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November 1, 2016
Digital Marketing  |  5 min read

How to Choose the Correct Holiday Promotion

By Ernest Saco

“Black Friday Sale: 20% Off!”  

“Cyber Monday: Buy One, Get One Free!”

“Small Business Saturday: Spend $25 Get $25!”

We’re all familiar with these headlines. People have grown so used to these tactics that even Black Friday starts on Thursday now. 

This sales tactic is known as a “flash sale” and has existed since the dawn of e-commerce. With everyone’s eyes on gifts for the holiday season, anticipation for end-of-year bonuses, and cashing in their PTO,  “buy, buy, buy” is on every consumer’s mind, while “sell, sell, sell” is on every retailer’s.

In an attempt to get customers’ eyes during holiday times, businesses enact these flash sales to incentivize those customers to keep eyes on them and not their competitors. So if you sell online, how do you stand out amongst the sea of bargains and door-buster deals? 

For a smaller online business, the name of the game is to get organized and be creative. Often times your purchasing power doesn’t measure up to that of Target or Walmart, and your marketing budget isn’t anywhere near that of Amazon’s. So you have to play the game differently.  

Set goals

First things first. What are you looking to accomplish this holiday season? If you’re running a promotion, are you looking to boost sales, get rid of old inventory, acquire new customers, or incentivize existing customers to come back and buy again? Keeping that goal in mind will allow you to better make decisions around which flash sale strategy you should be executing.

Plan ahead

Use your existing communication channels to communicate to both your existing customers and new potential customers to build excitement about your upcoming promotions.

We did this with our online shop Mom Shirt Co. We use a combination of social media posts (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat) and automated emails, using Infusionsoft, to build anticipation and communicate with our customers and prospects about deals and new releases.

As a result, we’ve seen up to a 40 percent increase in sales within the first day of a new product release or promotion.

Mom Shirt Instagram promo

Look at last year

History repeats itself. Take a look at what worked for you last year, or even what has worked for you this year. Where did you get sales spikes and why? If you weren’t happy with your results, take a look at competitors to get an idea of what they do to generate an uptick in sales.

Try a bonus offer

Many studies have shown that consumers prefer bonus quantities over discounts. From a psychological perspective, bonus quantities are seen as a gain in quantity, which is valued higher than a reduction in loss from a discount. In our business, we will be attempting this strategy with a holiday offer of “buy a shirt, get a hat free.” By taking a small loss on the hats, we hope to incentivize more people to buy when they may have hesitated otherwise. This is a great opportunity to get rid of old inventory or boost sales.


The holiday season can be the biggest sales season for many businesses. A combination of planning ahead, automation, and creativity can make this your biggest season as well. Having tools like Infusionsoft can be the difference in accomplishing the goal you set out to accomplish or falling short during this historically busy time. Happy selling! 

10 steps to boost sales this holiday season

About the Author:

Ernest Saco headshot

Ernest Saco is a small business growth expert at Infusionsoft. He takes the lessons he learns in his own business and helps small business owners overcome marketing challenges in theirs. He and his wife also co-founded Mom Shirt Co. an online shop for humorous, high-quality T-shirts for trendy moms.  Ernest has taken his passion for entrepreneurship and begun creating a course to help individuals begin their own T-shirt business from home, which will be available at sellshirtsnow.com.

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