Christmas Marketing: Ideas, Strategies, and Inspiring Campaigns

Santa is coming to town and you can already hear the chimes and bells everywhere. Customers everywhere will be browsing everything to decorate their homes and wrapping gifts. Thus, it’s only natural that you plan the best Christmas marketing campaign ever to make the best of the holiday and make that profit. 

But first, let’s talk about something that can give you a significant edge during this Christmas season: Customer Ownership. It is such a game-changer but there is so little conversation about it. 

What is Customer Ownership and Why is It Important?

Customer ownership simply means establishing and nurturing the relationship between the business and the customer. The word “ownership” may sound a little malicious at first but it doesn’t have to be. You gain ownership through consensual tracking of customers’ purchases, social circles, and behavior prior to and after making a purchase

The way customer ownership should manifest is knowing how to engage the customers and using insights you have gained to influence their behavior. When you can impact buyers’ behavior, you can find a way to meet their ever-changing appetites. Even though a new tracking system doesn’t guarantee customer ownership, you can vastly increase your chance. 

If you are a Shopify store owner, you are in luck because the platform offers so many built-in tools that can streamline and automate the process for you. 

Customer ownership is so fundamental to your business because you can gain all the important knowledge and information on your customers – where they live, their interests, friends – and use it to tailor the best holiday shopping experience for them. When customers’ needs are met, they are more likely to be loyal buyers that will come back later. 

During holidays, the customer acquisition cost is expected to climb higher and higher. Businesses are willing to pay big bucks to bring in new customers. In this all-out war, the only way to stand out is to really own your customers – by being there for them, and with them. With this in mind, it’s time to walk through these awe-inspiring Christmas marketing ideas that will turn your online store into the most crowded attraction on the Internet for this snowy holiday. 

I. Top 10 Inspiring Christmas Marketing Ideas You Can Adopt For Your Online Store

Disclaimer: The market is filled with unique niches that require different gimmicks to reel in customers. Depending on your products, your online store might need much more specific tactics to do the trick. All of the following tips are general at best, and you will have to learn how to tweak them on your own before applying them to your eCommerce business. 

For example, if you are selling furniture, apparel, or just about any products that rely heavily on visual elements, you might not be able to use some of the subtle tips that are more tailored towards electronic goods (without making some changes of course). 

In general, you need to always think on your feet and be flexible, as well as weigh the options carefully. Business needs caution. Having said that, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. 

1.1. Customize your shipping packaging, and make it memorable

Your product packaging represents your brand, so it has to make a good impression. One of the best joys of Christmas is opening boxes, be it a gift or a purchase, so naturally, you need to give the shoppers what they want. Make them feel like they are paying for an experience

Even free promotional gifts should be part of the campaign. Every item matters! Don’t leave them out of the festive spirits, will you? Even if those free gifts don’t bring in significantly more revenue or conversion, they can lead to some precious Instagram moments your customers are happy to share, ultimately resulting in more traffic to your store. 

You don’t have to limit the packaging to red and green wrapping paper. Go wild, make or buy custom gift boxes, add colorful ribbons and all sorts of drawings to stand out! To save money on costs, you can find hundreds of different designs for cheap on eBay or Aliexpress. 

Christmas packaging

Christmas packaging can also be simple – Source: Pinterest

1.2. Special Christmas edition items

Following the topic of custom packaging, why not take it a step further and change your products themselves? 

This Christmas marketing tactic is extremely fitting and memorable if your eCommerce products are highly visual. 

One of the most iconic examples would be Starbucks – the brand creates new product packaging every holiday season, from Halloween to New Year’s Eve to Christmas. By doing so they remain relevant at any time, especially when more than half of the world is practically living on social media now.

Starbucks packaging

Starbucks packaging

Starbucks changing their packaging every holiday season – Source: Pinterest

The beautiful, eye-catching fresh packaging generates a buzz among their customers, who then take pictures and share on social media, essentially doing free marketing for Starbucks. From this, Starbucks has also touched on a quintessential Christmas marketing strategy – User-generated Content

1.3. User-generated content 

This is without a doubt one of the most effective ways to gain traffic to your websites. Your customers are doing all the promoting work for you. The only requirement for this method is that you create a share-worthy product or campaign. 

You can either customize the packaging like we just discussed above or create a social event/competition that gives the shoppers a big enough incentive to spread your brand around. 

And after you have successfully done so, you need to also exploit one of the biggest strengths of social media – hashtags. When you have a hashtag, the user-generated content is extra powerful and memorable, ultimately becoming a trend among customers. 

One of the best “hashtag” Christmas marketing campaigns was done by UPS the shipping company, with #wishesdelivered. Wishes Delivered is a crowd-sourced donation program that is meant to make the wishes of a few lucky customers come true. Along with that, for every hashtag shared, UPS donated $1 to the Boys & Girls Club of America, The Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots. Better yet, they are continuing this campaign every year!

1.4. Create an online minigame

One more of the easiest ways to get free user-generated content is social media minigames. You can totally go all out with creativity for this method, as long as there are free prizes to be won by shoppers. 

The 2 most common types of online minigames are giveaway lottery and impression competition. 

The first type is really simple: you offer free prizes and have customers comment something under your social posts like a random number with specific requirements like tagging 3 friends. After that, all you have to do is use a random number generator to choose the winner. Simple, but effective. 

The second type is also as straightforward as can be. You organize an online competition and offer a few prizes – the bigger the better! You can ask customers to submit their experience or photos with your products or have them create something else entirely. For example, it’s Christmas so you can organize a competition where participants write letters to Santa and have them vote for the best!

You can also decide the winner by who gets the most likes or shares – free traffic baby! The only expense you make is the products being made prizes, but in return, you get a ton of user-generated content. 

1.5. Seasonal Google Ads 

Google Ads is a powerful tool and a great place to join the festivity. Everybody shops like crazy to celebrate Jesus’s birthday, and shoppers from all around the country will be searching Google up and down for the best decorations and gifts for their families. 

Do thorough research and analysis of keywords that get the most traffic during this holiday, extra points if they are relevant to your business. “Best Christmas gifts” or “gift for friends” are prime examples of great places to start. 

Seasonal Google Ads targeting the right keyword

Seasonal Google Ads targeting the right keyword – Source: ePPC

After that, you need to make sure your Google Ads are click-worthy. Here are a few tips to make sure shoppers will click on your ads: 

    • Use impressive seasonal ad copy
    • Highlight special deals
    • Create a sense of urgency with a copy like “50% off until December 1st!”
    • Schedule your ads so they appear when shoppers are most active

1.6. Don’t forget to decorate your online store with the best ornaments

Just like how everyone will be decorating their homes and Christmas trees, you should give your online store a brand new look too. The seasonal spirits start from the smallest details!

The easiest way to brand your store anew is to invest in a photoshoot or new GIFs and display them on your website at strategic positions. 

If you want to take it up a notch, why not try designing? Redesign your brand logo, or even dabble in web design to give the whole store a new Christmas suit. And don’t forget to make changes to your landing pages! 

If you don’t have much experience with designing, Shopify offers a ton of add-ons that will change your store’s appearance in a jiffy for a cheap price, or even for free. 

Create&Barrel

Create&Barrel really knows how to up their Christmas design game – Source: Packhelp

1.7. Offer free shipping

‘Tis the season of crazy shopping, and the greatest gift of all is none other than free shipping. 

offer free shipping for holiday season

Free delivery is a crazy incentive for shoppers to check out their carts. It may not seem like much to subtract $5 of shipping, but for people that are bulk-buying to catch up with the holiday, it can save a substantial dent in their bank account. 

That said, you can totally adjust the pricing a bit to account for the free shipping. Even if the price is a bit higher, customers will often ignore it as long as they see the 3 magical words “free worldwide shipping”.

With this Christmas marketing idea, you are more than likely to bring in a lot more profit from last-minute buyers. They are willing to pay anything if it means they can get the product before showtime. 

1.8. Bundle, bundle, bundle

Upselling and cross-selling can do wonders for your conversion rates

Demands are a lot higher than usual as the 24th nears. That said, buyers will try to look for the best deals to save as much as possible. And what can make them think “Wow I can buy more for much less!” than a crazy good combo of your flagship products? 

Furthermore, bundles are more likely to trigger shoppers’ FOMO so they will hesitate to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

It’s best to find a product that well compliments your best-seller. If your top-shelf product is a set of scented candles, bundle it with a lighter or matches. 

1.9. Wiggle in customers’ email chimney

Not promoting your good deals in your email marketing campaign is a big mistake. It creates a long-lasting impression of your brand, so even if the customer doesn’t take up your offers for Christmas, they might think of you during a later holiday. 

Remember to pay close attention to your email subject. It has the power similar to your Google Ad copy. If your copy is good, you are set for a click. 

1.10. Partnership goes a long way

Who should you partner up with for this jolly holiday? There are 3 potential subjects that can help your store: the one that can get your message across to millions of audiences, the one that creates mutual benefits, and the one that polishes your brand image. And so naturally, here are the 3 partners you should get in contact with: 

  • Influencers: influencers are the easiest path to engage the most potential buyers. You can collaborate with them to push out a new product, or just simply do a brand deal with them.
  • Other stores: this type of partnership can be long-term, and you can even create inter-store bundle deals to gain your partner’s customers. 
  • Charity: Christmas is a time of giving and gifting. What better way to give back to society than to donate your profit to those in need? Not only so, but this act of goodwill can also significantly humanize your brand and leave an ever-lasting good impression in the minds of shoppers. 

II. 5 Successful Christmas Marketing Campaigns

Now that we have breezed through 10 incredibly simple, yet effective Christmas marketing tips, it’s time to see them in practice. Let’s dive into these 5 successful and memorable holiday marketing campaigns, and see if any of them can inspire you. 

2.1. LEGO’s #BuildtoGive

About 4 years ago, LEGO launched its #BuildtoGive Christmas marketing campaign to encourage parents to play with their children more. Parents would create special Christmas ornaments out of LEGO bricks and then share them on social media with the hashtag #BuildtoGive. 

For each hashtag shared, LEGO would donate a set to a child at a hospital or a children’s home. As of now, more than 1.2 million sets have been delivered to children all around the globe. LEGO has truly adhered to the season of giving. 

#BuildtoGive

2.2. McDonald’s #NotSoSecretSanta

We all know and love Secret Santa, it’s just that coming up with the right gift isn’t the easiest task in the world. And so McDonald’s came into the picture. 


The brand appeared on social media and asked their customers to comment and tag their friends, who, if lucky, can get some goodies to help cheer them up. 

McDonald

McDonald

And McDonald’s sure did send out a ton of their happy meals to participants’ friends

2.3. Walkers’ All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas

As soon as December comes, we will start hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” everywhere. Love it or hate it, that song is iconic and won’t be going away any time soon. 

Knowing very well Mariah’s presence during this holiday season, Walkers took the chance and filmed an ad featuring her. 

After filming a music video for her famous song, Mariah went to grab a pack of Walkers chips, which was also spotted by a guy in an elf outfit. They played tug of war for a bit before Mariah sang a powerful high note to fend him off. 

Please spare a minute to watch the commercial because it is really funny and poignant. The copy of the ad is carried out perfectly, and with the help of such a big star as Mariah, this is without a doubt a very successful Christmas marketing campaign. 

2.4. reMarkable’s Keep your goals for the New year

You might not have heard of reMarkable, but it’s okay. The company sells the only one product – the reMarkable – a digital notebook that transcripts everything you write. Neat, indeed. 

Christmas and New year’s eve come super close to one another, so they saved this campaign for the latter. They sent out emails to many shoppers along with a $50 discount coupon and encouraged customers to get themselves a reMarkable to plan their new year. 

reMarkable

2.5. Spotify and Sonos’s #PlaylistPotluck 

We all know and love Spotify and its collaborative playlist feature. But did you know the story of how the feature was introduced? It was a long time ago, in partnership with Sonos – a renowned speaker company. 

The 2 brands timed the project to fit Christmas, the time when everyone gathered around and partied. They took the idea of a potluck party and put it to good use. Even if the feature is underhyped and isn’t talked about a lot nowadays, it sure generated a good buzz back then. 

In a nutshell 

Did you find what you need for your online store’s Christmas marketing ideas this year? If the answer is no, don’t worry. There is no limit to what you can do with the help of Shopify and social media. Stick with the tried and true if you want to play it safe, or defy it with your own brand new idea inspired by our article. 

But whatever you do, remember, Christmas is a time to bring people together, and that should be a great central theme for your next big promotion. 

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