Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Small Business Holiday Marketing HEADER

It’s Not Too Late to Cash In on the Holidays with Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas

Christmas is almost here, holiday marketing was planned out in July, and consumers are spending money like there is no tomorrow.

Are they spending it at your business?


Did you forget to set up your holiday marketing campaigns?

It’s not too late! There are things you can do right now – as in TODAY – to make a tangible impact on your holiday marketing effectiveness. Most are free and the ones that aren’t, you choose how much you are willing to invest.

ALSO READ: 5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

Last Minute Holiday Marketing PINTEREST

Check out these 6 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas:

Blog Content with a Holiday Theme

What keywords are your potential customers putting into search engines right now? You need to figure out how to take those highly searched words and create RELEVANT content to bring traffic to your website. Don’t waste reader’s times with poor or even average content. Make it WOW content that makes the reader want to do some clicking around (we can help you with that). For example, a pet boutique can write an informative blog about what Christmas decorations are deadly to household pets or a tax preparer can post a blog on how to turn holiday purchases into small business tax deductions.

Email Marketing with a Holiday Countdown

If you sell products or services online, you can focus on the last day someone can order to receive their product by Christmas making sure to highlight your best sellers every day or sign up with Free Shipping Day (December 15, 2017) or to promote your site.  Other business can set up daily tips, relevant to their subscribers, leading up to Christmas, remembering to create “I gotta read this!” headlines followed up with great and fast reading content so they want to open your email every day. You will stay top-of-mind with your buyers, create a sense of urgency for purchases and boost sales.

ballet bundle online marketingGet Rid of the Old Stuff with Bundles

Having a bunch of old inventory at the end of the year isn’t just bad for business, it’s depressing for business owners. These poor sellers are making no money on the shelf so now is the time to make drastic cuts in your pricing and bundle these less popular items with your best sellers.

Maybe even consider giving away free gifts with purchase to really wow your customers. Bundles are really popular sellers, especially around the gift-giving time when people are looking for more bang for their buck. Blog, blog, blog about your bundles so when anyone searches “[your product] bundle” your blog shows up in search results and they end up on your website.  Also, create a landing page, email your subscribers, and maybe even purchase a little advertising to highlight these amazing bundles.

The word “bundle” is often tied to video games and software so when a customer is searching for your product in a bundle there could be much less competition for topping search results when you blog about “[your product] bundles” with your non-electronic products.

Create Shareable Holiday Posts

Your holiday season social media post should NOT be just sales ads. While promoting your holiday specials be sure to spread some holiday cheer with funny, thoughtful or thankful season appropriate posts that people will want to share. Show your personality and let customers in on what is important to you and your company. This is a great opportunity to highlight non-profits you support, causes you champion, and people you know that are doing good things in the community as well.

Have a Private Sale or Specialprivate sale graphic say more services

Show appreciation for your best customers with special offers, discounts, and free gifts. Creating a good feeling about your business and your product reminds people what a great gift they could give to someone else. To increase exposure and broaden your market consider a friends & family promotion that gives special discounts or free products and services to customers who bring in or sign up another person. For example, if you run a consulting service give a holiday discount if the customer connects you or gives a gift certificate to a friend or family member for a free 20-minute consultation. Exceptional service to your first customer is the best marketing to introduce you to referred leads.

Christmas Cards and New Year’s Cards

It’s a little late to start ordering and mailing custom printed Christmas cards. And maybe that is a good thing because these pre-printed holiday cards are rarely read or kept, as the receiver knows that laser printed message within isn’t for them, it’s for anybody. Make a real impact by buying blank cards and personalizing a hand-written message of appreciation and well wishes to your customers. Obviously, there is a number where this tactic because unrealistic. But a small customer base can be enchanted, and a pool of potential customers will receive a memorable first impression that serves as an impactful introduction. Sound overwhelming? You can also automate with e-cards, or direct mail on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, sending holiday greetings that strengthen connections with customers and partners.


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5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget (1)


5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget (1)5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

The holidays are approaching – quickly. Take advantage of the festive and giving atmosphere by positioning your business to be top of mind with your customers.  According to the National Retail Federation, 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the year.  How are you going to optimize your marketing efforts in November and December?

Try out one, or all, of these holiday marketing ideas without busting your marketing budget.

Customer Appreciation.

Encourage repeat business and spread the holiday spirit by showing how much you appreciate your customers. Faithful customers should get special attention during customer appreciation and new customers or prospects should get your top-notch, above and beyond, holiday customer service. Why not do some of these:

  • Send holiday cards and contact your customers offering special appreciation pricing, sneak previews, or special offers.
  • If you have a physical location try a customer appreciation event or day where you can show off what is available for the holidays, give out special coupons, hand out samples, offer free cider, candy or treats, and really lay on the charm.
  • Encourage repeat business by offering a 10 to 20% discount off the next total purchase price if the customer presents a Customer Appreciation Day receipt of purchase at check out by Christmas Eve.

Weekly Specials.

Designate each week between the week of Halloween and the week of New Years as having a special theme with discounts for, and focus on, one product or service. Do inexpensive in-store/storefront signage, website/blog/email promotion, and advertise (per your budget) in a clear calendar style format that showcases your specials. Put your best of the best money-makers, or introduce something new you are excited about, on the ever important Thanksgiving week (to include Black Friday and Small Business Saturday) and the week leading up to Christmas. If you are heavily online – give the special bonus of extending the Thanksgiving week special to Cyber Monday in addition to the special for the week of Cyber Monday.

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Community & Charity.

While non-profits could certainly use your money, they are equally in need of volunteer time and services, as well as free supplies. Without touching your marketing budget you can assist a non-profit or the community in any way your expertise helps or with anything your hands can do.  Not only are you doing a good thing, it is a great opportunity to network with other contributors and possibly have your business mentioned as a sponsor, contributor, donator or volunteer. Focus on a specific event or program and regardless of what the organization can provide for you in return, make sure your customers and community know what you do for the community through your blog, press release, community paper/magazine, or simply placing photos in your place of business.

Promote Thy Neighbor.

The holidays are the perfect time to partner with other businesses. Think of what businesses compliment your business or look to your physical neighbors for cooperative opportunities if you are a brick and mortar shop. Some ideas include:

  • Split a larger local advertising space
  • Swap in-store or online advertising space
  • Give a coupon for the other business with a purchase from your business and vice versa
  • Set up a small display of free samples with your store information.

Gift Certificates.

Gift Certificates are great because they are inexpensive to create, can be managed easily in-house, and don’t require any fancy point of sale programming or extensive training to implement. But probably the best thing about Gift Certificates is that they are so often not redeemed because they are lost or forgotten, but you already have the money. Keep in mind these key points:

  • Create extremely professional looking gift certificates and packaging.  Someone is receiving this as a “gift”, so make it special.
  • Have a system in place for dispersing and redeeming gift certificates.  They should be clearly numbered and tracked at all stages from creation, sale, and redemption.
  • Once you have created your gift certificates, treat them like cash money and properly secure them from theft and mismanagement.  You don’t want to have to honor a gift card that was not properly purchased.
  • You can create gift certificates for a certain dollar amount and treat it as a discount for point of sale purposes. Or you can create a gift certificate for a specific product, service or package but remember you will need to create a point of sale procedure for redemption.
  • Consider including some fine print such as a two-year expiration date, noting that gratuity is not included but appreciated, contact information for inquiries or appointments, etc.

Do you have a great idea for low-budget holiday marketing? Please share in the COMMENTS!

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9 Holiday Press Release Ideas

holiday press release ideas

holiday press release ideasHave you ever put out a press release about your company?

Do you love the idea of free advertising?

Many small business owners think they would never use a press release because nothing news worthy is happening with their company.

In the spirit of the holidays and strong belief in working smarter, not harder, take this advice: don’t pass up on the opportunity for the free advertising that comes with well-written and timely press releases.

Press Releases are not made up of “breaking news” content. Sometimes you just need to create your own news, knowing that people are interested in what is going on in their community. Especially when you give unique angles on your not-so-every-day small business happenings. But what could you possibly write about?

Holiday Marketing Press Release Ideas

Tie in with current news events.

I don’t know what is going on in your town, but around Sacramento everyone is talking about the Kings and building their new stadium (basketball), or the Drought (brown grass and less crops). But maybe the “Polar Vortex” is all the news is talking about in your area. How can you tie what your business does to what everyone is talking about this holiday? A sale, a product, a service, a contests – how can you connect the dots? Make it easy for media outlets to put your story in the mix.

Adapt a national survey or report for local use.

Did a report just come out that the sale of menorahs nationwide has dropped by 70% but your small menorah warehouse has seen a 200% increase in sales over the same period? Why? That is something the media might like to highlight.

Holiday Event or Fundraiser.

If you are staging or sponsoring a holiday event, write (and submit) a press release that details how this event is special and what people will miss by not attending. Why now? What are the benefits of attending or supporting this event?

Employees Volunteering in the Community.

Always good Public Relations to show your business doing good things in the community. If you plan to stage an impressive show of support, send out a press release before the event to see if a slow news day sends cameras your way to get some video. Even without event coverage, get those smiling employees in shirts with your big company name on them and get photos! Show how your people are making an impact on the community and how proud of them you are. So proud you sent in a well written and correctly formatted press release so the whole world would know.

Sponsoring local programs or events.

When sponsoring a non-profit it is very important to put the emphasis on the non-profit and not on your sponsorship. “ABC Inc. is sponsoring the 14th Annual 100 Bikes for 100 Kids for Foster Kids of America. This amazing program…” and then go on about the program in the press release. If it gets picked up you’ll have plenty of opportunity to plug your company.

Honor an organization or institution.

Do all Veterans get free manicures with a paid pedicure the month of December? Do Job Corps graduates get free resume reviews? Can customers get 10% off their entire purchase by donating two cans of food at your store for the local food pantry? People want to know these things.

Long Term or Retiring Employees.

You need a “Wow” number here, but if this is Sally’s 40th year wrapping Christmas presents in your store or John’s 25th year dressing like a turkey and handing out candy corn at the farmer’s market, that is a great human interest story, especially timely if they will be retiring and it’s the last chance anyone will get to see them. (Just don’t make poor Sally retire to make the story more interesting.)

Visit by a Celebrity.

Obviously anybody TMZ-worthy coming to your store is worth noting. But during the holidays don’t forget about local celebrities and children’s favorites like Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer. Uncle Jerry in a $20 suit might not qualify but tying in what you do with a real treat like having a cooking demonstration by Mrs. Claus or letting customers put on an elf costume to take pictures with a life-sized stuffed reindeer are something different to talk about.

Competition or Contest.

Keep it simple and interesting and contest can bring in a lot of foot traffic as well as internet visitors. What is your target market? What do they find entertaining or care about most? Have an ugly sweater contest. A most high school pride contest. An eating competition. A worst gift photo contest. Just make it easy to enter and make sure you deliver the prize as promised and fast – and then promote the heck out of the winners as well.

Submit your Press Release to online press release sites (some paid and some free) but also use the press release as a media alert by sending it to the assignment desk of local television stations and newspapers well in advance of the event or immediately after its conclusion. If your press release is well written and requiring little work (all information and images included) and it can fill up on-air time or space in print easily, you’ll have a greater chance of making it on air or in print.

Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you! 

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Holiday Marketing Tip 1 – Have an Event

Holiday Marketing Tip 1

Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips

Have a Promotional Holiday Event

It’s that time of the year again! Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching. If you don’t have your holiday marketing scheduled you are already behind. With less than four weeks between Black Friday and Christmas, small businesses have less days to make a tangible impact with their holiday marketing.

Planning has to be done! Create a marketing calendar specifically for the holidays that spans the two months of November and December. Mark the key dates of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, and add a countdown of days until Christmas so you are continuously aware of the amount of days you have left to attract holiday buyers.

Add action items for each day that get you closer to your marketing and sales goals. Now schedule time on your work calendar to do the work needed to meet deadlines that must be met for marketing task such as creating copy and ads, as well as meeting publishing, printing and mailing deadlines.




What them can you create to tie what your business is or does to the festive season? Some are easy like demonstrations of the products you sell, giveaways or raffles for prizes and gift cards, or fundraisers for non-profits. Others are going to take some thinking so make time for that and look at what your competitors are doing in other markets to get some ideas of how you can capitalize on the holiday theme.

Create simple but bold storefront advertising far ahead of your event, add an event reminder to your receipts, have your sales associates and cashiers tell every customer about the upcoming event, ask neighbor stores if you can advertise your event in their windows, etc. This is the time to pull out your guerilla marketing tactics.


Select a Goal and Plan Your Event.

More foot traffic, customer appreciate, higher sales on most profitable products, raise awareness of special holiday services or discounts, fundraising community service, collect email addresses? Pick a specific goal and structure your event to successfully get you there. Asking yourself if what you are including in or working on for your event is getting you closer to your goal will help keep you focused and cost down by avoiding unnecessary extras.


Make the three weeks leading up to your event the focus of all your online and offline advertising. Make it impossible for anyone seeing your business online, in print or in person to NOT know that there is “YOUR EVENT” on “THIS DAY” and they don’t want to miss “WHY ITS AWESOME”. Create a landing page, send out email invites to your email list, “JUST 8 MORE DAYS TIL” countdown reminder on social media with link to landing page, all leading up to the event. On days 2,1, and 0 double up your social media reminders, remind your email list, and ramp up your networking to stay top of mind for the day of the event.

Media and Social Media Attention.

Are you doing something so new, crazy or heartwarming that others will want to see, hear or read about it? Create a press release and reach out to the local media to see if they are interested in stopping by. Send an invite to key personnel at local television and radio stations, as well as local newspapers and magazines for some free publicity.

Have someone designated to take a ton of pictures and some videos during the event.

If possible periodically post pics on your social media accounts. Additionally, it’s possible to have a story run after the event and the media outlet will want any of the really good photos or videos you have of the event.

Follow Up.

Immediately after the event reach out and thank the people who attended your event, and thank the people who supported the event. Hand written notes are a nice touch, but not always efficient, so if you use email take the opportunity to include pictures and special offers. Aim to give the reader a reason to come back to your business. This is also a good opportunity to get some feedback or conduct a survey on your business or the event. Just remember to keep everything as clean, concise and easy as possible for people to do.


Talk to me.  Let me know the one thing you wish someone had told you about promotional events before your first one.  And if there is a topic you would like to see covered in the blog just ask.  I’ll see you in the comment section.