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8 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Non-Retailers

3 minutes Read

By Rieva Lesonsky

Happy Thanksgiving cornucopia wicker basket

You don’t have to be in the retail industry to benefit from the holiday shopping season. Whether you own a restaurant, personal or professional services business, or healthcare related company, you can take advantage of consumers’ penchant for spending more generously at this time of year. Here are eight ideas to help you promote your products and services for the holidays and through year-end.



1. Host events. Special events hosted by your business are a natural for this time of year. For example, a beauty salon or spa can host a special pampering event where busy shoppers at nearby stores can stop by for a mini-massage, foot rub and manicure. A pub can host special tasting events for wines or beers—and, of course, suggest how those items make wonderful gifts.

2. Save them time. Convenience is key during the busy holiday season. Think of ways your business can save customers time and make their lives easier. For instance, a restaurant could offer a limited lunchtime or appetizer menu to get busy customers in and out quickly. Promote your timesaving offer with a marketing message that emphasizes how you help customers get more done so they have more time to enjoy the holidays.

3. Partner with other businesses. If your business is near other independents that draw lots of retail traffic, take advantage of that proximity by partnering with them to create promotions, contests or events. For example, if you own a coffeehouse near a retail store, you could set up a deal where retail customers show their receipts to get a discount on coffee, and your customers show their receipts to get a discount at the store.

4. Use holiday cards to brand your business. Try sending out Thanksgiving cards (or even Fall cards in October) to put your business in customers’ minds at the start of the holiday season. The cards don’t have to include a promotion, although they can; just thanking your customers for their business throughout the year will help keep you top-of-mind.

5. Get involved with a local charity. Consumers are in a giving mood during the holiday season, and by helping local causes, your business can enable them to give back to the community. Find a local organization whose mission jibes with your own; for instance, an interior design company could partner with Habitat for Humanity. You can donate time and/or money to your chosen cause; you can even encourage customers to get involved too, or donate a percentage of your sales or profits to the organization. Make sure to promote your involvement through social media, your website and other marketing methods.

6. Reward loyal customers. Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages during the holidays. One way for your business to stand out is by offering loyal customers something special. This could be a sizable discount on your products or services; a special event such as access to a seminar you are offering; or a free consultation or gift.

7. Send reminders. If you provide a service customers use on a regular basis, such as haircuts, healthcare or housecleaning, send your customers reminders of important upcoming dates and encourage them to book services now. For example, reminders that Thanksgiving is approaching can prod customers to schedule housecleaning services before the family comes over. A beauty salon can remind customers to schedule hair appointments well in advance before New Year’s Eve.

8. Help them be money-wise. The end of the year is an important financial deadline for many customers. For example, people who use HSA spending accounts will need to use up the remaining balances on healthcare products and services; business buyers may want to make equipment purchases before year-end for tax reasons. If relevant to your business, hold promotions related to these year-end deadlines, send out emails encouraging customers to buy before the deadlines, or use online scheduling software to make it easy for them to book their own appointments.

By following these simple steps, any type of business can benefit from the holiday shopping season.

And lastly, CAN Capital is launching a holiday giveaway this November to help small business owners grow and invest in their businesses as they head into the holidays and the New Year. Small businesses can enter the “Take the Reins Giveaway” for a chance to win an essential item for their business valued at $5,000. Winners can choose equipment, merchandise, technology or even a custom business plan that I will write for them! Any small business can enter The CAN Capital “Take the Reins Giveaway”. Keep an eye on CAN Capital’s Twitter page for more details.


Small business influencer Rieva Lesonsky is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. She is a nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship and has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.

(Photo courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock)