How to Build a Sales & Promo Strategy for The 2020 Holidays

2020 has been a roller coaster. Part of me is still convinced March was last week, while another part is convinced it was last year. If you are stuck in a similar time warp, you might not realize that the holiday season is mere weeks away. Depending on your industry, it might already have started!

The holiday season is crucial to many businesses — and it’s easy to see why. In 2019, the holiday season saw consumers spend more than a trillion dollars in both online and brick-and-mortar businesses.

The 2020 holiday season is likely to be more important than ever, due to slumping sales and rising costs. So, how can you build a solid sales and promotional strategy?

1. Assess Last Year’s Strategy

Before making plans for the coming holiday season, dig into the numbers from last year. What marketing strategies did you use, and how did they work? Did that contest meet your goals? Did the promotional run a week before Christmas increase sales the way you hoped?

There’s no doubt that this year will look different due to the COVID crisis, but turning an analytical eye to last year’s approach will still provide crucial data for planning this year’s holiday strategy.

As you assess last year/s holiday efforts, ask these questions:

  • What sales or promos did we do?
  • Did they work? Why or why not?
  • Are those same (or similar strategies) likely to work this year? (Are you seeing a decline in foot traffic or a decrease in sales due to unemployment?  How are those factors likely to impact promo efforts?)
  • What strategies did you pass over last year, and are they likely to work this year?

2. Develop or Revisit Your Customer Persona

A customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. If you could create the perfect customer, who would they be? What job would they have, what are their likes and dislikes? What position do they hold at work?

Creating a customer persona ensures each contest or strategy you create will resonate with your customers — so you don’t waste time or resources on a plan that customers won’t respond to.

If you already have a customer persona, its time to revisit it. COVID impacted a massive portion of our population, and you’ll need to consider whether your customer persona is still accurate. Are your customers likely to be unemployed? Do you target parents, and if so, how can you incorporate the new challenges they face into your new strategy?

For example, say you run a family photography business. Last year, your Santa Claus mini-shoots promotion did really well. How can you adapt that promotion for 2020? Could you offer socially distanced school portraits for distance learners? Offer a socially distanced holiday shoot with fun props?

3. Set a 2020 Holiday Marketing and Revenue Goals

The next step is to outline your marketing and revenue goals. Are you hoping to increase sales? (Probably.) What about revenue projections, email list sign-ups, and new customers? Most businesses aim to increase sales year-to-year — which makes sense in a normal year.

2020 is not your typical year. Look beyond the standard revenue goals and consider goals that will help your business grow long-term. For example, increasing email sign-ups allows you to market directly to customers for years to come. Growing your online following makes it easier to launch new products and build trust.

Make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Goals with SMART characteristics are more attainable and offer long-term benefits.

4. Create a Holiday Sales & Promotion Action Plan

Now that you understand what worked last year and have a solid understanding of what might work in 2020, it’s time to outline your sales and promotion strategy. Look at trends in your industry and consider how they could impact your sales and promotion plans.

People are spending more time online than ever before; how can you use that to your advantage? For example, if an in-person contest did really well last year, consider running an online sweepstakes contest. If one of your goals is to increase social media engagement, consider hosting a user-generated contest.

Look for ways to solve your customer base’s new challenges or offer promotions that address the changing times. For example, an e-commerce company that offers free shipping for over $25 might offer free shipping and a small gift for customers that spend $50 to increase order amounts.

Here are a few sales and marketing ideas for the 2020 holiday season:

  • Sweepstakes or quizzes to increase email sign-ups.
  • Coupon codes to increase sales and generate buzz.
  • Bundle packages to increase spending.
  • Holiday-themed landing pages to drive organic traffic.
  • Holiday related content, like gift guides, to capture holiday search traffic.
  • Buy one, give one campaign to increase brand awareness and trust.

You don’t have to totally reinvent the wheel; just be sure to adjust your strategy to the new challenges your customer base faces.

5. Track Your Progress

The final step is to track your promotion and marketing goals. Make a plan for tracking progress before launch. Consider what metrics you’ll track and what those metrics will tell you.

If your goal is to increase email sign-ups, you will want to track how many new subscribers you get. You might also want to track how many landing page visitors didn’t sign up, so you understand the effectiveness of the landing page.


Creating a sales and promotion strategy for the 2020 holiday season requires adjusting to the new normal. Contests, sales, and promotional strategies that worked in 2019 may not be appropriate for this year. Follow these steps to create an effective sales and promotion strategy for 2020:

  1. Review last year’s strategy
  2. Create or revise your customer persona
  3. Outline revenue and marketing goals
  4. Create a strategy
  5. Track your progress

Are you ready to create your contest, quiz, or sweepstakes? Sign up for a free account and start designing your next promotion. Need help? Woobox Support is available from 8 am to 5 pm PST, Mon. through Fri at 1-360-450-5200 and