Just how much should you focus on Christmas promotions during the holidays? This is the kind of thing many retail and restaurant business owners are wondering about every year. After all, is dedicating a lot of manpower and financial resources worth it?
Well, when it comes to restaurants, people just prefer to dine out more often nowadays – even during the holidays. And in terms of retail, consumers tend to spend around 4% more during the holidays. Plus, back in 2016, holiday spending exceeded $1 trillion.
Thus, it’s definitely a good idea to focus your efforts on holiday-themed promotions right now, and also revamp them as well.
Sure, you can always just offer the traditional “buy a Christmas gift card, get $5 off on your next purchase” approach. In fact, we actually recommend using that promotional tactic (and we’ll also offer some more in-depth tips for it later in the article).
But, sometimes, it’s best to go the extra mile, and make your Christmas promotions stand out from the rest. If you’re low on ideas, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
So, here are 7 marketing ideas you should definitely try out during the holidays:
1. Come Up with a Seasonal Product (Or More)
When it comes to Christmas promotions, seasonal products are a must. They get your customers in the holiday spirit, and their limited availability makes them more sought-after because of FOMO (fear of missing out).
For example, if you run a retail business, you could just add Christmas themes to existing products. Of course, it completely depends on which market you’re present on. Still, let’s say you run a clothing store. A good idea would be to customize popular clothing items like shirts and winter caps with holiday design elements (like Christmas trees, snow globes, or reindeer).
If you run a restaurant, adding a seasonal hot drink to the menu would usually do the trick. Though, you can always add Christmas-themed food too (especially desserts).
Naturally, these products should come with a discount. If you want to offer an even stronger incentive, you could even use the “buy one, get one free” promotional format. What’s more, you could offer extra loyalty points for seasonal product purchases.
You could even use seasonal products to get people to sign up for your loyalty program. The fastest and most efficient way would be to offer them one free promotional product when they become a loyalty member.
2. Organize a Holiday-Themed Event
One of the best ways to show your customers how much you care about them (and to encourage them to interact with your brand as well) is to host a holiday-themed event.
For example, if you run a retail brand, you could plan an exclusive sales event or a Christmas market (would go hand in hand with what we said at tip #1). On the other hand, if you have a restaurant, you can organize a Christmas dinner. In fact, if you want to make it more interesting, you could even host a Christmas cooking workshop too.
This would be a great opportunity to offer promotional products and discounts – not to mention that your clients will be much more likely to promote your brand and the event on social media.
And if you’re worried about people preferring to spend Christmas with their loved ones instead of attending the event, just organize it a few days before Christmas. Still, if you run a restaurant, you could organize the event on Christmas and just offer more discounts (as stronger incentives) if the customers in question bring along their friends and family with them.
Better yet, you can also use such an opportunity to encourage customers who are not loyalty program members to sign up. Make it a no-brainer for them – offer them extra points and let them redeem a reward right then and there if they do it on the spot.
3. Use Holiday-Themed Promotional Calendars
These types of calendars are often an overlooked Christmas promotion idea. Yes, it’s true that your customers probably already have a calendar app on their smartphones, laptops, or desktops. However, none of those can compete with the charm of an original, paper calendar.
And we’re not just saying that. According to statistics, paper calendars haven’t just stayed relevant in today’s tech-oriented society – their sales have also increased.
Just make sure you offer the calendars for free. In case you prefer an alternative, try offering them as redeemable rewards for loyalty program members. You can even offer them as an instant reward to entice other people to sign up for your rewards program. Oh, and make sure the design of the calendar adequately matches your brand.
Best of all – you can make the calendars interactive too, and in a good way. How? By adding a discount code to various calendar days which can only be redeemed on said days. This way, you’ll give your customers a powerful incentive to keep coming back to your restaurant or retail store throughout the next year.
4. Run a 12-Days of Christmas Promotion
When most people think of Christmas, they usually can’t get this well-known song out of their heads. So, why not run a promotion centered around it?
Basically, the main idea would be to have a certain product on sale at a discount on each day. To make things more interesting, you should promote a different product every day. You could even feature some of your seasonal products, in fact.
And besides providing an appealing discount, you should also let your customers know they can earn double loyalty points during this period (either by making purchases or by spending money on the promotional products), so that you get even more client engagement.
You could also offer non-members a chance to join and earn a Christmas-themed reward when they do that as well.
For retail businesses, this is pretty straightforward. Just pick a specific product for each day. In case you don’t plan on using seasonal products for this, our recommendation is to choose products that haven’t really been top-sellers recently, so that they receive more attention this way.
If you run a restaurant, you could even organize a different Christmas-themed menu selection each day.
5. Use Gift Cards, But Do It the Right Way
Christmas is a time for giving, so gift cards fit in quite well with the overall holiday vibe. They’re a great last-minute gift too. Plus, department store and restaurant gift cards seem to be among the most popular options out there, so your customers are sure to purchase them.
Of course, just using a basic gift card with a stereotypical holiday design isn’t really enough. You need to make sure they make people think about Christmas and your brand at the same time.
For example, if you run a pizzeria, you can use a small design of an elf making a pizza (one that resembles the kind of pizza your business sells). If you own a clothing store, your gift cards could have a design of an elf or an anthropomorphic reindeer wearing the type of clothes you sell.
Those are just some basic examples. Overall, there are plenty of possibilities to choose from.
And be sure to package the cards nicely – just as if they’re an actual gift to your customers. This way, if they want to offer them as a present, they don’t need to wrap them up themselves.
Usually, it’s a good idea to place the gift cards at the entrance to your store or restaurant, or near the checkout.
As for what the gift card can offer, we only recommend sticking to the “get $5 off on your next purchase” method if you’re in the QSR industry. If you’re in the retail or restaurant industry, it’s best to offer a higher discount (like $15-20 off).
Alternatively, you could offer customers a free item if they purchase a gift card (free topping, dessert, or winter hats – just some basic ideas). If you want to further enhance your brand image, you can also donate a part of the profits that come from gift card sales to a charity (either of your choosing, or of the customer’s choosing).
Also, you should think about letting loyalty program members earn points for purchasing gift cards. What’s more, you should let them redeem a reward (or just offer them even more points or a discount) if the gift card recipient uses the card, as it works as a great referral incentive.
6. Run a Christmas Contest
The idea of winning something for free always gets people’s attention, and a contest taps into their biological need for competition.
Promote the competition on social media as a way for your customers to win brand-specific Christmas gifts. If you own a restaurant, the prize could be a free Christmas diner or a bottle of your finest wine. If you’re in retail, the possibilities are quite endless.
If you want to drive in-person engagement, you can also try hosting the contest at your restaurant or retail store. You can organize it during one of your Christmas-themed events, or as a separate event on its own.
In case you want to get your customers even more emotionally invested, you could try running a raffle where most of the profits are donated to a charity.
And while we’re on the topic, here’s a great idea: Reward all customers who sign up for the competition with bonus loyalty points. If they’re not members, let them know what they stand to gain if they sign up right then and there.
This way, even if they don’t end up winning, they’ll still have something to be happy about.
7. Use Greeting Cards
Holiday greeting cards are still a decent way to promote your business during Christmas. It’s enough to have them sent to your customers to remind them of you (either in a physical format or through email).
Just remember to ensure the cards aren’t too salesy. Focus the introduction and the body of the text on how much you value their business, and how you send them your best wishes.
Oh, and make sure your greeting cards state “Happy Holidays” in case you market to a large, diverse client base.
At the bottom of the card, feel free to offer the recipients a discount code, a coupon, or – why not – an invitation to enjoy some free products at your place of business during the Christmas period.
Looking for an Efficient Way to Run Christmas Promotions for Your Business?
While running promotions can be beneficial for your restaurant or retail business during the holidays, designing and implementing them isn’t always a walk in the park. It can often be quite time-consuming, in fact.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. While Spoonity mostly functions as a loyalty platform to help you drive consumer engagement and retention, our platform has built-in features that make it very easy for people like you to run promotions whenever they want.
Essentially, you’ll be able to rely on a user-friendly interface to create your promotions. You’ll get to name them, choose certain customer triggers, and implement time limits.
That, and you’ll get to decide exactly which specific customer segments will be eligible for your promotions, and select the type of rewards they’ll be able to redeem.
Plus, with Spoonity, you can also design marketing campaigns and link them to existing promotions as well. That means you won’t need to redesign your existing Christmas promotions every year to accommodate new marketing strategies.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what our platform can do for your business. Feel free to check out the rest of Spoonity’s features to get a better feel for how our tool can help your restaurant or retail store (or restaurant/retail chain – our solution is scalable, after all) increase customer loyalty in the long run – not just every Christmas.
And in case you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.