5 Great Marketing Ideas for the Holidays

For most Americans, Thanksvigiving means turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. But for retailers, Thanksgiving means money. It means Black Friday is here, and it means that the holiday shopping season has arrived in earnest. And, to help fuel your creative juices this week, FTR has compiled a short list of ingenious marketing campaigns to inspire your business while shoppers wait for Santa’s sleigh.

1. An Important Meeting — Ghost River Brewing Co.

This Tennessee-based brewery is hosting “an important meeting” as a way to escape crowded family confines. It comes with food trucks, cheap beer, and games. There’s no denying the drawing power of booze and solitude in an outdoor industry built on nature’s silent sanctuaries.

2. Opt Outside — REI

Recreational outfitter REI is continuing its successful #optoutside program, which encourages employees and customers to avoid retail altogether on Black Friday, and head to the outdoors instead. The program has garnered national recognition and widespread support on social media. “In the midst of a big holiday brainstorming session, the head of our merchandising group said, ‘We could never do it, but what if we close on Black Friday?'” Ben Steele told Adweek. “Obviously at face value it seems crazy, but it was all about giving our people the day off and inviting others to join us.”

This year, 11 U.S. states have opened up their parks for free in support of the movement.

3. Santa’s Wonderland —  Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops has been leveraging the power of Saint Nick for decades, as each year it transforms store aisles into a boiled-peanut filled wonderland of snow, elves, and Santa. And while you might not be keen on the idea of wearing an elf costume, there’s no denying the drawing power of Saint Nick. According to PayScale.com, the average Santa makes $175-$200 per hour, making the man in red an affordable guest that could bring fishing families through your doors.

4. Friendsgiving

Neighborhood bars around the country are hosting Friendsgiving meals, and it’s not too late for your tackle shop to do the same. While the holidays are some of the happiest days of the year for many, they’re also some of the loneliest days of the year for others. Many people suffer from loneliness, sadness and even depression during the holidays—and you could have the cure. Many tackle shops already serve as de-facto coffee shops and breakfast spots for their family of customers: why not offer up a holiday table for free, as well?

5. Freemail

Even if you don’t have a stellar website (you should, here’s how to win one for free), you can still use the holidays to build an email database of your customers. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert to send out sale alerts, fishing tips, or new inventory announcements. That helps, of course, but programs like MailChimp make it easy for you to start designing your own marketing emails for free. In a crowded social media landscape that is only becoming more cumbersome, less effective, and more expensive, old-fashioned email is still a valuable tool for building customer loyalty and driving return visits.