The Procrastinator’s Guide to Holiday Promotions

The Holiday Clock is Ticking

The last thing you want to do is wake one morning during the holidays and discover that you don’t have a holiday promotion plan.

This guide is here to help! With these tips and ideas, you’ll be up and running with your holiday promotions in no time!

Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now? Check out our holiday infographic for a few quick tips.

Holiday Time

Getting Organized

Create a Promotion Plan for the Holidays

A little planning goes a long way. The holidays are just about the busiest time of year for most small businesses. Plus, you’ll have fewer workdays with all of the holidays and vacations during this time of year.

So start by making a (realistic) list of what you want your small business to promote this year. Be sure to consider how much time you have, as some promotions will take a lot more planning than others.

small business holiday promotions calendar

Make a List and Check it Twice

Santa shouldn’t be the only one making lists this time of year. If you want to stay in touch with customers through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you’ll need to start with a good contact list.

Your CRM should be your go to place for your list building. Import recent customers from your accounting software and engaged email readers from your email service provider.

Spend your energy wisely by contacting the right people throughout the holidays. People who made recent purchases, long time customers, and hot leads are all good candidates. Make sure you can get mailing lists at the drop of a hat.

Pro(crastinator) Tip

You don’t want your holiday emails hitting spam folders. Remove inactive subscribers from your list (or try a reactivation campaign focused on great holiday offers) and make sure you know how spam filters think so you can avoid them.
Tip from MailChimp

Sending Email

3 Surprising Days to Send Your Email Promotions:

Thanksgiving – more than 83% of online retailers send a promotional email on this holiday.

Cyber Anyday – The week after Thanksgiving is blossoming for online shopping. Use the “Cyber Monday” brand all week long!

Dec. 26th – 57% of Americans will be shopping the day after Christmas

Holidays Are Great for Email Promotions

With everyone on the go this time of year, how do you get their attention? Email, of course!

MailChimp say’s that over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. “With extra holiday shopping, errands and events that number is bound to increase this season.”

If you are sending a promotion via email, keep it simple and make sure it is easy to read on a smartphone.

Don’t forget to write a catchy subject line, which is a great way to increase your open rate.

What Your Customers are Wishing For

If you want to drive sales during the holidays, give your customers what they want.
Quick Shopping Options
Make your emails relevant to your customers and make it easy for them to buy.
Free Shipping
Everyone loves free shipping, so make it part of your holiday promotions.
Mobile Deals
According to Hubspot, 41% of smartphone owners have made a purchase based on an email offer viewed on their phone. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, send a coupon to their phones so they can bring it in and show it you.

Pro(crastinator) Tip

The holidays are a perfect time to reward your best customers or subscribers. This season, try sending a special offer or ‘thank you gift’ to your most engaged readers or customers.

Tip from MailChimp

holiday decorations

How to Get It All Done (Without the Elves)

As you can see, you have a lot of opportunities for great holiday email promotions. But how can you possibly get it all done?

Scheduling, of course. Your email provider should make it simple for you to write your emails ahead of time and schedule delivery. That way, while you are carving the turkey, you’ll be driving sales at the same time!

Over 41%

of smart phone owners have made a purchase in response to an email promo.

Yesmail Interactive


of shoppers who come to the store say email offers influence their purchase.

Yesmail Interactive


of businesses who used email marketing during the holiday said their efforts were extremely or very successful.


Being Social

The Time of Year for Social Cheer

Social media has become a preferred means of communication for many people. During the holidays, you can use social for fun holiday messages, exclusive discounts, and more!

Offerpop notes that 97% of shoppers say they will turn to social media for advice before making a holiday purchase.

holiday cheer

Pro(crastinator) Tip

People love to shop for themselves, even while looking for gifts. Use incentives, such as a buy one get one deal, to encourage your Facebook fans to buy something nice for themselves.

Tip from Offerpop

Trendy Social Holiday Ideas

Spend your time on social promotions that work during the holidays!

  • Pictures are worth a thousand words and are so much more shareable! Use interesting shots of your product or other shareable graphics (memes anyone?) with your promotion.
  • Pinterest is huge. Start a pinboard with holiday ideas that relate to what you are selling. This is a great way to show off your product in a different light.
  • Promoted communications on social can drive new traffic. Commit a little cash to your Facebook promotion and see not only new likes, but new customers!
  • Customers love exclusive offers. Drive more engagement and shares by saving some of your best deals for those who follow you on social.


of women plan to use Pinterest to find gift ideas.



of consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen shared on social media.

Steelhouse &


of people use social media to communicate with companies.


Mailing Cards

Spread Some Holiday Love

Email and social are great for quick promotions during the holiday, but consider using something a bit more old fashioned to really get your message across.

That’s right, mail a holiday card this season! This is a great way to put a smile on your customer’s face during this fast-paced and often stressful time of year.

Pro(crastinator) Tip

Sending a fun company picture is a great way to personalize your card. Snap a photo with your smartphone, then use an online tool like Swiftly to get it touched up quickly and professionally.

Tip from 99Designs

A Personal Touch

You may think of cards as old fashioned, but they are a great way to make a personal touch with your customers.

Cards can be personalized in a lot of different ways. A hand-written address or personal greeting inside the card will show that you are a real person who cares.

Formstack recommends creating a holiday postcard with a blank back. That way you have plenty of room to add a personal note.

If you don’t have the time (or the handwriting skills), you can use a tool like Direct Mail Manager to send out personalized greeting cards with your customer’s name and a unique message.

A Touch of Marketing

You don’t want to waste money on junk mail, but a well thought out holiday promotion that arrives in the mailbox may be the perfect way to cut through the marketing noise of the season. A beautiful postcard that grabs attention can get shoppers in to your store or calling you up on the phone.

1.5 Billion

cards will be sent during the holiday season.

46 cents

cost of a US stamp to send a card. Overall cost can be under a couple of bucks.


are the lightest days for snail mail, so time your send accordingly.

Koch Group

Giving Gifts

The Gift of Giving

A well-thought out gift will show your best customers that they are really valued and it will put them in the right frame of mind to keep doing business with you next year!

Keep in mind, the gift you choose matters. A surplus pen may not send the message that you really care. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on gifts, though. Being thoughtful is what you should go for. Besides, if you send your customer a really expensive gift, they may start thinking that they are paying you too much!

gift giving

Pro(crastinator) Tip

Want to brand your gift? Have cupcakes made up with your logo on them, or go for something handcrafted with your logo artfully included.

Tip from Batchbook

Gift Ideas

  • Go local. Try finding a local crafter to make something unique and special rather than slapping your logo on a gizmo made in China.
  • Go yummy. Delicious treats are always a big hit. Save on shipping by choosing a bakery near your customer.
  • Go digital. You can now give gifts right through Facebook or with apps like Giftly.
  • Go meaningful. Instead of a chotsky, why not make a donation to a favorite charity in the name of your customer?


of retailers believe eGifts are a successful tool for building customer loyalty.


of businesses send cards or calendars as gifts.


of companies send gift certificates for stores or restaurants.

Stay On Top of the Holiday Rush

Batchbook is an easy to use CRM that will help you organize your mailing lists, print mailing labels, export to your email service provider, and more.