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Social Christmas: How your start-up can join the festive fun

For businesses of all sizes, Christmas tends to be a manic but profitable period. While retail giants such as John Lewis and Sainsbury’s compete for the nation’s attention by throwing obscene amounts of cash at ad campaigns designed to tug at heart strings, SMEs must fight for their share of the festive pie on a much smaller budget.

So how can you stand out from your peers as an unestablished start-up with barely a few pennies to rub together? Fear not. There are plenty of ways you can grab a portion of the Christmassy audience, without running the risk of bankruptcy.

Smart email marketing

As we are bombarded with promotional emails throughout the season of good will, standing out is more important than ever. Take a look at the type of offers you’ve received, noting down which ones are well presented and have genuine appeal. What makes them stand out?

First off, you must have something good to offer. If you happen to be offering an attractive discounted rate, ensure this is stated in the subject heading, and don’t forget to include a strong call-to-action, encouraging them to buy your shiny new product.

An offer that lasts a month will not create a sense of urgency or exclusivity, so let the user know they only have a couple of days to claim it.

Don’t be tempted to extend your offer past the original date set, otherwise you’ll lose trust and credibility amongst your users.

In terms of tone of voice, pick one that suits your brand, but take into account that Christmas is a time when you’re allowed to have a bit of fun, so show a little personality.

When choosing imagery, try and use pictures and icons that both represent your brand and incorporate a Christmas spirit. Avoid anything that’s completely irrelevant to your brand simply because it’s festive.

Companies such as MailChimp allow you to produce slick-looking campaigns at low cost, and allow you to incorporate imagery uploaded from your linked social media accounts.

Be social

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There’s no denying the marketing gravitas that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more bring, and there’s several ways to attract followers. Sponsored like and share campaigns are a fantastic way to put your brand out there and start the ball rolling.

Leeds-based fast food brand Get Baked have employed such tactics, which has helped them amass a following in excess of 56k Facebook users – not bad for a start-up who began delivering snacks from their mum’s kitchen back in 2011!

If you have recently opened a restaurant, entering followers into a competition to win a festive meal if they tag some friends and like the post is a great way to gain some fantastic outreach, especially when supported by a fantastically tempting image of what can be won.

If you’re an online retailer, why not get users to interact and share stories about their worst and best Christmas presents of all time? Creating conversations around your brand is a powerful marketing tool, and costs next to nothing to implement.

With Twitter and Instagram, it’s all about the hashtags. Just make sure you do this wisely. Overuse of hashtags which incorporate every word associated to the product you’re plugging, smacks of desperation, and identifies you as a brand that doesn’t quite know what it’s doing.

Try to incorporate your company name or slogan into your festive message hashtag, making it unique to you and the campaign you’re running.

Learn from your experiences

Many start-ups may be experiencing Christmas marketing for the first time this year. Being sure to keep track of your analytics will help you to see what worked (and what really didn’t) when it comes to your Christmas campaign next year.

You can also consider surveying your audience to find out what they did and didn’t like about your Christmas marketing in the New Year. Offering discounts and prizes in exchange for the survey results can help to bring in an audience for the surveys, and the results will help you plan for next year.


Managing a prosperous Christmas marketing campaign doesn’t mean you have to hire live penguins, or send an old man with a telescope to the moon. A little bit of planning and understanding your customers’ feelings means you can tap into the resources you have at your disposal and make a big impact on a small budget.