4 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

‘Tis the season for steals and deals, a time that many consumers are willing to spend, spend, spend. Although many started their holiday shopping in October, there are always some last-minute purchases left on their list.

Particularly for startups and small businesses, you have some last-minute strategizing to do as well. Whether the first three quarters have been fiscally lackluster or the bulk of their business is seasonal, it’s the last chance many companies have to end the year in the black. We’ll take a look at some tried and tested tips for seasonal success so you can finish strong this year.

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Holiday Sales Statistics

Last year, Christmas shopping accounted for more than $770 billion dollars in revenue – more than quadruple all other holidays combined. Regardless of the economy, holiday sales have steadily increased by at least 4% per year over the last several years.

The average spending per family was just over $1,300 in 2020, but that figure is also expected to rise this season as the economy recovers and consumer confidence returns. Although most people plan to begin their shopping earlier in the year, they strategize in order to take advantage of year-end closeouts and deals on designated shopping blowout days on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

ECommerce accounts for more than 70% of holiday sales revenue, and an increasing share of that goes to mobile sales. This means your website is the most potent platform you have at your disposal, but it’s not the only marketing tool in your arsenal. As such, it takes some smart marketing to drive more traffic your way.

Tips For Seasonal Success

Here are a few holiday marketing tips that will help you reach your fourth quarter fiscal goals:

Practice Goal Setting

In order to reach your goals, you have to strategize and formulate a plan of action for reaching them. This is even more essential during the holiday shopping season when a competitive market becomes even more saturated.

Is your goal to generate broader brand awareness? Increase your discount sales? Streamline digital transactions and secure your online platform? Introduce a new product line? Whatever it is, make it specific and actionable.

For example, don’t just say that you want to increase your sales over last year. Put a percentage on it and craft a step-by-step plan to reach that goal. Rather than confusing people with new products – unless they can be marketed as must-have holiday gifts – focus on putting forth your best sellers.

Use analytics to gauge consumer behavior and identify trends, and then use those metrics to measure performance. This is easier to do when you leverage accounting software that comes with crucial features like real-time insights. Make sure that you have adequate inventory on-hand to satisfy consumer demand, and then track who buys what and when.

Leverage Social Media For A Personal Feel

This is good advice for any marketing campaign, but it’s even more essential during the holiday shopping season. Strong social media engagement is a factor influencing all industries and demographics.

Even if not every viewer is tempted to buy, social media is a great way to increase goodwill and brand awareness through holiday greetings, offer last-minute discounts, or simply obtain feedback for strategizing future marketing campaigns. Going live on Facebook or Instagram is a great way to make a personal appeal. Consider partnering with influencers, and offer social proof in the form of user-generated content, such as reviews and testimonials.

Know What Motivates Holiday Shoppers

People are always on the hunt for the perfect holiday gift. Not everyone on their list is easy to please. But, that’s not all that motivates those last-minute shoppers.

Some people are waiting for holiday bonuses. Others are simply short on time. Knowing what makes consumers tick is part and parcel of marketing. According to a range of consumer surveys, the average holiday shopper is lured by:

  • Last minute deals
  • A hassle-free, personalized shopping experience
  • Free, direct home delivery
  • Low prices
  • 24/7 shopping accessibility
  • Wide product selection

Knowing your audience also means learning what motivates them to go from prospect to purchase, and this will help increase your customer base over the long haul. One great idea for those holiday procrastinators is to offer gift cards by email or as a downloadable deal. That will provide a passive revenue stream toward future purchases while satisfying shoppers who can’t make up their minds what to buy.

Tailor Your Messaging

Messaging matters, especially when it comes to reaching customers who have a lot of choices. Whether it’s by email, social media, paid advertising, or on your website itself, target your message toward last-minute shoppers. Also, keep your messaging unified and on-brand in a way that drives traffic toward your eCommerce shop.

You can use words and phrases that create a sense of urgency, as long as you’re being honest and transparent with your followers. “It’s not too late,” or “Only X number of shopping days til Christmas” are great motivators.

People hate to feel like they’re missing out on a good deal, and they know this time of year that it’s crunch time. Consider updating your website daily to emphasize that you only have a certain number of specific products left in stock, or put a countdown on your website to the end of a sale period.


No matter the industry, it’s likely that holiday sales will make up a significant portion of your annual revenue. By using the tips and strategies detailed above, you’ll have a better chance of cutting through the year-end chaos and grabbing your share of the holiday business. Be strategic about your messaging and keep the conversation going. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you.

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