tip 11: DO Speak From the Heart

As Love Actually reminds us every year, Christmas is a time of heightened emotions, running the gamut from traditional holiday cheer to nostalgia, frustration and of course, love for our friends and family.

Don’t be afraid to let these emotions pour forth in your Christmas marketing; it’s the time of year that being sappy is actually a plus, after all!

Izaak Crook, digital marketing executive at UK-based AppInstitute, explains that appealing to your customers’ emotions will pay off most during the holidays, citing the popularity of sentimental Christmas advertisements. Leave customers with a good feeling, and they’ll have a positive association with your brand that will last beyond the holiday season.

Example: Ask non-marketing employees to share any holiday stories/wishes they might have in your marketing material, thereby showing your customers the human side of the business.

Tip 12: DO Use Marketing Software to Make a List and Check It Twice

Our company is called Software Advice, so you didn’t think we’d end this list without giving a software tip did you? Marketing automation software will help you keep track of your customer and clientele base throughout the year, and can prove especially useful during the holiday season when you want to send out mass email blasts along with targeted, customer-specific emails.

Automational’s email marketing template

Circling back to our first tip about simplicity and service, software like this can help you prepare for the holiday rush. As Anati Zubia counsels, “Be ready before the holiday rush hits. If you have a log of manual marketing and sales processes in place it will be much harder to scale to the holiday volume. Don’t miss out on a single deal by automating a majority of your sales and marketing.”

Software will make marketing your business much easier, so consider investing in some as a Christmas gift to yourself that will last the whole year long!

Key Takeaways

These holiday marketing tips, we gift unto you
So you’ll have a Christmas that’s white, and not blue:

Keep everything simple and functioning well;
Add fun and games, which shoppers find swell;
Remember ‘tis the season of charitable giving;
Highlight that gifts are a reason for living;
Work well with others, expanding your brand;
Be sentimental and heartfelt, not bland;
And Marketing software will be your best friend
To help you get through to the holidays’ end.

If you follow these guides then you’re sure to flourish
In the holiday season, as your profits you nourish.
You’ll find yourself saying, without ever stopping,
“Happy Holidays to all, and we wish you good shopping!”

Email me at for more information. I’m happy to help you figure out what your own SFA software needs might be and connect you to one of our expert software advisors for a free, no-obligation consultation (you could consider it a holiday gift, but we offer that service all year long)!

Most importantly, all of us here at the Software Advice family wish you and yours a happy, healthy and profitable holiday season!

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