Christmas Email Marketing Campaigns are something everyone knows about but there’s a lot of pitfalls to avoid. The festive season is a great time to try and push your products. Retailers have known this for years so it’s no surprise to see the amount of time and money they pour into their festive marketing.
With everyone jumping on the band wagon it can become very difficult to stand out from the crowd. I know I’m already receiving at least 2 or 3 emails everyday with ‘Xmas’ ‘Christmas’ ‘Festive’ or some other seasonal phrase in the subject line. Email is undoubtedly going to be one of your most valuable marketing channels during the Christmas period.
Here are our tips to help you keep your Christmas Email Marketing Campaigns hitting the right mark.
1. It Starts Before Christmas
During the Christmas period most businesses will increase the frequency of their Email Marketing. Trying to stand out now may actually be more difficult than at any other time of the year because of this. This means you should have been establishing trust and value before the festive period.
If your customer recognises the address your email is coming from they’re far more likely to open it. Likewise if you’ve proven before that your offers and information are valuable they are more likely to pick your email out of the sea of promotional material swamping their inbox.
By December you should have enough information to have segmented your customers. Segmentation and personalisation are hugely important when it comes to getting engagement from your customers. Sending customers offers and information about products they’ve shown an interest in before or that are related to their searches is a proven way to boost your conversions.
2. Time Limited Offers
Because of the amount of marketing information that will be sent to your customers by everyone who has them on their database there is a real chance that your message may get lost. Getting your email opened is only part of the battle. Even if you provide a great offer to your customer they may not convert straight away, waiting to see what other offers will appear over the holiday season.
This is perfectly natural, I know I do it! Unfortunately this means your great offer may be forgotten. Where appropriate short term promotions and offers can help to counter this effect. Whether they are hour long flash sales, day long discount codes or sales over a set date period. Creating a sense of urgency within the customer can help to increase sales. However it isn’t wise to base your entire Christmas Marketing strategy around time limited offers as this may cause fatigue in your customers and become a little transparent as time goes on.
To avoid this you can use other time sensitive markers. For instance ‘limited stock’ or ‘Order in the next 5 days to guarantee delivery by the 24th December.’
3. Don’t Get Caught Up In Christmas
You should be changing your normal Email Marketing strategy to suit the time of year, that doesn’t mean you should be forgetting everything you’ve learned so far! Would you normally stuff a promotional email full of pictures and gifs of falling snow or puppies in adorable outfits? If the answer is no then don’t start doing it just because it’s Christmas.
It’s far more important to spend time on all the normal factors that affect conversions than on designing beautiful Christmas graphics. Good copy, great subject lines and well thought out Calls To Action are all more important than Christmas graphics.
On this subject I recommend keeping your Christmas graphics simple and understated. Being too bombastic with them runs a high risk of coming across as tacky rather than festive. This is unique to your business, if you’re a quirky independent designer then you will probably have a better reaction from your clients than if you are a Financial Advisor. Use your own best judgment be mindful of all the normal design rules of best practice.
Too Much? Too Much!
4. Monitor Engagement
Although your customers will be more receptive to receiving higher volumes of email than normal at this time of the year that doesn’t mean you should simply send everyone every offer. You should already be sending segmented emails. Carefully monitor your engagement figures. It’s simple to see who is opening and clicking on your emails, use this information to your advantage.
If a customer has already purchased from your promotional offers or clicks through on a lot of your emails you can further personalise the content you send them to reflect this. If they’re only clicking certain emails find the common factor and send them more of this content and less of your other content.
If you’re finding engagement is dropping off among certain segments consider changing your tact or reducing the frequency of your marketing messages. If none of your emails are being opened it serves no purpose to keep bombarding the customer with emails that are simply being deleted without being opened.
5. Christmas Email Marketing Campaigns Shouldn’t Be Just For Selling
It’s easy to get caught up with sales around Christmas. It’s important to remember how you would conduct your marketing at any other time of the year and not depart from it dramatically just because of the date. Even at this time of year customers don’t appreciate receiving nothing but marketing messages, especially if they’re all two dimensional offers or sales pitches.
Try to think of what Christmas means to your customers. Part of being a trusted brand is solving the problems customers have. At this time of year you know they will be receiving tons of marketing messages, perhaps you can write an article that will help them shift through all of that communication A list of your favourite discount sites, ways to budget at Christmas or your favourite Mince Pie recipe. As before you’ll need to use your best judgment, what fits your brand image and what will your customers find most useful?
6. Ensure Cross Pollination
Email Marketing is almost never done on it’s own. For maximum effect your Email Marketing should be combined with Social Media posts, Blog posts and seasonal marketing through all of your normal marketing channels. Social Media is a good way to reinforce your Email Marketing and allows for you to reach a much wider audience. Competitions that require your fans to ‘Share’ your promotion can be an extremely effective way to reach a much larger audience than you have on your database.
Christmas themed blogs generally do well with garnering shares on Social Media and also allow you an avenue to promote your Christmas content without appearing totally focused on sales.
By leveraging all your existing channels you can really grow your list during the holiday season when people are eager to find a deal.
7. Measure, Record, Analyse, Learn
If this is your first Christmas period you may not have sales records or other data from last year to go on. If it’s not then you should have data showing what worked last year and what didn’t. During seasonal time periods like Christmas it’s more important than ever to measure everything and recognise patterns.
You’ll be departing slightly from your tried and tested methods but that means you should be learning more than ever. During the Christmas push you might find certain subject lines work better than others despite what you expect. Many businesses find offers that stress limited stock prompt more sales than straight discounts but the effectiveness of such offers is inversely proportional to the amount of such offers sent to the customers.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing at this time of year. Study big brands and thought leaders. Inform your initial strategy from all the sources you can and be ready to tweak it based on the response you are getting.
You’ll be sending out more emails more frequently than usual. This means for this 6 week period leading up to Christmas you should be devoting more time to analysing your metrics and changing your strategy accordingly.
8. Don’t Create A Campaign For The Sake Of It
This can’t be emphasised enough. If you don’t have 25 unique and value adding offers then you shouldn’t be doing an ‘Advent Calendar Campaign.’ Whilst you should be doing something to take advantage of changed buying habits during the months leading up to Christmas the last thing you want to do is alienate your existing customer base.
As with any campaign you need to think hard about who you are targeting, why you are targeting them and what you’re offering that they will want to see. Don’t send emails just because you feel like you should be sending them. Creating a killer Christmas Email Marketing Campaigns shouldn’t be a problem but if you run out of content or offers then it’s better to think about other ways to promote yourself than to send less than great content to your loyal customers.