The holiday season is here. And as the decorations go up and the holiday music starts playing, it's time for businesses to start thinking about their holiday marketing campaigns. But just throwing up some festive graphics and discount codes isn't enough. To truly increase traffic and sales during this busy season, you need specific strategies in place.

Specifically, you need to focus on maximizing your website's conversion rate, leveraging the power of social media, and offering unique holiday promotions. It might seem like a lot, but don't worry—we've got you covered with these 10 holiday learning strategies.

Ready to unwrap some holiday marketing success? Let's dive in.

The importance of building a holiday marketing strategy

First things first—why do you need a holiday marketing strategy in the first place?

It's simple: the holiday season around Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is one of the busiest shopping times, meaning there's more competition for consumer attention. Having a clear, targeted plan in place can make all the difference in standing out from the crowd and driving sales. Having a dedicated strategy also helps you avoid last-minute scrambling and ensures you're making the most of valuable holiday time.

There are a few things that set this time of year apart from the rest. Holiday shoppers often have a specific budget and list in mind, and they're also more likely to make impulse purchases. And don't forget about gift-buying—almost 28% of holiday shoppers are purchasing for others, not just themselves. So make sure your marketing strategy reflects the unique needs and behaviors of holiday shoppers.

But when we're thinking about supercharging our sales, it can be easy to focus solely on the end goal of increased revenue. Don't forget that the holiday season is also a great time to connect with your customers and highlight your brand values, whether it's through charitable giving or special promotions for underrepresented communities.

1. Maximize your website's conversion rate

It's all well and good to drive traffic to your website, but how do you actually turn those visitors into customers? One of the best ways is by optimizing your website for conversions. Across all eCommerce verticals, the overall conversion rate hovers around 1.62%, meaning that for every 100 website visitors, less than 2  will actually make a purchase.

So what can you do to improve those numbers? A few things:

Start by making sure your site loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. Holiday shoppers are often on-the-go and looking for convenience, so a slow or clunky website will drive them away. To do this,  you can compress images, optimize code, and use a content delivery network. There are several image compression and website speed testing tools available online to get you started. These small changes will make a big difference.

Next, incorporate customer reviews and testimonials on your website. Holiday shoppers are often looking for social proof before making a purchasing decision, so showcasing your satisfied customers can go a long way in increasing conversions. To start, you can take some of your best reviews and feature them on your homepage or product pages.

You can also try adding a sense of urgency with language like "limited time offer" or including countdown timers on sales or promotions. And finally, make the checkout process as seamless as possible by offering multiple payment options and clearly displaying shipping information.

Here's an example that ties everything together quite nicely. Imagine a holiday shopper is on the hunt for the perfect gift for their mom. They come across a website selling handmade ceramic mugs, and they're immediately drawn in by the stunning product photos and clear descriptions. Excited about the BFCM-exclusive free shipping promotion, they add a mug to their cart and quickly checkout using their preferred payment method. The entire process is easy and convenient, with no stumbling blocks to trigger second thoughts on the purchase. Not only does this make a conversion all but inevitable, there’s every chance that they'll return to the website for future purchases.

2. Leverage the power of social media

Social media is an invaluable tool for holiday marketing, with almost 36% of all US consumers using it to research gift ideas and purchases. That means it's essential to have an active presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can use social media to highlight your holiday promotions, share festive content, and connect with your audience. Consider using Holiday-specific hashtags and showcasing user-generated content to really make an impact. And don't forget about the power of influencer marketing—partnering with a popular social media personality can help boost your brand visibility and reach a wider audience, and improve conversion by up to 20%.

For example, a small bakery could team up with a local Instagram influencer to do a Holiday-themed baking tutorial, incorporating the bakery's products. Not only does this showcase the products in a fun and creative way, it also taps into the trend of Holiday baking and food gifting.

If your audience is on a different platform, like Pinterest or TikTok, make sure to have a presence there as well. The more places your brand can be seen, the better.

3. Offer unique holiday promotions

Everyone loves a good deal, and the holidays are the perfect time to offer special promotions and discounts. But don't just stick with generic sales—get creative and come up with promotions that reflect your brand identity and excite customers.

Consider bundling products together for gift sets, offering a gift-with-purchase, or hosting a holiday giveaway. You could also offer promotions for underrepresented communities, like Indigenous Peoples' Day or Diwali, to show your support and inclusivity.

For example, you can feature a Holiday gift guide on your website, with curated bundles and special promotions for each category (e.g. "Gifts for the Beauty Lover"). If there is a cultural holiday that resonates with your customer base, you can also feature products that celebrate and honor that holiday, or potentially include items from creators within that community.

Get festive and have fun with your promotions—the holidays are all about spreading joy, after all. Just be genuine about your celebration and remember to always prioritize inclusivity.

4. Send personalized Holiday emails

Personalization is key when it comes to Holiday marketing, and email is a great way to reach customers in a targeted and personalized manner. You can segment your email list based on past purchases or interests, and then send tailored messages highlighting relevant products or promotions.

Segmenting your email list according to past purchases will give you a strong idea of what products are likely to be of interest during your holiday campaign. For example,  if a customer previously purchased winter jackets, you can send them an email showcasing your Holiday promotions on outerwear and cold-weather accessories.  If they have a history of purchasing fitness gear, consider sending them an email about Holiday promotions on workout equipment or athleisure.

You can also segment based on interests, like subscribing to certain email lists or clicking on past Holiday-related emails. You can then offer personalized recommendations and highlight products that align with those interests. This shows customers that you listen to their preferences and truly value them as individuals.

In addition to segmentation, make sure to use Holiday-themed language and design in your emails. Consider creating a Holiday email banner, incorporating festive colors and imagery. And don't forget the utmost Holiday greeting: a personalized “Happy Holidays” or "Merry Christmas" (or whichever Holiday they celebrate) at the end of your email will go a long way in making customers feel appreciated and valued.

5. Collaborate with other businesses

Collaborating with other businesses allows you to tap into each other's audiences and offer unique promotions or packages.

For example, a jewelry company could partner with a boutique to create Holiday gift sets featuring products from both businesses. Or a wellness brand could collaborate with a local yoga studio to offer discounted class packages as Holiday gifts. These collaborations provide added value for customers and can lead to increased sales and brand awareness.

This is particularly effective for small businesses, as it helps to share resources and reach a wider audience. And it's not too difficult to get a partnership like this off the ground; start by reaching out to businesses you already have a relationship with or ones that you admire and feel align with your brand values. You can then brainstorm ideas for a Holiday campaign and start collaborating.

6. Host a Holiday giveaway or contest

You can drive engagement and increase followers with a simple contest. Simply ask participants to follow your account and tag friends, share a post, or submit an entry using your products. Then offer a Holiday-themed prize, like a gift basket featuring your products or a gift card to your store.

Not only will this increase brand awareness and social media engagement, but it can also lead to increased sales as participants and their friends learn about your business through the giveaway.

But there are a few important things to note when hosting a giveaway or contest. Make sure to clearly state the rules and any eligibility requirements, and follow social media platform guidelines for promotions. And consider working with a lawyer to draft official Terms & Conditions to protect your business legally.

You'll also want to pay attention to metrics, such as the number of new followers or website traffic generated by the giveaway. This will help you gauge its effectiveness and optimize future Holiday promotions. At the end of the day, you want to convert giveaway or contest participants into long-term customers.

But be cautious with the number of contests and giveaways you host throughout the year. While they can be successful Holiday marketing strategies, offering them too often can cheapen your brand and give the impression that your products can only be obtained for free. If you want to leverage your new-found following, you'll need to offer great content and social experiences to keep them interested in more than just the chance of winning. This can be done in the form of exclusive discounts, new product launches, or engaging social media content.

7. Offer Holiday bundles or gift sets

Bundling products together could be as simple as creating a Holiday gift set featuring a few of your best-selling products, at a discounted price compared to purchasing them individually.

You can also get creative with your Holiday bundles. For example, a skincare brand could offer a "Winter Skincare Essentials" bundle featuring moisturizers and lip balms. Or a bakery could offer pre-made Holiday cookie boxes with a variety of flavors.

Offering Holiday bundles is not only a great way to boost sales, it also makes gift-giving easier for customers. And don't forget about packaging. Make sure the bundle looks visually appealing and Holiday-themed, with decorative packaging or festive labels.

8. Offer free gifts with purchase

During the Holiday season, customers are often looking for deals and added value. Offering a free gift with purchase is a great way to entice customers and drive sales. This could be a smaller, lower-priced item related to the product they're purchasing (think: a free Holiday-scented candle with the purchase of any beauty product). Or it could be a larger, higher-value item (such as a complimentary Holiday scarf with the purchase of a winter coat).

You can also offer free gifts with certain spending thresholds, such as a free Holiday-themed tote bag with any purchase over $100. This not only incentivizes customers to spend more, but it also gives them an added sense of value and excitement about their purchase.

Make sure the free gift is packaged nicely and arrives promptly with their purchase. And don't forget to advertise this promotion on your website and social media channels to generate excitement and bring more holiday visitors to your store.

9. Create Holiday-themed content

Holiday-themed content could be in the form of blog posts or social media posts featuring Holiday recipes, gift guides, decorating tips, or anything else related to your industry and Holiday traditions.

Not only does Holiday-themed content have the potential to drive traffic and sales, it can also help establish your brand as a go-to source for Holiday inspiration. And don't forget to include calls to action throughout your content, such as links to product pages or special Holiday offers.

Just a few relevant design changes to your emails or product pages can get people feeling festive and encourage them to start holiday shopping.

10. Create a sense of urgency

When you create a limited-time Holiday offer, be sure to communicate this effectively to customers. Using language such as "limited time only" or counting down the days until the offer expires can create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to take advantage of the deal before it's too late.

You can also consider offering early bird discounts for Holiday shoppers who purchase before a certain date or offer exclusive discounts to your email subscribers. This not only creates a sense of urgency for customers, but it also helps drive newsletter sign-ups and repeat purchases.

There are a few fun ways that you can create this feeling on your website. Try adding a Holiday-themed countdown timer to your homepage, or include a banner on product pages notifying customers of limited Holiday deals. Even strategically-placed pop-ups reminding customers of Holiday deals and limited-time offers can be effective in driving sales.

Get the most out of this holiday season

The holiday season is one of the most profitable times for businesses. By implementing targeted strategies and creating a sense of urgency, you can boost traffic and sales during this joyous time of year. From offering Holiday bundles to creating festive content, there are plenty of ways to get customers in the Holiday spirit and drive sales for your business.

No matter what tactics you use, communicating the limited-time nature of your Holiday offers can help drive sales and conversions.

Are you looking for more ways to increase  Holiday sales and traffic? Give your eCommerce site a boost with Automizely.