I don’t know about you, but I’m having a really hard time believing the holidays are nearly upon us again. I guess the expression, “time flies when you’re having fun,” is quite true.

Luckily, there are still several weeks remaining in 2014. As a small business owner or marketer, you have probably been consumed with holiday marketing and planning for a while now. However, if you still have yet to prepare for the holiday marketing push, then you still have some time – but not much. Black Friday is on November 28th, Small Business Saturday on November 29th, and Cyber Monday is on December 1st. Yes, those days are coming up quickly.

Don’t panic! Instead, take the time you need as early as possible so you can make sure your marketing efforts are effective and productive. Rushing often results in mistakes which could end up costing you more in the long run.

Avoid these 4 common mistakes for better results from your holiday marketing efforts, regardless of your business type or industry:
1. Neglecting or ignoring social media during the holiday season
Social media is a proven game-changer for many small businesses. In some ways, holiday marketing on social media can be considered a year-round activity. If you’re absent before and during the holiday season though, people may forget all about you. Out of sight, out of mind. Being available for your audience helps build trust and name recognition, which may help your business when it’s time for them to make their purchasing decisions.

There are several good ways to let your audience know that you’re feeling festive and ready for the holiday season. For example, you can spruce up your Facebook and Twitter headers and cover photos with holiday graphics and themes. This spreads the holiday cheer and helps your audience get into the holiday spirit as well.
2. Not budgeting or spending enough for advertising before the holidays
The holiday season is one of your business’ final opportunities to meet your organization’s sales revenue goals before the year ends. As such, it’s not the time of year to scrimp on advertising. Be smart with your efforts though by focusing your advertisements in the place(s) where your audience can best find them. Examples include direct mail/printed ads, opt-in emails, social media ads, and search engine ads. Holiday marketing through smart, targeted advertising will help boost your brand’s exposure.
3. Making poor choices when sending holiday marketing emails
Email marketing can be a small business owner’s best friend any time of the year. It’s a popular and often effective choice for reaching your audience, especially during the holidays. However, you’ll definitely want to avoid making email mistakes such as the following, especially during the holiday season. Otherwise, you may risk losing potential clients down the road:

  • Spamming
  • Being overly promotional in your subject line
  • Using incorrect or broken links to your website in your email
  • Being an “unidentified” sender
  • Including too much unrelated or useless content within the body of your email

4. Failing to remember your loyal customers during the holiday season
While you’re making plans to boost your business’ sales during the holidays, make sure you reach out to your current clients, too. You may already be regularly contacting them, and handling any of their questions and/or issues, throughout the year. The holidays make a perfect time to show them how much you appreciate them for doing business with you. Failing to remember them may result in their leaving you for another organization who will show them the appreciation they deserve.

Are you ready for the holiday season? I’d love to hear your suggestions for holiday marketing mistakes we should all be avoiding. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Rieva Lesonsky makes an excellent point about why small businesses should focus on smart holiday marketing in her article for The U.S. Small Business Administration:

Whether you own a store, restaurant, service provider or even a B2B company, smart marketing can boost your holiday sales, too.

This article was written by Jennifer Hanford from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.