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BFS Capital Blog

7 Proven, Out-of-the-Box Holiday Marketing Tactics to Spark Your Own

October 14, 2016

We’ve taken some time for past holidays – like 4th of July, Back to School, and Halloween – to give you some ideas to spark sales for your small business. But Christmas? Well, Christmas and the other holidays that make up the holiday season account for $86 billion in spending, according to the National Retail Federation. And since it’s pretty much the focal point of the business year, you probably have your own list of ideas.

But, you want to be different. Get noticed. Do something for the holidays that not everyone else is doing. And to get you thinking outside the box, here are a few Christmas promotion ideas that other companies have done that might not be what you’d call “traditional” but still have produced great results.

    • Offer Unusual Holiday Meals To-Go


    • It’s a little known fact that not everybody likes oven-roasted turkey or honey-cured ham. Or, more accurately, it’s a little known fact that a lot of people can’t cook and make them anyway. If you’ve got a restaurant, take a cue from Popeye’s Fried Chicken, the fast food


    • that offered deep fried Cajun turkey to go for Thanksgiving, giving people a novel alternative to the Thanksgiving/Christmas roast. Just, if you’re a sushi place, realize Turkey sashimi is probably dangerous.


    • Give Your Company a Special Holiday Logo


    • Have you ever noticed how Google comes out with a special logo (or Google Doodle) for holidays you’ve never even heard of? “Oh, look, Google’s got giant pancakes instead of the O’s, must be National Pancake Week!” You don’t have those resources but you do probably have enough to make a special holiday logo to use on your advertising, website, social media, to-go bags or whatever else. It might even offer an opportunity for you to sell limited-edition holiday logo merchandise that patrons can wear during August just to confuse people.


    • Cater to the Black Friday Maniacs


    • It takes a special kind of crazy to get up at 3am, risk a trampling worthy of an English soccer riot, and get in fistfights with toy-crazed soccer moms just to save $50 on an XBox. But, hey, crazy people need to eat, too. And if your restaurant is located near any kind of Black Friday retail hub, do what Tucci Benucch in Bloomington, Minnesota did and offer up heavily discounted breakfast items to folks waiting in line. Even if breakfast isn’t what your restaurant does, make an exception. Your audience is captive and looking for fuel.


    • Create Person-to-Person Sharable Holiday eCards


    • Peeps – you know the people who make those candies you only eat at Easter – decided they wanted to be known for more than Easter and created a series of end-of-the-year apologetic eCards with captions like “Sorry I tried to use the mistletoe as an excuse to kiss your mom,” and “Sorry I defriended you. Again.” If you’ve got someone on staff who’s actually funny give this a shot and promote it on your social media channels. People may not know exactly what your business does, but if it can make Easter candy relevant at Christmas, it can work for you.


    • Give People a Gift They’ll Actually Use


    • And that doesn’t mean a special holiday beer coozie or bottle opener. It means a legitimate thing a customer might need, especially in planning for the holidays. And you don’t have to give it to everyone: Cheeseburger in Paradise held a contest for one office to receive a fully-catered office party for 20 people and had entrants make a minute-long video explaining why they deserved it.


    • Make a Piece of Holiday-Related Shareable Content


    • The greatest-ever example of this comes from British consulting firm Quietroom in the form of a handy guide they call “

The Santa Brand Book

    • .” If you’re at all familiar with nonsensical marketing jargon, it might be the funniest thing you ever read. What does Quietroom do? Who cares, the company name is now completely viral thanks to this thing, which to date has 70,000 likes on Facebook.  So much like with those eCards, if you’ve got someone there with the creativity to do it, it could make your small business famous.


    • Realize People Hate Holiday Shopping


    • Because they do. And what do people want after they’ve spent an entire day on their feet going store to store to find presents they’re not even 50 percent sure people will want? Drink, of course. And if you’ve got the legal ability to sell the stuff, make like Sushi Rock in Arlington, VA and give people who can produce a legitimate Christmas shopping receipt a free drink. If they’ve spent the day Christmas shopping, odds are they’ll order another.

Image courtesy of Feelart /