The holiday season is coming up on us fast. As an entrepreneur, this is one of the most important parts of the year. This is the period where you make the most money.
Sales during the holiday season are on an upward trend. Between 2016 and 2017, sales have increased by a whopping 5.5%. There are no signs of sales slowing down, so it’s predicted that holiday profits are only going to increase in the coming years.
It’s time to start getting your holiday marketing plan in motion. We are here to help you learn some tricks of the trade so you can boost your profits, engage more customers, and start the new year on the right foot.
Without any further delay. Here are 8 tips to build an excellent holiday email marketing campaign.
One of the most important things you can do when scheduling your email marketing campaign is make sure you plan ahead. You absolutely cannot wait until mid-December to start sending out emails. The sooner you start, the better.
Many marketers kick off their holiday promotions during the first week of November. There are multiple benefits to planning ahead and starting early.
First, the earlier you start, the more people you can reach. If you’re scrambling to send out emails during the first week of December, you’ll be at a disadvantage when compared to the marketer who started dripping out holiday marketing emails during the first week of November.
Next, you’ll have more time to build high-quality marketing campaigns. You can tell when someone sends you a rushed email versus someone who takes their time to articulate every word and get their point across. You want to be part of the latter group.
Market for Every Holiday
It’s easy to create a Christmas marketing campaign and call it a day. But if you want to make real progress, you need to make sure you cover every single holiday possible.
You can create Thanksgiving promotions, Black Friday Deals, Cyber Monday Blockbusters, Winter Solace Sales, and more. As you’re working with your marketing team, consider the major and minor holidays throughout the season and make sure you target your customers during this time.
For example, Target and other big name box stores often create curated emails based on their hottest selling items. In the following ad, notice the bright contrasting colors, the smiling faces, and the phrase “early access” to entice people to take advantage of these deals before they expire. It’s possible to create an ad similar to the one below for virtually every holiday.
(Target Holiday Email Ad: http://filamentcontent.com/seasonal-content-without-the-cheese/)
If you touch on all of the holidays, you’ll increase your visibility and boost your sales. If someone gets your Winter Solace Sale email on December 21st, it might trigger something in a customer to make them say, “Oh, I forgot to buy something for (relative)!” And that’s where your business comes in.
Create a Sense of Urgency
If you want to get sales, you have to learn how to create a sense of urgency — today! See how that works? When you use words like “act today,” “limited time offer,” “this week only,” or any variation of those phrases you trigger a buying instincts in customers.
Urgency plays on the social engineering of customers and encourages them to make a purchase. They don’t want to miss out on the special offer or promotion.
We are all familiar with one day only Black Friday deals. However, you can apply this strategy to any holiday. For example, you can have a “Thanksgiving Weekend Sale.” This simple trick can boost your click-throughs and sales significantly.
In the following Christmas ad, you can see the “sense of urgency,” marketing tactic in use. In big, bold print they let you know that this is a “Limited Time Offer.” This image further draws in the audience with festive graphics and the phrase “Treat Yourself A Nice Gift.” It’s supposed to make you think –“I’d love a gift, but I have to act now.”
(Ad Featuring a Sense of Urgency: https://www.deviantart.com/huion/journal/Mingle-and-Jingle-Huion-s-Christmas-Invitation-650034287)
Use Festive Optin Forms
Optin forms are an excellent tool that can help surge the growth of your business. During the holiday season, it’s helpful if you make holiday-themed optin popups to encourage your customer to sign up for your newsletter or take advantage of your offer.
You can create custom optin popups based on the behavior of your visitors. If they go to leave the website, you can trigger a popup that encourages them to sign up for your newsletter for special promotes. This is the perfect time to get their attention, add them to your lead list, and potentially convert.
It’s also possible for you to encourage customers to make a purchase today by using the aforementioned sense of urgency. You could create an optin that says “Limited Time Christmas Offer 35% Off NOW!” It’s possible to add countdown timers and custom artwork to make your optin form pop.
The next graphic shows a unique optin ad. As you can see, they fit their promotion, 30% off for 2 months, with a festive template. The options also clearly show that there is a correct choice. The average person would look at this ad and say “Of course I want to save, and no, why would I want to pay more?” The holiday themed coupon code is the final touch that makes this optin ad shine.
(Holiday Optin Ad: https://optinmonster.com/holiday-email-marketing-tips-examples/)
While an optin form is something you would generally add to your website, it’s also an excellent tool to help fuel your email marketing campaign by encouraging people to subscribe and get future emails from you.
Use Holiday Themed Text and Email Templates
When you’re sending out your marketing emails, you have to make sure that you’re expressing holiday cheer. You can do this with your email subject heading, body, and email template.
Email subject lines should always be short and sweet. You make want to try something like “Happy Holidays! Get 20% Off Now!” Some email applications let you use emoticons like Christmas trees and Santa emojis. These little touches are sometimes enough to encourage people to click-through.
Once they open your email, they are going to want to see an email that matches the subject line. Luckily, there are plenty of great holiday-themed templates for you to use when crafting your emails. After you pick a template, you can add your own personal touch to make your emails unique.
Abandoned Cart Follow Up
Since the holidays are so hectic, often times people will start placing orders and then get interrupted. Maybe they found a deal elsewhere, they got busy, or the person they were shopping for walked in the room. As a result, they abandon their shopping cart.
You can pull a percentage of these people back to your website for them to complete the sale if you know how to reach them. Retargeting pixels are used to capture the email addresses of people who start an order but don’t complete it.
If someone begins to place an order but gets interrupted, you can direct their email address to a specific lead list. Once this happens, you can schedule periodic reminders that they have a vacant cart on your website. Many companies opt for 3 reminders. They will get one email within the hour, one within 24 hours, and one within a week.
SalesForce data revealed that 60% of people who received personalized abandoned cart emails followed through with their purchase within 24 hours.
Create a Referral Program
Believe it or not, word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing a business could hope for. If you want to see your sales grow, send out emails to customers who have shopped with you in the past and let them know that they can save some cash, or earn some money, by referring a friend.
You could encourage customers to get one friend to sign up for 10% off their next order, 2 friends for 20%, and so on. There are nearly infinite possibilities when building a referral system. It’s possible to merge this system with the holidays by telling them that you’re celebrating the season of giving by offering free gifts to them and anyone they get to sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase.
If you’re delivering quality service, you’ll discover that many people will jump at the chance to get a discount on their next purchase if they refer a friend. They want to spread the word because they believe in your brand.
Use A/B Testing
A/B testing is a method of marketing that involves you sending out two campaigns or ads at the same time and monitoring the results in real time to see which performs better.
You can apply this method to your email marketing plan for the holidays. For example, create multiple Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad campaigns and send them out early. Check the engagement to see which two are more popular in terms of click-throughs and conversions.
You can also A/B test a regular ad against a holiday themed ad and gauge which one gets better click-throughs that lead to more conversions. It’s possible to break this down further and try various holiday themed ads in order to build the perfect blend of advertisement and holiday cheer to your customers.
(Holiday A/B Testing: http://blog.absolutedigitalmedia.com/guide-to-prepping-your-festive-campaigns-this-christmas/)
When these two big days come around, you’ll know exactly which campaigns you should run. Many marketers apply this method to their Christmas emails as well. They will create a generic “Happy Holidays” email campaign and a “Merry Christmas” campaign to see which one does better. Based on the response of the recipients, they move forward and launch the ad campaign during the holiday season.
There are plenty of ways you can run a successful email marketing campaign this holiday season. Most of what you’ll be doing is experimentation to see what your customers like.
As you develop your brand and a strong following, you’ll start to notice trends in the way customers respond to your emails. After you figure out what your customers like visually, you can start tweaking your special offers and promotions. Before you know it, you’ll have enough data to start planning for next year.
Remember, much like shopping, it’s never too early to start planning your email campaigns for the holidays!