It’s much easier to talk about holiday marketing for B2C companies, because the importance of relevant email marketing campaigns, social media tie-ins, timely offers and thank you campaigns is obvious in the context of B2C.
But when it comes to holiday marketing for B2B businesses, the challenge is slightly different.  merry_christmas

For B2B, campaigns are not necessarily tied to revenue, and the message is one of thanks for customer loyalty for the past year, and looking to the year ahead. The opportunity here lies in leveraging holiday marketing to reward returning or long-standing customers with special offers and discounts to show them that you value their business and look forward to working with them in the new year.

The top three rabbit holes for B2B marketers to avoid:

1. The “Oh No” : we- haven’t- planned- a- {insert your religious holiday here} –campaign- and- we’re- starting- to- receive- everyone- else’s freak out.
B2B campaigns can be as simple as a beautiful image featuring a warm and thoughtful message. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to craft, but if you’ve left it until December 23rd at noon, the likelihood of your audience reading it before they leave for Christmas break, is low.

Tip: Start planning your greeting after Halloween. Create the campaign and schedule it well ahead of time. Don’t forget to ensure that your distribution list is up-to-date. Most email service provider (ESP) products contain a campaign scheduler, so you can rest easy knowing that the heavy lifting is done and you avoid the last minute scramble.

2. The “Let’s Send Them Something” : we-want- to- send- them- an- offer- of- some- kind, as an attachment to the email —Nooooooo!
Companies that are new to the digital marketing world (email in particular) may not be aware that sending a coupon/print offer as an attachment, can introduce the risk of viruses, as well as potentially choke mail servers, therefore resulting in low deliverability rates.

Tip: Host your offer on a custom landing page on your website and include a link/URL within your campaign. This way, you can monitor the number of visits to the page and coupon downloads, therefore providing insight into campaign effectiveness.

3. The “Just Get it Out There” : we-are-so-rushed-let’s-just-do-something-and-get-it-out—throwing all caution to the wind.
In the hastiness of wanting to demonstrate seasonal goodwill while maintaining a marketing presence, best practices are often ignored. Adherence to the principles of online marketing, such as CAN-SPAM compliance featuring a physical business address, using proper subject lines and “from” addresses—can make or break your holiday marketing.

Tip: Take the time to include all aspects of proper email marketing, such as an opt-out/unsubscribe link on your campaigns, compelling subject lines and consistency with “from”/sender names.

For B2B marketers, holiday marketing is focused on customer loyalty and sharing an authentic and heartfelt message for the season. Customers and business associates appreciate holiday greetings, and it helps you stay top of mind with your most important audiences.

Also, keep in mind the most important marketing mantras: 

Be relevant. Be customer-focused. Provide useful content.

We’d love for you to share your B2B holiday campaigns. If you have one that you think is deserving of an award, check out the 2010 IAC Awards submission site.