With Memorial Day approaching, it’s time to determine how your business will plan for it this year. Some business owners will quietly acknowledge the holiday, while others launch full-fledged marketing campaigns.

Both routes are viable for small business owners, and your strategy may depend on your company and the type of industry that you’re in. For example, a car dealership might create videos promoting sales, while a dog groomer might post about a military discount on their social media channels.

Like any marketing campaign, building brand awareness during Memorial Day may require a blend of these tactics. If you’re unsure which ones are right for you or where to start, check out this list of Memorial Day marketing campaigns inspired by small business owners.

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10 Memorial Day Marketing Campaigns

Here are 10 ideas for Memorial Day campaigns and examples from small businesses.

1. Provide a military discount.

Some businesses offer discounts to active and retired military members. They might offer products and services at a lower rate, or giveaways as a thank you.

If you offer products or services with a higher price tag, I recommend a flat rate discount. If customers make their first or a one-time purchase with you during this period, you might want to control how much you’re offering while also giving them a good deal; a giveaway or gift card doesn’t have the same effect.

On the other hand, if your customers shop with you frequently (like at a restaurant), you may want to offer a free giveaway instead. This discount will incentivize people to return to your business and continue shopping with you over time.

Example: Warfel Body Shop

This mechanic offers military members a 10% discount on labor costs.

memorial day marketing campaign ideas

This business just requests that customers call ahead. Some businesses might require people to present a military ID, which could protect you from losing money, but also could offend service members who may not have this ID on them. Be sure to use good judgment in these cases and remember that a great customer experience can lead to repeat business over time.

2. Post on social media.

Social media is a great place to share your message if you’re looking to celebrate Memorial Day. Use hashtags like #MemorialDay and #MemorialDaySale to increase your reach, and be sure to write an appropriate, professional, and sincere message. Remember, this holiday may be a sensitive time for some people, so focus on why you’re thankful – not your business.

When using hashtags, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use spaces, punctuation, or symbols
  • Keep hashtags short, unless an existing one is trending
  • Avoid hashtags with millions of uses

For more social media tips, check out this advice from expert, Stephanie Love.

Example: The Hook Up Tackle

Here’s a bait and tackle shop that’s offering a sale this Memorial Day weekend.

social media marketing campaign for memorial day

Its post uses several hashtags, emojis, and a clear image that shows what the sale is and which products it applies to. The business thanks its customers for their support and wishes them a safe and fun holiday.

Pro Tip: You can use ChatGPT to generate social media captions. Just be sure to proofread before you post!

3. Send your customers an email.

Email is particularly effective around holidays because it’s a time-dependent marketing channel. While you can’t control when a customer opens your email, you can control when that message reaches their inbox. 89% of people check their email daily, so the odds are that your email subscribers will see your message within 24 hours.

If you have a Memorial Day deal or a limited-time offer, email may be the best channel for sharing it with customers. You can pick exactly when that message will be delivered and who you want to see it. You can also personalize the content so it’s relevant to everyone who views it. Not only will this improve the email experience, but it will also increase the number of clicks you get.

Example: Choice Hotels

This hotel chain sent its subscribers this email last Memorial Day.

memorial day weekend email

Unlike the first two examples, this one doesn’t thank service members — and that’s okay. Memorial Day weekend has become a promotional event for many businesses, so this ad focuses on celebrating the long weekend and the company’s temporary discounts.

4. Create a Google ad.

If you want to expand the reach of an existing marketing campaign, you might consider investing in a Google Ad. Google Ads creates online ads for search engines, YouTube, email, and more. Not only can you control what the ad displays, but you can also manage how much money you spend and where the ad is shown. Or, you can run a Performance Max campaign and have Google optimize these details for you.

Example: Peter’s Pepper Pantry

Okay, you got us. Peter’s Pepper Pantry is not a real business. But, the image below gives us an inside look at how a Google Ad is made.

memorial day search campaign for google

As you build your ad, you can see a live preview for desktop and mobile. You can also enter variations for each ad, so a different message is displayed every time it’s generated. Over time, you can see which variations perform best and double down on the ones that increase sales.

5. Sponsor or host an event.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the U.S., meaning many folks have an extra weekend day. The long weekend provides a great opportunity to sponsor an event because people aren’t working and might be looking for unique activities.

If you don’t want to host an event, you can sponsor one, instead. Check your town hall for local events, like a barbecue or a block party, and see if you can donate or set up a booth.

Example: Beaver Meadow Golf Course

Beaver Meadow Golf Course hosts a tournament each Memorial Day. Players book three rounds of golf, and prizes are given out on the last day.

memorial day golf tournament

Prepaid events like these are great for small businesses. Customers pay in advance and are more likely to show up because they’re financially committed.

If your event is a hit, you can collect emails and add them to your mailing list. Then, you can send these people notifications for your next event, producing loyal customers.

Pro Tip: You can leverage website forms and invoicing software to register attendees and collect payments before events.

6. Offer a limited-time sale.

Memorial Day weekend is a good time to offer a seasonal discount, especially if you manage a brick-and-mortar retail shop. Sales typically increase as people start their spring cleaning and look to refresh things like their wardrobes, appliances, outdoor spaces, and more. It’s a perfect time to catch someone’s attention with a price point your competitors can’t match.

Example: Jarvis Appliances

Jarvis Appliances has an online shop where you can browse its inventory and order appliances for your home. This year, it has a Memorial Day sale on refrigerators and has added a page to its website to promote this offer.

memorial day website sale

What I like about this page is that it clearly shows when the sale is and how much you can save. There are plenty of buttons like “Shop Now” and “Learn More” that motivate you to browse their inventory. And, the massive “Save Big” text is hard to ignore for someone looking for a deal. Overall, this webpage does a great job of telling us what the offer is and why it’s worth learning more.

7. Publish seasonal content on your blog.

Memorial Day marks the changing of seasons, and you can drive more visits to your website by publishing seasonal content on your blog and web pages.

To start, consider what your customers are doing this time of year. What advice can you give to make their lives easier?

For example, if you post about “tips for Memorial Day” or “tips for Spring and Summer,” search engines will rank this content higher during May and June. That’s because people are searching for topics related to Memorial Day, so you’re more likely to get discovered if your website has content on these subjects.

The same goes for other holidays. You can conduct keyword research to see which topics drive the most traffic to your website and use that information to create a content strategy that helps your website rank higher on search engines.

Example: Action Pest Control

Here’s a timely blog post published by a pest control company.

memorial day marketing blog post

Notice how the post talks about Memorial Day immediately – signaling to search engines that this post is related to that holiday. Then, it builds authority by talking about the professionals at this company and the tips they have to prevent infestations during the Spring.

This post is effective because it helps the customer and builds authority for the business. Other people (and Google) can see that this company knows how to manage pest control and is a trusted source of information on the subject. That reputation can lead to higher rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).

8. Produce a video.

Video content is valuable because it can be used on several distribution channels. It could be a TV ad, or you could post it on YouTube. You could also share it on your social media channels, publish it on your website, or send it via email, text, or WhatsApp — you get the point.

But remember, viewer attention doesn’t come easily, and their time is precious – so make sure your video effectively gets the point across quickly, and in a way that engages people. Research shows that 62% of people finish a full video if it’s under one minute.

Example: Jenkins Nissan

Car dealerships are famous for creating videos like this one during Memorial Day. These ads showcase their latest deals and grab viewers’ attention with bright graphics and custom visuals.

9. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance was established in 2000 to honor U.S. service members. It takes place at 3 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day each year, and people observe a moment of silence to honor the U.S. military.

Example: New York State West Youth Soccer Association

If you’re going to post about your participation, I would recommend opting for an educational route, like in the example below. Explain the National Moment of Remembrance and why we observe it each year. Avoid bragging or patting yourself on the back.

national day of remembrance

10. Update your business hours.

Some business owners like to take Memorial Day off – after all, it is a federal holiday.

If that’s the case, update your business hours so customers know when and how to contact you. You can post these updates to your social media pages and create an out-of-office message for your email. Be sure to let people know how long you’ll be away and how to get in touch if there’s an emergency.

After that, sit back, relax, and enjoy some much-deserved time off.

Example: Tague Lumber

Here’s an example of a lumber company that updated its hours for Memorial Day weekend. This message is posted on the website’s home page so customers know that business hours will change during the long weekend.

memorial day closing hours

Marketing Your Business on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a great time to launch a marketing campaign, and there are plenty of ways to promote your business this May. Try out some of the ideas above and use the examples as inspiration for your own company this weekend – and on other holidays, too.