8 Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Do you have marketing weariness yet? I’ve unsubscribed from so many mailing lists I forgot I was even on — now that they have been arriving to my inbox every single day since Thanksgiving. Christmas  may account for up to 40 percent of annual sales, so it’s understandable that marketers place a lot of stock in their holiday campaigns. They must be careful not to push potential customers away, however, as we saw with some of the failed Black Friday tweets.

Here are 8 common holiday marketing mistakes

1. You didn’t plan. Suddenly, it’s December — and you realize that you really had nothing special prepared. It is not enough to throw a couple of reindeer and the word “Christmas” into your marketing materials. You need a strategic game plan that includes measurable goals, benchmark deadlines, and metrics that will show if you are on-track or not.

2. You don’t have any holiday offers. Some marketers presume they will earn additional revenue this time of year because people have to buy gifts for the holiday season. However, a special offer directs the focus to YOU, rather than your competition. Repackage products and services to entice people to add value for deal-savvy consumers. Do more than your usual “Tuesday special.” Try Buy-One-Get-One offers. Give something away for free with a purchase. Offer free shipping for online shopping, plus 10 percent off select stock. See what your competition is doing and match it.

3. You haven’t reached out to your loyal customers. Never assume your “regulars” will think of you first this year. Perhaps they shop with you for themselves, and don’t really think about how some of your products or services may benefit a friend or family member. Help them out by sending an email with a free gift-giving guide full of suggestions. Or you can write a holiday greeting card through SendOutCards.com to ensure your brand is front and center in your customers’ minds.

4. You haven’t updated your website. This time of year really separates the pros from the amateurs. The best marketers know that customers love to see a bit of the holiday spirit in social media, landing pages, blogs, emails, newsletters, videos and other types of online content. By tapping into holiday themes, your marketing materials will be more creative and in-tune with how people are feeling at this time of year.

5. You didn’t promote your specials wholeheartedly. If prospects have to hunt around to learn about your holiday promotions, then you’re not running an effective campaign. Don’t hide your promotion in a single email or Facebook post. Use everything you’ve got in your arsenal to create a streamlined promotion across all media. Design a landing page to highlight your special offer, first and foremost. Then drive people to this page using email, social media, mobile marketing, YouTube videos, and PPC ads. Remember, you can track these ads and tweak them for efficiency as you go along!

6. You forgot about running a public relations campaign. Businesses often get so caught up with one-on-one consumer interactions that they forgot to reach out to the public, at large. Yet, journalists are working hard this time of year to find heart-warming stories of charitable giving, noteworthy deals, and feature-worthy tales. If you can position yourself as a newsworthy business, you can stand to turn a lot of heads toward your shop. Now is the best time for a publicity stunt and press release!

7. You didn’t ask people what they want or like this year. Since the calendar year is wrapping up and you’ll be creating new goals for your business, why not ask customers and prospects to fill out a brief survey? This will help you plan better when you get back from holiday break. You can also gauge the effectiveness of your holiday promotions to find out what people did — or did not — like. Are you sending notices too often or not often enough? Did people think the photos of your staff wearing tacky holiday sweaters was funny and cute — or just plain dumb? Send out a Constant Contact survey — and reward people for taking time out of their busy day to fill it out!

8. You ran the same campaign you did in 2011. Just because a campaign worked last year does not mean it’s okay to take all the same steps for 2012. There is something to be said for originality. You want to capture attention and take your marketing to a whole new level, rather than repeat the same old, same old. Keeping your content new and fresh will reinvigorate your base and bring a few fresh faces into your store.

8 Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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