Nobody likes missing out on something big. Make sure you’re planning your holiday promotions ahead of time, so you’re not late to the party!

With holiday retail sales reaching over $886 billion in 2021, your business cannot afford to miss out this holiday season.

So let us show you how to create some great holiday promotions and get the word out with professional holiday email templates.

In this article, we’ll give you eight great holiday promotion ideas, plus tips for how to make your promotions a success this holiday season.

Holiday promotion ideas to help you sell more

1. Try an early bird offer

This 3 Kittens Needle Arts Small Business Saturday email campaign encouraged customers to come out and shop with them by thanking them for their patronage. In addition to serving tea and treats, the yarn store held a special poinsettia giveaway for the first 25 customers who spent $50 or more.

Holiday promotion email example

2. Share a holiday gift guide

Help your customers find the perfect gift with a holiday gift guide. Include a variety of ideas for different family members and price points.

Fashion retailer, No Rest for Bridget, included a variety of gift ideas in their holiday email — from jackets to shoes to jewelry.

holiday gift guide email promotion

3. Highlight a gift card bonus offer

Entice customers to buy gift cards from your business by offering a special bonus.

Prezo Grille & Bar rewarded customers who bought gift cards by offering a bonus $25 for every $100 spent. This provided the perfect win-win for shoppers who wanted to give and receive!

holiday gift card promotion example

4. Offer free shipping

Drive orders on by offering free shipping.

You can even set a specific price point, like William Roam, to tempt shoppers into adding an extra item or two to their cart.

Free shipping holiday promotion email

5. Run a holiday photo contest

Have some fun with your customers this season by running a holiday photo contest, like Tasty Burger.

They created a special “12 Days of Ugly Sweaters” contest to inspire customers to show off their holiday fashion and enter to win a $150 gift card.

Holiday photo contest email

6. Promote your holiday events

If your business holds events, whether in-person or virtual, make sure you market your event and give your audience a discount or coupon to promote them. Geek Girl, a technology training organization, sent this email that offered an early bird discount of 20 percent off to anyone who bought tickets by the end of the year.

email campaign to promote an event
This is an updated version of the original email sent out by GeekGirl

7. Package your knowledge

Business owners who sell services or experiences are experts in their industry. That’s what customers are paying you for, right?

Put together a digital asset to give your audience a taste of what you do, and encourage them to become a client to experience your full services. The giveaway could be anything — a list of 10 tips, an e-book containing your best blog posts from the year, or a webinar. Health coach Michelle Pfennighaus shared her recipe for Halloween pumpkin fudge cups and registration for a free webinar on food allergies.

Find Your Balance Email with holiday recipes

8. Try a contest or giveaway

Keep your business top of mind by encouraging your audience to compete for a prize or enter into a raffle for a giveaway. It could be as simple as submitting their name and email to win the prize, or you could ask them to create something. Workers’ Credit Union launched a pumpkin carving contest on their Facebook Page. Fans who submitted photos of their pumpkins had a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to a local grocery store.

Workers Credit Union Pumpkin Carving Contest

5 tips to make your holiday promotions successful

With the right preparation, you could have a holiday promotion that will help grow your business long after the decorations are taken down and packed away.

Here are five tips to make your holiday promotion great:

1. Make sure your message is timely

You’ve probably heard about the three big shopping days this 2021 holiday season:

  • Black Friday (November 25)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 26)
  • Cyber Monday (November 28)

These three dates need to be on your marketing calendar when planning your holiday promotions.

Take time as soon as you can to start mapping out a schedule for the holiday season. Think about when you send your regularly scheduled email newsletter, what you’ll be posting on Facebook or Twitter leading up to the holidays, and when you may want to offer a local deal.

Keep in mind that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are just the start of the shopping season. Most of your customers will be shopping right through the end of December. Making your promotions timely can make all the difference in whether or not they’ll be shopping with you.

Tip: When family and friends gather on Thanksgiving, they’ll be talking about a lot more than just turkey. Consider sending out a reminder about your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday deal right before Thanksgiving to get families talking about your business.

2. Make it easy to take advantage of your holiday promotions

We all know holiday shopping isn’t always an experience worth celebrating.

With shopping lists that seem never-ending, crowds that won’t quit, and planning that never seems to be enough, your customers are hungry for something simple.

Here are five ways to make your holiday promotions easy on your customers.

  • Make it relevant: Consumers get plenty of irrelevant content thrown at them during the holidays. Make sure you’re paying attention to what your customers really want this year. If you start now, you could create a survey to ask customers exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Let your visuals do the talking: Using visuals to tell your story provides content that is “easy on the eyes” for your customers. Pick which products you want to highlight this season, and show them to your audience. Provide some information about each and make sure to provide customers with a way to ask questions.
  • Design wisely: Don’t overcrowd your email design with unnecessary choices. Make your emails easy to navigate, so your customers can quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • Use links effectively: During the holiday season, customers just want to get where they are going. When it comes to your promotion, that means using links that actually work and link directly to the product, service, or event you are promoting.
  • Make your call to action strong: Help your customers make decisions by including a call to action that makes it easy to take the next step. Whether it’s linking to a deal or getting customers to click through to your website, a strong call to action can make all the difference.

Tip: Think mobile: With 85 percent of Americans using smartphones, it’s never been more important to make it easy for customers to connect with your business, on the go. Make sure your email and website are mobile-responsive, so they look just as great on a phone as they do on a desktop computer.

3. Make your promotions personal

Your customers are going to be receiving a lot of promotions this holiday season, and very few of them will be personal.

Help your business stand out from the holiday avalanche, by adding the personal touch your customers are looking for. One way to do that is simply by adding “You” and “Your” or “I” and “We” to your content. (For example: “We have a new collection your friends are going to love…”)

But it’s more than that. It’s really about putting yourself into the shoes of your customers. What’s on their mind this holiday season? What problems can you help them solve? How can you make things easier for them?

Think about including helpful holiday articles or recipes in your upcoming template for email newsletter, or post them on Facebook. If you’re a Pinterest user, create a “Holiday” board and pin stuff that may not have anything to do with what you’re selling, but that your customers can use.

Tip: Sharing a personal holiday experience with your customers will help humanize your brand and show your customers it’s not all about the promotion. Learn more about the importance of personalized marketing.

4. Keep communications engaging

One good thing about the holiday season is that the content your customers love the rest of the year still works.

This means you don’t have to have a ridiculous deal or a blockbuster giveaway to get people excited about your holiday promotion.

Here are four tips for creating an engaging holiday promotion.

  • Use photos: Photos drive BIG engagement — the engagement rate of photos on Facebook is higher than video, text, and shared links. Snap a picture at your shop or of your staff preparing for the holidays and share it with your fans and followers.
  • Use video: Have a smartphone? Shoot a quick video to post on Instagram. Whether it’s a product demo, customer testimonial, or just a look behind the scenes, videos are a great way to engage your customers this holiday season.
  • Showcase reviews: One study found that 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Include relevant reviews, feedback, ratings, and quotes in your next email newsletter, or share a link to your business’s Yelp page on your other social networks.
  • Ask questions: Sometimes all it takes to get people engaging with your content is asking them what’s on their mind. Asking questions lets your customers know you’re listening and shows you’re interested in a lot more than just making a sale.

Tip: Consider using a “fill in the blank” on Facebook, instead of the typical question. Phrasing a statement like: “This Holiday Season I’m Most Excited About [BLANK]” and then asking fans to fill in the blank. It’s a great way to boost real engagement.

5. Make your promotions shareable

This year, spread the holiday spirit, and your holiday promotion, by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing on social media, and in your email newsletter.

That starts with creating shareable content. This is the type of stuff your audience will love so much that they won’t be able to wait to tell their friends about it.

We’ve already outlined some great holiday marketing ideas in our marketing plan template including:

  • Reminding your audience of your shared values
  • Providing added value
  • Engaging your audience with social campaigns and special offers

Bonus: Download our free 2022 holiday marketing quickstarter

In this free holiday marketing guide, we’ll show you how to leverage your website, social media, email, SMS, events, and more to deliver an engaging digital holiday marketing strategy.

Click on the image to download the guide.

You have all the ideas you need for great holiday promotions

Now, all you need is to put your ideas into action.