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Given its status as a $15 billion industry, it's no wonder thousands of businesses compete for consumer dollars during the holiday's season. Americans annually spend nearly $226 each for Easter-related merchandise; yet these figures are just the tip of the iceberg as many non-Easter-related companies use the holiday as a springboard for other promotions: rebrands, special spring sales, and more. That is to say, you don't have to sell chocolate bunnies to cash in on Easter. What you do need, however, is a powerful Easter marketing strategy that helps you get noticed and motivates customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. For your inspiration, here are some creative Easter marketing ideas you can use to promote your company this spring.

1. Send an 'Easter egg' direct-mail postcard

Postcards are perfect for reaching a well-targeted audience with a special offer that audience is likely to respond to. You can print die-cut postcards in the shape of Easter eggs to promote your offer. If you want to drive foot traffic to your location, include a special code on each Easter egg postcard; when customers visit your brick and mortar site, they can enter their code to see if they've won a prize.

2. Host an adult Easter egg hunt

There are plenty of egg hunts to go around for the kids; you can host an adult egg hunt instead. Place plastic Easter eggs throughout your store, each containing a special prize, discount percentage, or funny tip. Place posters or flyers throughout your store reminding customers to keep an eye out for Easter eggs and to bring them to the register to redeem their prizes – and make them only redeemable with a qualifying purchase. Such an event can bring throngs of customers to your retail store in a single afternoon.

3. Sponsor a kids' Easter egg hunt

See what opportunities exist to sponsor a popular local Easter egg hunt for kids. You can offer to buy the eggs and candy in return for placing your banner in a prominent area as well as getting billing on all promotional materials the egg hunt sends out. You can even set up smaller banners or a trade booth station where you can discuss the benefits of your products and services with parents while their children hunt for eggs.

4. Send Easter greetings

Send Easter greeting cards to your best customers, and include a personal hand-written note in each. Doing so will help customers feel special and appreciated, which leads to long-term customer loyalty. You might even consider placing a special Easter gift or discount in your greeting cards to reward your best customers on Easter.

5. Easter basket bundles

Customers love convenience, and you can make easy sales by bundling several stand-alone items into special Easter gift baskets for kids, parents, spouses, and others. Make shopping easy for your customers and find a way to sell items that don't move as quickly in one fell swoop.

6. Give away Easter celebration host booklets

Many of your customers will be hosting Easter celebrations for friends and family this year. You can print a booklet that offers tips, tricks, advice, and inspiration for hosting the perfect Easter celebration. Make the content accurate and valuable, and customers will view you as an authority resource for party planning. You can even pepper the content with your own products and services to help customers understand why buying from you will help make their Easter celebrations even better.

7. Give away Easter cookbooks

In the same vein, you can print Easter cookbooks featuring popular and traditional Easter recipes. Print recipe booklets to give away to your customers, and don't forget to promote your own products and services within. Since you're giving cookbooks away on Easter, you might even want to add some spring, summer, or BBQ grilling recipes to make your cookbooks relevant longer and earn more exposure for your cookbook product page promotions.

8. Give away Easter egg stickers

Print a few batches of fun stickers meant to be placed on Easter eggs and give them away to customers this Easter. Your stickers should feature fun Easter themes – chicks, bunnies, pastel colors, and more – as well as your logo. This is a great way to demonstrate customer appreciation while simultaneously increasing brand awareness.

9. Facebook Easter photo contest

Invite your Facebook fans to submit their favorite Easter photos, then promise a prize to the winning entry. Ask your other fans to vote for the best photo, then give away something really cool to keep fans happy and interested. You'll also get to promote your products and services along the way.

10. Charity food trade-in

You can ask customers to bring in non-perishable food items to donate to your local food pantry. In return, you can offer a discount coupon. For many, Easter is a time to be thankful for the sacrifices made by others; asking your customers to donate food gives them a way to appreciate abundance and help those in need, all the while earning a coupon. Of course, you'll be able to collect customer data for future marketing and have an opportunity to land instant sales.

11. Easter bunny handouts

Club card flyers are a great way to get patrons into your restaurant or night club. Outfit your street team in bunny costumes to attract attention, then hand out club card flyers to bring customers to your door. Include a time-limited discount coupon as an added incentive to visit your establishment as soon as possible.

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