2023 Christmas Marketing Ideas and Tips for Small Businesses

2023 Christmas marketing tips for your small business

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

The economic landscape may not look particularly encouraging right now, but Christmas is fast approaching and it traditionally ushers in a season of higher spending – we all like to relax a little this time of year and allow ourselves the opportunity to go a little over the top (be it gifts or chocolate).

According to market studies, this trend won’t change much this year – people are still gearing up for festive shopping, even if they may keep an eye on sales and promotions a bit more so than usual.

So to claim your slice of the spending pie, make sure to define your marketing strategy early and lay out a clear plan of execution. In this article, we’re sharing 10 game-changing Christmas marketing ideas to ensure your sleigh is loaded with success.

10 Christmas marketing ideas for your small business in 2023

  1. Set clear goals for your Christmas marketing
  2. Do some market research
  3. Infuse your Christmas marketing strategy with the latest trends
  4. Tap into emotions to make your 2023 Christmas marketing truly memorable
  5. Explore the power of User-Generated Content
  6. Make the most of the Christmas season on social media
  7. Decorate your shop and make use of print marketing
  8. Run Christmas giveaways and contests
  9. Focus on Christmas sales and discounts
  10. Start early and plan your marketing activities thoroughly

1. Set clear goals for your Christmas marketing

Just like with any other marketing campaign, the first thing you need to do is set clear objectives for your Christmas marketing ideas. 

Setting goals for your Christmas marketing efforts is crucial for several reasons.

  • Goals give you a clear direction and focus for your Christmas marketing campaigns. 
  • Well-defined goals help you allocate your resources effectively (time, budget, personnel).
  • Clear goals allow you to measure and evaluate the success of your Christmas marketing initiatives. 
  • Goals create a sense of accountability within your team.

Remember: The Christmas season is like the year’s grand finale, and your business doesn’t have to settle for just one goal. Mix and match different goals to give your small business as much visibility from November through December 2023. 

2. Do some market research

When it comes to Christmas marketing in 2023, doing market research is an essential initial step – it’ll help ensure you’re taking the right actions and aren’t investing time and effort in less effective strategies. Thorough market research will uncover untapped niches, identify emerging trends and will help you define what it is that sets you apart from the competition.

Illustration of a person sitting at a desk doing research

Source: Design by Fe Melo via 99designs by Vista

Here are some ways to familiarise yourself with the market and what it’s looking for:

  • Dive into your customer data to identify trends, preferences and purchase patterns during past Christmas seasons. Look for insights that can guide your marketing strategies.
  • Keep a close eye on your competitors’ Christmas marketing activities. Explore their promotions, campaigns and messaging to identify successful tactics and areas for differentiation.
  • Engage with your customers through surveys, feedback forms or social media polls. Ask about their Christmas shopping habits, preferences and expectations to tailor your marketing accordingly. 
  • Check out industry reports, studies and forecasts related to Christmas shopping trends and consumer behaviour. These reports can provide valuable insights and predictions for the upcoming season.

3. Infuse your Christmas marketing with the latest trends

It doesn’t matter which marketing trends you decide to incorporate into your Christmas marketing, as long as you pick up a few… 

  • Use viral TikTok sounds for your TikTok Christmas marketing ideas
  • Create a branded Christmas meme that uses a popular (and very current) meme format
  • Tap into the latest design trends when creating your Christmas cards
  • Go phygital (physical + digital): Enhance in-store shopping by combining it with online experiences (e.g. QR codes displayed in your shop that lead to special promotions) 
  • If you’re feeling creative and/or adventurous, explore the power of AR or VR

VistaPrint Tip

To keep tabs on the current trends, you can use trend analysis tools such as Google Trends or follow conversations on Twitter and TikTok.

4. Tap into emotions to make your 2023 Christmas marketing truly memorable

‘Tis the season to stir up some emotions! 

When it comes to Christmas marketing ideas, you want to dive deep into the pool of heartfelt feelings. People crave connection, meaning and unforgettable Christmas experiences. And that’s where your business can truly shine!

Now, let’s unwrap the magic of emotional marketing for the Christmas season:

  • Awaken nostalgia. Take a trip down memory lane and bring back all those warm and fuzzy Christmas traditions. We’re talking about those cosy vibes, the tingling excitement and the joy of reliving cherished moments. Time to sprinkle some nostalgia into your marketing and make hearts skip a beat!

We love this H&M Christmas ad directed by Wes Anderson – it’s a great Christmas marketing example that beautifully taps into nostalgia.

The enchanting narrative and heartwarming ending create a sense of nostalgic innocence, transporting the viewers back to their cherished Christmas movie memories from childhood. While you probably won’t be hiring Wes Anderson as your marketing director, consider this your invitation to be fearlessly bold when it comes to tapping into those emotions. 

Source: via H&M

  • Ignite joy and excitement. Light up the Christmas spirit like a firework show on New Year’s Eve! Create vibrant visuals, craft catchy messages and put together interactive experiences to get people excited about the festivities.
  • Spread love and gratitude. Show your customers some serious appreciation and gratitude. Shower them with warm wishes, random acts of kindness and inspire them to share the love with their nearest and dearest. Let’s turn that Christmas cheer into a contagious lovefest!
  • Ease the Christmas stress. We all know Christmas can easily get out of hand. But fear not! Your business is here to save the day. Provide your customers with helpful tips, clever solutions and stress-busting ideas. Let them know you’ve got their backs, and turn those frowns upside down!

We love how Heineken take a humorous approach to dealing with the frenzy of the festive season in their ‘Festive Christmas Troubles’ ad. Take a leaf out of their Christmas marketing book and don’t be afraid to infuse your festive messaging with a bit of humour to relieve some of that stress your customers will inevitably be experiencing this time of year.

Source: via Heineken

5. Explore the power of User-Generated Content

If you want to strengthen your bond with your target audience, create a sense of community and establish a conversation with your customers, you might want to consider User-Generated Content (UGC) Christmas marketing strategies. 

UGC is content created by your customers that portrays their experience with your business – so why not showcase it in your marketing? It not only boosts credibility and trust but also creates an engaging and interactive experience for your audience, ultimately leading to increased brand awareness, sales and customer loyalty.

Here are a few ways in which you can tap into the power of UGC this festive season:

  • Christmas hashtags. Create a unique Christmas hashtag and encourage customers to share their experiences, photos or videos related to your products or services using that hashtag. 
  • Product reviews and testimonials. Highlight these reviews on your website or social media to build trust and provide social media proof to potential buyers.
  • Customer stories and spotlights. Share customer stories and spotlights during the Christmas season. This could be written testimonials, interviews or customer features on your blog or social media platforms.

6. Make the most of the Christmas season on social media

During the 2023 Christmas season, you should also look to give your business’s social media a festive makeover.

For instance, you can keep the Christmas spirit alive by conducting interactive polls, quizzes or surveys on social media. Alternatively, you can take your audience behind the scenes of your Christmas preparations and show glimpses of your team decorating, packaging gifts or creating special Christmas-themed products. A personal touch creates a connection and builds up excitement.

Here’s a Christmas Instagram post from Ipswich Ale Brewery sharing a photo of the business employees repping their ugly Christmas jumpers and announcing a contest at the brewery:

Christmas Instagram post by Ipswich Ale Brewery via ConstantContact

To be even closer to your customers, you can host live video sessions on social media platforms to share Christmas marketing ideas, showcase new products or do Q&A sessions. Interact with your audience in real time, answer their questions and make them feel involved in your Christmas journey.

7. Decorate your shop and make use of print marketing

You should decorate your shop, restaurant or salon in the same way as the festive makeover you gave to your social media. 

Here are some specific examples and ideas for Christmas decorations:

  • Design eye-catching window displays that capture the Christmas spirit and showcase your products or services. 
  • Hang colourful and festive posters, banners and signs with Christmas-themed messages and greetings.
  • Illuminate your building with outdoor lighting, like twinkling lights or LED displays.
  • Adorn your entryway, facade and interior space with wreaths and garlands. 
  • Use seasonal scent diffusers or candles to infuse your building with delightful Christmas aromas such as cinnamon, pine or peppermint.
A person hanging up a sign with Christmas decoration

Remember, when decorating your business building for the festive season, you’ll want to align the decorations with your brand identity and the overall customer experience you want to create. Be creative, showcase your unique style and create a memorable and festive environment that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

8. Run Christmas giveaways and contests

Spice up your Christmas marketing strategy with some sizzling contests and giveaways that will leave your audience craving more! Check out these unconventional ideas to make your brand shine…

Ugly Jumper Showdown

Let your followers unleash their fashion disasters by hosting an Ugly Jumper Contest. Encourage them to flaunt their wackiest and wildest Christmas jumper creations.

A twist on the traditional Ugly Jumper Contest will do too. For instance, back in 2021, VistaCreate ran a Christmas contest asking their social media followers to customise the “Uglify Sweater” template with their own selfies to create a terrible Christmas look.

Christmas marketing tip: run a social campaign on social media, like this Ugly Jumper example

Source: Ugly jumper social campaign via VistaCreate

Recipe Rumble

Heat up the kitchen with a Christmas recipe challenge. Challenge your community to share their secret family recipes or creative Christmas concoctions. The most delicious, innovative or mouthwatering recipe wins the crown and a scrumptious prize fit for a culinary master!

Workspace Wonderland

Transform your workspace into a festive wonderland and challenge your followers to do the same! Let them show off their dazzling Christmas decorations in a “Decorate Your Workspace Contest.” From twinkling lights to quirky ornaments, the most spirited workspace wins a jolly reward that will make the competition green with envy.

9. Focus on Christmas sales and discounts

If you aren’t too eager to host a giveaway this Christmas season, one thing you should definitely consider is running a sale and offering discounts to your customers. 

According to Numerator’s 2023 Christmas Consumer Trends study, more than 50% of shoppers anticipate that the upcoming year’s Christmas season will be influenced by inflation or a possible economic downturn. As a result, they are taking measures to be cost-conscious. A staggering two-thirds of consumers plan to take advantage of sales when purchasing Christmas items.

VistaPrint Tip

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be two of the biggest sales of the year – but you don’t have to wait until the end of November to run a promotion! To entice new customers, try offering daily deals and subscribers-only flash sales.

Inflation & economic impact and the money saving measures during the Christmas season 2023

Source: How inflation and a potential recession will affect 2023 Christmas shopping via Numerator

10. Start early and plan your marketing activities thoroughly

As you know, things can quickly turn hectic at Christmas, so don’t wait for the festivities to kick in before you take action. Start early and fine-tune every aspect of your marketing activities.

Why is it so crucial to plan ahead? Well, for starters, it gives you the advantage of staying one step ahead of the competition. While others scramble to put their marketing together, you’ll be there, ready to steal the spotlight.

Illustration of a person sitting on a couch looking at a calendar and planning ahead

Source: Design by Fe Melo via 99designs by Vista

But it’s not just about beating the competition and perfecting your strategy. Planning ahead helps you secure the necessary resources to execute your plans successfully. You won’t have to worry about running out of inventory or stretching your budget thin!

The final bow: tips to ace your Christmas marketing game

No matter the size of your business or the budget at your disposal, the Christmas season presents a golden opportunity for every small business to shine. By starting early and delving deep into your customers’ preferences, studying market trends and finding an expression for all your creative Christmas marketing ideas, you can position your business for remarkable success.