Christmas is arguably one of the busiest times of year for many businesses. At the very least, it’s one of the most high-profile events on the marketing calendar.

Capitalising on the festive season and the opportunities it brings can be deceptively difficult, though. Get it right, and you’ll be muscling in on the estimated £26.5 billion spent by Brits alone in the month of December. But if you miss the mark, you could lose out on a huge chunk of valuable revenue which could help power you through the often-quieter months of January and February.

Here we’re sharing six marketing mistakes you’ll want to avoid this Christmas, with tips and tricks to help you get around common pitfalls and supercharge your seasonal promotional activity.

1/ Going overboard

A lot of brands opt for the overkill approach come Christmas time – but this often has the opposite effect on consumers and drives them away rather than catching their attention. We know it’s tempting (and easy) to spam your customers with festive content and offers – but this will do your brand more harm than good.

Instead, make a solid plan as early as you can detailing what types of content you’ll be posting, when and why. The ‘quality over quantity’ approach still applies during the holidays, so make every potential interaction with customers old and new count. You’ll want to focus on adding value rather than just selling to stand out from the avalanche of content consumers will be bombarded with come Christmas. Cut through the noise with emails and social content that inspires and interests, such as gift guides, product features and tips on buying and wrapping presents. Another pointless holiday post is likely to go unnoticed – or worse, cause frustrated valuable customers to unfollow or unsubscribe.

2/ Forgetting to take advantage of smaller events

Throughout the festive period there are plenty of smaller (but equally significant) events you’ll want to pay attention to if you’re looking to capitalise on this year’s Christmas spend. A lot of brands neglect these and hammer home the Christmas message repetitively from November onwards – but this quickly becomes tedious and potentially excludes those celebrating other events. Shopping events to schedule content for include:

*Giving Tuesday (1st December)
*Hanukkah (10th – 18th December)
*Free Shipping Day (15th December)
*Boxing Day (26th December)
*New Year (31st December – 1st January)

It’s helpful to see each of these micro events as an opportunity to enhance sales. Take the time to plan and post targeted content around them – even just one post each could help to boost seasonal revenue.

3/ Not saying thank you

It’s easy to be so focused on getting those sales in that you forget to actually thank loyal customers for spending their hard-earned cash with you. Saying thank you is the best policy all year round to help build a relationship with customers and encourage them to keep spending with you – but it’s especially nice during the festive season to show your appreciation. Set up automation via your email marketing software to send a thank you after each purchase with a free gift or voucher code – or take the time to record a short clip for socials expressing gratitude for your customer base. A little goes a long way here!

4/ Being unclear with terms and policies

Nothing frustrates customers more than confusing, unclear or unpublished policies, terms and conditions. With so many ecommerce stores operational now, all with different policies and terms surrounding exchanges, returns and cancellations, any negative experience with a store can greatly impact on customer impression and the likelihood they’ll spend with you again. Christmas is all about giving – but not everyone will love their gift, so naturally customers want to know that any potential returns will be smooth and stress-free.

Make sure your returns policy is clearly worded and easily accessible (Google Shopping only authorises vendors who satisfy both for a reason). Knowing that a return will be simple and easy if needed encourages buyers to feel more confident when purchasing. You might even want to go a step further and promote your policies on social channels for complete clarity. This also has the secondary benefit of making the weeks post-Christmas easier for your customer services team when dealing with any unwanted items and returns claims!

5/ Copying others

Nothing’s worse than lazy or overdone Christmas content, and whilst it might feel daunting to compete with the catchy, well-co-ordinated creative endeavours of big brands, now is the time to think outside the box. Without an original and unique marketing approach you won’t be able to cut through the deafening Christmas noise.

Avoid the temptation of recycling your own Christmas campaigns (or those of others) and instead think about how you can keep things interesting for your target audience. One fun and effective way to obtain original content ideas is to ask your staff for their opinions. You’ll get a host of concepts to choose from generated by the people who know your customer base best – with no tired clichés or groan-inducing puns in sight. Leave the recycling for wrapping paper and leftovers and not for your marketing strategy!

6/ Not adding value

As we touched upon above, making the people who spend money with you feel valued and appreciated is a sure-fire way to build up a loyal and healthy customer base. Going a step further than ‘thank you’ and offering up a free gift is a fantastic way to secure additional Christmas sales and keep customers coming back for more. It’s also a better long-term strategy than slashing prices – although discounts work well, they can lower the perceived value of your products and services and do more harm than good in the long-run. Sales figures usually drop off significantly after a period of discounts and offers.

Free gifts don’t need to be lavish or significant – make it a relevant add-on item (such as extra support for a course you offer, a service or extended warranty on a product, an eBook or free shipping). This can also be a smart way to get rid of any surplus stock or items that aren’t selling as well whilst generating additional income.

Marketing is for life, not just for Christmas…

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