Marketing Ideas, Marketing Planning

Christmas Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

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2020 has been quite a year. For so many people, their business and personal lives have been hugely disrupted in ways they couldn’t have imagined. This, it seems, has led to a yearning for happy times, and the festive season fits the bill!

Retail giant John Lewis launched their Christmas collection ten days earlier than ever before last month after they reported that searches for Christmas items on their online store quadrupled this summer. This year, more than ever, is an opportunity to foster a sense of joy and community around your business by embracing your festive marketing.

And the festive season is a great time to promote your small business. But it’s also a time where everyone is busy getting ready for the festivities – including you. So, why not beat the Christmas rush this year and get ready in time with my favourite Christmas marketing ideas for small businesses!

Say thank you

Growing a business is not just about generating new leads. It’s also important to keep in touch with past and existing customers. And Christmas is a perfect time for that! Especially after a year like 2020, showing gratitude to the customers and clients who stuck by you is important.

So, here are a few of my favourite Christmas marketing ideas that help increase repeat business and referrals for your small business. Plus, it’s always a nice gesture to thank suppliers and business partners for their support.

Read more about how you can get more repeat business from your existing clients.

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1. Christmas cards

You have many options nowadays when it comes to sending Christmas cards; by mail or email, using standard or branded cards. You can even go old-school and send a handwritten letter if that suits your brand best.

It also depends on what kind of contact information you have for most clients and business partners (in case you have their email instead of their postal addresses, for example). Or you can simply choose their preferred way of communication – it’s the gesture and kind wishes that matter.

2. Gifts

Another good way to say thank you is a little gift. This can be anything from a branded calendar for the new year to a bottle of wine. Just make sure to choose something relevant to the recipient that shows your small business in a good light.

Or if you’d rather support a good cause, let everybody know that you donated to your favourite charity. Include details about the cause and further information to encourage them to donate, too.

Find out more about how to choose the right branded promotional items for your small business.

3. Events

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Under normal circumstances, this is one of my favourite Christmas marketing ideas! Before the holidays, everyone’s calendar is usually full of events, lunches and dinners. But if you plan ahead you can easily throw your own Christmas party and celebrate with clients, staff and business partners.

2020 has seen a big shift in how we’re operating in business on a day to day basis, however. Face to face events just aren’t possible in the same way at the moment. But don’t let that stop you!

Why not decorate the office, pop on your glad rags and go digital! You could host a zoom party for your staff and current clients. Or go live on Instagram or Facebook – host a prize draw or a giveaway and invite customers to get involved in the comments.

It might not be the same as being together in person, but the positive is that it allows customers from all over to get involved – it’s not limited to just those in your local area!

Alternatively, (again, under normal circumstances!) you can have a Doors Open Day: Invite people to drop by for a hot beverage and some Christmas biscuits. Or if you run a bakery invite them to a festive baking session. Another idea is to stay open for a late-night Christmas shopping with mulled wine for everyone.

Attract new business

The important thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for Christmas marketing ideas for your small business is that people are busy at this time of year. So try to find a way to be part of the celebrations without overwhelming people.

My best advice is to keep your marketing festive (and within brand), but leave the omnipresent, heavy rotation advertising to the big retailers.

festive tree

1. Social media

Ho, ho, ho! Social media is all about people and being social. So why not spread the Christmas spirit on your Facebook page, Pinterest profile or Instagram account? You can do that, for example, by posting festive photos and videos or start your very own virtual advent calendar.

Also, don’t forget to change your header and profile image to something more festive – maybe including your Christmas offer. And don’t hesitate to post photos of your decorated office or your staff’s Secret Santa gifts.

Making it personal and building a connection over social media is key. Why not use Instagram Story polls and questions to ask for feedback? Having customers vote for their favourite one of your decorations, or answer a poll on their favourite Christmas food or song really help to build engagement. Have fun with it!

2. Newsletter

This is one of the most overlooked Christmas marketing ideas: If you have a regular email newsletter going out to customers and clients, why not send a festive edition?

You could, for example, reflect on the last 12 months, sum up achievements and thank everyone for their support. Also, offer a preview of next year’s plans, such as events, product launches or important legal changes relevant to your readers.

Check out my alternative guide to email marketing for my top tips on seasonal email campaigns!

3. Blog

Another great way to use Christmas to promote your small business is your blog. You can review the year and look forward to the next 12 months.

Also, you can write about how your product or service can help with the Christmas frenzy or with the post-New-Year’s resolutions rush in January.

And if your busy time is the beginning of the year, give people a heads-up on all the features and benefits of your products.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

4. Website

One thing that can’t be absent from a comprehensive list of Christmas marketing ideas is your website. Have a look and see if there are ways to get your online presence into the festive spirit.

Sometimes even just a Santa hat on top of your logo goes a long way. And, of course, have all your Christmas offers visible for everyone on the homepage and make sure to update your festive opening hours.

Apart from injecting a little bit of festivity and fun to your site, it helps people to see that you are always active on your website, and working on it at all times!

5. Specials

You should also consider freebies or offers for the festive season. Can you offer free or discounted gift wrapping or a speedy delivery for late Christmas shoppers? Plan ahead and create a content calendar to help you plan these out throughout the lead up to Christmas.

Are some of your products and services adaptable into a Christmas bundle or can you add a little gimmick to purchases? Another idea is to give Christmas shoppers a pre-ordering option or to offer an early bird rate for the ones who would like to beat the busy shopping queues in December.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

6. Promotion

Promotional merchandise is good to spread the word about your company, be it cute little rubber ducks with a Santa hat or the already mentioned desk or wall calendar for the new year.

For example, if you’re a landscape gardener, why not hand out little bags of seeds for an office plant or kitchen garden? Or if you enjoy baking, share the love by offering a taste of your homemade Christmas cookies in the shop.

7. Advertising

Last but not least, make sure your advertising is up to date and ready to make the best of the festive season. Adjust your offers, add your specials and Christmas discounts, and make sure the design fits the season as well.

And don’t forget about your Google AdWords campaigns or Facebook ads. Don’t just run your usual ads but check if there’s something seasonal you can do to drive sales.


Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

As Christmas is a busy time and you’re not the only one using it for marketing, your timing is crucial. Don’t be just one of many Christmas cards in the mail or, worse, have your card delivered when people are already on holiday.

If you fear getting lost in the avalanche of Christmas correspondence and online content, consider sending something before anyone else. For example, send out an advent calendar at the end of November or skip the Christmas wishes and be first to wish everyone a Happy New Year in January. 

Some businesses even skip the Christmas party (virtual or otherwise!) altogether and invite clients and partners to a New Year’s reception.

Whatever you’re planning, make sure it’s at the right time and in the right place. Your staff Christmas photo might be better off in your newsletter than on LinkedIn and your Christmas special offer should be communicated early enough for people to benefit from it.


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Create a Successful Marketing Campaign for Your Small Business
Anniversary Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business
The Pros & Cons of Marketing Channels for Small Businesses
A Checklist for Your Successful Marketing Campaign Launch