Top business advertising ideas for the festive season

in Marketing by Kathleen Aoki
(6 Ratings)
festive season

Every business has a story to tell - but how do you know how to choose the ones that will interest your customers?

Stories have the unique ability to make people feel connected - they encourage relationships, instill faith and inspire people to make a change. When done properly, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a business owner can use.

Historically, it's the storytellers of the world who have managed to make a change. Think about "I have a dream" or "Ich bin ein Berliner". Both are examples of stories used to captivate an audience; both use a separate narrative to drive home a message.

Storytelling in business is much the same. However, where most business owners seemed to get confused is distinguishing between a sales-focused message and a story.

Give, don't take

Storytelling is a form of marketing that is not about directly selling to your customers. In other words, a story is not posting a message that you are currently having a sale or that you are the "best in your game for XYZ". This is an example of an advertisement.

Stories are about giving back to your audience - a story will create something they need, something they relate to and something they will share with others.

What story should I tell?

Knowing what story to tell is where things get tricky. The general rule of thumb is to make sure it's something that both resonates with your target market and your business offering.

It is also important to decide on the results that you want your storytelling to have. Do you want to inspire your audience? Do you want to teach them something? Do you want define your business's culture?

A very simple example of this would be a fashion retailer who wants to inspire customers. In this instance, they could post blogs that offer opinions on the latest trends - possibly even create a persona who comments on celeb outfits and posts images of staff favourites or latest purchases. The story here is that of the fashion expert who is a representation of the brand - inspirational, honest, funny and in the know.

Examples of storytelling in marketing

There are various examples of storytelling in business, and the good news is that it doesn't seem to matter what your budget is - there is always a way of telling a story.

Accounting North

If you think there's no story to be told around accounting, think again. Accounting North has managed to create a site that is now an essential source of information for those in the industry. Their story is that they have a business made up of expert accountants. Directly on the homepage are videos interviewing and showcasing their experts. The blog is also regularly updated with industry news and expert commentary.


Doing a similar thing but on a greater scale is Blackmores. The brand has dedicated a whole section of their website to something called 'Ask a Naturopath' where anyone can get free advice from professional healthcare consultants. The result here is that potential customers have a positive brand experience, engage with health consultants and are likely to share and talk about their experience. The company's story is that they are the leaders in medical advice and can be trusted.


Some time ago, Suncorp realised that they needed to focus their attention on mums. The result was a site called Million Dollar Woman, which tells the story of mums, the many challenges they face and celebrates motherhood. It's a feel-good site that offers advice to women at the specific life stage of motherhood. It may also sell insurance... but that's a very distant second.

What these brands demonstrate is that telling a story is not a formula - it is the belief that your brand can and does have a personality, and that by showing personality through a variety of content you can create a h3er relationship with your customer.

So, if you're looking for your story, start by asking "what's my brand's personality?"

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This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.

With the holidays just around the corner, many business owners are trying to take advantage of the biggest spending season of the year. With holiday spending accounting for as much as 20 to 40 per cent of retailers' annual sales, it's important for marketers to reach their target market effectively.1

While strategies for brick-and-mortar businesses and online retailers will differ, today's consumer is digitally connected and mobile, and your marketing strategy will very likely need to be as well. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the top business advertising ideas for the festive season.

Create a buzz on social media

Chances are your business has a social media presence, making it a logical place to start any holiday campaign. Think of ways to create a buzz around your business by engaging your followers in a fun and creative way. For example:

  • Run a wish list contest on Facebook or Twitter:

    Have customers create a wish list, with a lucky winner's wish list as the prize. Wish listing gets customers thinking about your products, which psychologically speaking, is halfway to the sale.

  • Create a holiday Pinterest board:

    Be sure to leverage what is arguably social media's biggest window-shopping platform this year by creating your own holiday themed boards for customers to browse.

  • Showcase your holiday spirit:

    Update all of your social media platforms with holiday logos and photos. Let your customers know you're celebrating with them by getting in the spirit too.

Offer coupons in exchange for answers

This highly effective strategy works by asking your customers which product from your store they would most like to have, then sending them a coupon for that product. If a customer has already expressed interest in the product, chances are good that they will use the coupon, resulting in a sale.

Run a series of flash sales leading up to the holidays

As the name suggests, a flash sale only runs for a certain period, then it's gone. By offering a series of flash sales on your website (or retail store) lasting only a few hours each, you'll get people checking in frequently in the hopes of finding a good bargain. Flash sales often involve deep discounts in order to get people motivated to buy.

Offer daily prizes as the holidays approach

Build even more excitement this year by offering a daily prize as Christmas approaches. With Facebook's new contest rules, it's easier than ever to run simple giveaways by having people respond to your posts. For example, each post could involve a simple contest, such as having followers upload a great holiday photo or recipe, then selecting a winner.

Give back with social media

Christmas is also known as the season of giving, and there's no better time of year for your business to show its charitable side. For example, partner with a local food bank or relevant charity and offer donations in exchange for Facebook likes or Twitter shares. You can also take photos to share via your social media channels.

Promote your posts

Speaking of promotion, if you're going through the effort of creating a holiday campaign, be sure customers know about it by promoting and cross-promoting your posts on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media channels.

Opt for Facebook newsfeed ads

Studies have shown that Facebook newsfeed ads deliver a click-through rate 20 times higher than ads that appear on the right-hand side, resulting in an ROI that is 26 times higher. This makes ads that appear in the newsfeed the clear choice for today's Facebook advertiser2.

Leverage QR codes

Last but not least, QR codes are a great way to bridge the 3D and digital worlds. For example, if you have a store front, you can display posters with QR codes that customers can scan for an instantly redeemable holiday coupon.

While there are many ways to reach out to customers over the holidays, hopefully these top business advertising ideas for the festive season will give you some fresh thoughts on how to generate even more sales.


1 Holiday FAQ. National Retail Federation (2013).

2 News Feed Page Post Ads Deliver 26X More ROI, 20X Greater CTR Than Facebook Right-Hand-Side Ads. David Cohen (2013).

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This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.

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Kathleen Aoki

Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.

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