Holiday Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a 12 Days of Christmas Sale or Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas sale is the perfect sales promotion for the holidays.

Because holiday marketing is all about meeting your customer where they are.

And they are looking for GIFTS.

Gift ideas. New gift shops. Inexpensive gifts. Ways to save money on gifts. Last minute gifts. YOU NAME IT, it’s all about the gifts.

A really fun way to get involved with all the hustle and bustle is to create a 12 Days of Christmas sale or giveaway.

There’s a few different ways you could plan this holiday marketing idea, so we’ll go into each with a step-by-step guide, but first let’s get three questions out of the way:

What is a 12 Days of Christmas sale?

A 12 day holiday marketing event where each day you unveil a surprise new sale item. It builds excitement and anticipation, plus gives customers a reason to visit your shop each day. And once they’re on your shop page, they may check out with that item – or more!

What is a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway?

A 12 day holiday marketing event where each day you announce the winner of a set giveaway item. Prior to the event, you would share what items are included, how many winners there will be each day, etc. Customers would sign up for a chance to win any of the daily giveaway prizes.

Should I Go Out On My Own or With Partners?

Each method can be done on your own or in partnership with other shops. I outlined each way below so you can pick an action plan and then follow just one set of steps. (Which is why this post looks like a monster).

Skip to the end if you want to see all the benefits / disadvantages of going alone or with others. But it basically comes down to either it’s all about you (yay!) with less traffic; or you share the spotlight and expand your total reach (yay!)

Okay, ready!?


If you want to set yourself up for your most profitable holiday season, I’d love to have you join us inside the Plan.Create.Celebrate! marketing guide.

We go over:

  • The 3 crucial steps to start taking before the holiday season
  • How to prevent bad reviews (at a time where many customers are brand new to you)
  • Setting financial goals that meet your desired *profit* numbers, not just sales
  • How to prime customers to buy and what they need from you before they’ll purchase
  • ‘done for you’ guide to manage your promotions on social media + email
  • and so much more! Learn more HERE.

(psst right now you can save $20! Discount will be automatically applied or use code “HOLIDAYREADY” – limited number available!)

Want to run a 12 Days of Christmas Sale promotion? Here's a step by step guide to creating your own 12 Days of Christmas sale of giveaway event. Perfect holiday marketing for your shop's gift selection.

1 | 12 Days of Christmas Sale – Your Shop Only

How to Prep:

  1. Pick 12 specific items
  2. Determine a one-day only sale price for each.
    • Choose a percent off or since its a singular item, I recommend picking a sharp price point.
    • Will you limit how many can sell at that discounted price?
  3. Decide how you will share the sale each day — will you change the price in your system or generate coupon codes?
  4. Create a landing page to promote event on your site to build excitement before it starts
  5. On landing page, share information on what customers can expect:
    • Starting date / 12 day date range
    • When sale will “go live” each day (right at midnight? 6am?)
    • If your shop covers a broad range of products, give customers a hint of what to expect in terms of what categories will be featured. Or if very broad, let them know days 1-4 are for her, days 5-7 for him, etc.
    • Share the discount or savings they can expect (“Never seen before prices, get ready to save over 40%!”)
    • Include social media + shop links
    • Encourage them to share on social media; include graphics or pre-written tweets they can easily post.
  6. Include an email sign up form on landing page
    • Optional: Create an incentive for customers to sign up to your email list by giving them a one-hour “early access” window to shop the daily item first with an exclusive discount code. This would work especially well for limited quantities / first come first served limited editions.
  7. Create graphics to share on social media and Pinterest.
  8. Begin to promote event 2-3 weeks in advance of start date:
    • Send an email to current subscribers announcing event
    • Begin to promote on social media
    • Include sign up or link to landing page on any gift guides you create or relevant blog posts
  9. Gather any necessary information you’ll need each day: coupon codes, shop links, etc so you can begin to create your daily emails.
  10. Schedule your daily emails to auto send each day.
  11. Make a daily to-do list to keep yourself on track during the busy season.
    • Do you need to update pricing / activate a coupon code?
    • Create a consistent social media plan so you know what to share each day.

2 | 12 Days of Christmas Sale – With Partnerships

How to Prep:

  1. Determine how many shops will participate / how the event will run.
    • Will 12 shops each take one day? Will you work with just 3 other shops and you each get 3 days for your items?
  2. Partner with other shop owners to create a 12 Days of Christmas Sales event.
    • Start networking now to build those relationships, but also don’t be afraid just to ask! Here’s some networking tips to ease your worries.
    • For maximum impact (and to keep your customers happy) be sure to pick shops that truly make sense with your aesthetic or the types of product you carry. You don’t want to annoy your customers with a glam glitzy jewelry shop if your target customer is interested in your casual minimal clothing.
    • Complementary shops are also best as it reduces the direct competition between each of your brands and instead pulls together a total package for your customer.
  3. Based on what you decide from step 1, pick your items based on the number you need.
  4. Determine a one-day only sale price for each.
    • Choose a percent off or since its a singular item, I recommend picking a sharp price point.
    • Will you limit how many can sell at that discounted price?
  5. Decide how you will share the sale each day — will you change the price in your system or generate coupon codes?
  6. Create a landing page to promote event on your site to build excitement before it starts
  7. On landing page, share information on what customers can expect:
    • Share all the shops that are participating with social media + shop links
    • Starting date / 12 day date range
    • When sale will “go live” each day (right at midnight? 6am?)
    • If your shop partnerships cover a good variety of products (they should all serve the same customer though!) give customers a hint of what to expect during the event.
    • Share the discount or savings they can expect (“Never seen before prices, get ready to save over 40%!”)
    • Encourage them to share on social media; include graphics or pre-written tweets they can post to make it easy on them which typically results in more shares.
  8. Include an email sign up form on landing page
    • Optional: Create an incentive for customers to sign up to your email list by giving them a one-hour “early access” window to shop the daily item with an exclusive daily discount code.
  9. Create graphics to share on social media and Pinterest.
    • Partner together to create one cohesive set of marketing materials. Your event will gain more traction if each shop promoting looks cohesive with the others so customers recognize it’s the same event.
  10. Set a promotion schedule that each shop needs to minimally participate in. Be sure to cover expectations leading up to the event and during the event to ensure no one feels like the others didn’t pull their weight and everyone has a positive experience. For example:
    • Send 2 emails sharing the event and calling out each individual shop prior to start date.
    • During event, each shop owner to send daily emails to announce the next item or (optional) early access sale.
    • Share 3 Instagram posts about the event (either with your images or in the caption) before the event and tag each shop
    • Once event starts, share item or encourage audience to visit each other’s shop each day during the event on Instagram through the caption.
    • Share landing page image on Pinterest.
  11. Begin to promote event 2-3 weeks in advance of start date:
    • Send an email to current subscribers announcing event
    • Begin to promote on social media
    • Include sign up or link to landing page on any gift guides you create or relevant blog posts
  12. Gather any necessary information from each shop: coupon codes, shop links, confirm social media accounts, etc so you can begin to create your daily emails.
  13. Schedule your daily emails to auto send each day.
  14. Make a daily to-do list and share with all shop owners to help everyone out during the busy season.
    • Do you need to update pricing / activate a coupon code?
    • Share on social media based on pre-determined schedule

WHEW. BREAK TIME. 

Go grab a glass of wine… then let’s talk giveaways.

Don’t worry! A lot of information is repeat from above, but this way you can pick which way you want to go – a 12 Days of Christmas sale or giveaway – and just follow one set of action steps.

If you like what you’re reading… sign up for a list of 60+ gift guide ideas, plus early bird pricing to Plan.Create.Celebrate! Your holiday business planner and new marketing BFF!

If you want to jump in today – save $20 off with code “HOLIDAYREADY”

Plan.Create.Celebrate! Your holiday business planner and marketing guide - holiday marketing tips, how to plan for Christmas selling season


3 | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway – Your Shop Only

How to Prep:

  1. Pick 12 specific items.
  2. Determine how many of each you will give away
    • If you have a smaller audience, it’s totally okay to just give away one unit per item.
    • If your audience is larger, consider giving away a few of each.
  3. Create a mock up image that shares all the “giveaway items”.
  4. Create a landing page to promote event on your site and share your mock up image to build excitement before it starts
  5. Determine how you will collect giveaway entrants
    • Will they sign up to a specific email list (create a new email list or tag subscribers) as an entry?
    • Or I recommend using a giveaway tool, like Gleam.
      • It makes entry easy, has built-in viral social sharing, and randomly picks winners to avoid any issues. The advantage of social sharing incentives is huge and can lead to a lot of extra traffic and customer leads for you, definitely worth checking out!
      • You can sign up month to month if you only want to use for the holiday season.
  6. On landing page, share information on what customers can expect:
    • When will giveaway entries close? Closing entries before the 12 days starts allows you to figure out all the winners in advance, set up your social media announcements, etc.
    • Starting date / 12 day date range
    • Share which item you’re giving away each day / How many winners
    • When daily winners will be announced / How winners are chosen (Gleam makes it super easy and picks at random to avoid any potential issues)
    • Include social media + shop links
    • Encourage them to share on social media
  7. Determine how you will notify the winner. I would advise directly and also share through email or social media to keep the daily excitement and energy going.
  8. Decide if you will offer a coupon code each day for the “non-winners”
    • This can be a great way to drive extra sales! When you announce the winner of the giveaway item, you can also share a one day only code for everyone else to get that item at a discount.
  9. Create graphics to share on social media and Pinterest
  10. Set a promotion schedule so you know what to do each day. For example:
    • Send 2 emails sharing the event prior to start date.
    • During event, send daily emails to announce the winner and (optional) one-day coupon code to non-winners.
    • Share 3 Instagram posts about the event (either with your images or in the caption) before the event.
    • Once event starts, share item or announce winners each day on Instagram.
    • Share landing page image on Pinterest
  11. Begin to promote event 2-3 weeks in advance of start date to start collecting entries:
    • Send an email to current subscribers announcing event
    • Begin to promote on social media
    • Include sign up or link to landing page on any gift guides you create or relevant blog posts
  12. Gather any necessary information: coupon codes (optional), product links, etc so you can begin to create your daily emails.
  13. Create your daily emails and leave space to insert the winner’s name.
  14. Add daily to-do’s to your social media schedule to help keep yourself on track
    • Do you need to update pricing / activate the optional coupon code?
    • Share on social media based on pre-determined schedule

4 | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway – With Partnerships

How to Prep:

  1. Determine how many shops will participate / how the event will run.
    • Will 12 shops each take one day? Will you work with just 3 other shops and you each get 3 days for your items?
  2. Partner with other shop owners to create a 12 Days of Christmas Sales event.
    • Start networking now to build those relationships, but also don’t be afraid just to ask! Here’s some networking tips to ease your worries.
    • For maximum impact (and to keep your customers happy) be sure to pick shops that truly make sense with your aesthetic or the types of product you carry. You don’t want to annoy your customers with a glam glitzy jewelry shop if your target customer is interested in your casual minimal clothing.
    • Complementary shops are best since the customers will be up to win any of the days, so ideally (theoretically) they should be happy winning any day – not just certain days.
  3. Based on what you decide from step 1, pick your items based on the number you need.
  4. Determine how many of each you will give away
    • If you have a smaller audience, it’s totally okay to just give away one unit per item. If your audience is a little larger or since you’re promoting with other shops, maybe giveaway a few of each.
  5. Create a mock up image that shares all the “giveaway items”.
  6. Create a landing page to promote event on your site and share your mock up image to build excitement before it starts
  7. Determine how you will collect giveaway entrants
    • Will they sign up to a specific email list (create a new email list or tag subscribers) as an entry?
    • Or I recommend using a giveaway tool, like Gleam
      • It makes entry easy, has built-in viral social sharing, and randomly picks winners to avoid any issues. The advantage of social sharing incentives is huge and can lead to a lot of extra traffic and customer leads for you, definitely worth checking out!
      • You can sign up month to month if you only want to use for the holiday season.
  8. On landing page, share information on what customers can expect:
    • Share all the shops that are participating with social media + shop links
    • When will giveaway entries close? Closing entries before the 12 days starts allows you to figure out all the winners in advance, set up your social media announcements, etc.
    • Starting date / 12 day date range
    • Share which item you’re giving away each day / How many winners
    • When daily winners will be announced / How winners are chosen (Gleam makes it super easy and picks at random to avoid any potential issues)
    • Encourage them to share on social media
  9. Determine how you will notify the winner. I would advise directly and also share through email or social media to keep the daily excitement and energy going.
  10. Decide if you will offer a coupon code each day for the “non-winners”
    • This can be a great way to drive extra sales! When you announce the winner of the giveaway item, you can also share a one day only code for everyone else to get that item at a discount.
  11. Create graphics to share on social media and Pinterest.
    • Partner together to create one cohesive set of marketing materials. Your event will gain more traction if each shop promoting looks cohesive with the others so customers recognize it’s the same event.
  12. Set a promotion schedule that each shop needs to minimally participate in. Be sure to cover expectations leading up to the event and during the event to ensure no one feels like the others didn’t pull their weight and everyone has a positive experience. For example:
    • Send 2 emails sharing the event and calling out each individual shop prior to start date.
    • During event, each shop owner to send daily emails to announce the winner and (optional) one-day coupon code to non-winners.
    • Share 3 Instagram posts about the event (either with your images or in the caption) before the event and tag each shop
    • Once event starts, share item or encourage audience to visit each other’s shop each day during the event on Instagram through the caption.
    • Share landing page image on Pinterest.
  13. Begin to promote event 2-3 weeks in advance of start date to start collecting entries:
    • Send an email to current subscribers announcing event
    • Begin to promote on social media
    • Include sign up or link to landing page on any gift guides you create or relevant blog posts
  14. Gather any necessary information from each shop: coupon codes (optional), shop links, confirm social media accounts, etc so you can begin to create your daily emails.
  15. Create your daily emails and leave space to insert the winner’s name.
  16. Make a daily to-do list and share with all shop owners to help everyone out during the busy season.
    • Do you need to update pricing / activate the optional coupon code?
    • Share on social media based on pre-determined schedule

 


Benefits of Doing Your Own Thing:

  • Encourages email sign ups to be first to know and get “VIP access”
  • Creates a lot of excitement for your shop and daily traffic to check out what the newest ‘sale’ item is which may result in additional sales on other items as well.
  • All about your shop – keeps your customers focused on you.

Potential Disadvantage of Doing Your Own Thing:

  • If you’re a new or smaller shop, traffic and sign ups may be less than expected. Click thru rates on email and social media are still relatively low as a percent to your total followers so keep that in mind.

Benefits of Having Shop Partners:

  • Expands your reach as you’re all promoting to your own customer base and will be introduced to a lot of new customers.
  • If you choose the right shops that are a good match, customers are targeted good customers (ie. “warm leads”) as they’re already active and loyal customers of a similar shop.
  • Encourages email sign ups to be first to know and get “VIP access”
  • Creates a lot of excitement for your shop and daily traffic to check out what the newest ‘sale’ item is which may result in additional sales on other items as well.
  • With the right shops, you’re giving value and helping your customers find other amazing products they’ll love and want; which can build trust.

Potential Disadvantage of Having Shop Partners:

  • Traffic is not necessarily coming to you each day, but you’ll still be an active presence in their inbox daily which could lead to some additional traffic.

Ohhh my godddd. That was a LOT.

BUT I hope this was super helpful and lays out all the steps so you feel confident to tackle your own 12 Days of Christmas sale or giveaway if it sounds right for your shop!

These can be a super fun way to stay top of mind and relevant to your customers for 12 STRAIGHT DAYS. Woohooo!

Plus it’s fun to giveaway stuff or offer great limited deals.

What do you think? Will you try it?!

Get your shop ready for the holidays!

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  • I like the idea and the visuals are nice and clean. Perhaps the text is too long? Condense as much as you can and trust that your reader will the idea their own on the details.

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for your thoughts I appreciate it!
      I do agree the article is long, but I know for myself and others we sometimes prefer a reference to work off of. Although I definitely encourage everyone to edit and adjust with what works best for them, its nice to have a starting point.
      Thanks again,
      Kate

  • I personally felt it was wel organized and comprehensive, exactly the info I needed without too much info. This idea is exactly what I didn’t know that I needed and I’m going to get to work on it for my etsy shop ASAP. I had recently seen someone else reference Gleam but didn’t understand what it was or how to use it, so this exactly what I needed. Quick question: how to use landing page if you’re an Etsy shop. Do I need one? Or is a link to a sign up page for my email list enough?

    • Thanks Rachel! (sorry for the late reply – it went to my spam comments folder!)
      I’m glad you found it helpful, I’m a step by step girl myself – so that was my strategy 😉

      That’s a great question… no, you definitely don’t need a landing page. I think for this type of event where it’s a LONG length of time and you want people to get excited + involved, it certainly helps. It just gives you more space to talk about the giveaway items and make sure people know how to sign up.

      If you don’t currently have a blog/separate site, don’t worry about it.

      I’d set up a few emails with that same type of information and use a mix of emails + social media (facebook or Instagram) to promote. Does your email provider have ‘automated series’ (called Automation on mailchimp or autoresponders on Mailerlite)? If so, you could set a small automated series to talk up the event for new subscriber sign ups between now + the start of event.

      Let me know if you have any questions + if you try it out this year!