Thousands of national days celebrate just about any treat or occasion you can think of, from National Doughnut Day to World Smile Day. These national days can provide content for your social media marketing team and be a great way to drive engagement and sales.
However, while many of these days have their perks ― who doesn’t love a day centered on doughnuts? ― only some will relate to your business. However, with careful thought and planning, national days can help you grab the attention of both loyal and new customers.
This guide offers tips for small businesses that want to identify the best national days for their marketing strategy and how to harness them. Read ahead for a sample of national days and how you can integrate them into your marketing calendar.
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This list barely scratches the surface of available national days to celebrate. Of course, not all these days will pertain to your business. That said, you might be surprised how creative you can get when connecting these occasions to your brand.
Kick off the new year by celebrating this breakfast staple and its endless savory or sweet topping choices. Use this day to highlight how your product goes great with a bagel, whether it’s coffee or a morning podcast.
Pay homage to your favorite fromage. Since cheese goes with just about everything, National Cheese Lover’s Day has tons of marketing potential for many foodservice businesses. If you don’t sell food, try poking fun at the day with a cheesy pun instead.
Customer satisfaction is key to any successful business. This occasion gives you four chances throughout the year to connect with your customers and ask them to share their valuable feedback.
If you want to make someone’s day better instantly, a few words of kindness and appreciation can go a long way. Reinforce your brand’s positive message and encourage your customers to be generous with compliments.
Turn your world upside down and say the opposite of what you actually mean all day. National Opposite Day offers the chance to get silly and create a print, digital or email marketing campaign with fun, eye-catching content.
We all rely on the hard work of mail carriers and businesses are no exception. Even if you don’t ship your products or use direct mail marketing, there’s a good chance you rely on the postal service to receive supplies and important mail. Use this day to publicly thank mail carriers for keeping business moving ― customers might appreciate the gesture and become more likely to buy from you.
Americans love pizza so much that we eat 3 billion a year ― 4 billion if you count frozen pizzas. On this scrumptious national day, pizzerias can offer print and digital coupons to incentivize customers to celebrate this momentous occasion.
This international holiday celebrates the wonders of cinema. Appeal to the film buffs in your customer base and drive engagement with a social campaign via Instagram that asks your audience to share their favorite movies.
The most important relationships aren’t always romantic. Give your customers tips on celebrating the strong female friendships in their life the day before Valentine’s Day.
Peanut butter makes a great companion for various ingredients. If you’re in foodservice and peanut butter isn’t on the menu, spotlight your products that go great with the nutty spread.
This national day acknowledges that no matter your industry, your business can’t run without your employees. This is an excellent day to publicly thank your team for their hard work and show customers you care about your people.
From little black dresses to colorful summer numbers, National Dress Day salutes this fashion staple. This day is an ideal opportunity for clothing retailers to showcase their best dresses in-store or online.
International Women’s Day lifts up women’s accomplishments and raises awareness about gender inequality around the globe. Demonstrate your organization’s commitment to closing the gender gap by recognizing this important day.
Adjusting daylight saving time usually leaves most of us a bit tired, so what better day to celebrate the art of the nap? If self-care is central to your brand, this is a great opportunity to remind your customer base that rest is essential.
This national day elevates craftsmanship of all kinds. If you run a small business or Etsy shop with handmade products, highlight the love and care you put into every item with a video or photo series.
The bond between siblings is one of a kind. Use this day to highlight your story if you run a family-owned business or work with family.
Who doesn’t love an excuse to celebrate our favorite furry friends? Pet-related social posts are already incredibly effective at driving customer engagement. Ask your followers to tag your products in pictures with their pets. If you’re a pet owner, spotlight your team’s furry friends on your socials or business blog.
This day emphasizes the importance of protecting the planet and its environment. You can use this national day to highlight your business’ commitment to sustainability and a sustainable business model.
This is the day to quench your thirst with your favorite liquid concoction. From hot beverages like coffee to cool refreshments like soda, National Beverage Day offers the ideal marketing opportunity for a range of drink-based businesses.
National Space Day applauds the scientists who paved the way in space exploration. It’s also a great chance to get kids excited about science and astronomy. If your business is geared toward kids or education, use National Space Day to create out-of-this-world content.
National Fitness Day is meant to promote healthy habits and get everyone moving. This day offers a valuable chance to promote your wellness business.
This day encourages you to adopt, not shop. If you own a pet supply business, have customers tag your company in photos with their rescues in your store or with your products. If you’re not a pet-related business, but there’s a rescue agency close to your heart, consider reaching out about a potential partnership. If you’re a dog-friendly business, use this as an opportunity to show off the rescues in your extended employee family.
National Doughnut Day represents a reason to grab a sweet treat and several brands without a direct connection to doughnuts often participate in the festivities. This is a day when your business can showcase its voice and identity.
If you’ve got any kids’ products in your inventory, this is a good day to highlight them. You can’t quite target kids in advertising since they don’t typically shop, but you can get their parents’ attention with the right messaging.
These self-portraits are already a favorite to post on social media. Use National Selfie Day as an excuse to encourage selfies that include your product or service.
Beat the heat with a cool treat. This national day is a great advertising opportunity for ice cream or dessert brands. It could also be a great chance to highlight ice cream-themed products, such as ice cream cone jewelry.
This day can be an incredible opportunity to generate engagement on social media when done correctly. Tie your products to tips that inspire customers to show their friends how much they matter. You can also highlight workplace friendships at your business by posting employees who are office best friends forever.
If you own a local bookstore, National Book Lovers Day is the ideal day to promote your business. In other industries, you can offer some reading suggestions within your niche to connect your business with this national day.
Humor is a great way to grab your customers’ attention and send a message that emotionally resonates. Celebrate the art of the punchline and get creative with a National Tell a Joke Day campaign.
If your company sells anything that older adults might find useful, National Grandparents’ Day is a great advertising occasion. Promote discounts to drive sales, targeting your actual customers as well as people who might buy them gifts.
Engage with your parent customers and encourage them to share a fun family activity. Mark this day on your marketing calendar if you sell food or kitchen-related products. You can create a fun hashtag for your audience to use with pictures of their kitchen takeovers.
This national day celebrates joyful movement and offers many opportunities for fun social engagement campaigns. National Dance Day can be especially effective for attracting customers to small bars or venues where you can dance the night away.
If community involvement is part of your brand voice, Voter Registration Day is a great nonpartisan way to promote civic participation. You can offer a limited-time discount to customers who register to vote or create a unique promo code using the word “vote” and the year.
National Family Day recognizes the importance of gathering around the table and bonding over a family meal. Post products like food and beverages or after-dinner games to inspire a memorable evening with your given or chosen family.
National Coffee Day offers your business a chance to engage customers regardless of your industry. If customers wait in your store while completing their purchase, consider offering free coffee on National Coffee Day.
Make them at home, visit your favorite taco spot or throw a taco party ― this is the day to enjoy this beloved handheld dish. It’s an obvious advertising opportunity for restaurants or food and beverage vendors. But small businesses with cool taco merchandise like taco-printed clothing can also get in on the fun.
Teachers have one of the most important, but often underappreciated, jobs in the world. Honor the contributions of educators everywhere and pay tribute to the teachers who helped make you a success. You can also offer discount codes to educators to thank them for all their hard work.
World Smile Day invites us to spread a little joy and share a smile. If positivity or humor is relevant to your brand, run a campaign focused on making your customers smile. Since Harvey Ball, inventor of the iconic yellow smiley face, founded this day, feel free to incorporate emojis into your campaign too.
No meal is complete until you’ve had a little something sweet. Inspire your customers to indulge in your business’s sugary products on National Dessert Day.
Our busy modern lives can lead to feelings of stress. National Stress Day aims to raise awareness and promote positive mental health practices. If your brand is in the wellness space, this could be a good day to communicate how your services can help with self-care.
Early November is the time to uplift this versatile lunchtime classic. Since there’s almost no limit to the ingredients you can use for a sandwich, this day can be relevant for a range of food vendors.
World Kindness Day reminds us that we can make the world a better place, even with our smallest actions. Emphasize the caring nature of your mission and urge your customers to commit random acts of kindness on this national day. Businesses can also commit to charitable contributions to demonstrate kindness.
A huge sales day for retailers, Black Friday signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. With people on the lookout for bargains, this is a great opportunity to boost sales by offering exclusive deals and Black Friday discounts.
First recognized in 2010, thanks to efforts from American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages customers to support small (and often local) retailers. Give your small business a boost and research campaigns early in the year to stand out when November rolls around.
After a handful of shopping-focused national days, Giving Tuesday asks us to spend on a good cause. If your business partners with a charity or nonprofit organization, spotlight its important work. You can also demonstrate your commitment to corporate social responsibility and donate a percentage of proceeds from sales on Giving Tuesday.
Today is the day to thank your favorite mixologist. Bars and liquor vendors should note this day in their marketing plans ― and ensure they encourage customers to tip generously.
Cookies are already a big part of the holiday season, so it makes sense to give these classic treats a dedicated December holiday. This is a great day for bakeries to offer exclusive discounts. If you sell baking ingredients or appliances, consider a social campaign and ask your customers to tag you in photos of them enjoying homemade cookies.
Everyone loves to cheer for an underdog, and it can certainly be argued that small businesses are underdogs in a large-business world. Target your customers with a video and tell a story about the history of your business. If your audience sees how much hard work you’ve put in, they may want to support and be part of your success.
Chocolate can improve many desserts or snacks so, naturally, there’s a day to praise all things chocolate-covered. Promote your chocolate-covered products or give customers some ideas on your ingredients that would pair well with cocoa.
After the holidays, it’s important to show gratitude for all the wonderful gifts you received from family and friends. National Thank You Note Day is a great opportunity for stationery stores to highlight the personal touch their products add.
To take advantage of national days, keep these tips in mind.
It’s important to have a quarterly marketing strategy to break down your annual marketing plans into easily digestible sections. Using national days to promote your business is no different. Plot out which days you want to emphasize each quarter. If a campaign didn’t perform well in the first quarter, you can reevaluate and adjust your plans for national days next quarter.
Avoid posting about national days if they have no connection to your business. A pizza parlor tweeting about how customers should grab a slice for National Fitness Day doesn’t make much sense. Posting on days that don’t complement your business may turn customers off and reduce engagement. Remain true to your business and find national days that genuinely connect to your organization to include in your marketing plan.
“Just because national days abound doesn’t mean they’re relevant,” said Kelsey DeMarco, senior director of creative operations at Day One Agency. “Don’t just latch on for the sake of social content. Have a strategy. After all, nobody likes the person at the party that just talks to talk.”
If you forget and see that tomorrow is National Friendship Day, your business will have a tough time putting together a social media campaign that will generate engagement in only a day. The planning process around national days should start weeks, if not months, in advance.
“I think a big part of being able to generate engagement via social is by planning,” advised Sophie Duncan, senior copywriter at Greenlight. “Make sure that you have a plan and you know when you’re going to post what content.”
Diana Stern, vice president of marketing at NRS, says her company plans Thanksgiving and Christmas promotions months in advance. “It’s a lot about offering the communities we serve the ability to feel connected,” Stern said.
Duncan also stressed the importance of brands understanding their identity and leaving adequate time to create advertising campaigns centered on national days. Whether it’s a widely celebrated holiday like Thanksgiving or a less traditional celebration like National Doughnut Day, your business must plan ahead to create the best advertising campaign.
National days can be a great marketing tool, but you must measure the results. This way, you know whether you’re taking the right approach. NRS, for example, provides its clients with actionable data to help them take better advantage of trends, including those related to national days. It also provides sales data on trends approximately three to six months in advance of when customers might be more inclined to purchase certain products.
Like any marketing plan, your strategy for preparing for holidays will always be a work in progress. Prioritize reviewing the data you measured with each campaign and evaluate which campaigns are worth repeating ― and scrap what’s not worth the return on investment.
With so many national days to choose from, there’s likely to be at least one that fits your business and its message. Be mindful about which national days you mark on your calendar, then craft content that stands out. No matter where along your sales funnel you’re targeting, national days are a great chance to get creative and grow your business.
Bennett Conlin and Max Freedman contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.