1. Plan early and often.
According to research, about 40% of consumers begin shopping for the holidays by halloween, which means your holiday advertising should begin around mid-October. This not only lets you take advantage of the Thanksgiving rush, but it also spreads awareness of your brand for Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season.

2. Avoid creative fatigue.
Ad fatigue happens when customers have been exposed to the same message one too many times, and begin to ignore the ad, or not even process that they are seeing it. To keep your ads looking distinct and fresh, update the visuals once or twice a month. Refreshing ads requires low-effort changes, like adding new colors, buttons, borders, or images.

3. Use last year’s data.
Take a look at last year’s holiday advertising and sales figures. Were certain products more popular than others? What had better ROI, email or display ads, or signage? Using historic date will improve sales numbers as well as reduce costs because you are able to focus better on the campaigns that work, and on the products or services that sell most for you.

4. Use social media.
Facebook and Instagram are no longer just brand-awareness channels. These platforms drive real, measurable sales for companies. Use recognizable, clever, high-quality holiday images to grab your customer’s attention, and then seal the deal by driving them to your site using one of Instagram or Facebook’s many call-to-action buttons.

5. Let your film reels roll.
Can’t wait to show off your touching, funny or witty holiday commercial? Shoppers who view video are almost twice as likely to make a purchase than those who do not. Post videos on your social media accounts to demonstrate your products in action.

6. Think like a customer.
Identify your target audiences and create content they’ll love. Your audience doesn’t log in to Facebook or surf a website to see ads. Make you ads feel less like an ad, and you’ll see response increase.

7. Attention small businesses, take advantage of dressing up your storefront
An estimated 80% of consumers will shop at brick-and-mortar stores over the holidays. Make sure you have plenty of signage and graphics promoting holiday sales events and any community outreach that you’re doing (toy or coat drives… etc.)

8. Get ready for Cyber Monday and Retargeting Tuesday.
Nearly 75% of shoppers say that sales or price discounts help them decide where they shop. Discounts are the most frequent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales strategies; however, the bigger win is driving all those users back to your site on Retargeting Tuesday with clever emails and retargeting ads.

9. Create a gift guide.
Create a clever gift guide that you can post on social media, in printed marketing materials, and in an email blast, to showcase the products that are most gift-able in a visually stimulating package that puts them all in one place.

10. Use discounts to create urgency with shoppers.
Stress the importance of short-term and once-in-a-year sales. You should be clear about your discount deals and when they expire. In 2013, over 90% of holiday shoppers used coupons and 57% of those same shoppers said they would not have made a purchase if there were no coupon.

11. Use a clever subject line to increase open rates.
Long gone are they days when calling out a discount in an email subject line was enough to pique your customer’s interest. Send clever holiday themed subject lines to engage your customers to open and view your marketing emails. Test shorter subject lines that focus on a common pain point your products can help solve to break through all the other noise clogging their inboxes.

12. Avoid the Christmas bias.
Businesses too often mistake the HOLIDAY season for the Christmas season. Your customers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and even among those who celebrate Christmas, may not all do so in the same way. Avoid excluding these groups by creating holiday-specific ads that focus on seasonality and universal themes like gift giving and giving back.