10 Must-Know Marketing Ideas to Get More Sales this Holiday Season

Oliver Bridge

If you’re looking to make more sales this holiday season, this article is your perfect strategic companion.

We reached out to 10 leading marketing professionals across the worlds of SaaS, eCommerce, and beyond, to bring you a ton of actionable ideas and examples you can copy and use in your own business.

Dig into the list, freshen up your funnel, and get your holiday sales bouncing along effortlessly like a reindeer in a pair of Nike Alphafly.

Thank your customers with personal videos to get them coming back in the New Year

Contributed by: Oli Bridge, Head of Marketing at Bonjoro

If there's ever a time to level-up your customer thanking game, it's during the holidays!

One super-effective way is to thank your holiday customers with personal videos that look like this.

The personal touch with make them feel truly valued, increase the likelihood they'll tell others about your brand, and keep them coming back for more when they're in a position to buy again.

Here's an actual example from Tony Ray Tattoos, who thank all of their customers and invite them to their loyalty program. This simple act of gratitude has increased their customer lifetime value by 15%.

Try this:

Link Bonjoro to a purchase event in your CRM, or eCommerce platform, to send quick thank you videos to each new customer. You can pull through custom attributes from your own tools, so you know exactly who they are and what they bought, to make your video truly personal.

I got sent a Christmas Bonjoro by one of our partners last year. I was so blown away, I just had to share my delight with the world via Twitter...


Focus on the first 6 seconds to spark engagement

Contributed by: Colton Trcic, Content Production Manager, Design Pickle

Fighting for attention online is a constant battle, especially towards the top of your funnel. On average, you have 6 seconds before someone clicks skip and moves on from your ad.

At Design Pickle, we've found success is with making sure we have a hook within the first 6 seconds of our top of funnel content. A hook can be:

  • a subversion of expectations
  • a mic drop moment
  • a comedic beat
  • or even touching on a very relatable pain point

We created a commercial about a man that wore a pickle suit and how it improved his life, but our original edit had the hook (revealing he was in a pickle suit) at 0:16 seconds. While the video gained a few likes and some views, our director of paid ads asked us if we could recut the ad to get that hook in sooner.

We re-recorded the opening lines, cut out some branded fluff, and got to the hook right at 0:06 seconds. This version of the video blew up: 992.9k views, 78% average view percentage, 99.2% liked with 1,421 likes and 337 comments. It was a startling realisation that simple creative tweaks can meaningfully impact it’s long term performance. 

Try this: 

Whatever your hook is, make sure it’s delivered in the first 6 seconds of your top of funnel content. Put your biggest joke, your weirdest mascot, your mind melting fact or stat, up front and watch how fast it will transform its performance. 

Here’s our original ad, with only 158 views, and here's the one with the pickle suit at 6 seconds with 993,000 views!


Use image personalisation at scale

Contributed by: Eduard Klein, International Digital Growth Specialist

How to rise above the noise in your customer’s overflooded inboxes this holiday season? The answer is hyper-personalization with a combination of images, animated gifs, and video. We humans process images 60,000 times faster than plain text and 65% of the human population are visual learners. Our brain processes images in milliseconds and when we add personalized layers, it triggers pattern interrupts that catch the attention of the recipients.

Try this:

You can use Hyperise for image personalization at scale. In combination with Bonjoro’s video personalization, you can create unforgettable emotional brand experiences along your customer journey this holiday season. 

Use animated gifs and personalize them. When something moves, we are hardwired to notice movement and pay close attention to it. (try not to follow the gingerbread man) 

Cheers and happy holidays from Eduard Klein :-)


Use bold retargeting strategies to inspire sharing

Contributed by: Aazar Ali Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot.com & Host at Growth Marketing Stories Podcast

Try using retargeting in a bold way to your advantage this year, to make your Black Friday campaign even more purposeful. Prompt your customers to truly engage with your ads by being targeted and provocative with your copy and imagery.


To give you an example, I loved how Appsumo retargeted me recently via 3 different channels to share their campaign.

  1. Email 
  1. Facebook Ads 
  1. Youtube Ads 

But it's not just a thin retargeted ad. It's actually telling Appsumo's audience (entrepreneurs) to take control back and launch something with their tools. I find it interesting, engaging and most importantly actionable.


Pitch with value first, when everyone else is selling

Contributed by: Max Van Collenburg, Marketing Automation Specialist, MaxVanCollenburg.com

People buy from people they trust, and one of the quickest ways to build trust is by providing value first. Even though the temptation at this time of year is to lead with discounts, and offers, instead of just trying to sell sell sell, think about how you can add value to your marketing right now.

What is a small problem you can solve for your audience? What are their struggles at this time of year? What are they hoping to achieve with their own holiday promotions? Try to be helpful. Do something helpful for them, and they'll feel the urge to do something nice for you in return.

Try this: 

In your next email, instead of just telling people about your offer, try to provide some value by solving a small problem for them. Think along the lines of what they are trying to achieve at this very moment. Then, at the end of your email, pitch them your offer with a casual link, or even put it in the P.S. of your email sign off.


Create an abandoned cart series for your Black Friday and holiday offers

Contributed by: Gwen Sioson, Partner Manager, ActiveCampaign

Not every potential customer responds to the same message. An abandoned cart series with more than one reminder email gives you more chances to reach people with your holiday offers. 

Using multiple abandoned cart emails gives you more opportunities to win back some customers. It also means you can try a few different tactics to improve cart recovery including:

  • Experiment with the timing 
  • Use loss aversion (e.g. if you have a timed holiday sale, like the example below)
  • Use social proof (e.g. "other customers bought this and thought...")
  • Fun personality (try something fun and seasonal from your team)
  • Product shots 
  • Coupon codes (get them buying now, or make the coupon for the New Year to ensure they come back to you)

Try this: 

Boost your early holiday sales with ActiveCampaign's Cyber Monday Toolkit - includes pre-built abandoned cart emails you can copy and launch in a few minutes.


Design a holiday themed webinar experience.....that doesn't sell

Contributed by: Ashley Levesque, Director of Marketing at Demio

While it's tempting to push all your marketing efforts toward end of year deal closings, it can often come off as desperate, thrown together and disingenuous (not to mention, the end of year is noisy, and your attempt may get lost in the crowd).

Instead, consider a webinar event that drives brand affinity for your company, and sets you up for more pipeline in 2021. Use the holiday season as leverage to truly connect and engage with your market in a fun way - instead of a salesy way.

Try this:

Set up a holiday themed webinar that makes people want to spend time with you.

Invite them to a casual, fun, virtual happy hour - or some other kind of event that allows them to get an inside peek at the people and company - instead of simply the product or service. Then, following the event, make sure you hold true to your word and avoid pushing these new leads into complicated nurtures that are still just trying to sell them something.

Focus on building an event that offers value, and sparks the beginning of a trusting (and long) relationship. Here at Demio, we're all about wanting to make marketers' lives easier, so we're putting together a free "5 Minute Holiday Meditation" series that invites people to come de-stress with us before the holidays. No strings attached. We've also made it SUPER easy for them to say yes, by offering a range of different event options (live, pre-recorded and on-demand).


Engage your hot leads with personal videos

Contributed by: Kay Peacey, Certified ActiveCampaign consultant at Slick Business

The holiday season is competitive with offers and ads being run by every industry, so you need to be different to stand out.

Sending personal videos to your hot leads gives you the best chance to stand out vs. your competition. You can easily use your marketing automation tool to send hot leads into Bonjoro so you can quickly engage them with a personal video.

Try this:

Note the key steps on the journey interested contacts will take to get to their goal. Make sure your system can see when a contact takes each step, then use a counter or lead score to count the steps a contact takes, and set a threshold for when you will get involved with a human touch (your personal video).

When the counter hits the threshold AND the contact has still not yet met the goal, something’s holding them back. Now is Bonjoro time - send your video to deliver the human touch, make a connection, and offer an extra nudge to get that goal in the bag.

Watch Kay’s tutorial below and build an ActiveCampaign automation to identify hot leads and close sales with a personal video.


Run a time-sensitive or limited-quantity "buy one, GIVE one" sale for all new customers

Contributed by: Matt Brown – Content Manager at MemberMouse, a top WordPress Membership Plugin

Here's the thing: your typical "buy one, get one" sale doesn't quite work for online memberships, subscriptions, or courses. No one needs two copies of your digital product.

That being said, if you simply change one word in the BOGO acronym, you'll have the perfect holiday promotion for any type of digital product. Instead of "buy one, get one," you should consider creating a "buy one, give one" sale.

Try this:

Run a time-sensitive or limited-quantity "buy one, give one" sale for all new customers. This may help some of your more hesitant leads convert by giving them a truly compelling reason to buy your product now.

You may recognise this type of promotion from the online course juggernaut Masterclass. When you buy their annual membership, they create a free second account for you to give to a friend or family member. This is the perfect promotion for the holidays because it's in line with the season of giving.


Hit em while they're down (for a nap, after too much holiday food) promo

Contributed by: Christo Hall, CEO and co-founder at Basic Bananas

Run a promotion between Christmas and New Years when most people are taking a break, and there’s less competition from other B2B businesses. 

Most of your customers are off from work during that period and from our past experience they have more time to read your emails and spot your social media posts. Hit them with a promotion in that week, while they're on their phones after a holiday food coma, or while they're laying on the beach, if they're in the southern hemisphere like us.

Try this:

Use Bonjoro to run a promotion to your existing database with personal videos rather than standard emails. It won’t cost you anything, and you can easily generate new and repeat sales for an early bird promotion for delivery of products or services in the new year. We did an event promotion in this period 2 years ago and sold over $50k of event tickets. Not bad while we were laying on the beach!


Analyse your post purchase activity to keep your new customers longer

Contributed by: Mark Asquith, CEO, Rebel Base Media

There's no point spending all that time on holiday promotions, if you fail to keep your customers in the New Year. Here's a timely tactic for you when it comes to retention.

Although it sounds very obvious, not enough people analyse their post purchase or sign-up activity. Many marketers and product founders focus on the sales, sign-up, onboarding and even off-boarding process for users but don't track how people are using their product.

By analysing the behaviours of people using your product you can easily begin to predict churn triggers and nip them in the bud - and it's far cheaper than acquiring a new user! We do exactly this with our own podcasting platform Captivate.

Try this:

Work with your development team or webmaster, to build some analytics triggers into your platform or content based site, or use something like MixPanel to measure these important user behaviours. You can then identify the top 2 or 3 most important behaviours that lead to a strongly engaged and high lifetime value customer, and build your customer experience around those.


Create a holiday bonus course for your product

Contributed by: Colin Burton, Content Marketer at Thinkific

The holiday season isn't just a time to spend money on toys and toiletries. Many consumers are still on the lookout for deals on business tools and educational courses at discounted prices.

Why not create a new course for your product for Black Friday or Boxing Day, or re-launch your existing product bundled with a free educational course? Creating an online course could be the holiday gift that keeps on giving — for both you and your audience. 

Try this: 

  • Create a free mini-course on Thinkific as a little seasonal extra for your new and existing customers. Think “5-day New Year’s wellness challenge”, or “Top 10 tips to mastering excel in 2021”.
  • Launch a paid course and offer a limited edition holiday bonus bundle or discount to kickstart sales and test the content on your audience in preparation for the New Year.

Interested in creating a course? Anyone can get started on Thinkific and sell up to three courses completely free! 


Invest your marketing budget in audiences that already interacted with your brand

Contributed by: Jean-Philippe, Digital Marketing Lead at DashThis

My tip would be to make sure that you are investing your marketing budget in audiences that already interacted with your brand. This is a really smart way to generate results while not spending too much. The idea is that your ads might make them add your products to their own gift list or even make them buy for their loved ones. 

Try this:

You should make yourself a Facebook custom audience of your past visitors this year (you can go as far as 180 days) and you’ll be able to advertise to them on Facebook and Instagram. You could also make one for your past customers. On the same note, don’t forget to send email blasts to your list for the same reason mentioned above!


Use email lead nurturing to stay top of mind into 2021

Contributed by: Mark Lindquist, Marketing Strategist, Mailshake

Email marketing is extremely effective for reaching existing leads at the consideration stage of the marketing funnel and guiding them to a conversion. Set up a lead nurturing email drip campaign to send relevant emails to your leads on a regular basis and ensure that your brand stays top-of-mind this holiday season.

A lead nurturing email campaign relies on personalisation and segmentation. It introduces your product or service and it can help to build a stronger relationship with your leads so that you can influence them into making a purchase.

Try this:

Test your nurturing email campaign and optimize it. Try different subject lines and make sure you personalize it. Search LinkedIn to find out their first name, company, specific hobbies or interests. Mix up the length and copy and test different calls to action. A/B testing will help you understand which messages and approaches are most effective in converting your audience.


Wrapping Up (pun intended)

We hope these ideas prove fruitful for your holiday marketing efforts this year.

If you liked this article please sign up to our blog so you don't miss our future roundups, and expert tips, for growing your business and delighting your customers.

And if you do one thing from this list, try sending personal thank you videos with Bonjoro! You can get a free 14 day trial right here.

N.B. Yes, we know there are actually 14 tactics in total, but who uses that number in a blog title ;)

Growth tips
About the author
Oliver Bridge
Growth Grizzly
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