Planning Your Email Marketing Leading Up to the Holidays

Email Marketing: Plan for the Holidays - Sachs Marketing Group

Like it or not, the holiday season is here. The kids are back in school. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas items are on store shelves all at the same time, and you need to wrap up your holiday email campaigns to take advantage of the ever-growing buzz. We’ll show you how in today’s post!

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Identify Your Key Holidays

Think outside the box. You should know your audience by now, which means you should also have enough data to identify which holidays make them want to spend. While it’s true that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are significant opportunities for sales, you shouldn’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Ask yourself:

  • If your audience celebrates “the holidays” instead of identifying with the word “Christmas.” If the answer is yes, diversify and broaden your language to be more inclusive of non-denominational celebrations.
  • If your audience celebrates Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some other alternative to the traditional American Christmas. Consider targeting these alternative holidays, or at least including them, if so.
  • If you have products that celebrate the start of fall, the winter solstice, a full moon, an eclipse, the fall harvest, or something similar. Use this to guide the tone and content in your campaigns while also increasing sales.

Above all else, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Be creative and remember that you don’t need to run a massive campaign for every special occasion; even a small sale or tokenism will intrigue your followers.

Create a Holiday Preview Sale

Have something genuinely unique to offer your audience? Run a special shopping day (online or offline) for your email subscribers. Offer a deep discount across the board or a unique coupon code for your subscribers.

Running a special preview sale early in the season is a great way to get new subscribers. If they join your list, they’ll get the preview-day code or information, but they’ll also be on your list for your more significant and lucrative promotions during the thick of the holiday season.

Remember: people often shop here and there. Just because they don’t buy right away doesn’t mean your attempts aren’t useful. The more often you remind them of where they can shop, the more likely they are to return to you once they’re ready to buy.

Do Not Skip Black Friday or Cyber Monday

Black Friday in stores isn’t what it used to be. These days, it feels like more people shop online. But whether online or offline, everyone really wants the same thing — a great deal. This is your opportunity, so don’t be afraid to take it the moment it comes.

Be prepared with specials and emails that run from Thanksgiving day (Thursday), through the next day (Black Friday), and all the way into that Monday (Cyber Monday). Send some teaser emails leading up to these big shopping days. Follow up with reminder emails on the day of your sale.

Create a Holiday Gift Guide

Not everyone can look at a product or company and think outside the box to come up with creative, imaginative gift ideas. That’s where you come in.

Create a holiday gift guide that offers suggestions and ideas for different categories of people. Spouses, significant others, grandparents, children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, and teachers are just a few great examples to get you started. A little inspiration can go a long way when it comes to driving a sale, especially when it comes with visuals and links.

Add a Little Sparkle to Your Subject Lines

Make your subject lines stand out. Subject lines should be clear, urgency-driven, and directly tied to the holiday content inside your emails, but you do have room to get a bit playful during the holidays. Try using fun wording or even emojis to lighten up the mood. After all, ’tis the season!

Wondering if emojis are wise? As it turns out, they aren’t as fluffy and ridiculous as some people think. Campaign Monitor reported that emails with emojis in the subject lines have a 56 percent higher open rate. Try adding a pumpkin, turkey, snowflake, snowman, or Christmas tree and see what happens.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Always create a sense of urgency when crafting holiday deals and steals. You need to drive the point home in a way that makes consumers think, “I need to do this right now!”

First, don’t make deals open-ended. Limit them and let your customers know when each special is set to expire — e.g.,  within a few hours, a day, a week, or even a month.

For Christmas holidays specifically, consider a “12 Days of Christmas” campaign. Send out 12 day-by-day codes that expire 24 hours after the reader opens the email (or 24 hours after you release them). Add a new code with a different offer for each of the 12 days.

Early-bird pricing grabs attention. Knowing your fixed cut-off dates for holiday shipping and on-time arrival is helpful in this case because you can structure your deals around it. “Buy now to receive before Christmas” sounds much more compelling than just “buy now.”

Don’t Forget the Footer

We see it time and time again: companies create stellar email marketing headers, great menus, excellent body content, and call it a day. The problem? The footer exists, and it should be optimized, too.

Make sure your footer has another call to action, extra exclusive information, one last top deal, or even instructions for buying gift cards to maximize your impact. You can also use this section to highlight other products or share contact information.

Give Value to Your Customer

You will send more emails than usual during the holiday season, but you shouldn’t necessarily make them all sales pitches. You can also offer other forms of content, including excellent customer service, tips to ease the stress of the holiday season or even gift-giving guides. The goal is to craft useful content they will enjoy and want to read more of whether they make a purchase or not. Slowing down to send a simple holiday greeting can go a long way, too — plus, it humanizes your company.

Make Sure Your Emails are Mobile Friendly

Busy people often find themselves checking emails from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. According to GoMoxie, there was a 65 percent increase in sales between 2015 and 2016 as a direct result of this trend. You need to optimize your email for easy viewing if you want to take part, especially if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The landing pages they need to have to be mobile friendly as well. The easier it is for your customers to read, the more likely they will be to take quick action.

Reflect and Say Thank You

After the holidays are over, and your most significant post-holiday season sales begin to wane, it’s time to reflect and thank your customers. Let them know how much you’ve grown over the past year, tease some plans for the coming year, and then tell them how much they’ve helped you evolve. Customers love hearing about successes, especially for businesses they actively support. Double down on this strategy if you’re a small “mom and pop” shop or small business.

Start Earlier Next Year

You don’t have to wait until November to test your holiday ideas. Christmas in July is becoming a bigger deal every year, mostly because technology allows us to plan further in advance. Test a promotion in the summer to get an idea of what your customers like and actively respond to during your bigger holiday push later in the year. If it doesn’t go well, no harm, no foul (as long as you don’t offend, anyway).

The holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier with every passing year. As a business owner, it’s up to you to ensure your marketing plan doesn’t lag behind. Create a good mix of promotional emails, reminders, and thank-you messages and your customers will always look forward to what you have to offer next.

Have a happy holiday season and a lucrative fourth quarter, from all of us here at Sachs Marketing Group!

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