7 Worst Holiday Campaign Mistakes Noob Startups Make

The “holidays” are like a golden nugget of opportunity, pre-wrapped and waiting for just about any company that sells products, goods, or services. It’s the time of year when most companies make up for any slow business from the previous months. If you don’t jump on the holiday bandwagon, you’re missing out.

Noob startups, however, are often late to the game and miss critical deadlines and opportunities, losing them handfuls of potential sales and revenue during the holiday season. Here are the top mistakes to avoid.

1. Starting Your Campaigns Too Late

October is technically “too late.” November is “way too late.” If it’s already December, well, you should start planning the calendar for the following year so you don’t embarrass yourself like this again. Start planning your holiday campaigns the previous spring and summer. By Fall, you should have the wheels in motion and ready to deploy.

2. Sending Too Many, or Not Enough Customer Emails

A lack of planning and organization often leads startups to send a barrage of last-minute emails, in an effort to capture the fleeting holiday sales/spirit. On the flip-side, some startups only send their “one” email for the entire season. Both of these miss out on key opportunities and risk looking unprofessional.

3. Not Offering Special Promotions

If you’re not offering 20% off of your goods or a, buy 1 get 1 free sale, or last minute Black Friday 50% discounts, you’re missing out. These discounts are what customers expect during this time of year from “big companies” and you startup can look more professional by offering limited-time holiday discounts to your customers.

4. Sending PR Campaigns to Only a Few Reporters

PR should be a part of your holiday campaigns, and you should reach out to several dozen (at least) reporters well ahead of time, to lineup holiday-themed stories. This is a very busy time of year for reporters, so it’s important to reach out to more than you think you should, reach out early, and follow up.

5. Not Increasing Your Customer Base

The holidays are a time when people often travel around the country and the world to be with friends and family. If these people are your customers, why not incentives them to get a perk if they get a friend to sign up during this time? Referral programs can work well during this time of year.

6. Sticking to One Holiday

Keep in mind that this is a time of year that means many different things to many different people and as a company, you would do well to respect that. Talk about the “holidays” as a general concept, without pinning down a specific one.

7. Not Doing Anything

Unless you run a startup that does no business, whatsoever between October and January, you should run well-planned, well-executed holiday campaigns. If you don’t, you’re missing out.

About the Author: Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist who leverages marketing, brand identity, and public relations to help brands advance their voice in crowded industries. Her clients have been TIME’s best site of the year, and graced the likes of Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more. She is the founder of Jacobson Communication.


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