To promote and market your businesses during the festive season may seem simple and self-explanatory. Choose a holiday, plan a campaign, and let the good times roll. In theory, this should work. However, in practice, it may not be that straightforward.

The holidays are a busy time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed; not only in a personal capacity but in a professional capacity, too. Juggling obligations, marketing, and sales can become difficult, and dropping the ball can happen faster than you imagined.

So, how do you balance it all and ensure that your business doesn’t fall victim to the chaos of the holidays? Here are ten mistakes to avoid during the holiday marketing season.

1. Overlooking Smaller Opportunities

Yes, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas are well known. Everyone looks out for deals and promotions tied into these days. However, there are other occasions you can use to launch specials.

Quirky days like National Donut Day, National Pen Day, or National Sundae Day are options. Giving Tuesday and Boxing Day are, too. Wherever possible, try to capitalize on days that tie in with your brand, or have an association. This not only makes them memorable; it also makes them relatable.

2. Delaying Campaigns

Preparation is key. You need a marketing plan to stay on track. The holiday season takes place at the same time every year, which should make advanced planning a breeze. However, the complexities of day-to-day business and crazy deadlines often take over, and we run out of time. Before you know it, it’s the week before Christmas and your campaign hasn’t started.

Timing is everything. If you start too late, you may get lost in the crowd. Many will have already done their festive season shopping. Schedule your campaign in advance to avoid the last-minute rush and ensure you capture your target audience’s attention.

3. Forgetting to Reach Out to Customers

Personal touches and gestures go a long way to build and maintain customer relationships. Don’t forget to thank customers for their ongoing support—especially during such a turbulent year. This also strengthens your brand’s reputation and encourages customers to spread the word about your thoughtful gesture and excellent service.

Avoid sending out blanket messages. Rather, personalize your communications as much as possible. This means addressing marketing emails by name or offering discounts based on previous purchases.

4. Overdoing the Promotional Messages

While you may run promotions and discounts, don’t bombard your mailing list or social media followers with endless advertisements. A good deal is one thing, but spam-type deals will come across as pushy or desperate. This may put potential clients off. Ad fatigue is a very real problem, and you should avoid it.

Limit the communications you send out over this time. Imagine the roles were reversed and a business kept on messaging you about the same thing. Try to balance your marketing campaigns across all platforms. Don’t oversaturate your audience.

5. Forgetting About the Competition

For businesses, the holiday season is arguably one of the most competitive. Keep an eye on your competitors and outsmart them. When you opened your business, you did market research and analysis in your business plan. Review what you did in this plan, and do your homework again—only this time, focus exclusively on the holiday season. Research what other businesses do to attract the same target market. Then find a competitive edge and use it as leverage.

6. Going Overboard with Discounts

Discounts and deals are attractive marketing tools. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Continuous discounts and specials may seem suspicious and can damage your brand’s reputation. Be strategic with your offers. Compare them to the other available options. Look at what you did last year, how your marketing campaigns performed, and how you can improve.

7. Focusing on the New Instead of the Old

When it comes to your marketing strategy, reach out to customers you’ve targeted in previous campaigns. They’ll recall the information and be more inclined to support you. While the urge may arise to target a new audience, the cold-calling approach may not necessarily work. Save this type of marketing campaign for another time of the year. Focus on customer retention as much as possible.

8. Focusing on Web Traffic Rather than Sales

Web traffic and sales are not the same. Tailor your approach accordingly. Although high traffic is positive, if it’s not driving sales, it loses value. Ultimately, you want to make sales. If you direct traffic to your social media platforms, make sure to integrate an eCommerce element that pushes customers through the sales funnel. There’s no point in driving traffic to your Instagram or Facebook pages, but not activating the built-in online shopping features.

9. Dropping The Ball On Engagement

The Christmas holidays usually have everyone looking for family activities or the ultimate gift selections. And, if you run a special promotion for a quirky national day or other event, chances are you’ll see an influx of interest. During busy times, be available to communicate with customers. Give them the information they need, when they need it.

Missing out on messages or comments can make or break a sale. Ensure your response times are excellent. Your marketing campaign should encourage engagement, boost trust, and promote sales. Quick response times are crucial, even if you use a chatbot to offer basic feedback when your support staff is offline.

10. Losing Sight Of Your Target Audience

By now, you know who will support your business based on the year’s performance metrics. Using this information, develop a strategy that reaches the right people, and convert leads into sales. What does your audience value, and how can you use this to shape your strategy? Keep your approach relevant to your audience, and you’ll reap the rewards.


As with any marketing campaign, what you put in it is what you’ll get out. Do your research, review your marketing performance, and plan your holiday campaign accordingly. There’s no need to make the same mistakes as last year, now is the time to learn, grow, and meet your targets.