Holiday Marketing: Tips, Data, and 73 SMS Examples - 2023

October 9, 2023 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton
Holidays and growing sales graphics

Let’s just face the facts - holidays are fun.

Between celebrations, goodies, gifts, and feasts… Most people love a good holiday.

And for businesses, holidays are more than just fun. They hold a strategic importance.

Reuters reports that holidays can account for up to 40% annual revenue for some businesses.

So in fact, your business may live or die based on your holiday success - and particularly the fall-winter holiday season.

With that in mind, you obviously need to make sure your holiday marketing is up to snuff.

Now, there are a lot of tips floating around out there regarding getting the most out of your holiday marketing. And you’d be wise to look through and heed some of that advice. (We’ve even offered a bit of advice ourselves.)

But here we’ll zero in on one particular holiday marketing tool.

It’s a tool you’re not using to the full extent, but it can have immense impact.

That holiday marketing tool is SMS (i.e. “text messaging.”)

So we’ll go over why you should use SMS for your holiday marketing, as well as specific examples of how some businesses use it.

But first, here are a few general holiday marketing tips that stand out as common factors among some of the “top tip” lists. (Plus, check out our infographic at the bottom of the page.)

Holiday Marketing: 4 Simple Tips

1. Incorporate Emotion

Holidays are known for being sappy.

But people love sap, so don’t be afraid to embrace it when appropriate.

One report concluded that emotionally-driven ads had a success rate of 31%, compared to only 16% for rationally-driven ads.

Use what creatives call pathos - connecting with people’s emotions. (You should use logic as well, of course.)

And one of the deepest emotions you can connect with during holidays is nostalgia.

So you can take a look at your holiday marketing campaigns and think, “Is there a way to incorporate nostalgia or some other emotion into this messaging?”

2. Personalize

Marketing campaigns often do better if they’re personalized.

Forbes reports that 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.

Even something as simple as including the customer’s name could help create a connection.

So collect your customers’ and leads’ names, if you can, and put them into your marketing databases. Email and SMS marketing tools will include personalization functions, so you can take advantage of those.

(And what’s even better, though not usually scalable, is if you can individually reach out to people.)

Family eating Thanksgiving dinner, and holiday marketing tips

3. Target, Target, Target

Related to the concept of personalization is targeting.

According to Forbes, 70% of millennials are frustrated with brands sending irrelevant content (specifically referring to emails - but the concept applies to all of marketing).

Targeting can help with that. It refers to “grouping” your contact list into segments based on shared characteristics.

For example, you may have a targeted group of people in a certain demographic. Or a group of people who abandoned their cart. Or a group of people who made purchases in the past 30 days.

Target your holiday marketing messages as specifically as is feasible, and you’ll see a better response.

Why? Because people are more likely to engage with messages that are more relevant to them.

To illustrate… if you blast out a Christmas deal on crop tops to all of your audience, you’ll likely get a large number of people who couldn’t care less (e.g. elderly people and men).

And if people receive messages they don’t care about, they’ll either tune out your messages… or unsubscribe.

And that would be a holiday tragedy.

4. Diversify Your Marketing Channels

95% of marketers say they know how important multichannel marketing is for targeting. But only 14% of organizations say they are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels.

Don’t rely too much on a single marketing channel if you can avoid it.

For example, don’t just use email, or just social media, or just SMS.

When possible, use a combination of these and other marketing channels (Google Ads, podcast sponsorships, even radio or TV if it would connect with your audience).

If you can successfully diversify, without spreading yourself too thin, of course… you won’t be caught in a lurch if one of those marketing channels doesn’t perform as expected.

And speaking of holiday marketing channels, we’re going to shift gears now and focus on a single tool that is grossly underused: SMS.

First, we’ll answer the question, “Why should I use SMS?”

Key holiday dates for sending SMS

Holiday Marketing: Why You Should Use SMS

SMS is one of the most - if not the most - powerful communication medium today, in terms of getting people to actually see your messages.

To put it in perspective, SMS has a reported read rate of up to 98%.

What does that mean?

It means that text messages almost never go unread.

You can validate this from your own personal experience - How many texts do you personally leave unread?

Compare that to your emails, as an example of another popular communication method.

Email marketing is highly effective, particularly during the holiday season (accounting for 24% of holiday sales by some accounts). But open rates for emails hovers around 21.5% for marketing emails in general.

And even if we include read rates for personal emails, the numbers are reported to be only 57%.

If businesses see that much success from a communication medium that has such a low read rate… imagine how much success you could have sending messages through a medium that almost all your recipients will read.

So since holiday marketing is so important for the health of your business, you want to make sure you take advantage of the simplicity and power of SMS.

That way, you can get as many sales from your holiday marketing as possible.

But how?

We’ll walk you through some ways to use SMS for specific holiday marketing.

First, here's a suggested timetable for when you can send SMS this holiday season...

2023 Holiday Marketing Calendar for SMS


Oct. 2ndFall/Halloween promotion (or pre-Black Friday deals begin)
Oct. 16thPre-Black Friday deal
Oct. 24thHalloween promotion
Oct. 31stHalloween promotion


Nov. 7thPre-Black Friday deal
Nov. 14thPre-Black Friday deal.
Nov. 20thBlack Friday week promotion
Nov. 22nd-24thBlack Friday deals
Nov. 27thCyber Monday deals


Dec. 4thChristmas promotion
Dec. 11thChristmas promotion
Dec. 18thChristmas promotion
Dec. 24th-25thChristmas Eve and Christmas Day promotions/engagement
Dec. 31st-Jan. 1stNew Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day promotions/engagement

Holiday Marketing: SMS for Halloween

We often think of the “holiday season” starting with Thanksgiving.

But let’s not forget the holiday that really kicks it all off - Halloween.

Granted, for businesses, Halloween doesn’t nearly have the effect of, say, Black Friday or Christmas.

But consider this report from the National Retail Federation from 2022: “Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $10.6 billion, exceeding last year's record of $10.1 billion.”

$10.6 billion is nothing to snuff at.

So how can businesses use SMS for Halloween marketing?

Promoting Halloween Events

Current event Halloween Dance Party for Teens! Click link to register for entry:
ApplePay: [link] Eventbrite link: [link]

Halloween live time! We have some fun Halloween [product 1] and [product 2]! Join now! [Link]

Halloweenie Tournament - [day and time]. [Location], hor d'oeuvres provided. [2nd day and time], breakfast provided.

Promoting Halloween Sales

[Business Name] Trial is over! HALLOWEEN SALE! Become a part of the team and enjoy 31% off. PROMO CODE: [code]

[Link] - Restock! [List of products]. Halloween Sale!

HALLOWEEN CLOTHES UP TO 70% OFF! Shop with [name] here: [link]

Halloween leggings or shorts 50% off! [Link]

Halloween SUPER SALE happening now!! Come say hi and join the fun!! ~[Name], [link]

Halloween Blowout! Click here! [Link]

[Business Name] - Clearance! Halloween [product 1] posted to the group! $3 kids and tween [product 2], and 50% off adult sizes!

Promoting Halloween Giveaways

Good afternoon!!! Halloween grab bags are now available on our Facebook page! Go get your spooooky bag! [Link]

SMS for Thanksgiving

Holiday Marketing: SMS for Thanksgiving

Businesses think about Black Friday but may neglect the day of thankful feasting immediately before.

However, people spend billions of dollars on Thanksgiving Day itself.

Here are some ways that businesses can use SMS for marketing on Thanksgiving.

Promoting Thanksgiving Products / Services

FRIYAY NIGHT LIVE!!! Shoes, Thanksgiving decor, sweaters and fun! [Link]

[Business Name]’s Thanksgiving Feasts are available for pre-order, we sell out every year! We're offering pickup Nov. 23 - 24. Check it out here: [link]

Check out Thanksgiving outfits & a Christmas sneak peek!! [Link]

[Business Name] has a busy November: [product 1], Thanksgiving dinners, and Thanksgiving donations. [Link]

[Business Name] - We are now taking orders for Thanksgiving! Click below to order. [Link]

From: [Business Name] - Going Live at 8:15 in VIP group w/ Thanksgiving items! Click link to watch Live or watch replay: [link]

Promoting Thanksgiving Sales

From: [Business Name] - LAST DAY of Thanksgiving Sale - 30% Off & FREE GIFT WRAPPING

Thanksgiving sale! Save 25% OFF. Promo code: [code]. Sale Ends soon! [Link]

Happy Thanksgiving week! Enjoy 40% off! Code: [code]. Join us live now: [link]

From [Business Name] - Thanksgiving sale. $20 OFF on [service] until Nov 29. Reply YES to receive your coupon code to teh email address on file.

Thanksgiving Eve Shoppin' w/ [Business Name]! HAWT New Gifts & [product type]. Check it out LIVE! [Link]

THANKSGIVING EVE SALE Doorbusters! [Product 1]! Our best [product 2] restock! [New product] LAUNCH! + MORE! [Link]

From: [Business Name] - Happy Thanksgiving!! We have a special event today for you to enjoy while lounging and spending time with the family! Check it out from noon to 8pm today so you can get a jump on holiday shopping! [Link]

[Business Name] - Thanksgiving deals start now!! Check the app every 2 hours for NEW deals!!! Go to the app to see the first deal!

Happy Thanksgiving SALE! 60% OFF, 40%, OFF 20% OFF [Link]

THANKSGIVING!! Our entire WEBSITE is 30% off with code [promo code]! [Link]

Promoting Thanksgiving Giveaways

Thanksgiving Basket entry instructions have been posted! Check them out here: [link]

Thanksgiving Holiday Swag Bag Prize Live!!! [Link]

Holiday Marketing: SMS for Black Friday / Cyber Monday

We’ve gone over SMS marketing for Black Friday / Cyber Monday elsewhere.

So here we’ll just mention it for good measure.

For an extensive list of examples for how to use SMS marketing for Black Friday / Cyber Monday, click here.

SMS for Christmas

Holiday Marketing: SMS for Christmas

Christmas is the pinnacle of holidays for many Americans.

It’s one of the few holidays that has a whole season devoted to it. And it’s a season of high importance for businesses.

In fact, according to Finances Online, in one recent year “US households spent an average of $1,387” over the Christmas season.

This season-long celebration of Christmas makes it fertile ground for holiday marketing via SMS.

Here are some examples of how.

Promoting Christmas Products / Services

[Business Name] - OH SUGAR!! NEW Treats - Just in time for Christmas - Don't Miss Out On These DELICIOUS Snacks!! [Link]

[Business Name] - Launching Christmas decor from [supplier]! CHRISTMAS IS COMING! [Link]

[Business Name] - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! NEW [product 1], [product 2], [product 3], [product 4]! Doorbusters & more!

[Business Name] - FREE gift with order!! Christmas decor, stocking stuffers, Christmas socks & more! [Link]

It’s [Name]! Countdown to Christmas! HURRY pre-order will ship NEXT WEEK! [Link] SO STINKIN CUTE! Santa OR Snowman

Fresh Christmas Trees - Nobles, Fraser, Douglas, Silver tips. 4'-15'. Wreaths & Garland. Click to buy: [Link]

The most wonderful time of the year! Christmas [products] are here! Go snag yours, they are selling quick! [Link]

[Business Name] - [Product 1], [product 2], Christmas everything! Check it out: [link]

It's time to get Holly Jolly! Christmas [product 1] and [product 2] are here! Check it out here: [link]

Promoting Christmas Events

IT’S THE CHRISTMAS LAUNCH! This is not a drill! THIS IS IT!!!! [Link]

[Business Name] - Christmas Open House is in full swing!! Open till 7 with tons of sales & giveaways! Come see us at [address]!

15 minutes until drop time! Get ready for this epic Christmas drop y'all! [Link]

From: [Business Name] - CHRISTMAS COLLECTION! Wish list event happening now! Short time frame, so HURRY! Click here! [Link]

Christmas ornament cash giveaways! Join me LIVE! [Link]

Promoting Christmas Sales

Make sure you do your Christmas shopping at [link] - PROMO CODE: [code] to save up to 66%!

Check names off your Christmas list with our Holiday Sale! 30-40% off price marked in the Holiday collection (automatic at checkout): [link]

[Name], I have an early Christmas present for you. I'm giving you 100 of my best [product] FOR ONLY $14. I'm looking out. Click below to access them now! [Link]

The [Business Name] 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS SALE is LIVE! New offers each day until the 25th! Shop now: [link]

Get 40% off Christmas items with promo code [code] until midnight! [Link]

[Business Name] - Pre Christmas sale! 15% off all regular priced items. Thursday and Friday, 12/16 and 12/17 only.

It's the 8th day of Christmas at [Business Name]... 20% off ALL [product 1] and [product 2]! Saturday: 20% off ALL kids [product 1] and [product 2]! See you there!

Christmas came early for you! Tonight at 9 PM EST we are dropping the limited edition [product] for 50% off! Get READY!!

Get Christmas [product] for FREE today and tomorrow here: [link]

Christmas Sale for only 10 people for only 10 minutes! Reply INTERESTED to get [product name] for $1,000.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! 50% OFF EVERYTHING!!!! Use coupon code [link] and get 50% off your entire order! Y’all can shop on the app or website! [Business Name]

Merry Christmas! Take 50% OFF your purchase today! Use promo code [code] - [Business Name], [link]

[Business Name] 60% Off After Christmas Sale starts now! Use code [code] for 60% Off all items in the [tab name]! [Link]

Get a Free 14-Day Trial with Mobile Text Alerts

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SMS for New Year

Holiday Marketing: SMS for New Year’s

The fall-early winter holiday marketing opportunities don’t end at Christmas.

You have one more holiday to help tide you over until the next big holiday (Valentine’s Day).

That holiday is New Year’s (encompassing both Dec. 31st and Jan. 1st).

According to a survey by Numerator, customers surveyed expected to spend an average of $50-$75 on New Year’s Eve alone. So while not as lucrative as other holidays, New Year’s can definitely be another significant opportunity for your business.

Check out these examples of how you can take advantage of SMS for holiday marketing for New Year’s.

Promoting New Year’s Products

HOLY MOLY! Never been seen [product 1] is posted! Plus two other amazing pre-orders! New Year’s Eve [product 2], [product 3] and more! [Business Name]

[Business Name] - NEW ARRIVALS! Check them out live w/ [name]!! [Product 1], [product 2], [product 3], NEW YEAR’S and MORE!

From: [Business Name] - 3 brand new, New Year’s Eve [product] JUST LAUNCHED!! They are already going fast! Don't wait! [Link]

WARNING! At 8 PM [Product Name] goes LIVE to the public. If you want to secure your New Year [product], get yours before it's too late! [Link]

Promoting New Year’s Events

​​((ACCESS GRANTED)) - Welcome to [Business Name]. You will receive 1 ticket to New Year’s Midnight Run Event. [Address]. Click exclusive link below to access entry & guest list. [Link]"

[Business Name] - NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY! Friday, December 31, 11pm-6am, $15 1st Hr, $20 B4 2am, $25 After! Party Info@ [link]"

Promoting New Year’s Sales

New Year’s promo from [Business Name]!! Lock in rate of $125 weekly for [service] NOW! Send orders to [email address].

Happy New Year’s, [Business Name] Family! End of Year Specials and Giveaways! Call Now for Details! [Link] - [Phone number]. Must Mention Text.

From: [Business Name]... Our End of Year Sale starts NOW online and in store!! Go to our website or app and click “End of Year Sale Be Safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! [Link]

[Business Name] trial is over! Happy New Year! Get 30% discount -
PROMO CODE [code]. New Year Sale: [link]

[Business Name] NEW YEAR’S SALE...20% off all regular priced items! 12/31 AND 1/1 ONLY

New Year’s Eve Flash sale! Bring in 2022 the right way - all products only 27$ till 9pm. [Link]

[Business Name] coupon code coming at ya!! Happy New Year! 30% OFF ALL [product]!! Ahhhhhh!!! Expires 1/1 at 5 pm EST. Use code: [code]

[Business Name] - NEW YEAR SALE EXTENDED - 60% off [product name] with code: [code] - ENDS AT 11:59p EST! CLICK HERE: [link]

[Business Name] - 30% Off New Year Deal! [Product 1], [product 2], [product 3], & more! [Link]

New Year’s Sale! Take advantage of our 50% off sale today only. Get the [product name] today before it's too late. [Link]

Start the New Year Right! $20 [product 1], $20 [product 2] & lots of [product 3] deals available today @ [Business Name]! [Link]

How to Set Up SMS for Holiday Marketing

All of this discussion is well and good.

But if you’ve never fully delved into SMS marketing before… How do you do it? Where do you start?

1. Test Out an SMS Platform

The first step is to just pick an SMS platform to try out.

Then get a free trial (don’t worry, no credit card’s needed) and you can to test it out to see if it’s a good fit for you.

You’ll be able to test adding in contacts and sending out messages, so you can see if you like the ease of use and the intuitiveness of the platform.

If you want to get off on a good foot, you can get a free 1-on-1 walkthrough of the service. They will not only walk you through how to use the platform but can also give you advice specific to your situation.

2. Load in Contacts

Once you have an SMS platform set up, you’ll need to decide on the best way to get your contacts loaded into the platform.

If you already have consent from your customers and leads to send them texts, you can just put them into a spreadsheet and then add them in by uploading that spreadsheet.

Another option would be to connect your current CRM to your SMS platform via integrations (or via API if you’re a developer, or have access to developers).

If your customers haven’t agreed yet to receive your holiday marketing texts, you can get their consent by offering “text-to-join” keywords, QR codes, or a web sign-up form. (All of these options are automatically generated by your SMS platform.

Manage subscribers

3. Set Up Your Campaigns

Setting up your campaigns in an SMS platform is pretty easy.

You just type out the content for your message and hit the “schedule” button to select the date/time you want the message to go out. If you’d like, you can also add tracked links to your message via the platform.

Send a message

Another option is to set up a whole automated workflow of messages, which is a little more complicated but could save you time if you want to automate a string of texts.

INFOGRAPHIC: 7 Ways to Get the Most Sales from Your Holiday Marketing

infographic on ways to get more sales from holiday marketing

Consumers spent $886.7 billion during the November-December holiday season in 2021.

In total, holidays can account for up to 40% annual revenue for retailers.

So with all of that in mind, retailers need to make sure they’re taking full advantage of the holiday opportunities.

Here are 7 ways you can succeed in driving more sales during the holiday season.

1. Start Now

In the current climate, retailers are facing issues with too much inventory and too little economic cash flow. To help combat these issues, many are beginning Black Friday sales as soon as October. Start implementing your holiday marketing now so that you don’t miss the boat.

Examples of retailers beginning Black Friday sales as early as October:

2. Build Anticipation

Build anticipation for your holiday events like Black Friday and Christmas by teasing your audience ahead of time. Let them know what to expect so that they look forward to it.

In 2021, Mobile Text Alerts platform users sent 57% of their Black Friday messages before the actual day of Black Friday.

Of users that sent pre-Black Friday messages, they sent an average of 3-4 messages before Black Friday.

3. Take Advantage of as Many Marketing Channels as Possible

The more you can put yourself out there, the better. Take advantage of SMS, email, social media, and any other marketing channels that you feasibly can. Consider the stats below:

  • 95% of marketers say they know how important multichannel marketing is for targeting
  • 72% of consumers say they would rather connect with brands and businesses through multichannel marketing
  • Only 14% of organizations say they are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels

4. Use Effective Copy

Speak your customers’ language as much as you can. Know your customers inside and out through surveys, reviews, testimonials, and interviews, and speak to their desires and pain points.

Example: "Now’s the perfect time to pick up that new pair of premium, ultra-comfy leggings you’ve been wanting. Why? Because all leggings are 30% off THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Stop by or shop online: [link]"

5. Automate as Much as You Can

Most marketing tools will have automation options to help make your life easier. Pre-schedule your campaigns ahead of time so that you can frontload your work, and then focus on actually selling when the time comes. Consider the stats below:

  • 82% of marketers use automation to create triggered emails
  • Only 44% of marketers use marketing automation for social media management
  • Only 25% of marketers use automation for SMS marketing

6. Use the Power of Texting Responsibly

Texting has read rates as high as 98% and therefore is one of the most effective ways to communicate. Use it, but don’t send too many messages. Only send texts your customers actually want to receive.

(Marketing emails have an average read rate of only 21.5%.)

Without attribution, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not. Use trackable links in your marketing messages to help track the success of your campaigns.

In a sample of 90 Black Friday-related texts sent by Mobile Text Alerts users, over 70% of them contained a link of some kind.

Another study indicated less than 50% of companies were carrying out attribution on “all or most” of their marketing activities.


With reported ROI opportunities as high as 2,000%, text marketing in particular is an underutilized and powerful tool to help you really reach customers and get better results for your holiday marketing.

See for Yourself How Holiday Marketing Via SMS Works

So you’ve seen how engaging in holiday marketing via SMS is practical, not too difficult, and beneficial for your business.

You can get 50 free messages with the platform Mobile Text Alerts to see for yourself how it works. (No credit card or obligation required!)

Get 50 free messages now.

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Start sending mass text alerts to your entire list today!