Planning a great Christmas email campaign is crucial to your shop’s holiday success. Although social media marketing might seem like the trendy thing to do at the moment (and it is worth investing in if you do it right), email marketing campaigns are inexpensive and can actually be very effective despite seeming “old-fashioned”. Today, let’s look at some strategies and examples for running a successful Christmas email campaign.
Timing is always a tricky thing in life, isn’t it? Email marketing is definitely no exception, especially when it comes to Christmas sales. With businesses trying to stay one step ahead of the competition during the holiday season, it seems that Black Friday will be a thing of the past soon (or at least not as relevant as in previous years). As Black Friday sales morph into “Countdown to Black Friday” sales and the “November sales season”, these holiday marketing campaigns will naturally start earlier and earlier every year as well.
This is where you have to be careful. If you’re a B2B business, it might very well make sense to begin your marketing campaigns in early October, as your consumers will need to prepare their own campaigns for the end users. However, if you’re a B2C company and you start sending your Christmas emails out too early, you run the risk of Christmas banner blindness. Your messages might get ignored or, even worse, you might irritate your customers.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Holiday Survey, a whopping 54% of holiday shopping is completed in December or later. 26% of Christmas shopping is finished in late November. In other words, only 20% of Christmas shopping is actually completed before Black Friday/Thanksgiving.
So, optimizing this will mean timing your first emails a few weeks before your sale – which will most likely mean sending out those emails in the first or second week of November. Again, as some experts predict that Christmas sales will start even earlier in the future, you’ll want to consider this in your planning.
Speaking of planning a schedule, it’s also recommended to prepare the sequence of emails you send. Your workflow should look something like this:
- Warm up: inform your audience of the upcoming sale and what they can expect
- Reminder: let them know that the sale is beginning very soon
- Wake up: remind them that the sale has begun
- Follow up: let them know any relevant information for a post-Christmas sale, etc.
Of course, this isn’t set in stone and it all depends on your offers and your strategy. For example, you might have a “last-minute” sales email in this workflow to advertise your printable gift cards.
All in all, remember, it’s never too early to start planning your Christmas campaigns, but it can be too early to start sending them out.
2. Highlight relevant info
Naturally, a lot of companies are going to be holding Christmas sales, so you’re going to do your best to differentiate your offer. The last thing you want is for your customers to miss the benefits of buying from you. If you have a gift guide section on your website, make sure they know. If you’re having multiple one-day sales, be clear in your messages. If they get additional discounts for spending a certain amount, make sure they don’t miss that point. Whatever your unique offer is, make sure it shines like Rudolph’s nose!
Puma has made it very clear what benefits they can offer you.
With all the deals you’ll be offering, you might forget that it is Christmas – and what’s Christmas without decorations? Your emails should reflect this as well. You have a lot different routes to choose from here: the clean, white Christmas look or the colorful lights. Either way, don’t forget that one of the best parts of the holidays is atmosphere!
If you’re a retailer, I’d say be as festive as possible. For B2B companies, perhaps you’ll want to go with a clean, white Christmas look.
Again, don’t forget that it’s Christmas time! Sure, it can be a bit stressful at times at home and at work (that might be the understatement of the year), but it’s supposed to be fun, too! “Fun” is the feeling that the email should give your readers. So, reach deep down inside and get that inner “dad” to make your best Christmas puns. Don’t be afraid to dabble in some cheesy word-play either.
If your copy makes you both shake your head and chuckle, you’re probably on the right path.
Remember that this applies for subject lines, too. Try to make them impactful and engaging enough that people will want to open the email in the first place. You might even want to A/B test a few different headlines to see which one gets the most open rates.
5. Know your holidays
Do you sell internationally? Besides translating texts into the appropriate languages, there’s more to consider for these different markets. Different countries have different traditions. In Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th and the 26th. In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas is the day of gift-giving and falls on the 5th of December, so that means planning sales in the Dutch market a bit earlier than the rest. Armenian Christmas falls on January 6th and Orthodox Christmas is on January 7th. Be sure to check if the countries you sell in have different traditions when it comes to the holidays – this should affect your timing and maybe even your offer.
6. Target the right audience with segmentation
Depending on your product line and your Christmas offer, there’s a good chance that one single email will not speak to your entire audience. Just like you might create a few customer personas or target different users in your social media campaigns, you should take the same approach with your email marketing campaigns.
In practice, this might mean that you’ll have different emails going to different demographics. Moms and teenagers obviously want different things, so there’s no sense in promoting the same objects to each group.
A perfect example for this is if your shop has a holiday gift guide for men and for women. Assuming that husbands will be buying their wives presents and vice versa, it would make sense to send your male subscribers the women’s gift guide, etc.
When it comes to B2B businesses, the same idea holds true. Your offer to agencies might be different than it is to retailers. Naturally, you’ll want to send out different emails to each group.
7. Have the correct landing page
It’s hard enough getting people to open your email. The next goal is for them to click on the call-to-action (CTA) button. In this day and age, two-clicks really is asking a lot from people. However, if you’ve managed to grab their attention with your email, that means you’re doing something right! The last thing you want to do is guide them to a page that doesn’t show them the information they want to see.
If these potential customers have given you their attention, make sure you hold their attention by guiding them to a landing page that matches your email in style and content. The journey this customer takes after that first click should be completely smooth and cause no confusion. For example, if you’ve caught their attention by showcasing your gift guide, then the landing page should take them directly there, not to the homepage.
Here, the email promises free whitepapers and the landing page (below) delivers on that promise.
Besides the fact that this will make for a better customer journey and thus increase your conversions, it also gives you an opportunity to track your email campaign’s success better. Knowing which emails and which landing pages they’ve landed on can tell you a story of what works and what doesn’t, so you can optimize your efforts in future campaigns.
- Find the sweet spot for sending out your emails. Not too early and not too late
- Make your unique offers clearly visible
- Have fun with your design and texts – and be Christmassy!
- Know your audience and create different versions of your emails for those segments
- Have a strong connection between your emails and the landing page
About the Author:
Alon Eisenberg grew up in New York City and graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s in Communications. He’s a marketing enthusiast who enjoys researching many topics ranging from e-commerce to education. With a thirst for knowledge, Alon has a creative, yet analytical approach to his work. He has been the Content Manager UK at Trusted Shops since March, 2017.