12 Holiday Marketing Ideas That’ll Make Your Big Sales Count

October 2, 2023

holiday marketing ideas holiday marketing ideas

Imagine making half of your annual revenue within a quarter of the time. For many ecommerce businesses, that’s what Q4 looks like.

That’s right. Customer-facing businesses typically earn 50% of their annual earnings, which means the next few months are revenue-makers (or breakers).

With the exciting holiday shopping season approaching, merchants must start planning their holiday marketing campaigns now to put themselves on customers’ radar and create hype.

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The holidays are always an exciting time, but each year is a little different. Learn about anticipated trends for this year to capitalize on the festivities ahead.

According to a report by Outbrain and eMarketer, here’s what you can expect, and our tips to act on the trends.

Growth similar to 2022

Retail sales are expected to increase by 4.5%, while ecommerce will enjoy an 11.9% uptick.

If you can set up omnichannel sales with both an online store and brick-and-mortar space, you can leverage on the growth in both worlds.

Sales and discounts will drive ecommerce

Deals reached unprecedented peaks in 2022, and we expect the same will apply in Q4 of 2023.

Prepare to shout about your sales from the rooftops to attract shoppers to your store. You can use deals to draw in shoppers and then upsell and cross-sell to expand your margins.

In-person shopping will normalize

Brick-and-mortar sales rose sharply in 2021, but should stabilize this year.

Although having a retail and ecommerce space is a good strategy, it’s time to double-down on your ecommerce store and campaigns.

An extended shopping season

October 2022 was filled with online shopping events, and a similar early start to the holiday buzz is expected this year.

Expect your competitors to start their sales early, and plan to do the same to capture consumer interest and stay top of mind.

Mobile commerce sales growth

Last year’s Cyber Five period saw mobile shopping drive 51% of sales, and this year, it’s predicted to experience double-digit growth.

Make sure your website is mobile-responsive—we’d even go so far as to say mobile-first.

Increased livestream commerce traction

Only 19% of consumers say they’ve used livestream commerce, but platforms in the US are constructing features specifically for it.

Although it’s a new way to shop, get your livestream events in place so that you’re already known for having great livestream sales when more consumers adopt it.

2023 Holiday dates to prepare for

Another thing to watch out for are important dates for running your campaigns.

By staying ahead of key retail holidays, you can plan and prepare tailored campaigns that relate directly to the themes of the day.

  • Columbus Day (October 9th): This occurs every second Monday of October, with mattresses, apparel, appliances, and the like being hot items.
  • Halloween (October 31st): Expect sweets, costumes, makeup, clothing, and accessories to fly off the shelves as people get ready for this spooky night.
  • Veterans Day (November 11th): Aim for this holiday if you want a headstart on Black Friday. This is a day when people avoiding the Black Friday craze look for deals as well.
  • Thanksgiving (November 23rd): Although the fourth Thursday of November is usually peaceful for businesses, it ushers in the beginning of the Cyber Five period.
  • Black Friday (November 24th): The Friday after Thanksgiving, typically the year’s biggest sale, sees hordes of shoppers flocking to maximize the best online and offline deals.
  • Cyber Monday (November 27th): Meanwhile, the Monday after Thanksgiving is centered on ecommerce, as well as brick-and-mortar bargains for electronics.
  • Super Saturday (December 23rd): The Saturday before Christmas Eve sees consumers clamor for last-minute gifts.
  • Christmas Eve (December 24th): This is normally quiet for businesses, but those that sell products with next-day delivery may enjoy some last-minute sales.
  • Christmas Day (December 25th): Most businesses are closed on the 25th, but it falls on a long weekend this year, so look forward to people hunting for post-Christmas sales.
  • Boxing Day (December 26th): This is when businesses try to move unsold holiday goods to accommodate new inventory.
  • New Year’s Eve (December 31st): The days leading up to New Year’s Eve are perfect for year-end sales, where any leftover Christmas inventory can be offloaded.

Hallmarks of the best holiday marketing campaigns

Armed with knowledge of what the upcoming holiday season may bring, it’s time to prep.

To help, here are some characteristics that successful holiday marketing campaigns share.

Compelling storytelling

Everyone loves a captivating narrative, especially if it pulls on the heartstrings.

Not only can emotion affect your audience’s purchasing behaviors, but it can also:

  • Help them identify with your brand
  • Nurture a sense of value
  • Guide how they engage with your campaign

Also, remember to time it with the holiday in mind.

For instance, Christmas campaigns usually revolve around sharing the holiday spirit with family, friends, strangers, and the less fortunate.

Tobii Dynavox Holiday Marketing Ideas holiday marketing ideas

Image: Facebook

Assistive communication tech brand, Tobii Dynavox, does this with social media. In their posts, the brand highlights how joy, love, peace, and freedom are common languages everyone speaks.

Throughout the short video, it showcases visuals of people with and without disabilities sharing these values.

Matching aesthetics and messaging

The look and feel of your campaign has to match the holiday as well, so give your website, brick-and-mortar store, marketing materials, and language a festive makeover.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Milled

This Black Friday email from Seattle Chocolate Company provides a concrete example. It ticks two holiday boxes at once, advertising a Black Friday sale while using colors and designs that remind readers of the winter holidays and Christmas season. This is ideal for people eager to do some gift shopping in advance, and reminds shoppers to leverage Black Friday sales to shop for presents.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 2 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Milled

The message’s language also fits perfectly, incorporating well-phrased CTAs that meld Christmas cheer with Black Friday’s holiday rush.

User-generated content (UGC)

Whether it be from someone famous or your everyday shopper, UGC showcases first-hand experiences with your brand and conveys authenticity. In fact, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC more authentic compared to branded content.

So, wherever possible, maximize customer reviews, share social media posts, and scatter them throughout your holiday promotions.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 3 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Seattle Chocolate Company

Again, we point to Seattle Chocolate’s email campaign as a rich example, with its “Under the Tree” CTA taking readers to the Dark Collection Gift Box product page.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 4 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Seattle Chocolate Company

As they scroll further down, readers see the page proudly showcases ratings and feedback from satisfied buyers, which gives potential customers an idea of the product’s quality.

Exclusive offers

Sales and discounts are anticipated to be a strong ecommerce driver for 2023’s holiday season, so it’s important to meet those expectations. Again, Seattle Chocolate’s email campaign does this well by offering subscribers a 20% discount on all items.

Hasbro Pulse Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Hasbro Pulse

Remember to capitalize on other exclusive promotions as well, like your brand’s seasonal items. For instance, at the time of this writing, Hasbro Pulse already allows shoppers to pre-order Christmas-themed Star Wars The Black Series Holiday Edition figures.

Hasbro Pulse Holiday Marketing Ideas 2 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Hasbro Pulse

Clicking on the CTA then takes shoppers to the collection page, where they can select a specific toy, view its product page, and then proceed to checkout.


A great way to start personalizing your campaigns is by collecting customer interest data upon purchase or sign-up. You can ask them which items they are most interested in, look at their previous purchases or wishlists, and tailor your communications with this information.

If you don’t have any of that data available, then look at previous buyer behavior and take note of which items were frequently purchased together. You can then recommend complimentary items on a product page.

Hasbro Pulse Holiday Marketing Ideas 3 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Hasbro Pulse

Hasbro Pulse’s product pages mix in some personalization as well by recommending items related to the one visitors are viewing.

Hasbro Pulse Holiday Marketing Ideas 4 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Hasbro Pulse

Despite holiday seasons typically catering to an extensive range of audiences, efforts tailored to individual preferences, especially in ecommerce, indicate a st‌ellar campaign.

In fact, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with you if you provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. So, throughout your campaigns, make sure to present products and deals that match their interests.

Multichannel approach

Effective holiday advertising campaigns leverage multiple marketing channels since they provide a wider reach and give you access to broader demographics.

This could involve channels like content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email, SMS, your website, print, billboards, and events.

Disadvantages of ignoring holiday marketing

We get it—holiday marketing is a huge undertaking. But it’s worth it.

Here are some potential pitfalls you could run into if you choose to opt out of holiday promotions.

Lower brand visibility

Google found that, in the 2021 holiday season, 54% of consumers used five or more channels to shop.

What’s more, Outbrain and eMarketer’s report also stated that younger demographics now start their shopping on social media more than search engines.

Failing to implement efforts on multiple channels, or at least the ones your audience uses the most, will be detrimental to your visibility during 2023’s Q4.

Less customer engagement

A decreased presence throughout the holiday season, meanwhile, also reduces engagement among shoppers.

Further, with Google revealing that consumers find better post-holiday deals than in the period leading up, it’s crucial you consistently engage and stay visible throughout.

Missed revenue opportunities

Imagine losing out on the opportunity to earn potentially half of your annual revenue during Q4 of 2023.

The previous disadvantages will culminate in this one, with your brand unable to capitalize on the year’s most active period and missing many chances to earn.

Holiday preparation checklist

To avoid the above hiccups and build well-rounded holiday marketing campaigns, here are some precautions you can take.

Start planning early

Shopping festivities can start as soon as October, so advanced preparation is extremely important—you can even begin as early as Q3.

During that time, establish a clear understanding of:

  • Holiday trends for the year
  • What messaging and products your audience responds well to
  • What holidays your campaigns will target
  • Which channels you’ll use

Set a clear budget

Your financial circumstances will dictate the extent of your marketing efforts for the holiday season. Narrow down:

  • The deals you can offer and what promotions you can run
  • The paid channels you can tap into, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, events, influencer marketing, and the like
  • Whether you can afford external help for other marketing activities, like writers for content and blogs, studios for promotional videos, etc.

Your overall planning will adjust to it as well (unless you’re a large brand that can afford to spend heavily).

Stock up on inventory

Obviously, your goods need to be readily available during the holiday shopping rush. Make sure to stock up on the right ones, however, and keep a healthy mix of fast and slow-moving goods.

If you need more information, this guide on inventory management can help, as it covers how to avoid under and overstocking, prevent overselling, and other inventory management aspects. Knowing your store’s safety stock and reorder points also helps.

Optimize your website

Your website will play a huge role in your customers’ conversion paths during Q4 holidays, as it’ll have to accommodate a heavy amount of visitor traffic. Its optimization should accordingly revolve around three key aspects:

Template your landing pages

Shogun Template Library holiday marketing ideas

Image: Shogun

Some landing pages rake in ‌sales, whereas others fall flat. Look back at which landing pages convert better than others and turn those into templates to recreate them easily for all of your upcoming holiday campaigns.

Tip: You can start with pre-built templates and tweak based on A/B testing results, then save the best performing revisions.

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Train your customer support team

Customer support is a vital part of shopper experiences, especially during the holidays. According to Shopify’s survey of the world’s top 50 ecommerce brands, 74% say it’s their second-most pressing concern.

That’s because support requests can increase by 5 to 10 times in the months leading up to the season. So, prepare your staff for that heavy influx of customer concerns and ensure their interactions fit the specific holiday theme.

12 Best holiday marketing ideas for boosting ROI this busy season

You should have a solid foundation for building your holiday campaign at this point.

But, to further guide you along and kick-start your efforts, here are some ideas and real-life examples to serve as inspiration.

1. Host memorable annual events

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 5 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Seattle Chocolate Company

Holiday-themed events are great for building hype around your brand, and for this tactic, I once again return to Seattle Chocolate.

Above, they promote their Haunted Factory Experience, which is a yearly event that consistently sells out early. Clicking on the “get your tickets!” button seamlessly takes shoppers to their next point.

This event constantly sells out, which is a clear indicator of this holiday promo’s success.

2. Simplify bookings

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 6 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Seattle Chocolate Company

Seattle Chocolate takes the promotion of their Haunted Factory Experience a step further, using the event’s landing page to not only sell tickets but simplify bookings as well.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 7 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Seattle Chocolate Company

After selecting “Book Now!” visitors need only provide the number of people attending, their contact information, and a chosen date. Then, they click Continue to finish their ticket purchase.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 8 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Google Maps

The company also provides a Google map that shows where the event will be held.

Seattle Chocolate Company Holiday Marketing Ideas 9 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Google Calendar

Lastly, on the landing page, Seattle Chocolate places a link that schedules the booked date via Google Calendar, providing further convenience.

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3. Create original videos

Microsoft Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: YouTube

Back in 2019 Microsoft created a charming video showcasing their Surface tablet and Microsoft Translator tool. After hearing her mom take a meeting that’s automatically translated to and from Japanese and English, she uses her mother’s tablet to speak to a few reindeers outside.

The video is both engaging, humorous, and highlights useful Microsoft products and how they can be used together.

4. Give your advent calendar a unique twist

Copper Cow Coffee Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Instagram

For the Christmas holidays, Copper Cow Coffee introduces a distinct spin to their advent calendar.

Inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song, this holiday item promises a dozen days of unique pour-overs, delighting customers with delicious flavors for each one.

Additionally, through a promotional code, customers even have the chance to enjoy a 30% discount!

5. Leverage the right influencers

Lily Rose Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Instagram

Influencer marketing can yield $5.78 for every dollar spent, and Copper Cow Coffee capitalized on this trend.

In 2019, they promoted their advent calendar by collaborating with Denver-based style blogger Lily Rose for an Instagram ad, which gained them access to her audience.

6. Include free shipping

Copper Cow’s partnership with Lily Rose also included a free shipping offer. To redeem it, shoppers simply needed to search for the blogger’s code using the LIKEtoKNOW.it app.

Free shipping can even serve as an incentive to buy, where customers unlock it by reaching a certain cart value during your holiday sale.

With 47% of online consumers abandoning their carts due to high shipping costs, these opportunities are sure to entice them to commit to completing their purchases.

7. Countdown timers inspire action

Halloween Countdown Timer holiday marketing ideas

Image: yourcountdown.to

Countdown timers are ecommerce tools that help build early anticipation for your holiday sales and foster a sense of excitement in potential customers.

They also excel at creating a sense of urgency, particularly for limited-time deals and flash sales. Shoppers are compelled to make speedier purchase decisions to avoid missing out on enticing bargains.

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8. Offer gift wrapping

Johns Crazy Socks Gift Wrapping holiday marketing ideas

Image: Shopify

Because it takes too much time, 52% of consumers dislike gift wrapping.

In ecommerce, however, it’s the opposite: John’s Crazy Socks discovered that online shoppers love gift wrapping when it’s available in stores, and this has helped the brand enjoy:

  • More than $4 million in yearly revenue
  • 118K total domestic and international orders
  • An annual increase in sales, conversions, and return customers

9. Create a holiday gift guide

Naked Armor Holiday Gift Guide 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Naked Armor

Gift guides are great for moving potential customers further along their holiday shopping journey, especially your target market, or those looking to give presents to people who match your audience’s profile.

Naked Armor Holiday Gift Guide 12 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Naked Armor

Naked Armor, for instance, wrote an on-brand list of items to buy for manly men and threw their own Solomon Straight Razor Kit into the mix, along with a holiday-themed YouTube video showing it off.

Naked Armor Holiday Gift Guide 3 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Naked Armor

You can access the product page from the blog post as well, where visitors can see reviews, recommendations, and other important elements.

10. Maximize SMS

SMS marketing has high open (98%) and response rates (45%), with 91% of customers wanting to receive text messages from brands they support. This makes it easy to incorporate into your existing strategy and lets you reach your audience directly and more personally.

Wandering Bear Holiday Marketing Ideas 4 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Fantastic Texts

With it, you can easily keep existing customers in the know, updating them on offers and promotions throughout the holidays.

For example, Wandering Bear used SMS to announce the launch of their Christmas coffee flavor, Peppermint Mocha, and included a photo of it as a preview.

Wandering Bear Holiday Marketing Ideas 1 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Wandering Bear

Following the provided link then takes shoppers to the product page. There, they find some of the holiday marketing campaign elements we mentioned previously.

Wandering Bear Holiday Marketing Ideas 3 holiday marketing ideas

Image: Wandering Bear

First are product reviews, where customers provide ratings that tell you how smooth, strong, and convenient the Peppermint Mocha coffee is.

Wandering Bear Holiday Marketing Ideas 2 holiday marketing ideas

Further below, shoppers can see personalized product recommendations, which lets them discover new products they may also be interested in.

11. Run a holiday livestream

We discussed how livestream commerce is expected to gain traction in 2023’s holiday season as well, so consider adding an interactive online shopping event to your marketing repertoire.

POPFLEX Holiday Livestream holiday marketing ideas

Image: YouTube

POPFLEX, a brand that combines fitness apparel and fashion, capitalized on this tactic. The company’s founder, fitness creator Cassey Ho of Blogliates, hosted their November 2022 Pre-Black Friday Extravaganza on YouTube, which led to POPFLEX’s second-highest sales hour of the year.

Throughout, viewers witnessed Cassey presenting items, holding Q&As, and dropping discount codes live, all while shoppers clamored for items in the stream’s chat.

12. Maximize your landing and product pages

Many brands use product and landing pages throughout their campaigns. These drive traffic to their stores, and dedicated pages result in smoother conversion paths that allow more customers to take desired actions.

Shogun Page Builder holiday marketing ideas

To build effective landing pages quickly, you’ll need a tool like Shogun. With it, you can craft branded templates, leverage artificial intelligence (AI), and create variations to test what works best for your campaign.

Whether it be for an event, advertisement, or promotional offer, having a landing page where customers can easily complete their purchases is a must.

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Measuring your holiday marketing strategy success

You should have enough creative ammunition to build your holiday campaigns by now.

But knowing how to track the success of your holiday promotions is just as important as the campaign itself.

To help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns, here are some key ecommerce metrics to track.

Conversion rate

One of the most important performance indicators, this rate measures the percentage of visitors who take your desired actions, which could be purchases, event bookings, or subscriptions.

So, no matter what type of campaign you launch, you can use this metric to determine the proportion of people who convert into paying customers.

Click-through rate (CTR)

This evaluates how well your ads and CTAs fare, showing the proportion between the number of clicks and views or impressions they receive.

CTR is also great for gaging the performance of your landing pages, product pages, and email marketing.

Average order value (AOV)

AOV calculates how much holiday shoppers spend on a single order. Like your conversion rate, it indicates the impact of your efforts on purchase decisions.

For example, did shoppers arrive on your site through your holiday email? Did they fill up their carts ‌after viewing your product recommendations? Or, did they take advantage of your gift-wrapping option?

Return on investment (ROI)

This assesses the profitability of your holiday campaign and reveals the correlation between your marketing spend and earnings.

It essentially tells you whether your campaigns paid off.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

This metric totals how much it costs to acquire a new customer during the holiday season. It also helps determine the sustainability of targeting certain segments throughout the period.

It’s great for comparing your marketing expenses to the number of new customers gained.

Customer retention rate

This pinpoints the percentage of customers who make repeat purchases over a specific period, and you can use it throughout the season.

It quantifies how your efforts nurture satisfaction and loyalty, with higher figures indicating a successful holiday campaign.

Website traffic

This tracks the number of visitors you attract during the holidays and can indicate your campaign’s reach and effectiveness.

Website traffic has specific measurements as well, like unique visitors, page views, and bounce rate. These hone in on the performance of content or user experience (UX).

Cart abandonment rate

This calculates the percentage of visitors who add items to their carts but don’t complete their purchases. It helps pinpoint where shoppers drop off and identifies issues with your checkout process, pricing, and overall UX.

Customer engagement

Engagement metrics track customer interactions throughout your holiday campaigns. They vary according to the channel you measure.

For instance, open rates are measured for email marketing, while likes, shares, and comments are for social media posts.

Wrapping up—Maximize your Q4 with well-planned holiday marketing

The holiday season is a golden opportunity for ecommerce brands to shine and reap its bountiful rewards. To realize the most lucrative results, remember these key points:

  • Monitor trends before you plan
  • Prepare your website, budget, inventory, and other relevant elements
  • Incorporate key elements that other successful campaigns have used
  • Be creative
  • Track your campaign performance

By following these steps, you can make 2023’s Q4 your most profitable yet. Take inspiration from the examples presented in this article as well to help your sales soar during the coming festivities.

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Rachel Go

Rachel is a remote marketing manager with a background in building scalable content engines. She creates content that wins customers for B2B ecommerce companies like MyFBAPrep, Shogun, and more. In the past, she has scaled organic acquisition efforts for companies like Deliverr and Skubana.

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