5 Strategies to Build Buzz Weeks Before Your Holiday Sale

5 Strategies to Build Buzz Weeks Before Your Holiday Sale

Consumers expect it.

They’ve waited for it all year long.

I’m talking about your holiday sales event.

It’s that season for consumers to find the perfect gifts for their family and friends. And if they can save some money in the process, your shoppers will scour the Earth to do so.

Maintain the hype for your holiday sale. Give consumers an opportunity to connect personally with your brand. Your goal is to get top of mind during their daily lives this holiday season.

“The most important thing is to connect with your audience: Find them in the right place, at the right moment, when they're receptive to your messages. Think about where you can intersect your target customers as they go about their daily routine,” writes Entrepreneur contributor Laura Tiffany.
Want to build buzz around your holiday sales? It’s time to amplify anticipation this shopping season.

5. Build Anticipation By Adding a Countdown Clock

We live in an on-demand world where consumers are accustomed to receiving what they want when they want it. Well-played anticipation intrigues people and releases dopamine in our brains. This chemical stimulation wires us to anticipate positive experiences.

Leverage this hardwired instinct to grow suspense for your holiday campaigns.

Display a countdown clock on your website leading up to your sale. This tactic gives buyers not only the exact date of the sale, but also piques their interest to learn more.


Cara Harshman at Optimizely suggests testing and being strategic about how you display your countdown clock. Examine the following:

  • Test placement on the page: Which URL will the clock appear?
  • Test size: How will the clock’s dimensions relate to other elements on the page?  
  • Test the specific wording: How will you frame the deadline, “2 days” vs. “48 hours”?

Research found that email marketing campaigns with a “dynamic countdown clock had a 41% higher click-to-open rate and more than double the transaction rate of other holiday mailings from the same brands.”


“There is nothing more urgent than having a ticking clock count down the minutes and seconds to the deadline. Having a countdown timer can really ratchet up the tension and encourage shoppers to take the plunge,” says Csaba Zajdo, CEO of OptiMonk.

Integrate countdown messages into all your channels to build anticipation. For example, run a series of YouTube pre-roll ads promoting a countdown. Pin a daily announcement on your Facebook page showing how many days remain until the holiday sale.

Perhaps you can even share cryptic imagery to build more anticipation. Not holiday sales-related, but look at what actor Henry Cavill did to tease fans about the next movie featuring Superman

(The tease of the iconic black Superman suit the Man of Steel wore in the Return of Superman comic run is a huge fan service for dedicated comic lovers.)


We anticipate few things today because we don't have to.

It's exciting to be told to "wait" in an on-demand culture. Keep this in mind as you read through the rest of these tactics.

4. Manipulate Facebook's Newsfeed Algorithm With a Facebook Live Video

Researchers report that people spend three times longer watching live video and Facebook users comment 10 times more on live videos.

Leading up to your next holiday sale, host a Facebook live event revealing new products in a way that is unique to your brand’s personality.

Consider Facebook live events as a chance to add a brand layer to the customer experience. These interactions can embed positive sentiments into your consumers’ minds—giving them another reason to buy from your company.

Share an inside tour of your business to your targeted audience. For example, if you sell home goods, hire an interior decorator to perform a demonstration showing people how to decorate their homes for the holidays. Offer people insight into your creative process, how designs are made from start to finish, and even a personal story as to how the inspiration came about.

It is well documented the effect that storytelling has on memory, recall and sales, and a live stream creates a perfect venue to leave a lasting imprint.

While you could just do a presentation, one of the wonderful things about Facebook live events, is your ability to take questions and comments from participants. Interaction keeps the conversation going, and people love hearing their questions answered.

“While there’s a stream in progress, reacting to viewers should be a priority. A social media team should be on hand to pick out the best questions and comments for mention, and to see how people are reacting the different parts of the stream, to try and learn what content works best,” writes Liam Corcoran, head of communications at NewsWhip.

Dunkin’ Donuts hosted its first Facebook Live event in February, giving its customers a behind-the-scenes look into the company’s kitchen for Valentine’s Day.

The culinary team prepared a heart-shaped donut cake and introduced a special Dunkin’ Hearts Love contest, catching the attention of 21,000 visitors within 13 minutes.

For an added bonus, build up anticipation for your next Facebook live event.

Tell your fans ahead of time when you plan to broadcast, and when live, ask viewers to follow you to receive notifications about your next live event.

3. Borrow Social "Street Cred" From Influencers & Brand Ambassadors

Studies show that influencer-driven campaigns receive 16 times the average engagement. And brands that repurpose influencer content perform 35 times better than the brand’s own content.

In other words: brand ambassadors are the holy grail of consumer engagement.

Connecting with a brand ambassador bolsters your credibility. It shows consumers that your business is worth being trusted.

“If you have a relatively new business, you haven’t had a chance to build up credibility within your industry. Connecting with influencers in your niche can help by lending you credibility until you have your own,” says Forbes contributor Jason DeMers.

Nail Bar & Beauty Lounge uses brand ambassadors to promote its services. In the image below, the company gets social media star Anastasia Karanikolaou to post her newly painted nails to her two million Instagram followers.


Influencer marketing agencies, like Exposely and Instabrand, can match your company with the appropriate brand ambassador. The perfect influencer already caters to your specific audience and knows how to create content that persuades your consumers to take action.

Moreover, your team should co-create with your with influencers to add more authenticity. This may involve inviting your brand ambassador to your headquarters to host a Facebook live event.

But don’t limit influencers to famous movie stars or YouTube starlets. Sometimes, your best brand ambassadors are your most loyal consumers.

Enlist your most satisfied customers to spread the word about your holiday sale. To incentivize the exchange, give these loyal consumers first dibs to purchase products or discounts on their favorite merchandise.

And since Pinterest is a hub for holiday shoppers—with more than 45% of its users getting gift ideas from the social network, your customers can become guest pinners.

Encourage them to create holiday boards for your brand, and guest pinners with the most likes or repins receive a gift card, or even a shoutout on your site’s homepage. Then, the most popular pins can be labeled with an in-store Pinterest sign to entice other customers to purchase.


To up the ante, ask customers to post videos unboxing your products. When your company sends “order shipped” emails to buyers, give them an incentive to share their videos.


For instance, host a giveaway encouraging consumers to post videos on Twitter using a specific hashtag. Each unboxing experience can count as one entry and winners can receive a complimentary product or a deep discount towards their next purchase.

2. Excite Groups of Friends With Giveaways & Doorbusters

Before planning your giveaway, marketer Jeff Bullas suggests determining its purpose. How will a contest help create buzz for your holiday sale?

Psychologists report that external rewards motivate people to participate. Thus, using giveaways can drive consumers toward your brand.

Knowing your end goal will help your team promote the giveaway. So, set a timeline, pick the items you want to distribute, and create a few rules for people to follow.

In addition, use this an opportunity to gather details from potential customers. Unbounce “discovered that landing pages that ran a contest with a $500 prize collected 700% more email subscribers than landing pages with no contests.”

Promotion labeling matters, too. Using the word “giveaway” - in this example - results in more conversions than the words “sweepstake” and “promotion.” (though, you should always be testing.)


To enter your giveaway, require participants to provide their email addresses. Then, you can loop them into your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s an example from Rockstar Energy Drink (below). During the holidays, it hosted 12 Days of Giveaways. The brand’s team gave fans the chance to win everything from apparel to a guitar.


Your team also may want to try doorbusters—limited quantities of low-priced items.

The purpose of this strategy is to attract consumers to buy a particular product—in hopes that they stick around to check out your main sales event bringing attention to your business and dissuades buyers from visiting your competitor.

And don’t worry about how to create these special deals within your ecommerce store. Shopify Scripts has you covered. Scripts enables you to create custom code to make these unique discounts possible.

1. Evoke an Emotional Connection Through Video

As attention spans get shorter, people crave jaw-dropping content that keeps them feigning for more. Creating a worthwhile video series is one way to keep buyers talking about your holiday sale.

For ecommerce, video is a form of online window shopping. Customers want to see a realistic view of your products and services.

For instance, shoot videos highlighting your best-selling products for holiday gift-giving ideas. Don’t focus on the features. Instead, show consumers how your products will benefit their lives—or make that special someone happy this holiday season.

BMW launched #BMWstories, a video series highlighting consumers’ personal experiences with their vehicles. It not only showcased the luxury brand’s products, but also displayed its greatest assets—customers as brand ambassadors.


 Brad Jefferson, founding CEO of Animoto, states:

“Product videos give potential buyers more insight into the products they are thinking about purchasing. They’re great because, unlike photos and text, videos allow you to bring your products and services to life by providing a fluid look at products in action, and from different angles.”

Avoid solely focusing on your products. Incorporate the buyer into your videos. Integrate testimonials into your series. Let real customers become the spotlight of the story.

Travelocity took video to another level. The company personalized short video clips with the traveler’s name and his or her dream destination.

This video series was part of its Twitter campaign to invite consumers to share where they love for travel. Gaining 34,000+ followers, the online travel agency responded to 60 fans with personalized Vines. Check out one of them below.


Shooting these videos isn’t a cheap endeavor.

It takes a talented video agency to capture your brand’s image. Here’s a list of video production companies with customer reviews.

Let the Buzz Begin

Shoppers like holiday sales. But they are bombarded with so much information every day. So, your team must grab and maintain their attention.

Post a countdown clock on multiple channels to boost anticipation. Discuss new product inventory via Facebook Live. And employ brand ambassadors to spread the word.

Generate some hype. Promote your holiday sale.

About the Author

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice.