Add some pumpkin spice to your copy and holiday cheer to your images with these five tips for marketing your business during the holidays.

Nothing heralds the arrival of the holidays like cooler weather, peppermint lattes, and seasonal brand content. Kids aren’t the only ones looking forward to the holidays; it’s also an exciting time for marketers.

The holiday shopping season affords marketers the opportunity to connect with consumers through visual content that entices and delights, while also boosting sales. While we aren’t likely to see a huge uptick in holiday revenue this year due to the pandemic, Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast reports an estimated increase of 1 to 1.5%. At the same time, e-commerce sales could increase by 25% to 35%, compared with just 14% last year.

What does this mean for brand marketers? The key to maximizing sales is to engage potential customers online.

As you plan your marketing efforts around upcoming holidays, consider these five strategies for creating memorable and effective campaigns.


1. Salute Both Mainstream and Smaller Holidays

There are numerous opportunities in the months to come to align your products, services, and special offers with holidays. While Hanukkah and Christmas get the bulk of the chatter, it’s important to remember that these aren’t the only events worthy of your attention.

U.S. Thanksgiving (November 26th), Black Friday (November 27th), Small Business Saturday (November 28th), Cyber Monday (November 30th), Free Shipping Day (December 14th), Kwanzaa (December 16th), and New Years all warrant a look. Expect consumers to spend less time in lines in favor of shopping on their mobile devices and desktops this year.

Include smaller holidays in your plans. Image by ByeByeSSTK.

2. Know Your Holiday Shopper

Gone are the days when social media was more suitable for reaching younger consumers than older adults. Pew Research Center reports that as of last year, 40% of consumers 65 and over use at least one social media site. Meanwhile 69% of 50 to 64-year-olds and 82% of 30 to 49-year-olds do the same.

Plan ahead with shopper profiles. Image by Stock Rocket.

In its holiday hub and marketing guide, Pinterest shares a variety of holiday shopper personas that marketers can home in on. Aim to engage consumers like these across your campaigns by incorporating their shopping behavior into your ad copy and image choices.

  • The early bird. Shops for the winter holidays early in the year. The sooner you can reach this consumer, the more likely you’ll be to get your products on her shopping list.
  • The traditionalist. Following holiday customs makes this shopper happy. She’ll appreciate traditional holiday imagery and colors in ads.
  • The self-gifter. This shopper, typically in her 30s, doesn’t just buy gifts for others but also for herself. Use your ad copy to encourage her to treat herself.

3. Customize Your Social Media Content

One of the simplest ways to attract customers is by updating your social media content with images that reflect the changing seasons. With the holidays approaching, brands everywhere are swapping out evergreen visual content for graphics that embody winter and convey a seasonal mood.

During this time of year, consumers naturally gravitate toward holiday imagery. It reminds them to shop, and can spark gift ideas that ultimately lead to purchases. At a time when consumers are bombarded with visual content, it also allows you to gain more visibility and expand your reach.

Create custom designs and share your content on all your relevant channels. Image via Editor.

When you’re creating content for social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, highlighting holidays can help you make your products and services appear more timely and relevant. Try using Shutterstock Editor to size your images for specific social media formats, including Facebook covers and links, Twitter headers, Pinterest posts, and YouTube channel cover photos. The tool even offers templates specific to seasonal promotions that might work for your brand.

Start this process as early as possible. You’ll want to leave time to optimize your copy and images for success before the holidays arrive. If, for example, you’re creating content related to Christmas and Hanukkah, post your campaign by early November. Monitor its effectiveness, then optimize as needed to ensure the best possible result.


4. Use Instagram and Facebook Stories

Facebook and Instagram differentiate themselves from other social media content in that they only remain live for twenty-four hours. Whether you’re keen to keep your followers engaged or you’re promoting a limited-time holiday sale, it’s worth exploring this exciting format.

Instagram reports more than 500 million accounts use Stories every day. Facebook boasts a similarly-sized user base. In addition to immersing consumers in your content and brand, Stories can showcase individual products like limited-edition holiday collections. When you’re looking for holiday images to accompany your product shots or use as backgrounds, choose eye-catching visuals with a clear, central focus that draws the user’s eye even if they’re viewing your content on a tiny screen.

While you’re focusing on producing social media content, be sure to explore Instagram’s recently launched Reels. These fifteen-second videos can be overlaid with audio and other effects. Similar to video sharing app Tik-Tok, Reels allow your to produce what AdAge calls “stackable lifestyle and promotional video content.”

You can either share Reels with your established audience by adding them to your Instagram Story, or through Instagram’s “Explore” page to reach a new audience via the Instagram community at large. Sephora uses Reels to showcase its products, post makeup tutorials, and share promo codes.

Stories have a short lifespan, but that doesn’t prevent them from having impact. Image via Sephora.

5. Keep Your Customers Up to Date on Promotions

Email remains a go-to marketing tool for brands. If you’ve taken the time to grow an email list of current and potential customers, it’s an ideal way to get the word out about your promotions. Hubspot research shows 78% of marketers saw an increase in email engagement last year. With consumers spending more time at home due to COVID-19, this number may increase.

As with social media, it’s smart to use seasonal and holiday visuals in your marketing emails to make them appear more relevant. Use engaging images and keep your email copy short. Studies show 46% of all emails are now opened via mobile device, and mobile users are more likely to skim emails quickly than read a lengthy message.

Keep your promotional messaging short and to the point. Image by elenabsl.

But it isn’t enough to spread the news about limited-time specials and sales. You’ll need to remind consumers about them, too.

Aim to send three messages about each promotion: initial news about the offer, a reminder a week later, and a “last chance” message a few days before your holiday deal expires. Do the same on social media to develop your omnichannel brand presence and make consumers aware of your holiday promotions wherever they are. This strategy will maximize your seasonal exposure.


Cover image via Baramyou0708.

Looking for more on creating effective holiday campaigns? Check out these helpful articles.