The 6 Biggest Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

If you run a small business or if you sell any kind of products online or offline, you must have a proper marketing plan in place for the holidays to make use of this shopping season. Learn the most effective strategies and the mistakes you should avoid when creating and implementing your holiday marketing campaign in this guest post, by Emma Cajthaml.

The Biggest 6 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Every holiday season presents its unique set of challenges for small businesses and their owners. New trends, new colors, new social media platforms, and even more competition, which is why how you market your business and when you start your marketing campaign are going to be so important this holiday season.

Below are the 6 holiday marketing mistakes you need to avoid this holiday season whether you are still planning, about to start, or in the thick of your marketing campaign!

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6 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

The 6 Biggest Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid

6. Starting too late

This might seem a little self explanatory, but this holiday season is a unique one considering everything that is happening in the world from a pandemic to protests and other political matters, having everyone’s mind occupied.

Also the way people will celebrate and shop this holiday season may very well be affected. This makes the timing of your marketing campaign super important.

By October, you should already have a marketing plan in place, and you should be implementing your marketing campaign by the end of October at the latest. Don’t wait until November to initiate your marketing campaign.

Utilize tools like Hootsuite so you can pre-plan your social media posts, and use email blasts to get the word out in as short amount of time as possible. 

5. Blowing up your customers’ inbox

I just mentioned using email blasts and now this next mistake is blowing up your customers’ inboxes; yes, you have to balance both!

If you are starting late, you need to utilize email blasts, text blasts, phone calls, social media, but you don’t have to go crazy with it.

A good spot to be in is to aim for 3 different ways to promote your business a week. For example:

  • Send an email with a coupon code;
  • then use a texting app like Zipwhip, if you have access to that information, and send a reminder text about the promotion;
  • and then maybe call them later in the week.

If you don’t have access to phone numbers or an app like Zipwhip, use email and social media. Cross-promote with other brands and businesses to get more exposure, but you really shouldn’t be sending out more than 5 promotional messages to your customers a week.

And don’t forget to send out an end of year “Thank You” message, those go farther than you’d think!

4. Offering too many discounts

Coupons and discount codes are cool and all, but if you discount your products or services too much or too heavily, people will associate your brand with being inexpensive, and so they wouldn’t necessarily be too excited about your holiday offers.

So use these tools sparingly, and don’t rely on them as your only means to attract customers.

Customers love to know they are getting a great deal, and they also love bundles! So get creative!

Some of the most successful marketing campaigns I’ve run have been bundle deals where you get so many products at a discounted price. These go even further if you can add in a gift card offer too.

Gift card bundle offer example. 6 Holiday Marketing Mistakes To Avoid in 2019.
An example of a holiday bundle offer I made for a client.

3. Focusing too much on traffic instead of sales

Holidays are not just good for upping your sales and clearing out inventory, they are also great for reaching new customers!

However, year after year, I see business owners focusing on website or store traffic and celebrating the boost in traffic but losing sight of the real goal: Making sales.

You are always going to see a boost in traffic around holidays, but just because someone is visiting your site or store, it doesn’t mean they are buying.

Be mindful of where you place pop-ups on your site because they could be a deterrent, and make sure your holiday promotion(s) is front and center when new visitors stop by.

You have, on average, 6 seconds to make an impression, so make sure your best stuff is out front!

2. Forgetting about your old clients

Another one that should be common sense but, during the holidays, many small businesses put too much focus on their cold traffic they forget about their regular client base.

Use the holidays to gain new clients, but don’t forget about your established clientele. You can use different ad campaigns to target different audiences throughout the season.

This is where planning comes in handy! Switch up your strategy a few times so you can focus on gaining new customers without neglecting your current ones.

You can use Facebook ads to target recent visitors to your website, and don’t forget to use paid advertising during this time of year. If you don’t normally pay for advertising, this is the perfect time to splurge.

Read: The Most Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy For Your Business

1. Focusing on one holiday only

The era of technology and convenience has given us so many new and exciting things, and one of them is new holiday shopping events.

Gone are the days where Black Friday was the only holiday shopping event; so make sure you are prepared with a plan for all of the upcoming events. You might even want to create a special offer for each one of them.

Take advantage of Small Business Saturday, free shipping day, and Cyber Monday. The more you have to offer, the better your sales will be!

You can check this ecommerce marketing calendar for a full list of all the upcoming holiday events.

Having different offers throughout the holiday season is a great way to keep your customers engaged.

If you are doing an email campaign, maybe come up with an advent calendar that every day your customer opens that email they get a different offer. 

Or you can create an offer that on Black Friday there will be 20% discount store/site wide, but for Small Business Saturday they get a free gift with their purchase.

Getting creative with your offers and giving your customers several options will keep them engaged and curious about the next offer. 

The Biggest 6 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
The 6 Biggest Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid. Pin It on Pinterest.


Though the holidays can be a stressful time for business owners, help make things easier for you and your staff by planning and preparing for all the holiday events ahead of time and by having an awesome offer for your customers.

Utilize all social media platforms, have a unique offer, and participate in as many holiday shopping events as you can.

Take advantage of this time of year to gain some new clients, but don’t forget about your loyal customers, and make sure you have targeted advertisement specifically for them.

Finally, don’t forget to send a year’s end thanks to all your customers from this holiday season.

Do you have other tips or know other holiday marketing mistakes that you think everyone should avoid during the holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

Author: Emma Cajthaml

A Personal Development Coach and Business Development Professional.

Twitter | Website


15 thoughts on “The 6 Biggest Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid”

  1. As a customer, I agree that you mustn’t forget your old (loyal) clients and focusing on the holiday only. Consistency always! Helpful! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This was one of the great and informative articles I have read after a long time. Thank you for sharing:-)

  3. Pingback: The 6 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid In 2019 — The Ray Journey – marketing business
  4. Ahhh! Another short Thanksgiving to Christmas! I hadn’t realized this, it really makes a difference. Thanks for the post, helpful as usual!

  5. Such great tips! I love the one about not drowning your client inbox (I get SO MANY sales emails these days!) and the one about remembering old clients – so important. Just pinned this to my digital marketing board – everyone should remeber these points.

    1. Yes! One reason I decided to add that in! I worked for a company that did this and it killed their holiday sales because most of the customers had our emails set to Spam.

  6. Blowing up your customer’s inbox is a biggie Emma. Great points. People panic because they see a deadline and go bonkers from fear, trying to squeeze as many sales as possible out of folks before the New Year. Relax. Slow down. Calm down.


    1. Yes, I agree on that panicking part! It mostly does more harm than sales, because that’s not something any customer wants, to be bombarded with sale-sy emails every 2 seconds..

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