Every year, once the holidays start coming around, you can visibly see the dollar signs start to manifest behind the eyes of marketers worldwide. With good reason — the holidays are a great time for sales. They always have been, and they always will be. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a boost in customer engagement is far from granted during the holiday buying season. Marketers must use their seasonal campaigns wisely in order to reap the end-of-year benefits they so hungrily crave, and they should equally avoid classic special event campaign blunders if they don’t want to set the prospects of a Christmas bonus up in smoke.

Saving Things for the last Minute

As soon as December hits, Christmas is in a perpetual state of being “just around the corner”, and you should take that notion as a call to urgency. You’ll find that, if you begin setting up your holiday campaign early, you’ll have plenty of time to reap the benefits of those juicy end-of-year sales. Conversely, if you leave your seasonal campaign to the last minute, people might be packing away their Christmas decorations before they’re even made aware of your promotions. According to Entrepreneur contributor John Rampton: “Experts have been constantly informing business owners that they need have a holiday marketing plan well in-advance. Unfortunately, some business owners continue to procrastinate, throwing together a last minute marketing campaign for the most wonderful time of the year.”

Acting too Early

As important as it is to avoid procrastination like the plague, it’s equally crucial not to spring your holiday campaign on your customers too early, lest you risk a multitude of consumer eye-rolls. Trying too hard can be just as bad as not trying well enough. “Here’s why this is a problem. If you offer your best discounts or sales promotions too early, then you’re not enticing customers to keep coming back to your store since they already got the best deal from you,” writes Rampton. “Instead, have a gradual plan that drives people back to your store throughout the holidays. One way to do this is by basing sales around specific dates.”

The holidays are a great opportunity to boost end-of-year sales, but perhaps more importantly, they provide a direct avenue to building long-term, sustainable customer relationships. Plant the seeds that will encourage word-of-mouth advertising, and formulate healthy consumer ties that will hold strong once the holidays are over. While it’s important for businesses of all sizes to focus on attracting new customers to their products or services, growing strong, lasting bonds between customers is the key to creating a vast consumer network over time.

Neglecting the call to Action

Always remember to offer the option of a next step to your consumers, and make sure they can easily see where it is in your email. ”… it’s your call to action that will put people over the top. It should describe all the wonderful thing”s they will get if they respond, and instruct them on exactly what they have to do to take advantage of it,” offers Entrepreneur contributor Craig Simpson. “The copy leading up to the call of action needs to do its job as well, laying the groundwork for why readers need your product or service, explaining why what you offer is the best quality and why giving your company a try is the best thing they can do to fulfill their personal goals.”

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