Adapting Your Marketing Strategies for a “Covid” Christmas

With the holidays only being less than a month away, it’s time to strategize when developing this year’s Christmas marketing campaign… as it will certainly be looking different this year.

This year has been full of twists and turns, to say the least. It has us all adapting to meet a new way of life and new routines, with Covid-19 restrictions constantly determining our next move. These changes have come with many hardships for local businesses. However, consumers are becoming ever more conscious of the impact of buying local and the impact their loyalty has on the future of their local businesses. This gives you even more reason to step up your holiday marketing game!

Now, it’s difficult to compare last year’s marketing strategies to 2020, but a good first step this year may be assessing what worked last year and if it could still be a successful strategy today? Or rather, thinking of ways it could be done socially distanced, through online means or adapted to meet current regulations. Here, we list our strategies to marketing for Christmas 2020 that we hope helps you market in this unique year.

Know Your Audience & Consider Current Context

In all that you do in business, your focus for creating anything is your ideal client.

Like always, holiday seasons often change who is shopping and it is probably a loved one of your clients. Your holiday promotion then focuses on the gift-giver. If your ideal clients are women, then the gift giver may be their spouses, which is then your focus. In reaching this new audience target, especially in 2020, the context of one’s current life becomes even more relevant and important. For example, the methods by which they will see your promotions, the methods of purchase they would find useful at this time and what they may be struggling with is going to determine how, what, and where you market.

A fairly universal struggle this year is finances. In fact, 41% of Canadians surveyed said that they will be waiting for products to go on sale, discount or promotion before purchasing this Christmas1. So, understanding this context, how do you plan on adapting to this need?

Maybe, it’s creating a promotion, a value-added package or creating a budget friendly gift guide. Find creative ways to meet your audience’s current needs!

Stay Connected with Your Audience Online

It’s a pretty good assumption this year that your audience is spending more time at home. Depending on where you live and the current situation, they may even be in lock-down. Therefore, your ability to promote remains primarily through online means. Staying active on social media allows you to stay relevant with your audience.

Take advantage of what social media has to offer, especially when it can be a free source of promotion.

  • Consider making consistent Instagram or Facebook stories to inform clients on new products, brands or services that you will be providing this season.
  • Try using Facebook or Instagram Live to showcase your store, host a Virtual Open House and provide an interactive experience safely. This way your audience stays informed, is able to participate and their interest remains high.
  • Encourage commenting and sharing posts so that your following grows. You will be on top of people’s minds when they go to gift shop!
  • Another way to do this, is to build your email list as shoppers make in store or online purchases. Send out consistent email updates in order to remind customers that you’re still around for them and provide them with useful holiday shopping tips or advice to make their Christmas shopping easier.

Create an Online Shopping Platform

Since the Covid pandemic, between 30-44% of the population, of all ages, are spending more time shopping online2. This is a trend that is expected to be maintained over the holiday season, as 43% of people surveyed said they expect to shop online for their holiday shopping this year3.

This being said, having an online catalog or even an online store would be advantageous for this Christmas. If this is something you already have, ensure you improve your website for both desktop and mobile devices.

You want your customers to have an enjoyable experience that enables seamless shopping, especially for first time virtual shoppers! Mobile devices often distort your webpage with their smaller screens, so reviewing its formatting is important. Having easy to use online shopping platforms will make it less likely that consumers will abandon their purchases along the way, and you’ll want to be capitalizing on those sales!

Strengthen Your Bond with Community

Show compassion and unity this Christmas with your community! Now is a time to come together and support each other through this.

In these times, consumers are craving authenticity from brands and businesses, something small businesses often have over large corporations.

Be true to the values of your business, be authentic, and build trust with others.

  • A way to do this is to promote other small businesses that may also be needing support. Also, thank your customers for buying local and make it easier for them to do so!
  • Create a Christmas shopping guide for your audience that includes products from other local businesses and maybe some from your own business as well.
  • Create an easy shopping guide “for her”, “for him”, “for the foodie”, or “for the kids”.  Be thoughtful and build rapport with your customers.

Offer Creative Products or Services

Covid-19 has been a discouraging time for small businesses, and understandably so! You know the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well, that’s what I am suggesting you do! You may feel like your business and/or services may not be able to meet customers’ current needs, but don’t be fooled!

A lot of businesses have come up with creative ways to keep their business viable during these times. Consider how we can work around the obstacles in place! Such as offering online classes or services; creating DIY kits, care packages, gift bags, or subscription boxes; or even offering free local delivery!

When brainstorming, remember your audience. What do they want to meet their current needs? Are they in need of easy access to grocery staples, easy meals, a self-care kit, or crafts/games to keep the kids busy at home?

Promote these creative offerings through social media, email marketing, your website, and other online means to reach your audience!

What you are doing differently this year to market your business?


 *1“Coronavirus Research April 2020” by GWI, April 2020. 25. “Facebook Seasonal Holidays Study” by YouGov, Dec 2019.

 2,3 “Coronavirus Research April 2020” by GWI, April 2020. Generational age bands: Gen Z (16-23), Millennials (24-37), Gen X (38-56), Boomers (57-64)