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Holiday Marketing Game Plan for Small Businesses

holiday marketing game plan thanksgiving, christmas, black friday, cyber monday, newmarket, aurora, york region, uxbridge

The official first day of fall has come and gone, even though the scorching weather didn’t get the memo!  As soon as the leaves start falling, and pumpkin spice everything hits the shelves, it’s time to start thinking about holiday marketing.  I’m not talking just about the major holidays in December.  There are a ton of major holidays between now and the end of the year.  I’ve put together a list of the major holidays and some marketing promo ideas.  Keep reading to see my Holiday Marketing Game Plan.

While I am personally in favour of waiting until after Remembrance Day on November 11th to start marketing for December holidays, it is important for businesses to establish their holiday marketing plans well in advance.  If you plan your holiday marketing correctly, not only can it be a profitable time of year for your business, but you’ll also get to relax and enjoy some of the festivities yourself.

Holiday Marketing Game Plan for Small Businesses

There are a few very important days coming up soon.  Here are some ideas to get your holiday marketing creative juices flowing! Keep in mind your demographic and the goal of the event: is the event to drive sales, create marketing material for your website/social media, or customer appreciation?  Here is a list of all upcoming major holidays in Canada for the rest of 2017.

Thanksgiving – Monday, October 9th

While this doesn’t seem like a holiday that will generate huge sales, it provides a chance to show the personal side of your business.  Give thanks to your customers either with special promotions, friends & family discounts, or simply by saying that you appreciate their business.

Halloween – Tuesday, October 31st

This is a holiday to have some fun with.  Depending on your industry, you could hold a variety of contests.  For a child care centre, offer prizes for best costumes.  If you’re in the food industry, you better be all over that Pumpkin Spice Craze (which actually starts September 1st).  You can go big and even host a pumpkin carving contest.

Remembrance Day – Saturday, November 11th

This is also a chance to show the personal and Canadian side of your business.  Try a patriotic promo geared towards veterans, those currently serving in the armed-forces, or even extend it to doctors, nurses, first-responders, etc.

Black Friday – Friday, November 24th

While Black Friday has mostly been an American day, it has traversed across the border. More and more Canadian businesses are getting involved. Popular promos are door busters, spend a certain amount and receive a discount, and cash and carry specials.  Black Friday is a day of sale hunting, and I suggest you start marketing your deals a few weeks in advance, as people will do their homework.

Cyber Monday – Monday, November 27th

Cyber Monday is basically a continuation of Black Friday with perhaps even better deals. It is primarily Internet sales based.  So if you have an online store, you can take advantage of this day.  Why not add an Ultimatum opt-in form where they will receive an additional discount if they subscribe to your mailing list?

What Holidays Should You Promote?

This can be a touchy subject for a lot of people, and especially worrisome for small business owners who don’t want to offend anyone.  My advice is speak from the heart.  If you celebrate Christmas, there’s no reason why you can’t say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Take the opportunity to learn more from someone who celebrates a different holiday than you.  Below are the major holidays around this time of year, and I apologize in advance if I missed anything.

Hanukkah – Tuesday, December 12th – Wednesday, December 20th

You can try a variety of marketing tactics for Hanukkah.  Why not do a Hanukkah Facebook Giveaway?  The goal is to gain more followers and grow your audience.  Or try a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) sale.  Feeling creative? Plan out a different promo for each day of Hanukkah.  Make sure you plan ahead for this one!

Christmas – Monday, December 25th

While receiving gifts can be fun, giving is even more fulfilling.  Make a Christmas promotion that stands out from your competitors and gets your target audience in the holiday spirit.  It doesn’t only have to be discounts and special promos, hold contests on Social Media to get your audience engaged.  Again, start marketing this a several weeks in advance, as the closer it gets to Christmas the more we want to relax and most businesses are closed!

Boxing Day – Tuesday, December 26th

Similar to Black Friday, people expect sales and promos on Boxing Day. Try a Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) sale. It’s a win-win for people who want to give and receive! It is strongest in the retail sector, as most small businesses are closed on Christmas and Boxing Day.


Kwanzaa – Tuesday, December 26th – Monday, January 1st

Similar to other holidays around this time of year, Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, culture and community.  Give thanks and spread the message of peace, love and understanding.

New Years – Sunday, December 31st – Monday, January 1st

New Year’s marks the end of the indulgent holiday season and a time for new year’s resolutions.  The health and wellness industries come to mind as very prosperous after January 1st.  Start planning and marketing your New Year’s promos a few weeks in advance to get the word out. These promos can run throughout the month of January.

I hope this blog was helpful in outlining some of the upcoming holidays and some holiday marketing tips.  Even if you do not have a specific promo to run, acknowledging these special days is a way to connect with your followers and audience.  The holidays are a time for spreading messages of joy, peace and love.

If you need help planning your Holiday Marketing campaigns, now is the time!  Call us and let’s rock this holiday season so you can enjoy it with your loved ones too.

We’re here to help!  You can contact us directly, or comment on this blog post.  Sign up for our newsletter for even more tips.  You can find us everywhere online on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Until next time,


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