Why Your SMB Needs a Holiday Advertising Strategy Right Now!

Online shopping revenue will be at an all time high this holiday season. Don’t wait…use these 4 tips to get your advertising strategy off to a good start.

holiday advertising strategy

It’s that time of year again…holiday season! (well almost)

I know, I know, it seems like it comes earlier and earlier each year. We don’t even get a few hours past Halloween before we start to be inundated with December holiday themes and messaging, basically overlooking Thanksgiving.

Our days are getting shorter, the service providers are getting busier and of course, the retailers all have something new they want to sell. So, although it may be tempting to wait until November to start your holiday advertising strategy, I’m here to tell you, that’s a mistake.

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that circumstances can change in an instant. Which is why SMB’s need to be preparing their advertising strategy now instead of taking a “wait and see” approach. You need to be thinking, what can I do to set myself apart this holiday season?

Online Earlier

We all know that people are spending a lot more time online these days, whether it’s because they’re stuck at home due to quarantine or because they now work or study from home. “Anxiety shopping” has become a common way for people to cope with the present uncertainty. Not only that, but they are now more aware of in-person touchpoints during the shopping experience. All of which results in an increase in online shopping and ultimately an increase in the number of online purchases.

People are being encouraged to get their holiday shopping done earlier this year due to COVID-related concerns over delays in shipping and supply chain issues. Not to mention the uncertainty over the future of the pandemic and whether or not jobs and SMB’s will remain secure. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a few months from now, brick and mortar shops will be able to stay open for in-person shopping. All these factors mean that shopping will likely start earlier and be more spread out during this holiday season.

Bottom line: people are online now and you need to get your brand in front of them…NOW. If the first quarantine and decline of in-person shopping caught you unaware, don’t let it happen again. Now is the time to invest in a commerce function on your website. Or at the very least, start listing your products or services on social media or a third party shoppable site. Don’t miss out on online sales and major shopping revenue!

FACT: The pandemic has changed our internet behavior and desktop use is on the rise. Make sure your desktop experience is just as optimized as your mobile app for all your incoming traffic.

Twice As Much

This isn’t new for the holiday season, but it will be amplified this year. Whatever you’ve been spending on advertising, prepare to spend more. Yes, twice as much more. This year you will need to spend more for the same amount of impressions, clicks and conversions. Why, you ask? Because right now there is greater competition for people’s attention. 

Everyone jumps in the advertising pool during this time of year, that’s nothing new, but we’re in an election year. Candidates are running ads, organizations are running ads, policy changes and ballot measures compounded with breaking news stories mean that you’re competing with a lot more than just other businesses. Now, more than ever, businesses are trying to make up for revenue loss from earlier this year. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending more than your normal ad budget for the same results. 

Bottom line: you’re competing with a lot of noise…get creative. Social media advertising peaks during the holiday season so find ways to connect with your audience with fun, lighthearted, and engaging content. Be prepared for things to cost more and expect to get poorer results. Manage those expectations!

Brand Awareness

Right now it’s about SO much more than offering sales. People are more likely to purchase from a brand that has a message they care about. This is the perfect time to start telling people about your brand. Tell them why your products and services are different now, before your holiday sales start. Don’t be afraid to talk about your values and show your customers what you believe in. Let them know the care that goes into designing, manufacturing and selecting your products. Show them the value of your services, demonstrate the quality of your product, support a nonprofit for Giving Tuesday…and the list goes on.

Bottom line: plan out your holiday advertising strategy like a lead nurture campaign. Gets people interested in your brand all the while leaving breadcrumbs along the way so you are well positioned for a big holiday reveal!


Every day is a new exercise in how your SMB responds to the current happenings, especially this year. That is exactly why you should have a well-planned holiday advertising strategy. It is also why you should be prepared to adjust at a moment’s notice and throw out the old plan, if necessary. None of us has any idea what to expect for this last quarter of 2020 so planning for the unexpected is going to be key.

When you think about your holiday advertising strategy, ask yourself, “What could go wrong?”

  • What if there is another quarantine and things move to eCommerce only, what is your eCommerce strategy?
  • What if layoffs continue and fewer people can afford to make purchases, how will your messaging change?
  • What if your primary advertising form becomes too expensive, how will you adjust your budget?

Although it’s easier to say “wait and see” many SMBs are now struggling because they hoped that things would improve with time. Those that have been successful during this global crisis have learned to pivot early and often and have made difficult changes at a moment’s notice. 

Bottom line: force yourself to look at the worst-case scenario and craft your holiday advertising strategy around how you will handle the things you CAN control. Don’t wait and do the same holiday strategy your SMB always does. Make a plan right now so you are prepared to handle whatever circumstances come your way.

Everyone is ready to win, few are prepared.

-Jim Garrett