How to market locally during the holiday season


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As a local business owner, you know the importance of your community. Your neighbors are the ones who frequently visit your shop and recommend your services to others in the neighborhood. They are your most valuable customers.

In fact, 72% of U.S. adults have made it even more of a priority to support local businesses compared to pre-pandemic times. It’s important that your local customers know how to find you, especially during the holiday season.

With increased demand, supply chain disruptions, and global shipping delays, more consumers are getting an early start to their holiday shopping. If you haven’t started your local holiday marketing, now is the time to do so. Take advantage of the busy shopping season and use the tips below to increase sales and drive traffic to your business.

7 ways to market locally this holiday season

1. Be easy to find online

When it comes to holiday shopping, customers have many options to choose from. Building an online presence is key for your business to stand out and be easily discovered. Even if you have a physical location, customers start their shopping journey online. Make sure you’re meeting them there. Here are a few tactics that your business can implement to be easy to find.

  • List your business: Listing your business on online directories such as Nextdoor, Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Thumbtack is an effective way for potential customers to easily find your business. These directories have high search rankings that will boost your online visibility. Being listed in an online directory will help customers find you in a pinch.
  • Social Media: According to a Sprout Social poll, 57% of users say they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media. Building a social media presence gives your audience the chance to connect with your business and learn more about your brand. During the holidays, share posts about how your business is celebrating, behind-the-scenes photos or videos, or any holiday offers you may have.
  • Build a website: A business website makes it easy for customers to learn about your products and services. A website also gives your business credibility and establishes a sense of professionalism. During the holidays, use your website to share any special promotions and spread cheer with festive photography. If you haven’t built a website for your business, there are many free and low-cost platforms to choose from.
  • Implement local search engine optimization (SEO): Once you have your website, be sure to implement SEO. Incorporating relevant keywords to your website not only helps your business be more discoverable in online searches, but also represents an effective and free way to maximize your local digital presence. Try optimizing for keywords with a holiday twist such as “gift guides in [your city],” or “tree decorating in [your city].”

2. Connect with your local community

Now is the perfect time to get involved in your community. Not only does this help build brand awareness, but it also helps customers build trust.

Need some inspiration on how your business can connect with your community? Here are a few ideas.

  • Partner with other local businesses: If your business is located near other local businesses, partner with a few of them to offer a joint discount or promotion. For example, if you run a coffee shop, you can partner with a nearby retail store and restaurant to offer special discounts for shopping at each business. Customers can start their day with coffee, get a discount on gifts at the retail store, and then end their shopping day with a discounted bite at the restaurant. There’s no set formula on who your business can partner with, so get creative. At the end of the day, you’re spreading the word, helping support nearby businesses in your community, and making shopping convenient for your customers.
  • Give back to a local organization: Lean into the spirit of giving and help raise money for a local organization or charity. Donate a percentage of your sales for a given time period or make a one-time donation. If monetary giving isn’t in your means, there are many other creative ways to give back. Consider running a food or toy drive, donating your products or services, or designating a day for your team to volunteer.
  • Host or sponsor local community events: Whether you sponsor an ad placement for the community tree lighting or work with other nearby businesses to put on a holiday event, hosting or sponsoring an event for your community is a great way to get plugged in. Not only will you increase awareness of your business, but neighbors will also know that your business is one that cares.

No matter how you choose to connect with your community, be sure to get the word out through your website and marketing campaigns. For example, you can share your holiday events with Business Posts on Nextdoor and on your social media to drive more foot traffic to your store.

3. Be a trusted resource

When it comes to local marketing, you want to be known as an expert in your field and a trusted resource.

Are you a local handyman? Share your expertise on how to prepare your home for the winter season. Are you a local restaurant? Give tips on how to prepare the best holiday meal. Are you in the health and wellness space? Let customers know how they can navigate the busy holiday season stress-free. Share your knowledge and experience with your nearby customers.

  • Start blogging: Create a blog on your website and share information regularly. When your blog post is live, let your customers know by posting a link to the article on your social media accounts and email campaigns.
  • Participate in online groups and forums: Another way to become a trusted resource is to actively participate in online groups and forums. Being a regular participant in those conversations not only builds brand recognition and awareness, but also helps establish you as an expert.

4. Create a digital marketing strategy

digital marketing strategy is crucial to getting the word out about your business at the local level. Sometimes, customers and clients aren’t able to go to your business in-person, which is why it helps to meet them where they are – online.

Digital marketing includes tactics such as paid online advertising, organic social media posts, and email campaigns. While this may sound like a lot of work, you don’t need to be an expert. The key is to get started.

  • Social media: Being active on social media helps you drive sales with new and existing customers. According to Sprout Social, 91% of consumers who follow a business on social media will visit the brand’s website or app, 89% will buy from the brand, and 85% will recommend the brand to a family member or friend. Social media is a great way to help customers learn more about your business and establish brand loyalty. Plus, it’s This holiday season, use social media to show off behind-the-scene photos and your holiday-related products or services.
  • Paid advertising: Promote special offers or discounts through paid online advertising. Many advertising platforms are flexible with the budget you have to work with. If you are choosing to go the paid route, consider advertising tools like Nextdoor’s Local Deals. With neighborhood-specific targeting, Local Deals is an ideal tool that will help build buzz and drive traffic to your business among local customers.
  • Email campaigns: When utilized regularly, email campaigns (i.e., weekly or monthly newsletters) are an effective digital tool that can drive sales. Use emails to share business updates, such as holiday hours, gift ideas, and gift card offerings.

5. Prioritize customer referrals and reviews

A referral or positive review goes a long way, and as a local business, word-of-mouth marketing is the key to keep business growing. 95% of consumers say positive reviews make them more likely to purchase a product or service from a business. So, how do you get customers to post and share their positive experience? Here are two ideas you can try.

  • Offer referral rewards: A referral rewards program is a great way to attract new leads and keep your existing customers engaged. It works by offering an incentive for customers who promote your business. The more referrals a customer brings in, the closer they get to a reward, which can range from a discount, to a gift card, to a free product or service. Learn more about setting up a referral rewards program here.
  • Ask for reviews: Another way to generate word-of-mouth buzz is to ask your customers to leave a review for your business. If you have a physical location and had a positive interaction with a customer during check out, you can ask at that moment. You can also ask for reviews on your receipts, in a newsletter, or on a social media post.

6. Start a loyalty program

Building a loyal customer base brings high rewards for your business. According to Adobe, loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones through repeat purchases. So, how do you build customer loyalty? Start a loyalty program.

A loyalty program is when you offer an incentive, such as a discount or free service, after a set number of purchases. This can be done via punch cards, or through different apps and online platforms. This is highly effective because these customers are likely to come back, due to their close proximity to your business. Plus, 81% of consumers agree that a loyalty program makes them more likely to continue doing business with a brand.

If you haven’t started a loyalty program, the holidays are an opportune time to do so. Not only will it encourage repeat spending as customers shop for gifts and get needed services, but it’ll also give them a reason to come back in the new year.

7. Utilize traditional marketing methods

While we live in a digital world, traditional marketing methods still matter when marketing locally. Whether you utilize signage around your neighborhood, put up ads in the local newspaper, or find your customers in their homes with direct mail. Offline touchpoints are just as important as online touchpoints.

If you aren’t using traditional marketing methods, consider the following statistics, according to Alliance Business Services:

  • 79% of households say they read or scan direct mail ads.
  • 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing.
  • 44% of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing.

Tap into print ads for your discounts and promotions, use direct mail to send first-time customer promo codes, and pass out flyers that promote your business at local events.


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This article originally appeared on The QuickBooks Resource Center and was syndicated by

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32 ways to celebrate the holidays affordably


The holiday season is a popular time for Americans to go all out with their spending. They shell out an average of $1,000 to $2,000 on gifts alone. And that doesn’t include spending on parties, decor or travel.


There are so many expenses that need to be taken into account during the holidays, but you don’t need to overspend for top-of-the-line gifts and experiences to enjoy the season.


Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the holidays affordably.


Related: Creating better buying habits


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Before spending any money, come up with a realistic budget for gifts, decorations and experiences this holiday season. You’ll be able to prioritize your spending in advance and identify where you can make cuts.





By making purchases with cash instead of plastic during the holidays, you could end up spending more thoughtfully. Try the cash envelope system to help you stick to your budget. All you do is create a few different envelopes for spending categories like holiday meals, decorations and experiences, and then put the cash for each into the envelopes. When you run out of cash, it means you can’t spend any more money in that category (or you have to dip into the budget for another category).



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While you may prefer to cook everything yourself for holiday meals, hosting a potluck and asking your friends and family members to bring food to a holiday meal is a good way to cut costs on your grocery bill. It could also be fun to sample everyone’s cooking. Just make sure that you ask people ahead of time what they plan to bring so that you have enough food and options for everyone.


If you are hosting a meal, choose some foods that are on the cheaper side to save money. For instance, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you could make latkes, which only require potatoes and onions, plus some sides like applesauce and sour cream. More cheap Hanukkah meal ideas include fried chicken and donuts. If you celebrate Kwanzaa, try cooking some buttermilk biscuits and plantains. For Christmas, pigs in a blanket and yule log cakes are both fun and affordable.


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There may be an area near you that’s known for looking spectacular at Christmas time. Hop in the car with a friend and tour the local Christmas decor for a festive, free night out.


Instead of doing a Secret Santa gift exchange with presents, get together some friends, colleagues or neighbors and do a cookie swap instead. Before committing to making any cookies, be sure to ask everyone in the cookie exchange if they have any food allergies.


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This is a great free holiday activity to do with the kids. Go to the library, take out some holiday books you loved when you were a kid, and then reread them to your children during the holiday season. You’ll get to reminisce about the past while sharing your childhood with your family.


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Search YouTube for the best holiday tunes to boogie down to with your friends and family. Of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” has to be on your playlist.


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The dollar store is full of cheap holiday decorations as well as goodies you can put into gift bags or stuff into stockings. You can find low-cost ornaments, lights, balloons and more to make your home more festive for the season.


If you already subscribe to a streaming service, you’ll find plenty of holiday movies featured come December. Look for classics like A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged” and Home Alone to get started. Pick up some microwave movie theater popcorn and you’ll have a fun, cozy night in with all your favorite flicks.


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A custom playlist is a classic thoughtful gift for friends and family. Now that most music is available online, it’s easier than ever. Just create a playlist on Spotify, name it, and then share the link. They’ll be sure to appreciate the tunes!





Your town likely hosts lots of free and/or cheap events you can partake in during the holidays. Search for Christmas tree lightings, concerts, parades and outdoor movie nights, which are usually free or low cost.


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What better way to celebrate the holidays than to give back? Look for local opportunities to volunteer at a soup kitchen or work with the homeless and hungry in some other way this year. Your community will benefit from your kindness, and you’ll feel great for volunteering.


Another way you can give back — and get the entire family involved — is to donate toys your kids no longer use to children and families in need. Search for local toy drives happening in your community to find the best place to donate them to.


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The average Millennial will spend $228.10 on New Year’s Eve. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on one night out, then crowdsource a New Year’s party at home. You can invite over a few friends and have a potluck, or order in some pizzas and have everyone split the costs. Turn on the TV and watch some movies, bust out the holiday playlist and have a dance party, or sit in the front of the fireplace and drink hot cocoa.


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If you can’t be with your friends and family members in person on the holidays, then host a Zoom party. Everyone can pour themselves a glass of something and catch up without spending anything on travel.


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Have some board games in your closet? Or maybe you have access to online games on your television? Invite over your loved ones and host a game night. Buy some cheap snacks like popcorn, chips and pretzels, and pair them with soda and bring-your-own beer to stay on budget.


Groupon is home to some amazing deals, and during the holiday season, the site may offer discount codes on experiences as well. Look for local holiday events in your local area, or get creative and gift a discounted experience to a friend.




Do you have credit card points racked up? Then the holiday season is the time to use them. You may be able to use your points to purchase gifts as well as book hotels and flights.


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Instead of spending thousands traveling on a plane to some exotic location, stay home and explore your town, or take a road trip to a local destination. If you bring friends along, you’ll have more fun — and you can split the cost of gas and food.


E-cards are free or cheap, making them much more affordable than traditional holiday cards. Show your family and friends that you’re thinking about them by sending them a personalized e-card leading up to the holidays.


Ask your loved ones to bring over their own prepared cookie dough, and then give out the supplies to decorate the cookies, such as sprinkles and icing. The finished cookies can even be used as small holiday gifts!




If you log onto Pinterest, you’ll find a number of DIY holiday decorations you can make yourself for a fraction of the price of store-bought. For instance, you could create a wreath out of old wine corks or string up popcorn on your Christmas tree. Make sure to ask your family and friends to join in on the fun.


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Thrift stores sell holiday decorations and cards at much lower prices than a typical retail store. Go to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or other local thrift shops to find great deals.


Many times, churches, synagogues and other houses of worship will host holiday celebrations for free or a donation you can afford.Whether you’re attending formal services or a special holiday event, you’ll be sure to meet people from your community and make new friends.


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Look up the rules for playing dreidel and then host a dreidel competition at your house. Remember to whip up some latkes and donuts for the Hanukkah celebration and to create prizes for the winners. (Don’t worry: Simple items from the dollar store should suffice.)


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You can find a cheap advent calendar at the store — or make your own — and then use it to count down every day to Christmas with the kids. You can’t go wrong with a traditional candy advent calendar, but those with large collections of holiday-themed books can also try a book-a-day countdown.



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You can construct some great gifts at home without having to spend much on materials. For example, you could make a family cookbook containing recipes and fun stories about the person they came from. If you sew, you could whip up embroidered items like handkerchiefs or tote bags, or if you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you could make jams, jellies and more!



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You may have saved up holiday cards over the years. Now is the time to break them out and decorate your home. When you look around, you’ll have fond memories of past holidays (and a reminder to send your own cards this year).


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Ugly holiday sweaters are officially a thing, and donning one might help you keep your thermostat lower come heating season! Find a goofy sweater online or at a discount store to wear proudly throughout the holiday season. Better yet, break out the one that your grandma made when you were a kid (if it still fits, of course).


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An artificial Christmas tree will likely cost more upfront than a real tree, but it’ll last you for years to come. Even if you shell out $300 on a fake tree, if it lasts for 10 years, that’s $30 a year. When compared to the average cost of a live Christmas tree — $112.63 — the savings are clear.


If you put off shopping until the last minute, you’re much more likely to blow your budget. Schedule time to shop before the holiday season is in full swing to help you avoid the overspending trap.


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The holidays can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Focus on spending time with friends and family, investing in your community, and exploring your D.I.Y. side to get the most out of the season while spending the least.


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This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by


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