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4 last-minute tips for running a successful promotion over the holidays

US retail eCommerce spending is projected to hit $135.35 billion this year, according to eMarketer, so there’s no time like the present (no pun intended) to get your holiday sale promotions in gear!

If you run a digital business, November and December can account for as much as 20-30% of your yearly revenue. But, what helps to bring in that sweet holiday cash?

In this week’s edition of The EDDit, we dig into 4 last-minute tips for running a successful sale promotion over the holidays.

1. Target past holiday spenders

One quick and easy way to boost your sales is to direct your marketing messages toward the very people who purchased from you during last year’s holiday sale – or at least your existing customers. The holidays are not always the best time for experimentation; Shorter sale periods give you less time to work with and there’s a ton of competition on the market.

Past holiday spenders are more likely to be receptive to this year’s offers, and can provide a more reliable return on your investment, making your advertising and marketing budget stretch a bit further, too. You might even take it a step further and segment these customers by interest or price range, allowing you to tailor more effective campaigns to their needs.

2. Implement a gift-giving system

Why is everyone spending so much money around the holidays to begin with? Gifts are a huge part of it!

Many digital stores allow people to purchase products as gifts for others – and most eCommerce solutions have some kind of gift-giving plugin or add-on that you can use to add this functionality to your store.

However, sometimes the excitement of gift giving can get lost due to the intangible nature of digital products. Hey, you can’t really wrap them, can you?

Well, did something interesting and offered an actual USB drive containing their product files:

USB drive with product files (
USB drive with product files Cymaticsfm

Obviously not everyone can get gold USB drives ready to go at the last minute, but you can create a holiday-themed email that gets sent to the gift recipient upon purchase. At the very least, this should contain the product download link, but it’s a nice touch to add a custom message from the buyer and some festive imagery!

3. Slash prices instead of using coupon codes

If you want to make it extra easy for customers to grab a deal, you could manually adjust your product prices down to the sale price instead of requiring customers to enter a promo code at the checkout.

You might be thinking, “Why would I do that?”

Well, it might seem pointless when promo codes essentially achieve the same outcome, but anything you can do to reduce friction in the purchase process is a net positive. This can be especially effective during holiday sales, when customers are already more excited to spend!

4. Get festive!

Companies like Starbucks have been capitalizing on the festive holiday spirit for years with their holiday coffee cups. Why shouldn’t you?

Tapping into the fun of the holiday season can be great for engagement – and better engagement means more sales!

Here are a few ideas for festive branding and engagement strategies:

  • Update your website and social media accounts with festive copy and imagery
  • Create a unique holiday-themed hashtag for your brand
  • Do a holiday countdown, featuring a new product or special offer each day
  • Share fun facts related to the holiday and/or relevant to your niche
  • Host live videos that showcase your products, spotlight customer success stories, or focus on holiday-themed topics
  • Create holiday-themed quote images or other shareable graphics

It’s a great time for newsletters

There are so many ways you can directly and indirectly inspire customers to buy your products, but newsletters are one of the most effective and long-standing promotional tools. Consider sending a newsletter featuring holiday messages, interesting stories, gift guides, lists, or useful tips for your customers.

Trello sent out a fun email with a list of ideas for how to use the software in different ways:

Holiday newsletter (Trello)
Holiday newsletter Trello

Don’t forget that customers love freebies! Adobe Stock gave away a free holiday-themed product in this newsletter:

Newsletter with a free product (Adobe Stock)
Newsletter with a free product Adobe Stock

Giveaways get engagement

Holiday giveaways are particularly good ways to boost engagement and increase the reach of your promotions. Maybe you decide to give away a big ticket item and people can enter to win by liking, sharing, and/or commenting on the promotional post. This can get your brand in front of a lot more eyes.

Consider pairing your giveaway with some holiday-themed graphics that are eye-catching and easily shareable for maximum impact!

You could also offer extra goodies or a free product with any purchase of a promotional item. Certain customers will jump at the opportunity to get this extra value coupled with the holiday sale discount.

Watch your competitors

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas to run with, but if you’re still looking for more inspiration, watch what your competitors are doing. There’s no shame in taking ideas from their promotions and molding them to fit your own.

Whatever you choose, stick with it and be ready to give 100%!

What tips do you have to share when it comes to holiday sale promotions? Did we miss something in this post? Leave a comment below!

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  1. Mandy Jones

    thanks for the tips for running a successful sale promotion over the holidays, this article give new insight about how the promotion can be successfull.

  2. Mandy Jones

    These are truly marketing hacks that convert this season.

    Also, in addition to what you have mentioned:

    Every tips here are awesome and can bring positive changes in sales.

    I would honestly advice a marketer not to over do these strategies, he/she can do it from their market research data.

    What do I mean here,

    * He/she can use one at a time and see how it works and either improve on it or change the method completely.

    * Doing all strategies at once will make them think your product is not trustworthy.

    * What can help them get the best results from these techniques is to inform their customers (potential buyers) on time to enable them save up or get prepared not to miss the opportunity.

    * Marketers show take record and use what works best in their local.

    I would conclude this comment by saying, “Speak in the language your targeted audience would understand better”.

    1. Mandy Jones
      1. Mandy Jones
    2. Mandy Jones

      Good points here, James! I definitely agree that language and brand tone are very important when it comes to mobilizing your audience.

      And you’re right, completely overhauling your methods all at one time can disorient customers; I think the sweet spot is to choose a few methods that make sense for your brand, product type(s), and audience.

  3. Mandy Jones

    Such a wonderful blog about how you describe about 4 last minute tips for running a successful sale promotion over the holiday and I appreciate your effort in bringing this into notice. Great blog indeed, will visit again future to read more!!

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