It’s no secret that this is a big time of year for almost every business out there. Everyone is getting ready to wrap up for the year, but businesses are also ramping up their marketing.

In the midst of holiday madness, businesses can often make costly errors in their seasonal promotions. Why not read about these holiday marketing mistakes to help you from repeating them with your own business?

1. Forgetting All the “Minor” Events

We know Black Friday. We know Hanukkah. And we definitely know Christmas.

These, of course, take center stage the second we’ve packed up the pumpkin pie.

We also have Cyber Monday (which actually surpassed Black Friday in sales last year), Small Business Saturday, Giving Tuesday, and Free Shipping Day (scheduled for December 15th this year). All of these smaller events give you an opportunity to promote your business with a new angle.

holiday marketing strategies

Here’s how one local business in Naperville, Illinois took to Twitter on Small Business Saturday.

Some of these days — like Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day — will benefit you most by being big sales days. Free Shipping Day is a particularly powerful one, especially since desperate Christmas shoppers are becoming more willing to spend top dollar on anything that will come in time to put under the tree.

Giving Tuesday and Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, can be used to bolster your brand’s story as a small business who is passionate about being involved with the community.

holiday marketing mistakes

This Canadian nonprofit organization uses Giving Tuesday to build community and seek contributions.

Make note of each of these days at the beginning of the holiday season, utilize them in your social media calendar. If you’re running Facebook or Instagram Ads, it doesn’t hurt to include this in your copy for the day.

2. Not Sending Year-End Thanks to Loyal Customers

Thanksgiving may be over, but the end of the year is a time of reflection for many. Reaching out to loyal clients and customers isn’t required by any means, but even a quick personalized note thanking them for their business can help build that always-important relationship.

most common holiday marketing mistakes

We’re-thankful-for-you mass emails are effective, but personalized messages are even better.

Whether this takes the form of a handwritten card (if you aren’t sure if they do or don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, a “Happy Holidays” is always appropriate) or a quick email thanking them and wishing them a happy new year, this is a gesture that won’t be forgotten. It takes just a few minutes, but for someone who has spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars, it’s a gesture that will mean a lot.

3. Skimping On Researching the Competition

Competitor research and monitoring is something that businesses are normally incredibly conscious of during the year. It’s easy to let it slide during the holidays while we become overwhelmed with other things, but in some ways it’s even more important than any other time of the year.

Consumers are exceptionally aware of all of their options this time of year, and while their wallets are out and they’re ready to spend, they also know that there are deals around every corner. Keeping an eye on your competition will let you know if their super sale is undercutting yours. It can also give you ideas for creative “holiday bundles” or package deals that will help you sell more.

Keep an eye on the competition, no matter how busy you get. You may not be able to afford not to.

holiday marketing listening

Novelty sock companies should use a listening dashboard to see what their competitors are up to this holiday season.

4. Neglecting Retargeting

Ad retargeting should always be a cornerstone of your marketing campaigns. The ability to show targeted messages to warm audiences is a huge strength that consistently yields sales at higher rates than targeting cold audiences. It’s particularly important during the holiday season, however.

Too many brands neglect retargeting during the holidays and instead try to maximize sales by focusing on cold traffic. While targeting cold traffic with your ad campaigns can help you grow your client base when advertising big sales, you shouldn’t neglect your established customers.

It’s particularly important to run Facebook Ad campaigns targeting users who have recently visited your website.

holiday marketing mistakes

The holidays, after all, are a time where people are consistently buying gifts for other people. This means that a big portion of your sales may not come from your established customers, but from their loved ones gifting them. Because of this, the best way to reach them is to run retargeting campaigns shown to users who have recently checked out your site. This can put you in front of potential customers who were doing some early research into a gift and keep you on their radar.

5. Slacking On Engagement Monitoring

The holidays are a busy time of year at best, but it can be downright chaotic at the worst. This is true regardless of industry. Everyone is trying to wrap things up before the end of the year and prepare for the next, while simultaneously trying to spend more time with family, take time off work, and get the best sales. There’s so much to do on every front, and it’s easy to let things slide. One of the first to go, unfortunately, is social media engagement monitoring.

This is a huge mistake. People are ready to buy now, both in B2B and B2C industries, and that means that their engagement on your profiles could hold a lot of weight. If you aren’t around to answer a question about a free trial, or another about your shipping and return policies, you could very well lose out on a massive sale. This goes for both organic posts and ads.

holiday marketing mistakes in 2017

Failing to answer customer questions could cost you a major loss in sales.

Use Agorapulse quick social media monitoring and management. You can keep an eye on engagement from every single platform (including your Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) all on one dashboard, saving you a ton of time.

Facebook management tool Agorapulse


If you’re worried about not keeping up, download the Agorapulse mobile app. The app sends you notifications alerting you when you have items to review.

holiday social media mistakes

Never miss a single comment on both your organic posts and Facebook Ads.

Final Thoughts

The holidays present an enormous opportunity for profit, and by avoiding these five common but devastating holiday marketing mistakes, it will be easier to accomplish just that. When in doubt, plug all of your campaigns and events into your social media calendar in advance with Agorapulse so you won’t be left scrambling at the last minute.

What do you think? Do any of these blunders hit home for you? How do you avoid these common holiday marketing mistakes during this time of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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