Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

No matter how many times marketing gurus or business consultants scream the importance of planning ahead, many small business owners continue to put their holiday promotion strategy on the back burner – only to wake up on the morning of Black Friday realizing they’ve missed the chance to capitalize on such a money-making weekend.

Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, the last two months of the year give business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to creatively promote their products and services in a season when consumers are ready and willing to spend lots of money. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects November and December sales, with the exception of cars, gas, and restaurant dining, to generate between $678.75 billion and $682 billion.  

Fortunately, if you’re currently behind the curve, there are still several last minute marketing ideas you can quickly plan and implement so you too can tap into the holiday cheer.

Offer A Holiday Sale

Holiday season is all about the sales. The easiest way to take advantage of the biggest buying season of the year is to promote a discount to your current and potential customers, from free shipping to buy-one-get-one deals. Host a season-long sale featuring a percentage discount with a holiday-themed discount code, or promote pop-up flash sales sporadically throughout the year end to keep your customers on their toes. Be sure to make the sale worthwhile, and don’t be afraid to throw in a few freebies for your most loyal followers.

Host a 12 Days of Christmas-Themed Social Media Giveaway

It’s a tried and true campaign that gets followers engaged and works to increase your audience. Each day promote a different product or service, instructing followers to perform a specific action to enter the contest, such as liking the post or tagging a friend. Use a service like Rafflecopter or Gleam to run your giveaway and select winners authentically. Get creative with your promotional design and copy, and engage frequently with entrants to turn them into fans.

Get a Booth at a Holiday Market

Take your marketing strategy offline, connect with your local community, and sell lots of physical products all in one sitting by participating in a holiday market. While some may select vendors far in advance, many markets hope to fill up spaces at the last minute. Do a quick Google search or scour Eventbrite for upcoming events and check out their requirements, which is generally just a small vendor fee. Set up your own physical marketing station, and meet your potential customers face to face. Don't forget to promote your new event appearance on your social media pages.

Publish Your Own Gift Guide

Everyone loves a good gift guide to help them decide what to buy those hard-to-shop-for loved ones. Create your own published piece on behalf of your business to leverage the power of content marketing and to boost your SEO online. Mix your own products in with those from fellow business owners in your industry, and build a spirit of community instead of competition. Publish the guide on your website's blog, and create an easy-to-share tweetable using to encourage readers to share with their own audience which will increase your post's reach.

Give Back To Loyal Customers

Instead of focusing only on selling, use the season of giving to give back to those customers and fans who supported you all throughout the year. Take a look at your past social media posts, your customer sales data, and your email list open rates. Who's the highest engaged fan? Who's shopped with you the most? Give those special fans an exclusive discount code, gift card, or complimentary product to show how much you appreciate their support. After all, the success of your business depends on them.

Show Behind-The-Scenes Holiday Spirit

Showcase the human-side of your business. Share images of team members in their holiday gear. Show off the inside of your decorated office space. Show snapshots of your holiday cocktail party on Instagram Stories. Cover your company’s attendance at a local holiday parade via Facebook Live or Periscope. People want to see the faces behind the brand. By building that connection, consumers are more likely to trust and support you.


The best time to start something was yesterday, but the second best time is right now. Start planning your holiday marketing campaign today to ensure you don’t miss out on the most wonderful time of the year. With just a few hours of brainstorming, researching, and organizing, you'll have a ready-to-go strategy plan to creatively promote your business this season.

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