4 Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Last updated: September 26, 2022 | By Ivy Sieff

Reading time: 4 min.

The holidays bring the competition between small businesses and big-box retailers to a fever pitch. It’s important to fine-tune a marketing strategy, build community ties and cement your brand in shoppers’ minds as early as possible. After all, your corporate-owned counterparts get into the holiday spirit as soon as the Halloween candy leaves the shelves.

But like many small business owners, you may not have a huge team or budget and must find simple and cost-effective holiday marketing that doesn’t take up too much of your time or break the bank.

It’s important to keep in mind that local businesses have a lot in their favor:

  • The “shop local” trend shows no signs of slowing down: 63% of consumers say shopping local is at least somewhat important
  • 84% purchase gifts from stores they normally don’t shop at
  • Digital advertising has helped level the playing field with the emergence of search engine marketing (SEM or pay-per-click), mobile display advertising, QR codes and social media advertising
  • Brand penetration is more effective and affordable when you create the right partnerships

Whether you start your holiday marketing now or wait a few more weeks, we have 4 recommendations to increase revenue this holiday season and strengthen your position all year round.

1. Partner with Bigger Brands

Consider partnering with a national promotion like American Express’ Small Business Saturday® or your local chamber of commerce. By aligning with other small businesses in your area and partnering with bigger enterprises, you get the advantage of stronger marketing power and at the same time join with other like-minded small businesses in your community.

56% of consumers plan to shop on a major spending holiday (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday®, Cyber Monday), down 23% vs. last year. Leverage your networking connections in your community to help spread the word about your holiday discounts/offers on these days.

2. Being Local Has Advantages

While retail giants are successfully rebranding with hometown appeal, small businesses intimately know what makes their markets tick. Offering hyper-targeted holiday promotions by neighborhood and demographic can give you an advantage over larger competitors. Some examples include:

    • Specialty product discounts – Do competitive research and see if you can beat a larger retailer on the price of a specialty item. You may not be able to offer the same volume pricing but consider a special sale on your most popular items over Thanksgiving weekend.
    • Join together with others in your area – Is it possible to join together with other merchants in your vicinity to have a holiday sidewalk sale? Or perhaps partner with another merchant to offer a free local coffee with an oil change. There is strength in numbers!
    • Social media advertisingAn effective way to generate buzz now (and all year long!) is to add personality and local flavor into your social channels. Run an “Ugly Holiday Sweater” contest and include a promo code. Ask customers to share a holiday memory or photo on Facebook. Run a promotion or special menu on Twitter. Get your products out there on Instagram.

3. Focus on Your Niche

Hangers Cleaners was a small, Kansas City dry cleaner faced with competition from Proctor & Gamble’s Tide Dry franchise. Hangers chose to differentiate itself by putting quirky slogans on its clothes hangers, throwing street parties, marching in local parades and eschewing storefronts in favor of free pickup and delivery service.

Remember the benefits that distinguish your brand from big box stores and lean into those differences.

4. Mobile Continues to Drive New Business

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates annual retail sales will reach $4.86 trillion for the year. How can you get a piece of the action and close out 2022 strong?

Make sure your target customers can find you whenever, wherever. Have a mobile-friendly website that anyone can use while commuting, sitting in the bleachers or running errands.

Consumers are looking for coupons, deals and sales – so make sure you feature your best offers on social media and your website!

Holiday Marketing for 2022

If you feel overwhelmed with the upcoming holiday retail shopping season – your local Valpak marketing consultant is ready to help. They’ll walk you through how you can capitalize on the holiday season with a digital marketing campaign. Or you can go the traditional route and advertise in the iconic Valpak envelope for as little as 3 to 5 cents per household.

You can view the entire 2022 Holiday Shopping Survey Guide here.