PR ON THE GO November 11, 2023

Holiday Hustle: A Tech Startups' Guide to Seasonal Growth Hacking

At first glance, technology-focused companies may not seem like a natural fit for holiday campaigns. But behind every business, there are the people who make it happen - and the people who are your users. That's why startup entrepreneurs shouldn't ignore the holidays, but embrace the season of giving.

We asked our PR and growth experts to share their best holiday campaign ideas for tech startups. Check out these strategies and real-life examples for inspiration.

  • Offer bundles with a charitable twist
  • Incorporate a seasonal theme into all your marketing efforts
  • Create a Tech Gift Guide
  • Run creative holiday-themed contests
  • Add valuable content to the year-end countdown
  • In Q4, more is better.
  • A feature campaign with 12 days of technology
  • Provide limited-time holiday-themed features or services
  • Embrace your user community
  • Creative holiday marketing can make a difference
  • Combine holiday spirit with smart marketing

1) Offer bundles with a charitable twist

Emily Reynolds-Bergh, R Public Relations

"Tech startups can create a buzz during the holidays by offering limited-time discounts or bundles with a charitable twist. Highlight how your products can make life easier during the busy season, or how your services impact communities positively around the holidays. Tugging at the heart strings is a tried and true holiday strategy for a reason!"

2) Incorporate a seasonal theme into all your marketing efforts

Trenice Brinkley, Two Queens Media

"Tech startups, it's that time of the year to step up your game and gain a competitive edge during the holiday season. Welcome to the Holiday Hustle, here's some effective strategies to make your tech startup stand out during this festive period.

Imagine giving your website and app a touch of holiday charm, making them more appealing to your users.

Craft and send out holiday-themed email campaigns, creating a connection with your subscribers.

Keep the content flowing with blog posts and videos that capture the holiday spirit and incorporate seasonal keywords to enhance your SEO efforts.

Monitoring your analytics closely is key – identify what's working and what's not.

Utilize social media platforms, including holiday hashtags, and consider collaborating with influencers to amplify your reach.

Don't forget to provide exceptional customer support, even during the busiest time of the year.

Lastly, embrace the spirit of giving by supporting a charitable cause, as it can bolster your brand image.

With these strategies, your tech startup can make the most of the holiday season and set the stage for future growth and success. Happy Holidays!"

3) Create a Tech Gift Guide

Rakesh Bisht, Gleexa

"The best idea for tech startups for their holiday campaign is Tech Gift Guides. Produce content like blog posts or YouTube videos featuring top tech gift ideas for different segments of your audience. For example, create lists such as "10 Best Tech Gifts for Remote Workers" or "5 Must-Have Gadgets for Fitness Fanatics." Promote these gift guides on social media and partner with influencers in your niche to extend your reach."

PR ON THE GO Media Lists: Carefully curated journalist contacts and verified email addresses.

4) Run creative holiday-themed contests

Luciano Colos, PitchGrade

"Running creative holiday-themed contests is an excellent way to encourage customers to share their experiences using your products, fostering a sense of community and generating buzz around your brand.
For instance, a tech startup that sells wearable fitness devices could run a "Holiday Fitness Challenge" contest. Customers could share photos or videos of themselves using the device while participating in holiday-themed activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, or building snowmen. These submissions could then be featured on the company's website and social media pages, creating a sense of camaraderie and encouraging more people to join in the challenge.

By incorporating social sharing incentives, such as encouraging participants to tag friends and family, startups can amplify the reach of their campaign, attracting new customers and generating valuable user-generated content. Additionally, offering prizes for the most creative or engaging entries can further motivate participation and boost brand visibility."

5) Add valuable content to the year-end countdown

Magee Clegg, Cleartail Marketing

"One successful approach we've used at Cleartail Marketing involves utilizing a "12 Days of Christmas" themed campaign. However, instead of gifts, we provided valuable content like whitepapers, guides, or infographics, each day leading up to Christmas. This not only enhances a startup's thought leadership position but also helps in lead generation and nurturing.

For example, one of our clients, a B2B tech startup, saw a significant 278% increase in their revenue within 12 months by implementing this strategy. The campaign was executed through a combination of email marketing and social media promotion, which increased their website traffic by over 14,000%.

Moreover, the "12 Days of Christmas" campaign doesn't have to be restricted to just Christmas. It can be adapted to suit other holidays or occasions, aligning with the startup's audience and product offerings. For instance, for a SaaS startup, the campaign could offer free trials, demos, or discounts as the "gifts" for the holiday season."

6) In Q4, more is better.

Steve Pogson, FirstPier

"The first thing to understand is that the holiday season isn't just about Black Friday or Christmas. It's a whole quarter-long period, typically running from November 1 to December 25. So, planning should involve segmentation of this period into 'Early Bird/Pre-season,' 'Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM),' and 'December Shoppers.' Each segment requires a different marketing approach.

Also, Q4 is a time where more is better. Tech startups should increase their social media posts, emails, and advertising budgets. Even though this might lead to unsubscribes, the net effect tends to be positive, as customers are more receptive to promotional messages during this period.

Another important strategy is to offer discounts—but not just any discounts. Sustaining discounts for two months can be tough and less profitable. Instead, startups can trade margin for volume by promoting bundles and volume discounts. They can also offer additional perks that don't significantly impact their bottom line, such as free trials, extended support, or expedited onboarding. These little incentives can be a reason for customers to buy or subscribe on a given day.

These strategies have worked for many of the e-commerce businesses I've worked with, and I believe they're applicable to tech startups as well. The hallmark of a successful holiday promotion, especially during the peak season, is simplicity and clarity."

7) A feature campaign with 12 days of technology

John Pennypacker, Deep Cognition

"Tech startups can infuse creativity and innovation into their holiday campaigns by highlighting the cutting-edge nature of their products or services. A captivating idea for a holiday campaign is to showcase "The 12 Days of Techmas." This concept involves unveiling a new, tech-themed surprise or offering each day for the 12 days leading up to the holiday season. Each day, customers receive a unique and exclusive tech deal, a sneak peek at upcoming features, or engaging tech-related content. This not only builds anticipation and excitement but also keeps customers engaged over an extended period.


"On the first day of Techmas, our startup brings to you... an exclusive 24-hour flash sale on our latest product! 🌟 Welcome to 'The 12 Days of Techmas' – a holiday extravaganza filled with tech surprises. Over the next 12 days, we'll unwrap a new tech treat just for you. Don't miss out on daily discounts, early access to our upcoming features, and tech tips and tricks to enhance your digital experience. Stay tuned, and let the tech magic of the season begin! 🎁 #12DaysOfTechmas #InnovateTheHolidays""

8) Provide limited-time holiday-themed features or services

Benedict Ang, Total Shape

"One effective strategy is to use the holiday spirit with a unique twist. Consider providing limited-time holiday-themed features or services that complement your technology product. For example, if you have a productivity app, you could add a "Holiday Planner" feature to assist users in organizing their holiday tasks, such as shopping and party planning. This not only adds value, but it also engages users during the holidays.

Another possibility is to hold a social media contest or giveaway. Encourage users to use a specific hashtag to share their holiday experiences with your product, and offer enticing prizes. This not only increases user-generated content but also raises awareness of your brand.

Collaborations with other startups or brands can be beneficial as well. Partner with complementary businesses to offer bundled products or services at a discounted rate through joint promotions. You can tap into each other's customer bases in this way, creating a win-win situation.

Additionally, personalized holiday greetings or virtual events for your users can help build customer loyalty. Users can feel appreciated and connected by sending personalized thank-you notes or hosting a virtual holiday party."

9) Embrace your user community

Emanuel Mano Tsiris, OneCliq

"During Q4, it's crucial for tech startups to cut through the noise. As Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas approach, the true essence of this season — family and unity — presents an opportunity. It's a time to embrace our user community, positioning them as advocates which is ideal for harnessing the unparalleled power of word-of-mouth.

Take, for instance, a '12 Days of Tech-mas' campaign. It's not just a giveaway; it's a celebration of community, inviting users to participate in challenges that spotlight their creativity and connection to our brand - in exchange for the chance at winning gifts. With the introduction of features like Instagram's new collaborative carousels, you can amplify your brand using UGC, fostering a participatory culture that doesn't just attract new users but cultivates lasting relationships with your brand. It's about crafting a holiday campaign where engagement with your brand becomes as much a seasonal tradition as the holidays themselves."

10) Creative holiday marketing can make a difference

Sammie Ellard-King, Up The Gains

"For tech companies, the holidays are a great time to not only make more sales but also meet new customers. Making an interesting holiday campaign can help your new business stand out from the rest and get shoppers excited about what you have to offer.

Canva, a tech company, showed off a successful holiday-themed campaign plan in 2022. They held a contest on their social media pages and asked people to share their most creative holiday-themed drawings made with Canva's many tools. The allure of a tech tool bundle as a prize got a lot of people involved and brought attention to the brand.

The online learning platform Udemy took a different method by running a special holiday sale. During the holiday season, they bundled classes and offered discounts on a wide range of courses to attract students. Additionally, Udemy added holiday-themed classes such as "Coding for Beginners: Create Your First Holiday App" and "Holiday Music Production: Create Your Own Festive Tunes," which are perfect for people who want to learn new things during the holidays.

Sony, a big name in consumer goods, used a broad approach by making an easy-to-use gift guide on their website. This guide was carefully organized by age, interest, and price, which makes it easier for shoppers to choose gifts. Sony showed off a range of tech items that would make great holiday gifts, such as noise-canceling headphones, smart speakers, and high-tech cams, matching their products to what people want to buy as holiday gifts.

There are a lot of different ways that tech startups and established companies can use the holidays to get more attention and sales. These real-life examples show that creative holiday marketing ideas can definitely make a difference."

11) Combine holiday spirit with smart marketing

Michael Wall, Codefixer

"Add more fun activities to your tech startup's holiday marketing plan to make it more effective:

To get people's attention, offer limited-edition holiday-themed items or services. For example, you could release a holiday-themed version of your software or app with holiday-themed interfaces or features. This will add a bit of holiday joy to your tech products.

Boost your brand's visibility on social media by holding games or giveaways with holiday themes. Get people to share their holiday stories or experiences that are related to your product, and as a treat, give them tech gadgets, subscriptions, or special access.

Create holiday-themed deals or bundles of products to boost sales and get customers excited. Look into options like discounts on yearly subscriptions or special bundles that show how valuable it is to combine different products or features, making this a good deal for holiday shopping.

Collaborating with a charitable group can give your holiday effort a sense of purpose. You could donate a part of your holiday sales to a good cause or start a "buy one, give one" program to get people to donate to charity with their purchases and connect your brand with a good cause.

For the holidays, hold webinars or internet workshops where you can share useful information or skills about your tech product. Make these events holiday-themed and offer special discounts or access to people who sign up. This will create a fun and educational experience that your audience will remember. This all-around method combines holiday spirit with smart marketing, making customers more interested in the business and increasing its visibility during the holiday season."


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