holiday marketing for small business

To stay top of mind this holiday season, think outside the digital toolbox

The holiday season is just around the corner. For many small businesses, that comes with something to celebrate — more customers.

From stocking up for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa parties to celebrating New Year's Eve with friends and family, people flock to their local stores and restaurants this time of year.

But peak season also brings with it a surge of competition. To stay top of mind during the holidays, you need to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few unique ideas for promoting your company during the holiday rush.

Stay top of mind with print marketing

Many business owners up their digital marketing efforts this time of year. But this may not be the best decision, given that only a small percentage of digital ads actually get and keep consumer attention. In other words, these ads are a dime a dozen — which means they're easy to ignore. In contrast, print ads have a 70% higher recall than digital ads.

The lesson? Make print a central part of your holiday marketing strategy. Don’t worry about spending on pricy, traditional print advertising. Instead, focus on marketing that's affordable and impactful, such as personalized postcards and other creative collateral. And, because fewer businesses use these channels, you're more likely to get noticed. Not only does it keep your brand top of mind, but it also increases your return on investment. Now that's a business strategy anyone can get behind.

Low-cost, high-return marketing ideas for your small business

Keep your customers coming back all season long with these simple retail marketing ideas that remind them of all your business has to offer.

1. Promote holiday events with postcards

postcard to promote holiday events
postcard to promote holiday events

To boost holiday sales, you first need to get customers through the door. Themed events are one way to make that happen.

The possibilities are endless. Think: holiday happy hours, cookie-decorating parties, family-friendly game nights, light display tutorials, seasonal craft workshops or traditional cultural celebrations.

Once you've landed on an idea, the next step is to get the word out. Personalized postcards that feature key details of your event are ideal for promoting the occasion. Be sure to tease incentives like free food, live music or gift-wrapping services. You can distribute postcards in person or send them via direct mail.

2. Highlight holiday specials with brochures

custom brochure to highlight holiday specials
custom brochure to highlight holiday specials

Another way to appeal to holiday customers is to introduce a selection of seasonal products or services.

Salons can offer a holiday makeover package that helps customers look fabulous for work parties or New Year's Eve celebrations. Restaurants and bars might offer a list of seasonal drinks or desserts made with festive ingredients. And retail stores might offer 12 days of Christmas giveaways. After all, good things come in small packages.

Brochures that highlight your holiday specials are one way to spread the word. Not only can you display them in your small business and local community centers, but you can mail them or send them home with customers leading up to the holidays. This way, they have a physical reminder of your offer.

3. Prepare clients for next year with custom calendars

custom calendar for loyal customers
custom calendar for loyal customers

If your small business regularly hosts events or offers seasonal deals, consider creating calendars with custom imagery and personalized dates. These gifts, which you can reserve for your most loyal customers, are an effective way to stay top of mind all year long. They're often displayed in high-traffic areas, hung on the wall or placed on a desk, which means customers are constantly reminded that you're open for business.

4. Show lasting gratitude with personalized mugs

personalized mug as holiday gift
personalized mug as holiday gift

Sending Christmas cards to clients is a common practice. But once the holidays are over, your card gets stored away. Personalized mugs, on the other hand, get used on a daily basis, making them a lasting medium for a thank-you message. Mugs can also make great gifts for employees, who may use them outside the office and attract attention to your eye-catching logo or witty slogan.

5. Attract return business with flyers

holiday open house flyer
holiday open house flyer

The holidays are a busy time of year, so you're sure to see a lot of foot traffic from both new and returning customers in December. But a whopping 70% of retail shoppers and restaurant-goers never come back for more. Talk about a lost opportunity.

Seasonal flyers are a fantastic, cost-effective way to encourage one-off customers to come back. Before the holiday season, order a large quantity of flyers promoting an enticing bounce-back offer that's only valid after the holiday rush. Throughout the season, display them prominently. Send every person who walks through the door home with one. You'll be sure to see an uptick in customers in the new year.

6. Get the word out with wearables

customers holding holiday branded accessories
customers holding holiday branded accessories

One of the easiest ways to extend the reach of your small business is to give away free clothing and accessories. These gifts act as traveling advertisements, showcasing your brand and logo wherever wearers go.

Drawstring backpacks make great gym bags, for example. Light and easy to use, they can also be taken on hikes or to the beach. Branded T-shirts offer even more real estate to advertise your business and make customers feel like part of your community.

The holiday rush comes with plenty of opportunities to earn the loyalty of existing customers and attract new ones. To stand out in a sea of small businesses, look to digital's cheaper and more effective sibling: print marketing. From postcards, brochures and flyers to calendars, mugs and clothing, you're sure to find a way to stay top of mind over the holidays.

Related articles

Holiday marketing checklist

Get your business ready for the holiday boom with this comprehensive list you won’t need to check twice.
Read more

Holiday Marketing Tips

Get your business prepared for the holiday rush with our 3-month marketing checklist, campaign ideas & business tips. Check how other small businesses handle their marketing operations around holidays.
Read more

Start Shopping