Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

November is a big month for small business owners. There’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday — all stuffed together in a three-day span. (Not unlike a small-business turducken.)

With so much going on, you kind of have to pick and choose what seasonal marketing you can take on at the moment, and it’s not surprising that Thanksgiving marketing is one of the more underused.

There’s no need to go all out, but introducing a few Thanksgiving elements into your marketing strategy will let you take hold of that turducken and show it who’s boss.

Here are 22 Thanksgiving marketing tips that your customers will gobble up faster than pumpkin pie.

1. Show your community support.

November is the perfect time to give thanks for your community, and one way to do this is by volunteering your time somewhere. If you have employees, organize a team volunteer day.

Whether it’s at an animal shelter or serving food for the homeless, giving back to your community shows you’re a small business that cares. Take a team photo at the end of the day and post it on your social media channels.

2. Update your social media accounts.

Affordable photo-editing sites like Canva and PicMonkey make it easy to update your social media accounts according to holidays, special events, and seasons.

You can update your profile pictures with seasonal items like leaves, pumpkins, turkeys, etc., or just incorporate a few fall colors.

If your followers are used to seeing your same logo or photo in their streams, updating these items seasonally can be what catches their eye and reminds them to check out your products.

3. Give a Thanksgiving dinner away.

Holding a giveaway can help you get more local followers, email subscribers, and, hopefully, customers. If you want to go with a Thanksgiving marketing theme, why not give away a Thanksgiving dinner from a local business in your area?

Or, if you want to make it more affordable, give away a portion of the dinner, like a few appetizers, a turkey, or dessert only.

The holidays are a stressful time — and a free Thanksgiving dinner is an extremely enticing prize. Just make sure you collect email addresses so you can try to turn contest entrants into customers.

4. Market your products to the season.

Almost any product can be marketed for Thanksgiving. Seriously.

  • If you sell clothes, put together the perfect comfy Thanksgiving outfit.
  • If you sell candles, market them as the perfect hostess gift.
  • If you sell home decor, show your customers how to create the perfect Thanksgiving table or how to get their home ready for all those dinner guests.
  • If you sell toys, position them as the perfect way to keep the kids entertained on Thanksgiving day.
  • If you sell desserts, market them as the perfect end to a great meal.

Then, promote them on all your social media accounts and via email.

5. Give a Thanksgiving cooking demonstration.

If you sell food, spices, sauces, or anything culinary-related, hold a cooking demonstration to drum up some excitement for your business. Use Facebook Live (it’s free and easy) but you might want to do a couple practice runs first that aren’t live.

Show customers how to make a great appetizer, main course, or dessert using one of your products or ingredients and be sure to promote it heavily prior so you’ll have viewers.

6. Hashtag it out.

Create a hashtag and use it to engage with your social media followers.

Ask followers to share their favorite Thanksgiving memory (#thanksgivingthoughts) or ask them to share what they’re most thankful for this year (#givethanks) or maybe you go the funny route and ask them to share their biggest Thanksgiving disaster (thxbutnothx) or (Thanksgivingnightmares).

7. Hold a canned-food drive.

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, holding a canned-food drive can be a great way to get customers into your store.

Offer customers an incentive to make a purchase while they’re there by giving them a discount for their donation. Maybe one can gets 10% off, or maybe 10 cans get 10% off… that part is up to you!

8. Create themed content.

If you have a blog, an effective Thanksgiving marketing idea to try is themed content. Make sure it ties in with the products you sell though.

For example, if you sell workout clothes, you can create content about how to have a healthier Thanksgiving and another post on Turkey-Day exercises.

Think about the topics your target audience would be interested in reading about in regards to Thanksgiving and the month of November as a whole and then create content that addresses those topics.

9. Send thank-you notes.

If you sell online, you can bridge the inevitable personal gap by including a handwritten thank-you note to your customers in your packaging.

You don’t get to meet them face to face or even speak to them on the phone, but you can thank them for their business by writing them a quick note.

If you have too many customers to feasibly do this (lucky you!), type up a standard message and sign each one personally.

10. Give gifts to your best customers.

Customers appreciate a free gift more than a discount according to the Journal of Consumer Research. Whether you sell in person or online, a fantastic Thanksgiving marketing idea to try is giving a free gift to your best customers.

For example, if this is a loyal customer who religiously purchases your handmade cosmetics, maybe toss in a free lip balm or eyeshadow as a thank you — and be sure to tell them why they got this gift.

11. Host a shopping event/live demo.

If you have a physical location, hold a Thanksgiving-themed event for customers. Get a few pumpkin pies or a couple dozen cookies for shoppers to munch on while they browse, offer free gift wrapping and pre-Black Friday and Small Business Saturday discounts to entice people to shop early, or hold a demonstration in-store.

Show customers how to make a Thanksgiving-themed craft for their home or how to make a tasty dessert. Get creative and you’ll get customers into your store!

12. Show customers your personal side.

You might ask customers to share what they’re thankful for this November, but do you share your story too?

Whether it’s in a blog post or in quick little bites for social media, showing your customers your personal side can help them connect with you.

P.S., you can easily make a Thanksgiving-themed social post for free on both Canva and PicMonkey.

13. Create month-long deals.

Customers have a lot going on in November and a lot of choices when it comes to where they’ll buy their Thanksgiving-meal ingredients, home decor, clothing, gifts, etc.

Get a head-start on your competitors by running your Thanksgiving marketing deals early on in November and keeping them going all month long.

If you sell online, use a Thanksgiving-themed promo code like GOBBLE or GIVETHX.

14. Give a Thanksgiving-themed product away.

Like I said earlier, almost any product can be positioned as perfect for Thanksgiving! And holding a giveaway benefits both you and your customers.

Choose a product for the giveaway (or choose multiple of a lower-priced product) and promote your giveaway via email and on your social media channels. Collect emails to help beef up your subscriber list for all those holiday-shopping emails you’ll be sending soon!

15. Feature your customers.

Say thanks to your customers by featuring them on your social media accounts, in your email newsletter, or on your blog. Ask them to submit a picture of themselves wearing/holding/using/eating your product and then feature the ones you select throughout the month.

Be sure to comment/retweet/like/etc. all the other submissions (if they’re coming through social) to show your appreciation.

16. Donate some of your proceeds.

If you can financially afford this Thanksgiving marketing tactic, why not designate a certain day in November as a day you’ll donate a portion of proceeds to the charity of your choice.

Be sure to promote this day heavily in the weeks leading up to it, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up getting enough transactions that you make up what was donated too!

(P.S., you might consider emailing everyone a coupon who purchased on this day to hopefully get some return traffic too!)

17. Hold an after-hours shopping event.

If you have a retail location (and it’s large enough) partner up with a few other local business owners to hold an after-hours shopping event. Market it as a way for customers to get all of their shopping done early (before all the Turkey-Day madness begins) and offer discounts.

For example, you could do a BOGO offer of 22% off because Thanksgiving falls on the 22nd, or $10 off if customers spend $50. Gathering a variety of businesses in the same spot is enticing to customers, and if you throw in some fun extras like free goodies, drinks, and a giveaway, you have a recipe for success!

18. Look for local events.

Fall is a lovely time to get involved in local events like craft festivals, art fairs, farmers markets, and more.

Do a quick search online to look for upcoming events in your area and grab some booth space. You’ll help spread the word about your business locally and boost your November sales.

19. Use Thanksgiving keywords.

If you’re selling things like Thanksgiving decor and pumpkin-pie scented lotion, you’ll want to target keywords that your customers would use to search for these products in your product titles and description.

(When it comes to keywords, you want as many monthly searches as possible with preferably low competition.)

20. Reach out to niche bloggers.

Say you sell handmade jewelry. Do a search online for fashion, jewelry, and lifestyle bloggers and compile a list. Then, visit each of their blogs and create a spreadsheet of how many followers they have on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Contact the ones with large followings and ask them if they’d be willing to review your product in exchange for a blog post on your business.

You might also offer the blogger the chance to host a giveaway for their followers. (So you’ll need to be OK with providing two products for free.)

Try to tie it in with Turkey Day if possible. In this case, maybe it’s a bracelet in fall colors. Or a statement necklace with gold “leaves.” Make sure you also offer the blogger’s followers a discount off of future purchase to direct some of their traffic to you after the giveaway ends.

21. Try Facebook Advertising.

If you haven’t tried Facebook advertising before, you’ll want to get familiar with it before the holidays hit. It can be an effective way to drive more traffic to your online store or e-commerce site and get more sales.

Try targeting specific interests within your ads. For example, if you sell children’s clothing, you might want to target the followers of a popular mommy blog that has a huge following on Facebook.

Or you might target the followers of a company that makes children’s toys. Get creative and consider where your target audience hangs out. Then, create an ad that targets them and bring them over to your website.

22. Create themed product bundles.

An enticing Thanksgiving marketing idea is to create themed product bundles. Put a few relevant products together in a bundle and offer it for less than customers would pay if they bought the items separately.

Maybe it’s a “Thank Goodness for Thanksgiving Hostesses” bundle that contains a few handmade goodies that you sell.

Or maybe it comes with three lotions in your bestselling fall scents. Maybe it’s a “Thanksgiving Survival” bundle for those who are dreading family time (haha) that contains a candle in a soothing scent, stress-reducing oil, and bath bombs.

Have fun and get creative! Your customers will love these easy gift-giving ideas.

Bonus Tip: Use Thanksgiving-themed email subject lines.

Subject lines can be a cruel, mysterious beast. Why? Because what works one day with your target audience may not work the next. But that’s why you need to stay one step ahead of your subscriber base at all times.

Funny, clever, interesting, and intriguing subject lines are great, but they also must show customers the value of opening your email immediately, and preferably stay under 50 characters or fewer. Sheesh!

Here are a few seasonal examples for you:

  • You’d be a turkey to miss this amazing deal!
  • 25% off? Hurry before this deal is gobbled up
  • 35% off this weekend! Use code THANKYOU
  • We’re giving thanks with a HUGE sale
  • Get everything you need for Thanksgiving here

P.S. You might want to try some fun Turkey-Day-themed emojis in your subject lines too, depending on your target market.

You can copy/paste them into your emails from here.

Thanksgiving Marketing Isn’t for the Birds

Now that you have 22 different ways you can incorporate a little Turkey-Day magic into your marketing campaigns, give it a whirl.

Take a few of these Thanksgiving marketing ideas and see which ones work best for your business in November.

Hopefully this will lead to more seasonal sales for you, and also a solid amount of new customers too. (And be sure to treat yourself to an extra slice of pie or toast yourself with an extra glass of wine come Turkey Day for all your hard work this month — you deserve it!)

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