I hate to break it to you but… if you’re just starting to think about your holiday digital marketing strategy, it is CRUNCH time. Online sales sales now make up over 50% of holiday shopping. Did you hear that? If you sell goods or giftable services (I’m talking to you personal trainers, restaurant owners, salon owners, etc.) online, you simply cannot afford to ignore how you will market them.

Ideally, this planning process would have started weeks, if not months ago. In fact, more than 1 in 5 holiday shoppers make their first holiday related purchase in October. OCTOBER! This may leave you thinking ‘But we’re well into November… I’m too far behind the catch up.’ Rest assured, you can play catch up… if you start now.

Here are seven (relatively painless and inexpensive) last minute holiday digital marketing tips:


Know your business goals.

And by ‘know your goals’ I’m talking about more than ‘make more sales’. Is your goal to reconnect with past customers and bring them back to your store or reach new customers? Do you want to drive sales through social media or email marketing? Or are you less focused on sales and more interested in taking advantage of the holiday season to grow your social media following? Getting specific about your goals is your first step to creating a successful marketing strategy. Before you start thinking about a holiday digital marketing strategy, you have to know where you want that strategy to take your business.


Create your ideal customer profile.

Like getting specific about your business goals, you need to get specific about who your ideal customer is. Create an ideal customer profile (or avatar as some call it) that gets detailed about:


-Location (State? City? Rural or urban?)

-Which social platforms do they use? You’ll need to do some research here, especially if you are targeting customers under 30. Don’t skip this step or you risk wasting a lot of time. In the most general terms, if you’re targeting an older audience through social media, use Facebook. If you’re targeting the 30s and 40s crowd, don’t forget Instagram. If you’re targeting the 18-20s marketing, look into TikTok and focus on video.

-What are your ideal customers’ values? This is important year round, but especially during the holidays. Identify the top three core values of your ideal customer and plan your marketing around those. Do they value health? Then talk about the health benefits of your product. Do they value limiting their environmental impact (an impact that inevitably increases during the holidays)? Then talk about how your product is created and how it leaves less of an environmental footprint than competitor products. Do they value humor? Create a funny video with your product. But whatever you do, don’t try to appeal to values that don’t align with yours. You run the risk of looking disingenuous and that is a sure fire way to NOT make a sale.

Time for real talk: everyone is out to get your ideal customers’ attention and money. The most effective way for you to win the sale is to show them how their core values align with yours.


Refresh your website.

If you only have the time and/or budget to do ONE thing with your website, do this: make sure it is mobile friendly. This can be a process, especially if your website is older but considering that more than half of online shoppers make purchases from their mobile devices, you absolutely cannot overlook this.

You put so much energy and time into getting people TO your website so make sure you don’t lose them the second they get there because of an antiquated, clunky website. Refresh your images, update your copy, and make sure there is a clear path to your online store. DO NOT assume people will go looking for your product on your website. 

If you don’t have the time or budget to refresh your website, at least create tailored, on brand landing pages that you can direct users to from social media.


Plan your social media.

If you value your sanity, don’t skip this step. Social media can be incredibly valuable for a small business. It can also be an incredibly tempting task to put off, especially during the busy holiday season. Don’t let temptation win and do yourself a huge favor by batch working your holiday social media content. At a minimum, ask yourself the following questions and plan your social media around your answers.

-Which of your products/services are the most giftable?

-What do you want your followers to know about those products/services?

-Why do they make great gifts?

-How do they align with your followers values?

-What sets your products/services apart?

-What specials do you have running?

Once you’ve done this, set aside a few hours and WRITE your captions, FIND your photos, and SCHEDULE your posts! If you don’t use a social media scheduling app, create a google doc and keep a running list of posts with the time and date you plan on posting them, then set a reminder on your phone to actually publish them. Not only will this process save you time and stress, it will keep you focused and on topic. When you don’t plan your social media, you run the risk of creating last minute, off topic posts that your audience won’t find engaging.


Consider any special offers.

This one is a no brainer. Free shipping? BOGO? 10% off for first time customers? This of a way to grab your ideal customer’s attention.


Perfect Your Checkout Process.

Make sure you provide a smooth, trustworthy online shopping process for your customers. Triple check that your payment processor and online store are up to date and integrated with your website. 


Have fun!

Don’t forget, the holidays are supposed to be fun. Don’t be afraid to relax a little bit and let your personality show through your website, email marketing, and social media.