Ahhh, the holidays. A time when holiday-related sales reach the billions and competitive marketing is at an all-time high. And with every passing year we are introduced to new toys, new technologies, new trends…

However, for many companies this also brings an additional (huge) challenge: more spend means more competition—and plenty of marketing messaging for consumers to sort through.

So, what things can you focus on to stand out this season? Which approaches will actually help your brand break through all the holiday noise?

Here are 6 tips to keep your business ahead of the game throughout the holidays, and ensure that you don’t blend into the background when it comes to boosting your year-end sales.


  1. Start your marketing early… and end late

    While the holiday season mainly occurs from November through Christmas, the reality is that customers shop for gifts long before and long after that.

When Consumers Start Holiday Shopping:

  • October: 32% of consumers start
  • Before Thanksgiving: 17%
  • On Thanksgiving: 4%
  • Black Friday: 23%
  • Cyber Monday: 5%
  • Early December: 14%
  • Last Minute/Christmas Eve: 3%
  • New Year’s Eve: 1%

When Consumers Finish Holiday Shopping:

  • October: 7% of consumers finish
  • Before Thanksgiving: 8%
  • On Thanksgiving: 4%
  • Black Friday: 11%
  • Cyber Monday: 5%
  • Early December: 38%
  • Last Minute/Christmas Eve: 24%
  • New Year’s Eve: 1%

Given that the holiday shopping season now lasts all the way from early October through early January, ensure that your messaging starts early and ends late.


  1. Use as many marketing channels as possible

    People look for holiday gift inspiration online, in stores, through word-of-mouth, social media and so on. Today’s consumers go broad and deep when hunting for gift ideas.

How Shoppers Find Holiday Gift Ideas

  • 47% browse physical stores
  • 44% ask for hints from family or friends
  • 43% find ideas on television
  • 29% find ideas on Facebook
  • 24% find ideas via email newsletters
  • 17% find ideas on retailer apps
  • 17% find ideas on Pinterest

If you want your products and services to be found by holiday shoppers, don’t limit yourself to one or two channels—provide inspiration everywhere you can.


  1. Focus on Social Media

42% of retailers say they’re focusing more on social media this season. Why? Because increasingly that’s where younger consumers look first when holiday shopping. And while social media may not be a go-to shopping channel, it consistently plays a huge role in online shopping, whether direct or as part of the research process.

People are greatly influenced by social media – whether it be videos, reviews, photos and/or friendly feedback from peers. Simply put, engaging on the right social networks during the 2017 holiday season is absolutely essential if you want to reach younger consumers.


  1. Personalize Your Messaging

    Personalization can be extremely powerful during the holiday season. Last year, email subject lines that included consumers’ names significantly outperformed those that did not. The goal is to engage your database before anyone else. Use messaging that stand out and raises curiosity.

The Impact of Personalization in Holiday Email Subject Lines

  • Unique Open Rate: +17% higher compared with non-personalized
  • Unique Click Rate: +30%
  • Transaction Rate: +70%
  • Revenue per Email: +43%

Not every holiday email needs a personalized subject line, but make sure to send at least one this season to add extra impact. Personalized messaging will never go out of style, no matter what season it is.


  1. Offer More Than Discounts

    People love sales during the holiday season. The problem is that every brand has these. That’s why things other than discounts are often what inspire consumers to make moves.

What Convinces Holiday Shoppers to Purchase

  • 64% of consumers say a free shipping offer
  • 50% a limited-time sale/offer
  • 33% the ability to buy online and pick up in store
  • 25% a free gift with purchase
  • 24% helpful customer service

To differentiate your brand during the holiday season, don’t just focus on discounts. Make sure to pay attention to other elements such as shipping, pick-up options, and customer service.


  1. Make Mobile a Priority

    Every marketer understands the importance of smartphones and tablets. Still, it’s worth reiterating the point: mobile devices have become a core part of the holiday shopping process. Your site must be responsive. Don’t underestimate the power and popularity of a smartphone.

  • Mobile devices will account for 34.5% of all e-commerce sales this season
  • 48% of consumers say they do holiday shopping on a smartphone or tablet
  • 56% of emails last holiday season were opened on a mobile device

If you want to succeed this season, every aspect of your digital holiday campaigns—from display to checkout—must be designed with mobile in mind.


Let’s face it – the holiday season is the only season for many retailers. Especially if you’re a smaller business, this is the chance to break out and get in front of new audiences. With so many people defaulting to online shopping at this point, your holiday marketing strategies can open up a lot of exciting new opportunities.