Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Last updated: April 27, 2020 | By Dory LeBlanc

Reading time: 3 min.

The holidays bring the competition between small businesses and big-box retailers to a fever pitch. It’s important to fine-tune a strategy, build community ties and cement your brand in shoppers’ minds as early as possible. But sometimes, the calendar can get away from busy business owners and before they know it, the official holiday shopping season is just weeks away while they’re corporate-owned counterparts have had the holiday spirit since the last of the Halloween candy left their shelves.

However, when it comes to competing with large retailers, local SMBs already have a lot in their favor:

  • The “shop local” trend shows no signs of slowing down
  • 77% of consumers prefer to shop small to mid-sized businesses
  • Digital advertising has helped level the playing field. This includes pay-per-click, search engine optimization and local advertising channels – especially mobile options
  • Brand penetration is more effective and affordable when you create the right partnerships

Here are 4 ways to increase revenue for your business this holiday season and strengthen your position all year round.

Partner with Leading Brands

Consider partnering with a national promotion like American Express’ Small Business Saturday. Since 2010 it has been encouraging communities to “shop small” at local, independent businesses, and giving those stores a competitive edge. By aligning with other small businesses in your area and partnering with AMEX, you can get the advantage of the marketing power of the big company, and at the same time join with other like-minded small businesses in your community.

Being Local Has Advantages

Facebook IQ recently found that 85% of people said trust and security are the main reasons they choose to shop locally. 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 Black Friday weekend or Small Business Saturday.
  • Join together with others in your area – Is it possible to join together with other merchants in your vicinity to have a 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 marketing – An 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 Pinterest.

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 and 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.

Mobile Continues to Drive New Business

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates holiday retail sales will reach $730 billion in Nov. and Dec. How can you get a piece of the action? Make sure you 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 2019

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.