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The Ultimate Holiday Marketing Guide for Small Business Owners

The Ultimate Holiday Marketing Guide for Small Business Owners

The holidays are big business, so don't let your small business miss out!  

Deloitte forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 10.3% to 12.8%, year-over-year, during the 2023-2024 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $278 billion and $284 billion this season.

This means there’s plenty of profits to go around. The major holidays that can boost your sales include: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and more.

So how do I make more sales during the holiday marketing season? 

You will make more sales and earn more money if you’re intentional with your promotions. That means creating a plan ahead of time, so you aren’t flying blind.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with your holiday promotions…

You’ll see bigger profits and enjoy your own holiday season more when you have a holiday marketing plan in place.

After years of helping 1,000s of small businesses see success, we've narrowed down Holiday Marketing Success to 4 easy steps that any business owner can do!

In a nutshell, you simply need to:

  1. Plan your holiday promotion. 
  2. Create the promotion graphics and copy.
  3. Prepare your audience for sales (warm them up first)
  4. Promote your holiday sale

That's it! 4 simple steps to creating a great promotion! 

We go into GREAT DETAIL on how do do all four of these steps below so keep reading!

We want you to be focused and ready to reach new heights this holiday season. Even if you've never run a promotion before and this is your first Small Business Saturday Promotion... Even if you've waited until the last minute to create an effect Black Friday Sale... Start planning now to have your best season yet (without the stress).

How to Plan a Successful Holiday Offer for Your Small Business

Do you have your holiday marketing plan in place yet? We know it may be last minute, but the holiday season is an opportunity you just can’t miss.

So, we created this Ultimate Holiday Marketing Guide so that even if you’ve waited until the week of Thanksgiving to come up with your holiday offers, you can STILL pull off the most successful holiday sale ever!

So, without further ado let’s start with Step 1: Planning


Planning your Holiday Promotions and Sales

Set your goal for the holiday season (November-December-January).

But let’s be more specific — Pick something that is measurable and specific to you, set two to three smaller supporting goals, then determine specifically what it will take for you to achieve each goal.

Your Main Goal Example: $10,000 in revenue or 40 special promo sales in November/December.  

Examples for Supporting Holiday Marketing Goals you can set:

  • Grow email list by 100 new subscribers
  • Create 3 new blog posts that promote email list incentives and help your subscribers know, like, and trust you.
  • Tease an “email VIP only” sale – promote a few days before on social media to earn a few new subscribers. So, if you are having a cyber Monday offer, send a “tease” email on Black Friday.


Determine what holidays you'd like to create a sale for.

Take a look at the calendar and check out the dates and holidays you’d like to participate in.

These can either be traditional holiday events – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday – or events you create for your own shop (like a 12 Days of Christmas sale or giveaway for example).

Work backwards to decide when you’ll begin to share messaging. Will you share just the day of, with a preview day, or further advanced notice?

Take note of all of that because the more you clarify, the easier it will be to take the next steps - designing and executing your offer!

2023 Key Holiday Marketing Dates

Here's a list of this year's dates you can run a promotion or a special during this holiday season.

  • Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, Nov 23rd
  • Black Friday - Friday, Nov 24th
  • Small Business Saturday- Saturday, Nov 25th
  • Cyber Monday- Monday, Nov 27th
  • Hanukkah - Dec 7th - Dec 15th
  • 12 Days of Christmas
  • Free Shipping Day - Friday, Dec 15th
  • Super Saturday - Saturday before Christmas
  • Christmas Day - Dec 25th
  • Day After Christmas - Dec 26th
  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
  • Other Holiday:

If you are new to promotions, We'd suggest picking just one or two of these days and create your amazing promotion using the following holiday promotion planner pages.

Use the 4 steps listed above for EACH holiday you chose to run a promotion during, and be sure to watch out Live Marketing Training Replay for specific tips, tools, and tricks that will make your life easier


Define what your holiday offer will be.

Give this a little thought!

  • Do any of your products/services make for the perfect gift?
  • Does something you offer provide inspiration and ideas for holiday outfits, home decor, etc?
  • Is there a special holiday line or themed collection?

These will determine what your focus is for your marketing plans in step #1 (ie. what you’ll give away, write about in your blog posts, and include in product round-ups).

Pick an item or service to be the center of your holiday offer (one per holiday you choose to participate in) and decide what will be special about this offer.

  • A percentage off discount
  • Free shipping
  • Buy One Get One Free
  • A free “goodie” to go along with qualifying purchases


Organize your holiday promo ideas for easy execution.

Use the Holiday Marketing Planner by Socially Inclined to stay organized during this part of the process.

A link to download the free holiday marketing planner with promo planner pages to help you plan, create, and execute the perfect holiday promotion

Use the planner pages or your own notebook to:

  • Brainstorm your offers
  • Create messaging ideas
  • Record imaging and design ideas
  • Plan where to schedule and advertise
  • Plan supporting content like (blogs, emails, etc.)
  • Mark complete as you work through the process
  • Record your progress


Create your holiday offers and promotions

Once you finish planning your holiday offer, then it's time to determine what promotional materials you need and create those elements that are going to help you get the word out about your holiday offer!

Here's how you do this step-by-step.

Determine what content will you need to pull of a great holiday promotion.

Determine how many times you are going to post about your offer.

Example: You may want to tease a Small Business Saturday promotion the day before Thanksgiving and the day after as well.

Meaning you will want 3 promotional pieces for you event - 2 for each day you “tease” and 1 for the day of! SO… If you are participating in 2 holidays this season and post 3 times for each, you will need 6 promotional pieces TOTAL.


How to create amazing holiday promotional graphics.

Create specific event graphics for each social media platform you plan to use.

Don’t over complicate this… Find one image you want for each piece and if you need multiple platforms, use the same image and text and simply change the size to match each platform.

This in not only easier on you, it is good for your brand consistency.

5 simple steps for create beautiful holiday promotional graphics.

  1. Find good images. If you have originals from your shop/services, hen great! If you need some, you can find nice free-to-use imagery on (choose 3 images that fit with what your offer or messaging is).
  2. I recommend using Canva for your design needs It’s free + easy to use, plus comes loaded with pre-made templates. Select the type of graphic you are making like “Social Media” or “Pinterest Graphic” then browse templates until you find one that jives with your style.
  3. Make it your own. Select your template, upload your images, and start making the template your own using you own images and text.
  4. Finalize. Once you’re happy with the design, download your images.
  5. Repurpose & Resize (OPTIONAL): If you are creating for multiple platforms, this is when you resize the images you just created to different platforms. It’s a super useful tool that just requires only a little adjusting once you have converted.


Write your holiday promotional content (posts, emails, etc.)

Create the text that is going to convey your offer and your message. Think about what your audience wants and write like you are speaking to one person.

Don't write your holiday marketing posts from scratch. Instead, download a free a fill-in-the-blank holiday marketing social media post (and teaser post) template as part of our Holiday Marketing Planner. Download it here.


How to prepare for your holiday promotion?

Prepare for your holiday marketing and promotions by getting active on social media, posting regularly, and starting authentic conversations with your followers.

Before you start promoting you need to make sure you have been active in emailing and posting on social media. If not, you should warm your audience up before starting to be promotional right out of the blue.

Preparing your audience to hear from you by posting regularly and engaging with them before you start your holiday promotions is crucial to the success of your holiday marketing season. 

Remember your relationship with your audience and followers can’t be just promo… promo… promo. If it is, you'll get less engagement and people will keep scrolling right on by your amazing content! 

If you haven't been consistent, now is the time to start posting consistent, engaging content. If you need engaging content that is ready-to-go and done-for-you, start your Your Social Plan Content Membership and have 3 daily posts and 2 daily reels at your finger tips in minutes!

There's no better way to get people talking than to start posting regularly. SO make it a priority now and into the new year! 

Post an engaging question every day from now until the end of the year and watch your engagement soar! We've included 30 beautiful engagement-grabbing posts in this Holiday Hustle Bundle... Check it out!

The same goes for your email list. Send a re-engagement email to get people used to hearing from you before you hit them with an onslaught of sales content.


Other places to prepare for your holiday marketing content:

  • Your website. Is it responsive?
  • Sales pages. Do the have the right messaging?
  • Checkout Pages. Is the pricing right?
  • Product Listings. Do they need a brush-up?
  • Discount Codes? Are they working?
  • Social Profiles. Do they still represent your brand well?


How to promote your holiday offers and execute them well during the busy holiday season.

You’ve done all the hard, creative stuff… now you just have to deliver your message in a way where the most people can see it while still enjoying your holiday!

Schedule your holiday promotions, messaging, emails, and posts. 

Scheduling your posts is a great way to finish your business building tasks ahead of time and free up your mind to enjoy your holidays with your friends and family.

There are many different options out there for scheduling your offers to post automatically. If you have not tried the Socially Inclined Dashboard you should try it to see how automation can work for you.

You just add your graphic and text and schedule for the time and date of your choosing… ezzzzeee-peezzeeee!


Consider boosting your offers.

Don’t forget! You are going to have a lot of competition on your audience’s newsfeeds this time of year! So, you might consider boosting or sponsoring you posts. You can schedule an ad or boost for only a few dollars a day and see an amazing result.

Additionally, social media algorithms have become so intuitive that expert targeting techniques are not near as critical to an ad's success as it once was. Simply post, elect to boost your post for a few bucks, tell Meta what your goal is, and it will handle the rest!


Encourage engagement on your offers.

When you crafted your posts you should have included some encouragement to share your offer and ask them to engage in some way. 

This helps your offers to be seen by more people. Every post should have a CTA (call-to-action) that encourages the viewer to take the next step. 

It’s also imperative that you respond to any engagement you get on these posts to help gain exposure. Watch for comments and questions and be sure to answer in a timely manner. These techniques will help you get the most out of your efforts!

DONE... Doesn't that feel great!?!


To wrap this all up like a pretty present under the holiday marketing tree...

Doing a little planning for your holiday promotions ahead of time can have a huge impact on how well your holiday offers perform. So whether you have 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 months, you can start and complete an amazing holiday offer quickly with this 4 -step marketing plan! 

We hope you’re feeling better prepared to take on this holiday season! It feels great to work ahead and automate some of your marketing!

Want this year's holiday marketing to be effortless???

Grab this huge holiday marketing promo bundle for Effortless Holiday Marketing Success. It includes a Step by Step Guide, checklists, graphic templates, planners, engagement tools, and more to help you Plan, Create, Prep and Promote your holiday offers! 

Holiday Hustle marketing bundle that includes: Guides & Training Holiday Planning Guide for Step by Step Planning Your Holiday Promotions 21 Holiday Offer Ideas 10 Tips for Boosting Sales during the Holiday Season 10 Tips for Holiday Social Media 10 Tips for Holiday Email Marketing Bonus Deck the Halls Design Challenge Social Posts, Images & Templates 30 Social Content Ideas 30 Engaging Social Captions 30 Holiday Conversation Starter Images 100 Holiday Promo Canva Templates 12 Promotional Social Media images Holiday & Winter Hashtags Promo fill in the blank template post Promo fill in the blank teaser post Planners & Checklists Holiday Daily Promo Planner Holiday Weekly Promo Planner Holiday Product Promotion Planner Holiday Product Promotion Checklist Holiday Product Promotion Worksheet Holiday Promo Content Creation Planner Holiday Website Promo Checklist Email Templates Re-engagement Email Template Holiday Offer Email template November Email Newsletter Template December Email Newsletter Template



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