03.10.20163 min read

Holiday Marketing for Small Businesses: Create Your Own 'Red Cup Season'

During the holidays, Starbucks serves seasonally-themed, red coffee cups in place of their usual plain white cups. They also feature special flavors and exclusive merchandise only available between Thanksgiving and the New Year. And year after year, thousands and thousands of their customers wait in great anticipation for Red Cup Season, ready to buy whatever Starbucks is selling.

It's red cup season at Starbucks.

You, too, can create this kind of madness for your business. The best part is you can do it better than Starbucks because, as a small business, you might know your customers personally—or at least more than any big corporation does. Here are a few ideas for your business to get involved in the excitement of the holiday season.

Create a special holiday version and/or offer of your product or service

Christmas tree farmers aren’t the only people who can sell products that people buy specifically during the holiday season. No matter what kind of small business you have, you can take any product or service and spin it in a creative way for the holidays. For example, if you sell complementary products that are typically sold separately, create a holiday package and discount it for your customers.

You can also join forces with another small business that has a complementary offering to yours, even if neither business is holiday-related. Take a pool construction and a pool services company: They could offer pool services with every new pool purchase in a holiday special offered only between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Another idea is to create a list of your best selling items throughout the year and discount them during the holidays. You can even create 12 coupons for your bestsellers and send one out each day for the 12 days of Christmas: Dec. 25 to Jan. 5.

Run a holiday photo contest for your customers and prospects

Run a contest on Facebook or Instagram where you ask people to tag their best holiday photos (or photo-bombs). You can even ask people to submit pictures with your product. This is a great way to generate engagement and build your presence on social media. This campaign can also attract prospects to connect with you on social media, helping to expand your reach to new buyers.

Create holiday-themed gift cards

Take advantage of the appetite for gift cards during the holiday season by creating a holiday-themed version of your gift card, like one with holiday visuals or shaped like an ornament, for example. Gift cards are a unique way for your customers to share your product or services with their family, friends or coworkers. During the holidays, traditional gift cards are thrown around left and right, so creating another fun use for the gift card makes it more memorable and more functional.

Ask your customers to vote on a new product or service for next year

Ask your customers to vote on a few ideas for new products or services you may want to offer next year. Not only will this help you determine customer demand, but your customers will feel like you are listening to their needs. If you do the survey over the holidays each year, customers will look forward to it, as they know their suggestions might get put into action. It becomes a holiday tradition—just like Red Cup Season.


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