holiday marketing


As Halloween approaches, the end of October signals the beginning of the holiday season. For businesses, the holidays are a busy and demanding time. Customers are looking for the best deals, fastest shipping, and are expecting holiday cheer with customer service. Cyber Monday makes your business’s online presence even more important, but with so many companies competing for every customer, it can be hard to make your business stand out. The holiday season accounts for around 20% of retail sales every year. You do not want to miss out on holiday sales because your company went unnoticed online. Fortunately, there are simple ways of ensuring your business is noticed online this holiday season.


Mystery Box

Anticipation allows for excitement to build as time goes on culminating in a happy surprise when the mystery is finally revealed. Excitement also leads people to talk about their excitement with other people, potentially spreading the anticipation. As more people anticipate a reveal, the higher the excitement grows. Anticipation fits into the holidays well as most people feel anticipation before gifts are opened. You can use that same anticipation for gifts by selling a mystery box.


Mystery boxes use the mechanic of anticipation and the unknown to build excitement. It is common for stores to sell mystery boxes or bags containing products unknown to the customer. Generally speaking, putting products behind a mystery box increases a customer’s curiosity. The thrill of not knowing what is inside makes a mystery box more attractive. These mystery boxes are usually inexpensive, making the barrier to purchase low. Anything can be put in these mystery boxes allowing you to clear out holiday stock that might not sell otherwise.


Promote mystery boxes by posting on social media or on your business website. Making these boxes holiday season exclusives also plays into the “fear of missing out” making customers more likely to purchase.


Holiday Emotions

The holidays are traditionally about family and coming together to celebrate the season. Using these themes of family and community in holiday advertisements is a good idea as it builds relatability. Emotion-based ads generally don’t focus on specific products, but rather engages customers and builds brand trust. The holidays are a time of year people commonly associate with positive emotions, so making a feel-good brand ad fits right in.


Sharing is Caring

The holidays are a time of giving, sharing, and caring. What better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than include your customers in your marketing campaign. Consider creating a campaign that incorporates pictures or written content from customers. A famous example of this idea is the Elf Yourself holiday campaign from Office Depot. (Office Max originated the campaign, but has since merged with Office Depot.) Customers upload pictures of themselves or friends and Office Depot puts those pictures on dancing elves. The campaign sells the created videos for personal downloads, but it also gets customers talking and engages them with the Office Depot brand. The Elf Yourself campaign launched in 2006 and has become an Internet holiday sensation that continues to this day with its own app.


Holiday Decor

Holiday decorations are a key element of the season and your business social media and website can be decorated as well. Consider using holiday themed branding and visual elements online. Do not change site navigation or structure, simply add holiday flair to logos, banners, and the overall color palette. Holiday decorations on your website will put your customers in the holiday spirit and potentially increase their likelihood to spend.


It is important to remember that most people use their phones to browse the web, meaning any holiday changes need to be optimized for mobile. You do not want any technical barrier between your website and a customer, so take the time to optimize for mobile to get the most out of your digital holiday decorations. You can use Google’s tool Test My Site to see if your mobile site is up to snuff.



Communication is key in any relationship and that is true for the business and customer relationship. If your shop is closing for the holidays or changing normal operation hours you need to communicate that change to customers. Use social media or your business’s website to inform customers about any changes during the holiday season. Whether hours of operation are changing or shipping is being delayed, it is important that you talk to your customers. Communication should be even more important during the holidays when emotions are running high and there are a limited amount of days before the holidays are over.


The holidays are an important time of the year for everyone, including businesses. Increasing your online presence during the holidays will boost sales ensuring a profitable season.