Let’s get your marketing schedule into shape! Here are 10 solid marketing strategies to tackle the holiday season and economic uncertainty of 2023.
We may only be halfway through 2023, but the second half of the year and holiday season are coming faster than Santa’s sleigh. To stay ahead of the game, we’ve put together the top Q3 and Q4 marketing best practices, holiday marketing ideas, and ways to optimize your remaining budget while preparing for potential economic uncertainty in the future.
Several industries expect to face economic headwinds for the remainder of the year. All of our tips below address these concerns. Each section offers highly-targeted campaign ideas, value-based messaging tips, and low cost, collaborative marketing concepts. While economic uncertainty seems to be the only thing that’s certain in 2023, this marketing ideas list can ease concerns and engage your potential customers.
From holiday campaign ideas to targeted promotions, discover the best opportunities to take on in Q3 and Q4. With the wide range of assets available in Shutterstock’s image library, you’ll have a wealth of resources to make your own marketing materials rise above the competition.
Key Marketing Holidays for the Full Year
Before diving into the top Q3, Q4, and holiday marketing ideas, it’s crucial to understand which key holidays to prepare for. While there are many holidays throughout the year (International Nose Picking Day, anyone?), you only need to be aware of the major dates with the most significant marketing potential.
Which marketing holidays should be on your radar?
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Third Monday of January)
- February 1-28: Black History Month
- February 2: Groundhog Day
- February 13: Super Bowl (Varies each based on the U.S. Football season)
- February 14: Valentine’s Day
- February 21: Presidents Day (Third Monday of February)
- March 8: International Women’s Day
- March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
- April 1: April Fools Day
- April 22: Earth Day
- May 8: Mother’s Day
- May 30: Memorial Day (Last Monday of May)
- June 19: Juneteenth
- June 19: Father’s Day (Third Sunday of June)
- July 4: Independence Day
- September 5: Labor Day (First Monday of September)
- September 11: Remembrance Day
- October 31: Halloween
- November 11: Veterans Day
- November 24: Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday of November)
- November 24: Black Friday
- December 1-31: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa
- December 31: New Year’s Eve
License this image via Dimitar Petrovski.
The marketing ideas we cover in the next sections can be applied to any of these holidays! As you read on, keep in mind which seasonal holidays or opportunities may be best to grab attention for your brand.
5 Holiday Marketing Ideas & Tips
Many marketers start planning their December holiday campaigns in the summer. Below are ideas to get you started planning your brand’s holiday promotions right now. These ideas are low-cost and highly-targeted, so you can plan for the holidays without breaking the bank!
- Make the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide
- Sleigh Your Sales with Amazon Advertising
- Embrace the Joy of Gift Card Marketing
- Spread Holiday Cheer with a Social Media Giveaway
- Get the Timing Right
1. Make the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide
Make holiday shopping easier for people by creating a fun and inspirational gift guide full of your products.
A holiday gift guide simplifies the gift-buying process for customers. It provides them with curated product recommendations and inspiration. It showcases the range of products and promotes upselling and cross-selling opportunities. This can ultimately increase sales and customer satisfaction during the holiday season!
Creating a gift guide involves only a few key steps:
- Curate a selection of products that align with your audience’s interests.
- Include enticing product descriptions and high-quality holiday season images throughout your graphic design.
- Organize the guide into categories or price ranges. This makes it easy for shoppers to navigate and find the perfect gifts.
- Promote the gift guide through various channels, such as your website, social media, and email campaigns, to drive engagement and sales.
An excellent place to display a holiday gift guide is on your website’s homepage, in a prominent section in your online store, or an email.
License these images via Vira Simon’s Studio.
2. Sleigh Your Sales with Amazon Advertising
When people think of advertising, the go-to is usually Facebook, Instagram, and Google. But these aren’t your only options!
People often overlook advertising on Amazon because they primarily view it as an online shopping platform, rather than an advertising channel. It offers huge potential during the holidays, as they are the busiest shopping season of the year!
Here is how you can make the most of Amazon Advertising:
- Clearly define your objectives (e.g.increasing sales, driving traffic, boosting brand awareness, etc.)
- Use relevant keywords in your product title, bullet points, and description to improve your search visibility.
- Incorporate compelling product photos and images to help attract potential customers.
- Utilize Sponsored Products to promote individual products within search results and related product listings (it’s one of the most effective advertising options on Amazon!)
- Use targeting features such as product targeting, category targeting, and audience targeting to narrow down your reach and display your ads to relevant shoppers who are more likely to convert.
- Keep a close eye on your campaign performance, click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS) by identifying underperforming keywords, adjusting bids, and refining your targeting.
Amazon Advertising is an ongoing process, so continuous testing, analyzing data, and adjusting based on insights will help you refine your strategy to achieve better results.
3. Embrace the Joy of Gift Card Marketing
Did you know that 60% of those who receive gift cards spend more than the card’s value? You can cash in on that success. Simply create your own using gift card designs available on the Shutterstock library.
Here’s how to get your holiday gift card marketing right:
- Create appealing and festive holiday gift card designs that capture the holiday spirit.
- Promote the convenience and versatility of your gift cards. Tout that they are a perfect gift option for everyone!
- To reach a wider audience, leverage the marketing channels we covered above, including social media, email campaigns, and in-store displays.
- Offer incentives. Bonus values added to gift cards can encourage more card purchases during the holiday season.
If you run a physical store, place your gift cards in high-traffic areas of your store, such as the checkout counter or bestseller displays. If you have an online store, use a similar approach!
4. Spread Holiday Cheer with a Social Media Giveaway
Plan a holiday social media giveaway where participants can win prizes by engaging with your brand’s content. Social media giveaways increase followers, subscribers, and leads. Generally, they have a conversion rate of nearly 34%.
But how is it done?
- As always, determine your objectives. Clearly define what you hope to achieve through this giveaway. Don’t forget to identify your target audience to ensure your giveaway resonates with the right people.
- Decide on the specifics of your giveaway. Determine its duration, entry requirements, and prizes.
- Choose a theme that aligns with the holiday season and your brand’s image. Create engaging and visually appealing contest graphics to promote the giveaway on your social channels.
- Communicate the giveaway details, entry instructions, and deadlines. Leverage relevant hashtags. Collaborate with influencers or partners. Also consider running targeted ads to expand the reach of your promotion.
Finally, monitor the entries, engage with participants, and ensure a fair selection process such as random selection. Announce the winners and publicly share their experiences or testimonials to promote your brand further!
Remember to comply with the rules and regulations of each social media platform you use. Consider consulting legal counsel if necessary to ensure compliance with any applicable laws or regulations governing giveaways.
5. Get the Timing Right
Timing is everything!
Marketing the right messages at the right time allows businesses to:
- Capture customers’ attention early
- Build anticipation
- Establish brand presence
Nailing your timing also helps brands maximize sales opportunities before the market becomes saturated. Get in front of your customers before their attention gets divided among competitors.
Generally, you’ll want to start your holiday marketing a few months before the holiday season begins. For example, go live with Christmas or Hanukkah marketing campaigns in late October or early November. This timing ensures early brand exposure, capitalizes on early shoppers, and builds momentum leading up to the holiday season.
There are a lot of holidays you can capitalize on, year-round. It always helps to have a marketing schedule to keep yourself on track. Plan a marketing calendar outlining your campaigns and strategies to nail marketing objectives.
Q3 and Q4 Ideas to Add to Your Marketing Checklist
Now is the time to set yourself up for success throughout the rest of 2023, beyond just the holiday season. Here are five ways your marketing can drive interest and revenue for the rest of the year. All of these ideas are highly targeted, and they can be low cost. Combining those approaches can be a safe way to reach customers during periods of economic uncertainty.
- Craft a Seasonal Email Campaign
- Create a Captivating Video Campaign
- Boost Traffic and Sales With Instagram Ads
- Boost Website Traffic with a PPC Campaign
- Splash Sales and Specials Across Your Website
1. Craft a Seasonal Email Campaign
Email campaigns are always a solid bet. A targeted marketing strategy in Q3 and Q4 can engage customers, promote products or services, and drive sales. In fact, email campaigns generate an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent, making this a highly profitable strategy.
Never underestimate the power of email! Your email lists are full of warm leads, just waiting to hear the right messaging. Make sure your outreach is timely, and that your offerings are enticing.
Here are some tips for engaging email campaigns:
- Segment your email list between demographics, preferences, and purchase history to create targeted messages.
- Craft compelling subject lines (avoid puns and phrases that are overused).
- Tell a story and make an emotional connection.
- Use visually appealing elements like seasonal designs, colors, and any holiday images.
- Include exclusive discounts, limited-time offers, or special bundles to entice customers.
- Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to visit your online store.
License this image via Katya Havok.
2. Create a Captivating Video Campaign
Why not weave the magic of video into your marketing strategy with a video campaign?
According to Forbes, video marketing is the future of content marketing. They claim that “adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.” So why not supplement your emails by embedding videos that speak to a seasonal campaign theme?
Here are some tips for effective video campaigns:
- Craft a narrative that’s relatable to your audience.
- Ensure the production quality is top-notch. Be sure the video is accessible on a variety of devices.
- Consider releasing teaser videos leading to your selected holiday or sale, in order to maintain engagement and excitement.
- Infuse your videos with your brand’s colors, logos, and visual identity.
- Promote your video on all channels, including social media, your website, and email marketing campaigns.
3. Boost Traffic and Sales With Instagram Ads
Let’s not forget about social media, specifically Instagram! With ads on Instagram, you can reach 96.6% of the platform’s active user base each month. That’s nearly 2 billion potential customers at your fingertips!
Here are some tips for creating effective Instagram ads for seasonal marketing campaigns:
- Set clear goals for each ad campaign you plan to run.
- Use eye-catching visuals and compelling ad copy that aligns with your theme.
- Monitor and analyze your ad performance regularly, making necessary adjustments to optimize your results and spend throughout the promotional period.
4. Boost Website Traffic with a PPC Campaign
A seasonal PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign is another advertising method that allows businesses to precisely target their audience during the specific seasons. Run one when you expect your consumers’ demand and online shopping are at their peak. PPC campaigns provide real-time data and insights, enabling businesses to optimize their strategies and use resources more effectively to achieve seasonal sales goals.
Here are some tips to boost website traffic with a seasonal PPC campaign!
- Target timely keywords that align with your offerings (for example, if you’re selling back-to-school products, include keywords like “back-to-school outfit ideas,” “best backpacks 2023,” or “school supplies discounts” to attract relevant traffic).
- Write ad copy that’s compelling and festive to highlight your offerings, promotions, and unique selling points
- Use emotional triggers and call-to-actions to entice users to click on your ads.
- Incorporate seasonal imagery and language to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Ensure that your landing page designs make it easy for visitors to find the information they need and complete their desired actions.
License this image via Prostock-studio.
Of course, you’ll need to continuously monitor the performance of your PPC campaigns to identify areas for improvement.
5. Splash Sales and Specials Across Your Website
Keeping your website updated is essential when capitalizing on seasonal opportunities during peak shopping periods. After all, your website is the main place customers can learn about your brand, explore your products or services, stay informed on holiday promotions, and make purchases. Shutterstock offers low-cost content credits, so you can update your site graphics as often as you’d like!
Here is how to keep your website up-to-date with seasonal specials and graphics:
- Create a content calendar for holiday specials to ensure enough time to update your website.
- Incorporate seasonal imagery into your site graphics, whether their themes are back-to-school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc.
- Create dedicated landing pages for each holiday you promote, including information about the specials, relevant images, and engaging content.
- Update holiday information, pricing, and availability as necessary.
License this image via MarrySav.
Following these steps, will keep your website fresh, timely, and seasonally appropriate.
Take On 2023 With Confidence
Despite only being the middle of the year, businesses must gear up and stay ahead of the competition. With these marketing ideas in your arsenal, your Q3, Q4, and holiday marketing efforts can dominate the second half of 2023, even with the economic headwinds we will face.
From personalizing email campaigns, to creating captivating video content, to making the ultimate holiday gift guide, your band can do it all. Lean on Shutterstock’s image library as your resource to get started with any seasonal marketing project, and you’ll be on your way to success.
Grow your brand with an eye to the future:
License this cover image via Vira Simon’s Studio.