BBB Tip: Small Business Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season 2021

Small business owners standing in front of their shop

It’s that time of the year again, the holidays are right around the corner! For many small businesses, it’s the busiest time of year, but many neglect to take full advantage of it due to inadequate marketing.

According to projections, 2021 holiday retail sales should rise to $1.093 trillion, with $885.99 billion coming from brick-and-mortar stores and $206.88 billion generated through e-commerce sales. Cyber Monday and Black Friday are both expected to surpass $10 billion in sales.

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year accounts for over 20% of annual revenue for many businesses. Here are small business marketing tips to help ensure you have a bumper holiday season.

9 Small Business Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season

#1. Plan in advance

Blocks spelling out the word PLAN

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Having an action plan is critical for any business. But not only that, if you want to be ready for the holiday season, you need to plan in advance.

If you put it off too long you won’t have a successful marketing campaign.

Here are some important actions to increase your chances of success: :

  • Create a budget for the holiday season – Without a budget, it’s easy to overspend or not have enough funds for marketing. Make sure your budget is realistic and stick to it. 


  • Forecast your demand and plan your inventory requirements – Running out of stock because you underestimated demand or didn’t order enough inventory in time is a sure way to undo an otherwise successful marketing campaign.


  • Order marketing materials well in advance – Don’t wait until the last minute before ordering marketing materials such as holiday cards. Ask your supplier how soon you need to place your order for the holiday season.


  • Do some market research to get inspired – Take a look at how other businesses and successful competitors promote themselves. Use it as inspiration to brainstorm new ideas for promoting your business.

How early should you start planning? Bear in mind that many consumers shop for Christmas gifts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to statistics, over 80% of people begin holiday shopping before December.

#2. Create a holiday gift guide

Online gift guides are helpful for shoppers who don’t know what to buy their loved ones, relatives, friends and even colleagues. It saves them a lot of time coming up with ideas and shopping for gifts.

#3. Offer free gift wrapping

Florist shop owner with pink gift paper

Shopping for the holiday season can be hectic and time consuming for consumers. Many will support a business that offers complimentary gift wrapping.

#4. Printed holiday cards can be a winner

Sending your customers printed holiday cards is a great way to show your appreciation. If possible, try to add a personal touch to the card, such as writing a short note by hand.

If you don’t have a customer database, you should start building one right away. A customer database is one of the most valuable assets a business can own. Targeting existing customers that you know are interested in your products or services is much cheaper and more effective than spending money to acquire new customers.

#5. Offer special holiday gift bundles

Putting together special gift bundles for the holiday season can generate more interest in your business.

By packaging products together, you can offer customers a lower price than if they had to buy the products separately, and you increase your average order value. Consider offering multiple options to cater to different needs.

#6. Offer a special holiday returns policy

As mentioned above, many customers start shopping early and worry about not returning unwanted or defective gifts on time. A standard 30-day return policy may make them think twice before buying a product.

Offering customers an extended return policy such as 60 days, or allowing returns through January, will give them an extra incentive to spend their money with you.

#7. Run a contest on social media

Contests are a fun way to engage with your audience, gain new followers and generate excitement about your offers. It can also be very cost-effective as you don’t necessarily have to spend money on advertising.

For example, conduct a prize drawing for people who comment on your post or share it with their friends. To make it more interesting, you can have a weekly drawing to sustain the excitement. Make sure you use an attention-grabbing image and respond to comments.

Use your imagination to come up with ideas your target audience will love.

#8. Update your theme to reflect specific occasions

Use different themes to reflect specific occasions, such as Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year. You can update the look of your website and social media accounts just as you would decorate a brick-and-mortar store.

Think of doing fun things that will appeal to your target audience. Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing. You want to stand out and attract attention.

#9. Create videos

If you’re not using videos in your marketing campaigns, you’re losing out on a great opportunity to promote your business. Creating fun but informative short videos for apps like TikTok is quick and easy.

If you don’t want to show your face or create a video from scratch, there are many apps you can use, such as Promo. Videos typically get a lot more attention on social media platforms than text posts.

Visit our blog for more tips and helpful information.

The Better Business Bureau has resources to help consumers and businesses. You can report a scam (whether you’ve lost money or not), file a complaint against a business, leave a review of a business you’ve used and report an ad.

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