5 Steps to Create a Great Holiday Promotion

Donald Miller

Published: Apr 24, 2024

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It's no secret that Black Friday garners huge attention for its sales potential, but as savvy business owners, we shouldn't overlook other holidays that pack a similar punch. 

Each holiday, from Valentine’s Day to Labor Day, and even smaller ones in between, offers a unique opportunity for businesses to capitalize on high traffic and increased consumer spending. Staying quiet on these key dates can leave a ton of money on the table—and nobody wants to do that.

Take Memorial Day, for example. This holiday isn’t just the kickoff to summer—it’s the 2nd most popular shopping day of the year! (Black Friday being #1, of course.) That means missing out on Memorial Day promo opportunities can mean a significant loss in potential revenue. 

Recognizing these moments when your customers are primed and ready to spend can transform a normal sales day into a record-breaking one.

Creating a great holiday promotion involves more than just slashing prices. You need to design custom offers that pinpoint your customers' needs during that specific season and help your business stand out from the crowd. Here’s a comprehensive guide to crafting an offer that not only grabs attention but also drives major conversions:

Here are a few tips on how to construct an irresistible offer that grabs attention and drives unprecedented sales:

1. Understand the holiday context 

Each holiday has its own vibe and customer expectations. Let’s use Memorial Day as an example. The start of summer sparks a specific set of needs. People are often on the lookout for items that will improve their outdoor experiences—think camping gear, barbecues, or stylish outdoor furniture—or they might be searching for innovative sports accessories and lightweight clothing. 

To maximize the impact of your promotion, you want to tailor your products or services to fit these activities seamlessly. If you sell products, you might feature portable grills, trendy patio sets, or durable outdoor wear. You might want to highlight advanced cooling fabrics in apparel or offer modular camping equipment that appeals to the novice and the expert camper alike. For service-based businesses, consider offering deals on landscaping, enhancing outdoor spaces, or getting homes summer-ready. 

These tailored solutions not only meet customer needs but also enhance their holiday experience, making your offer more attractive and relevant.

2. Solve a specific problem 

Your offer should solve a specific problem or challenge associated with the holiday. During Memorial Day, many people are looking for ways to quickly improve their outdoor living spaces after a long, cold winter. 

A targeted solution could include a landscaping consultation service, or a bundle that features outdoor lighting installation and mosquito-control spray for the yard. These services directly address immediate holiday needs and add a lot of value by preparing their outdoor space for the entire summer. 

For product-centric businesses, consider bundling products that cater to common Memorial Day activities. For example, a barbecue-themed bundle could include a grill, various grilling tools, and a selection of marinades and spices. Or consider a “start-of-summer” home maintenance kit that includes tools and supplies for basic home repairs and enhancements, appealing directly to the DIY spirit encouraged by the long weekend. 

Packages and bundles not only provide practical, comprehensive solutions for your customer's needs—they also simplify decision-making and offer a better value than purchasing everything separately. It’s a win-win all around!

3. Incorporate scarcity and urgency 

Incorporating scarcity and urgency into your holiday promotions is a strategic move that compels customers to act quickly. If left to their own devices, most people procrastinate and wait until the last minute to buy. When there is no “last minute,” they may never buy. 

A common phrase my team repeats often is “Deadlines drive decisions.”

By emphasizing that an offer is time-limited or available only while stocks last, you tap into a fundamental psychological trigger: scarcity. This tactic is powerful because it ramps up interest and drives immediate action.

A simple example is to set up a special discount that's active only during Memorial Day weekend. By branding it as "This Memorial Day weekend only," you make it crystal clear that this deal is fleeting, nudging customers towards making a swift purchase to avoid missing out. 

You can also market products as “While supplies last”, which instills a sense of urgency that motivates customers to act fast or risk losing out on the opportunity.

Introducing a unique product that's available exclusively over the holiday can also rev up excitement and boost the allure of your offer. This approach encourages quicker decision-making and adds a layer of exclusivity to your promotion, making it irresistible.

Using scarcity and urgency isn't just about pushing for a quick sale—it's about creating a perception of value. This compels customers to prioritize your offer over others. When people perceive that something is scarce or time-bound, they are more likely to snap it up quickly, increasing your sales and improving the overall success of your holiday promotion.

4. Create a clear marketing message

If your message is confusing or your customers don’t understand how your offer is related to the holiday, your promotion could flop.

You need to make sure your message is clear and consistent across all platforms, ensuring your audience understands exactly what the offer is, how it benefits them, and why it’s a superior choice compared to regular offerings.

Start by crafting a core message that captures the essence of your offer. This should not just detail the promotion but should also connect with how it enhances the holiday experience. 

Let’s say you’re a virtual assistant and you want to create a Memorial Day promotion. Your messaging could address the problem that people want more time off in the summer. You can position your services as the solution that will give them enormous amounts of time this summer to spend with their family or finally relaxing. Instead of taking a $10,000 summer vacation, they can get a virtual assistant for 3 months (and half the cost) that turns their entire summer into a vacation! 

You want to make sure your solution is clearly tied to the problem, and that the problem is clearly tied to the holiday season.

For more on creating a clear marketing message, check out this article. 

5. Optimize and learn 

Before you kick off your next holiday promotion, it’s important to look at what’s been successful in the past and lean into it. Review your previous promotions (if you have them) to find out which offers connected well with your customers. Use this data to shape your new campaign, seeing what you can duplicate to get those same results and what you can optimize to make it even more powerful. What can you do to add more value? Can you add a bonus or a free gift?

After your promotion ends, make it a point to review how it went. Look at what parts of your offer really worked and which didn’t. Ask yourself: Which products or services did customers get excited about? What problem motivated them to buy?

Also, evaluate which marketing channels were the most effective. Did most of your sales come from emails, social media, or direct visits to your website? Understanding which platforms performed best will help you identify where you have the strongest connection with your customers.

Use all this information to improve your approach for the next holiday. Pinpoint the tactics that worked well and think about how you can use them again or adapt them for other promotions. For the parts that weren’t as successful, consider what could be changed. Maybe the messaging wasn’t clear, or the offer wasn’t enticing enough.

This process of doing, reviewing, learning, and improving is crucial for continually enhancing your marketing strategies. Each review helps you understand better what resonates with your customers, setting you up for more success in future campaigns.

Prepare for the holiday rush

Planning is one thing, but execution is everything. Make sure your business is ready for an influx of customers and orders. 

This might seem obvious, but many businesses get blindsided with the (very good) problem of a promotion working TOO well! Don’t let that happen to you. 

Plan for more sales and more volume. This may mean stocking up on popular products, making sure your website can handle increased traffic, hiring extra service providers, or scaling up customer service support. 

Smooth execution will help you maximize the promotion and keep your customers happy and coming back for more.