Marketing Strategy Guide for Stress-Free Holiday Selling Part 1: How to Promote Your Sales

EEK! The holidays are basically already here. If you are still needing to get a marketing strategy in place or are unsure if you've left something out (I know... between getting your stuff ready to sell, attending markets and trying to have a personal life, it's very possible to have overlooked something!), this two-part series will be VERY helpful to get all of that nailed down. I'll warn you: it's a lot of content. But don't feel overwhelmed and like you have to implement it all. Take the nuggets out that will make your business shine!

We'd like to thank our friends at Made Freshly and their "copy fairy" Rachel for making such a comprehensive guide.

If are madly making product in anticipation the holiday onslaught, you might feel a bit overwhelmed that other parts of your business might not be ready. You all in the Academy of Handmade community need MadeFreshly’s “Mega-Ultimate Planning and Marketing Strategy Guide", to skip the crazy stress of the upcoming holiday selling madness.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “holidays sales contribute as much as 40% of annual revenue and 50% of annual profit,” so you better get plannin’ now and take full advantage of the sales coming your way!

Just download and print our free, handy-dandy Holiday Guide Checklist and Promotional Content Calendar to seriously, honestly, make your holiday selling so. much. easier.

Keep reading to learn how to:

  • Promote your sale across all platforms (before and during the sale)

  • Write direct copy that actually converts

  • Create enticing promotional images

  • The Secret to Promotional Content

Before You Start Selling

Hold on there Rudolph… let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Being prepared for your sale is the first crucial step in it actually being successful. If you don’t have a plan, you’re just making things harder on yourself later.

First things first, choose the deal you’re going to offer your customers. This really depends on what you’re willing to discount. Use this quick and dirty guide to using discount codes to give you some ideas of deals and how they will work for you.

Holiday Helpful: This is a great time to discount excess inventory to get rid of it!

When choosing which deals to offer:

  1. Define your profit margin
  2. Decide how much you can discount

Once you know how much you can afford to discount, you need to get your promotional content ready so you can promote your deals before and during the time they run.

Promote Consistently Across Your Platforms

Your promotional material (or “creative”) has two main goals:

  1. Lay out all sales information directly

  2. Create a sense of urgency and desire

The trick to your marketing strategy is to keep your message and creative consistent. That means from beginning to end, from your first Instagram post to your website’s home page and all the way to the shopping cart–consistency is key.

Platforms for Promotion:
No one knows your business better than you, so focus on the channels you know are your strengths.

Landing Pages and Home Page Banners

Finish off marketing your sale with promotional material on your site. Create landing pages and home page banners with your sale information so there’s a connection between what you’re doing internally and externally.

Social Media Platforms

Post on ALL of your social media platforms–this can also include ads if you want to pay for them.

Send Out an Email Newsletter

You can use a free service like MailChimp to automate your newsletter emails. If you have a MadeFreshly store, you can export your past customers’ names and emails into MailChimp to create an email list. Copyblogger lays out 37 tips for writing emails that actually get opened and read.

Promotional Blog Posts

Make your blog posts more creative and engaging instead of just blindly posting to get material out there. People like personality!

Write a series of blog posts showing your products in use. Give examples of real customers benefitting from your products to give your potential customers something to visualize. Then throw in that you’re having a sale!

Bada Bing. You just promoted your sale with a post that offers something valuable to your audience.

How to Create the Right Copy and Images for Your Promotion

Now that you’ve selected your social media platforms of choice, be sure to make the content you post attention grabbing, and attention keeping.

When you go to write your copy:


The rule here: Clarity over Cleverness. You need to be as direct as possible so customers know exactly what the deal is and how to get it.

Include necessary discount codes

You can either apply the discount to the products automatically in your online store or you can set it so customers have to input them to get the deal. If you decide to use a discount code, make sure you write it clearly and give thorough directions on how to use it.

Leave Nothing Up to Imagination

If you’re giving a % off deal, include the discounted price as well. “Shoppers don’t like to do math. Instead of crunching numbers, they’ll focus on particular figures in a discount promotion and draw their conclusions based on that amount.”

“We’re offering 50% off storewide! That means you get an iZZi Slim for $49.95!”

Always Include a Link to Your Shop with a Call-to-Action

Make things as easy as possible for your customers. You need a strong Call-to-Action at the end of your creative. A Call-to-Action is a direction to your customers telling them EXACTLY what to do, even if it seems obvious to you.

Go to (website here) to get 50% off today”

Create a Sense of Urgency by Showing that the Deal Won’t Last Forever

According to the Psychology of Black Friday, “…this creates a feeling of urgency for the consumer...which makes them more likely to buy.”


“Black Friday Sale!”

75% OFF FROM 10:00AM – 12:00PM

65% OFF FROM 12:00PM – 3:00PM

50% OFF FROM 3:00PM – 10:00PM

When creating your promotional images:

  • Include critical text
  • Use high resolution quality and correct aspect ratio
  • Make them simple, bold, and enticing

Include Text Directly on Your Image

Our eyes are naturally drawn to images, so double your information by putting the critical information straight on them. There are free phone apps that make it easy-peasy. Just don’t use too much text. The meat of your message should be in your copy.

Make sure your images are high res. and the right aspect ratio for each platform

Yes, even your camera phone can give you high resolution photos…you just have to adjust the settings.

For the web, 72 dpi is standard.

Here’s a cheat sheet so you know what sizes you need for every social media platform:

Simple, Bold, and Enticing Images WIN

(Notice how the image is simple, clean, and crisp. It is clear what is being sold, what the deal is, and the Call-to-Action button is bold)

The Most Important Part of Your Promotional Creative That Most People Don’t Know About

Have you already forgotten? Consistency is still important! You could have the coolest images and the clearest copy but if you don’t consistently carry your copy throughout the entire buying process, then it won’t do you much good.

In fact, you’ll lose customers.


Consumers go through a 5-step process when making the decision to buy. Each step has the potential to lose customers so you need to keep pushing them towards that purchase every step of the way–and a lot of that relies on your copy.

Time is money as proven by countless psychological studies on pricing.

So when you make the buying process easier, and faster, your target customers will be your biggest fans.

Let’s take a trip over to Forever21’s website–they are the “consistent copy queens.”

Here’s their sale page. It’s pretty unmistakable:

When you click “Shop Now” on any of the product categories on the sale page you’re taken to the “Category” page. While it may seem obvious to you that these products are on sale, there is still creative labeling this sale section so there is no way for customers to get confused:

Forever21 makes it nearly impossible to get lost on their site!

If you get confused, just think Hansel and Gretel: consistent copy literally leaves your customers a TRAIL TO THE SALE.

And there you have it. Everything you need to know to create stellar, consistent copy and images to  be ready for your sale.


Coming up next, learn how to apply the marketing techniques learned here to your actual holiday sales. Part 2 includes example sale templates and day-by-day guidance for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s. Get ready!


(The original version of this guide appeared on MadeFreshly)

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!

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