4 Common Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Next Year

The holiday season offers one of the best marketing opportunities but taking full advantage of this chance can be tricky. Sales go up during the holiday season in Canada, especially after Black Friday. However, many businesses make common marketing mistakes that prevent them from maximizing their holiday sales.

Here are four important holiday marketing mistakes your post-mortem might uncover.

1. Your Marketing Content Lacked Value

You bombarded your customers with promotional messages about your offers but the marketing content sent the customers little to no value. Just because people permit themselves to spend a little more during the festive season doesn’t mean that their not looking to get the most out of every shopping dollar

Next year, send marketing material that adds value to your customers in creative ways. For example, your newsletter can include a brief post titled “How to Make Sure the Gift You Get Your Loved One Matches Their Personality” and include a link to your offers in a call to action at the end.

2. You Didn’t Cash In Early Shopping

You waited too long to start your holiday season marketing. Savvy shoppers know to avoid the last-minute holiday shopping craze. Seasoned marketers are aware that the excited anticipation of the festive season begins early and they start their Christmas season marketing as early as October, or even the end of August. Don’t join the party late next year.

3. You Failed to Do Competitor Analysis

You were too focused on your business’s marketing strategies that you forgot to monitor the competition. Maybe if you kept an eye on what successful businesses in your industry were doing, you would have noticed that they started their holiday marketing campaigns early and avoided the mistake above.

Avoid this mistake next year by monitoring your competition. Doing so helps you identify marketing opportunities you might have missed, cross-promoting opportunities with other businesses and targeting options for your ads. Top competitor analysis tools include Pi Datametrics, Brandwatch Audiences and Spyfu.

4. Your Central Marketing Campaign Was Too Generic

Competition for customers’ attention skyrocketed during the holiday season but you didn’t come up with unique marketing ideas to boost sales. You failed to take advantage of powerful marketing channels such as interactive Instagram posts or lookbooks that feature shoppable images. Next year, engage your customers on a personal level by experimenting with innovative campaigns.

3 Delicious Recipes for Your Office’s Holiday Potluck

Start the holiday season on a positive note at the office potluck by preparing something simple and delicious. The tasty food you bring to the party adds to the relaxed, friendly holiday mood. Keep the preparation time short with easy dishes like warm cheese dip, cheesy potatoes, and fruit salad.

Warm Cheddar Dip With Tortilla Chips

Warm cheddar dip is an office-friendly potluck idea that’s easy to prepare. Toss the ingredients in a slow cooker, and turn it on low about two hours before time to eat. The ingredients you need are an 8-ounce (225-gram) block of cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and a 20-ounce (500 millilitre) jar of your favourite salsa. If you prefer a milder flavour, swap the salsa for a can of any flavour of cream soup. Stir everything together thoroughly before serving the warm dip with a tray of tortilla chips.

Cheesy Slow Cooker Potatoes

Power up the slow cooker, set it on high heat and put the ingredients in it to cook while you work. The ingredients you need are a 16-ounce (450-gram) bag of either shredded or cubed potatoes, a cubed 8-ounce (225-gram) block of cream cheese, 18 ounces (500 grams) of either cheddar or Colby cheese, a can of your favourite type of cream soup, and 9 ounces (250 millilitres) of milk. If you want to add meat to make this dish heartier, consider diced ham or crumbled bacon bits.

Salad and Dessert in One

Fresh fruit salad serves double-duty as a salad and a healthy dessert for an office potluck. Use a large, clear bowl so the colours of the fruit show, and pick fruits in a variety of colours. This recipe is easy to adapt based on seasonal offerings at your local market and your favourite type of fruit. Cut the fruit into bite-sized chunks, then coat it with a light syrup made with a squeeze of lemon juice, a small scoop of sugar, and half a pint (250 millilitres) of water.

Keep everything organized by putting your name on your bowls and utensils with a dry-erase marker or labels from staples, so your things don’t get mixed up with the dishes and utensils belonging to others in your office.

4 Great Decorating Tips to Boost Holiday Sales

The festive season uplifts people’s moods and sets the stage for them to relax and have fun. The holidays are also a special time for your business because they give you an opportunity to boost your bottom line by using holiday decorations to create an environment that encourages people to buy your products.

Here we share four top tips for driving up sales by being smart about the way you use holiday decorations.

1. Let the holiday theme guide your selection of decorations

Using decorations that are relevant to the holiday stirs your customers’ and employees’ holiday spirits. This feel-good environment that the festive season evokes can drive up sales when you use decorations to make your customers associate your brand with positive emotions.

For instance, you can tap into your customer’s holiday spirit during the Christmas season by injecting your brand personality into classic Christmas decorations such as Christmas lights, red-and-green decor, snow-themed decor and Christmas folklore characters such as Santa and his elves.

2. Pick and use the Christmas tree wisely

A Christmas tree gives you a unique opportunity to boost sales by sharing giveaways with your customers and presenting smaller merchandise as gifts. Position one of your salespeople as Santa to encourage your customers to interact with your merchandise.

Consider using an artificial tree. It offers more value than a real Christmas tree in the long run because you can use it multiple times before it needs replacement. Even better, an artificial Christmas tree eliminates the need to clean up shedding needles, so your salespeople can focus on selling your products.

3. Using flashy outdoor decor to draw in customers

Capture the attention of passersby by decorating outdoor spaces like rooftops or sidewalks. Attach a wreath with suction cups to your door and replace your regular doormats with Christmas-themed doormats. Use bright displays to draw customers would have otherwise overlooked your business.

Once your flashy outdoor decorations attract customers into the business, use your waiting area to set the scene with equally flamboyant decor such as a lifesize Santa, elves, holiday soldiers or a polar bear.

4. Think about next Christmas

Give preference to holiday decorations that provide lasting value. Invest in a high-quality artificial Christmas tree that you can use for years to come. Buy sturdy and sealable storage containers that maintain the shape of your wreaths, Christmas tree and other reusable holiday decorations.

Organize Your Business with TRU RED Writing & Note Taking

Nothing is quite as frustrating as forgetting an amazing idea you had. Jotting down your ideas to capture them is among the numerous benefits of effective note-taking at work. Improved note-taking also helps you organize your thoughts, understand complex concepts, share information with colleagues and enhance your creativity.

Similarly, writing a journal can help relieve stress, maintain focus and boost productivity. With TRU RED note-taking stationery — such as notebooks, journals, pencil cups, desktop organizers and accessory trays — you can easily record ideas and other information for future reference.

To take excellent notes at work, you also need the right note-taking strategies. The situation in which you take notes will determine the best note-taking strategies. Let’s take a look at different work scenarios that require you to use a specific note-taking strategy to meet your goals.

1. Team Meetings

The most effective team meetings are the ones from which team members leave with clear steps they need to take to achieve individual and group objectives. When you take notes during collaborative environments such as team meetings, focus on issues, facts, decisions, action plans and team members’ questions and answers. Using the right note-taking stationery, such as notebooks, lets you easily capture notes and convert them into to-do lists and tasks.

2. Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming sessions are unstructured meetings in which people contribute their ideas. During these meetings, you need to quickly capture information and record incomplete thoughts. You need to merge these ideas and refine them on an ongoing basis. Your note-taking strategy may involve writing down words, drawing diagrams or sketches, or reviewing images.

Mind-mapping is a flexible note-taking strategy that can help you make sense of brainstorming sessions because you don’t need to stick to a linear approach. You need a sizable TRU RED notebook for creating mind maps. Use two pages as one to create larger mind maps, which you can later scan and share with your colleagues.

3. One-On-One Meetings

Note-taking can help you capture ideas during one-one-one meetings such as a performance review or a lunch meeting with your mentor. Even though the learning environment at one-on-one meetings is more intimate than team meetings, it might still be a good idea to put to paper some parts of the conversation.

However, you need to balance between recording information and maintaining a meaningful connection with the other person. Instead of trying to record the entire conversation word for word, consider taking notes immediately after the meeting when you can still remember the important things that you talked about.