Memorial Day is meant as a day of remembrance for U.S. servicemen and women who lost their lives through military service. However for most Americans, the holiday is also marked by family gatherings, sporting events and, you guessed it—sales!

Last-Minute Memorial Day Marketing Ideas

While many Americans get the holiday off of work, most small business owners don’t. Bad news for you could mean good news for your business, given you have the right Memorial Day promotions and local marketing tactics in place.

Military Discounts

This Memorial Day, offer military discounts to anyone involved in military service. Consider including active duty service members, veterans and military spouses. Depending on your business model, this is something you can do year-round or in recognition of certain American holidays.

Want to make an even bigger bang? Launch your new military discount program this Memorial Day, and keep the discount going into the future. If your business caters to a longer purchase cycle, extending the time frame for this discount will help any not-quite-ready-to-buy consumers keep you in mind.

The military discount you choose should differ based on your business type. If you offer products or services with a large price tag, you’ll likely opt for a flat rate percentage off of a purchase—10% is standard. Alternatively, if you enjoy shorter purchase cycles and regular, repeat business (like a restaurant would, for example), offer a free appetizer or give-away instead.

Pro tip: Many businesses (mainly large chains and retailers) require military service members and veterans to show a military ID card to redeem military discounts. While this can protect your business from potential scammers, it could also mean legitimate military personnel who lack this identification could miss out on the promotion. Choose wisely how you want to restrict this discount program.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is one of the most inexpensive advertising tactics. And though it can sound antiquated with the many digital marketing techniques at our fingertips, its open rates and engagement rates are nothing to scoff at.

80-90% of direct mail gets opened, whereas only 20-30% of email gets opened. And of the 80-90%, about 42% of direct mail recipients actually read or scan the mail pieces.

Given those stats, direct mail can kill two birds with one…stamp. 1) It can attract consumers to your business this Memorial Day, and 2) It can help you garner goodwill in the community.

Who wouldn’t love a brand that supports our military community?

Consider creating a postcard that features patriotic images of American flags or military personnel on the front. Somewhere that doesn’t obstruct the imagery, include a callout that your business supports and thanks America’s heroes.

Pro tip: One of the biggest faux pas brands make on Memorial Day is to wish their audiences a “Happy Memorial Day.” While many of us spend the holiday celebrating, many others spend it mourning the loss of loved ones.

Appropriate Memorial Day marketing headline examples:
  • “In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice…”
  • “With deep gratitude and respect for our servicemen and women…”
  • “Honoring our heroes…”

Sponsor a Local Event

Your community probably hosts a parade, market, fair or concert where people gather in recognition of Memorial Day. Contact city or event organizers to see how you can get involved.

If you have any free giveaways or plan to offer special promotions at the event, pitch those to organizers in exchange for a booth. If that doesn’t cut it, be ready to sweeten the deal with an official sponsorship of the event, by way of monetary donation. This would get your company logo on branded materials for the event and (again) build recognition and goodwill in the community.

Don’t forget to promote!

Whether you choose one or all of these Memorial Day promotions, they won’t matter unless you get the message out…and soon! Use text and email marketing, as well as your social media channels, to let contacts and customers know what you’re planning. Keep your messaging consistent, and consider sending out reminders once Memorial Day arrives.

Need a little help with the execution? Thryv handles text, email and social media marketing from one dashboard, so our clients can forget about multiple software solutions and logins. Explore Thryv for your business.