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Outside the box: 5 creative holiday-themed marketing ideas

Written by Spencer Durrant on December 10, 2015 in Strategies & Tips

Outside_the_Box.jpgWith the end of the holiday shopping season a mere two weeks away, it's time for retailers to make a final marketing push and try to gather as many new customers as possible. 

The problem is, every retailer is trying to do just that. So how can you separate yourself from the crowd and make your marketing efforts stand out? You have to think outside the box. 

Let's take a look at 5 creative holiday-themed marketing ideas you can implement today to help position your store ahead of others in your niche. 

Theme your site and social media pages

Take a look at some of the leading ecommerce homepages: 

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Amazon has their homepage (and most of the rest of their site) themed for their "12 Days of Deals" promotion, which plays off the popular "12 Days of Christmas" song.

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Wal-Mart is doing the same thing as Amazon - theming their home page in order to increase the sense of urgency that comes along with shopping during the holidays. 

You can also use this tactic to your advantage by using the themes you establish for your website on your social media pages as well. Change header and profile images, and make sure your images fall within your chosen holiday theme. 

At the very least, you should present a holiday theme on your home page. If you have the time and resources, you can expand to other pages as well. 

Offer customized, branded "freebies"

As a way to entice customers to buy more products from you, consider offering them a customized, branded "freebie" item. Things like scarves or ties, or even mugs, are cheap to customize, and you can easily slap your logo on the item to remind the customer of your store every time they use the item. 

Use the traditional, "Spend $50, get a free scarf" offer to lure customers in, but make sure you highlight the ability customers will have to personalize  their free gift. While other stores may offer free gifts, you set your store apart by offering customers the ability to customize their freebie.

You can find a ton of websites that offer really cheap giveaway options, including 4imprint.com, that offers a bevy of products for under $1. 

Produce a holiday video

If you have the budget, creating a holiday-themed video is a great way to get creative and position your brand for top-of-mind awareness. Companies like Coca-Cola have been doing this for years. The below ad isn't a big sales pitch. It just taps into the charm and wonder of the holiday spirit and features a bunch of semi trucks hauling Coke. Simple, but incredibly effective.

You can also take advantage of video to tell a story. Telling good stories is becoming an increasingly effective means of content marketing, but those stories don't have to be told purely through written content. For example, take a look at the commercial below. It was produced by the Extra Gum Company.

Extra told a great story that had absolutely nothing to do with their product, in less than two minutes. In fact, a package of Extra gum is only seen three times in the entire video. Yet, it's an incredibly powerful piece of marketing because it tells such a great story. If you can find a way to tell a similar story that isn't "salesy" then you'll definitely have a great piece of marketing material in your hands for the final holiday push.

Send a personalized message to top customers

This idea may be a bit time-consuming, but it could do wonders for customer retention.

Take a look through the past year's best customers - those who have spent the most at your store. Choose maybe the top 20-30, depending on how much time you think you'll have to dedicate to this particular task. 

Then, once you've chosen your customers, write each of them an individual message, thanking them for their business the past year. End the message with an offer for free shipping on any remaining holiday orders they may have, or free shipping for all of Q1. 

This kind of marketing, while not flashy, requires less production cost and takes advantage of the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Once your top customers get their personal email, you can bet that they'll tell their friends about the great experience. They might even share the experience on Facebook and Twitter and you can take advantage of their posts by sharing and retweeting them. 

Be charitable

While plenty of big box retailers donate a percentage of holiday sales to charity, not many small-to-mid-sized retailers do that. But if you can find room in your profit margins, start taking a certain percentage of sales and donating them to a charity. Spend a bit of your holiday advertising budget on material that announces to your customers that you're donating, say, 3% of holiday sales to Charity X, and suddenly, you'll see an influx of visits and purchases on your site, especially if you advertise your charitable giving on social media. 

Don't forget to email your existing customers about the charitable giving as well. 40% of your online store's revenue (according to Adobe) comes from just 8% of your customers, so it's critical to keep those customers in the loop about campaigns like this.


While every online retailer is making a huge push to grab the last of the holiday shopping crowd, you can set your store apart from the rest by using these outside-the-box marketing tactics. From giving to charity to personalized emails, you need to do whatever it takes to put your store at the top of customers' minds during the final two weeks of the holiday shopping season. 


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