When it comes to marketing, how you time your messaging can transform your strategy from good to great.

Having a pulse on holidays, whether major or casual, can elevate your brand as well connected, witty, and engaged.

Planning your marketing campaigns around holidays, events, and themed days to leverage a sense of excitement and enthusiasm with your customers.

Decide which holidays most align with your business and look for ways to capitalize on them. Then, take advantage of opportunities by planning ahead.

How to Plan for Business Holidays

Holidays are unique in their ability to translate customer excitement into a desire to spend money. 

The most obvious are major holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day where people intrinsically buy things they wouldn’t otherwise for people they care about.

This isn’t limited to the major holidays, either.

If you run a sports bar, for example, you can create an event for Super Bowl Sunday or March Madness. A Mexican restaurant would be a natural fit to leverage National Taco Day or National Tequila Day.

When to Plan for Holidays

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Taking advantage of holidays requires planning ahead. For major holidays, consider planning months in advance, while smaller holidays may only need a few weeks of preparation.

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday marketing strategy, even if your business is only participating in a few holidays. 

For example, if Get to Know Your Customers Day is in six months, you can simply make note of when to start planning in your calendar.

Major Holidays

The most important holidays for businesses land between Black Friday through the Christmas season. These are holidays that, depending on your business or industry, you’ll want to start dedicated planning months in advance.

If you are offering major Black Friday sales, you may need to order extra inventory well before Black Friday comes around.

Many people start their holiday prep right after Thanksgiving, so businesses that sell Christmas supplies (such as decorations) should offer it before then.

For certain industries, Valentine’s Day can be almost as important as Christmas. There’s a limited amount of time between the two holidays, so start planning out your Valentine’s marketing as early as you need to, even if that’s throughout your Christmas marketing efforts.  

Almost every month has a major holiday of some sort. Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Halloween are all big holidays that you can capitalize on.

National holidays offer a ton of potential because almost everyone celebrates them. 

Fun and Casual Holidays

In contrast to the major holidays, there is an increasing number of minor holidays popping up. These might not be as important or notable as the major holidays, but they still offer an opportunity to have some fun.  

Use a holiday calendar to manage the minor holidays. It’s easy to forget and lose track until it’s too late.

Find minor holidays that match your business and don’t be afraid of being creative. National Make a Friend Day in February might be intended as make a human friend, but pet stores can co-opt it to mean a man’s best friend.

Maximize your minor holiday marketing by approaching them with some sort of emotion such as humor or sentimentality. These days don’t have decades of history influencing the way people view them, so you must make some extra effort to build those emotions.

These days don’t have decades of history influencing the way people view them, so you must make some extra effort to build those emotions.

Crafting a Holiday Marketing Strategy

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As with most marketing strategies, approach holiday marketing by taking a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach. There are many marketing channels to utilize from social media campaigns, content pieces, or email marketing to events and displays or signage. 

Choose the channel that’s appropriate for your business and the holiday. For a smaller holiday that you don’t expect as much of a bump from, you can take a more limited approach. 

Create an email campaign that goes out a few days ahead of the holiday to build awareness and reinforce it through day-of social media campaigns.

For larger holidays, start sending out communications further in advance and have multiple rounds. Combine more channels to saturate your messaging as much as you can without becoming overbearing.

If you’ve had success with direct mail marketing in the past, send out a round or two of marketing materials in time for people to prepare to come into your store.

Have well made in-store signage created to alert customers who might have missed your other marketing. Use paid digital ads combined with content marketing pieces to drive traffic to your website.

Don’t forget to take advantage of direct communication with your customers. If you have a special event or deals planned for an upcoming holiday, tell your existing customers when they come into the store to encourage them to return.