Keep Calm and Do Last Minute Holiday Marketing + [Infographic]

last minute holiday marketing ideas for small businessLast minute holiday marketing ideas for marketers who are worried that they waited too long, and feel like the opportunity to do holiday marketing has passed them by. 

As my dad always says, you’re not too late unless you don’t show up.  Whether you still need to show up and get some holiday marketing activities underway or your holiday marketing plan is in full-swing, you can use these last minute holiday marketing ideas to plump up your seasonal revenues.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that consumers will spend over $804 each, up almost 5% over 2013 per-holiday-shopper purchases of $767 each.  Based on how holiday shoppers divvied up their budget last year, we can guess-timate how much more consumers will be spending in each of these holiday spending categories this year.  2013 holiday budgets broke down this way:

  • $432 – Gifts for family members
  • $75 – Gifts for friends
  • $25 – Gifts for co-workers
  • $27 – Gifts for others (such as pets)
  • $54 – Decorations
  • $104 – Candy and food
  • $29 – Cards and postage
  • $22 – Flowers

how much consumers will spend on holiday shopping in 2014

5 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas + Infographic

Not only is it predicted to be a record year for holiday spending, but spending on gift cards is going to hit an all time high. Not only is it an easy choice for holiday shoppers that aren’t sure what to purchase for someone on their list, it’s also the most-requested item by people that expect to receive gifts this year – and has been, for eight years running!

Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea #1:  Ride the Gift Card gravy train!

57 percent of this year’s holiday shoppers expect to buy one or more gift cards for someone on their list. Top choices for holiday gift cards include restaurants, discount retailers, prepaid cards and online-only shopping sites.

Make sure you are promoting your gift cards as an ideal choice for holiday gifts this year at every opportunity and every customer touch point, and package them so that they also look like they’re meant to be given away as a present during the holiday season (holiday themed gift card holders, greeting cards, etc.)

2014 holiday shopping predictions point to a record year for spending overall as well as gift card sales, but that’s not all.  47% of consumers say that the internet is their favorite holiday shopping channel, and more plan to shop online this year than ever before, and spend a larger portion of their holiday shopping budget online than ever before, too.

Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea #2: Get Some Web Pages Working to Attract Holiday Shoppers

74% of shoppers will search online to inspire holiday wish lists, and 40% will spend time researching online in order to find the best deal.  It’s going to be really, really difficult for you to get the attention of the growing numbers of online shoppers if you do not commit to publishing content on your website that is optimized for search engines, using the types of phrases your ideal shopper types are likely to type in when they are searching for holiday gifts, local events and destinations online.

Not only is social media here to stay, but the impact of social media on consumer’s purchasing decisions is growing, fast!

Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea #3: Go Social

30% of consumers say they’ve made a purchase in the past year based on engagement on a social network.  Six out of ten consumers say that either exclusive offers or rewards/loyalty points would motivate them to complete a purchase on a social networking site during the holidays.

Put your best offer forward via social networks and incentivize virality by letting sharers and likers “enter to win” a special prize drawing or sponsor your post with a small daily budget to extend it’s reach throughout the holiday season to local customers or other specifically targeted audiences.

Social networks aren’t the only platform driving holiday shoppers’ purchasing decisions this year.  More than half of consumers say they’re likely to whip out their smartphone in-store to price check, fact check or location check while on the go.

Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea #4: Mobilize in Real Time

You already know that your website needs to be optimized for mobile because more and more consumers are using mobile devices as part of (or all of) their buying journey.  In fact, 84% of store visitors say they use a mobile device before or during a shopping trip.  Seven out of ten say they’re going to use their smartphone for holiday shopping.

One third say that they would rather use their smartphone than ask a sales associate for information, and one third also say they want to receive holiday deals via mobile messaging.

Serve up on-the-spot discounts for shoppers using mobile devices in store or as a reward for online check in when they shop at your business. Invite web site and store visitors to subscribe to text marketing (SMS messages) in order to get exclusive offers or check for real-time offers while in store.

Text marketing is great, but it’s not the only place that you can connect with holiday shoppers that are looking for great holiday deals and offers.

Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea #5: Online Wish Lists and Email Marketing

Half of all holiday shoppers plan to keep track of retail promotions and sales by way of advertising circulars.  Why not create your own circular to serve up to web site visitors and send out via email marketing?  By creating a special holiday catalog or circular featuring your best offers or most popular holiday goods or services, you make it really easy for holiday shoppers to see how your items relate to their holiday shopping lists.

80% of online shoppers and 71% of in-store shoppers all say that email offers influence them to buy.  Lay out a regular email marketing schedule that allows you to engage shoppers throughout the holiday shopping season, and make sure that you are working your web site, point of sale (in-store or online) and social networks to get as many people as possible subscribed to your contact list.

infographic holiday marketing ideas


The 2015 Small Business Marketing Calendar is available on, and it’s packed with marketing inspiration and a working calendar that you can use to attract – engage – retain and motivate your customers in the coming year.

2015 small business marketing calendar template

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