Revel Blog

6 Tips for Holiday Promotions

Sarah Vancini | November 23, 2021 |

6 Tips for Holiday Promotions

It’s easy to get absorbed in holiday cheer: the tinsel-lined windows, fresh smell of pine and animated reruns of “Frosty the Snowman.” But if you’re a business owner, October to January 1 can make or break your yearly sales.

This time of year, everyone is scavenging the internet and malls for the perfect presents. They need something for mom, dad, their best friend and even their boyfriend’s sister.

This guide breaks down everything you need to know about promotions during the holiday season. So put down the eggnog and read through our guide to start planning your holiday promotions!

Want to explore industry-specific promotions? Check out our guides for pizza, eatertainment and ghost kitchen restaurants.

Give Cheer to Customers

Consider sharing a special gift with your customers. Whether this is a small piece of jewelry at checkout, a guide or holiday event special, be sure to thank your clients who support your business all year long. Other examples of "thank you" gifts to consider are:

  • Special handouts
  • VIP “swag”
  • Holiday giveaways for social media followers
  • “Insider” holiday events or open houses 
  • Secret loyalty programs just for the holiday season
  • Free gift wrapping (works not only for retail stores, but for delis, bakeries and flower shops as well)
  • Free shipping

A yarn store called 3 Kittens Needle Arts ran a promotion for Small Business Saturday (shown below). Through an email campaign the business reached out to customers to let them know of the tea and treats served at their retail location. 

In additional to this, they held a give-away for the first few customers who spent over $50.


Another especially effective in person give-away is offering free classes related to your products. For example, a retailer for athletic apparel could offer free yoga classes, or a bakery could offer free cake decorating classes.

Classes allow for special one-on-one time with customers where sales aren't the central focus. This helps you build rapport with your clients while also gaining access to authentic customer feedback.

Consider asking what specials your guests would be interested in this spring. What are charitable causes and organizations your customers care about that your company could support? 

If you don’t have the budget to give something as a thank you to every customer, consider sending a thank you email where you can express gratitude. Note that the email can double as a soft promotional plug in which you share loyalty programs or deals customers can access to stay connected with your business.

Launch a Referral Program

Consider launching a referral program especially built for the holidays. People are talking about the best places to buy gifts and get deals more than any other time of year. Take advantage of this and encourage your clients to promote your organization.

Even if you have a year-long referral program, adding special incentives up until the new year is important. To differentiate your holiday referral from your regular referral program consider running a holiday contest. Offer a winter-themed grand prize for the client who refers the most people with smaller second and third place prizes.

Social media is a great medium for you to use to encourage customers to make referrals. For example, ask customers to share unique referral codes on their Instagram stories. 

Run Pre-Book Specials

What if your business’s peak revenue is not during the holidays?

If you run an ice cream chain, car wash or other seasonal business, consider getting creative and offering pre-booking specials. For example, the Cutting Edge Lawn and Landscaping Company offers discounts to customers who book during the holidays for service during the spring.


Encourage Buying in Bulk

Offer discounts for gift buyers who are buying for multiple family members and maybe getting a little something for themselves. Did you know 45% of shoppers will buy items for themselves while buying gifts for loved ones? 

Consider a buy-one-get-one half off special. 

If you are a service-based business, like a catering company, consider offering discounted memberships for customers making long-term or bulk purchases rather than a one-time buy.

Don’t miss out on promoting gift cards! Encourage your visitors to buy cards in bulk by running special campaigns like this one by Prezo Grille and Bar:

gift card promo

Don't Slack on Digital Marketing

Buyers are turning to search engines to find gifts for the holiday season more than ever. Make sure you’re engaging in search campaigns, especially through Google Ads.

COVID chart

Working with Google Ads ensures that your clients have access to your products the moment they are searching for them.

If using multiple search engines, like Google and Bing, make sure you develop separate pay-per-click (PPC) strategies for each search engine.

Understanding what keywords your clients use to look for your goods is also important for search ads. Make sure you work with a professional to look at data trends for your target segment to build out a robust and effective holiday keyword list. 

On average, 96% of visitors to your website aren’t ready to buy anything. To get the most out of holiday conversions be sure to use re-marketing campaigns in Google Ads. 

Don’t neglect social media.  Organic posts allow you to grow your audience authentically during the holiday season. For example, Tasty Burger ran the following social media promotion:

Tasty Burger promo

Find Ways to Highlight Video Content

Video continues to dominate the hearts, and more importantly, attention, of consumers everywhere. In fact, 50% of shoppers rely on YouTube to find new products and businesses.

Create holiday videos for this platform that engage your audience. You can also re-share your video on other streaming services, your website, your social media accounts, and in emails.

Leverage Data to Inform Your Promotions

Not sure what kinds of deals will pique the interests of your customers? With a robust POS platform (ahem, like Revel’s cloud-native POS platform) you’ll have access to valuable customer insights at your fingertips. 

You’ll be able to make educated decisions about which holiday campaigns work best with your audience. 

About the Author

Sarah Vancini is a marketing professional and founder of Stories with Substance, a marketing agency that provides marketing materials with a focus on product visualization to drive conversion.