Yes – it really is that time of year again.
We apologize in advance if reading the title of this post set off a cacophony of jingling bells in your head, but it could be a warning sign that your end of the year marketing plan is running behind. Although we are technically still in Summer, the time to begin your holiday email campaign is now – well before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is in full swing.
Approximately 53% of brands begin planning their holiday marketing strategy in Q3 (typically July/August/September), with 21% officially launching their campaigns in September. This proactive approach allows businesses to target early holiday shoppers, while leaving plenty of time to create a retargeting campaign before the Black Friday through Christmas rush.
We’ve made our list and checked it twice, and now we’re sharing our ultimate holiday email campaign checklist to get you ready for the busiest – I mean most wonderful – time of the year.
If you like your email marketing tied up with strings, having a template is one of our favorite things! With all of the preparation that goes into getting ready for the holidays, having a default template you can use throughout the season helps to take the monotony out of your planning. Of course you do not want to send the exact same email each time, so use your template as a blueprint rather than a carbon copy for the layout of your graphics, text, buttons and other supporting features.
You may want to send different types of emails throughout the season, such as text-based or all graphics, so consider rotating through a variety of premade email templates depending on the goal of that individual campaign. With the increased frequency of emails coming into your customers’ inboxes this holiday season, sticking to a consistent style for your templates will make your holiday email campaign easily identifiable while simultaneously trimming down your design time in half.
Catchy Subject Lines
With 19.8 BILLION emails sent around the holiday season alone, the competition to simply have your emails opened is higher than ever. The contents of your email could be giving away gifts even Santa’s workshop would be jealous of, but how will your recipients know this if you don’t first catch their eye with a great subject line?
With so many other businesses vying for your recipients’ attention in their inboxes, your subject lines should leave no room for ambiguity. Whether your email is promoting a sale, an article, or simply sending season’s greetings, be sure to spell this out explicitly in your subject line so your recipients know exactly what they’re clicking into. Your subject line also provides a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality. Luckily, the holly jolly nature of the holidays lends itself well to fun and catchy subject lines. Consider using some of these recognizable phrases and buzzwords in your holiday email campaign subject lines:
- “Season’s greetings”
- “Merry and Bright”
- “12 Days of _____”
- “Tis the season”
- “Give Thanks”
- “New Year, New _____’
- “Limited time”
- “Special offer”
- “Flash sale”
The holiday season is significantly wider spread than just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Depending on the demographics of your customer base, some of the Q4 holidays your business might want to celebrate could include:
- 23 – First Day of Fall
- 29 – Rosh Hashanah
- 8 – Yom Kippur
- 14 – Columbus Day
- 31 – Halloween
- 11 – Veteran’s Day
- 28 – Thanksgiving
- 29 – Black Friday
- 30 – Small Business Saturday
- 2 – Cyber Monday
- 21 – First Day of Winter
- 22 – Hanukkah
- 25 – Christmas
- 26 – Kwanzaa
- 31 – New Year’s Eve
With this in mind, creating a holiday email campaign schedule is a great way to ensure no major promotional opportunities are missed throughout the season. Having your holiday emails laid out visually on a chart or calendar will also help you identify gaps in your mailing schedule where you can supplement with non-holiday specific emails related to your campaign.
Snowmen! Gifts! Reindeer! With so many instantly recognizable images to choose from, the holiday season should provide your graphics team with a wealth of design inspiration. However, be careful not to let the festive visuals distract you from the goals of your holiday email campaign. If the objective for your email is to sell a specific product, be sure that product is the star of your overall design with large, high-quality photos. If your email is simply meant to spread holiday cheer, consider creating an e-greeting card combining photos of your team with traditional greeting card designs like leaves in the fall and snowflakes in the winter.
Perhaps even worse than not leaning into holiday-themed email designs is leaning into them so far you lose your brand identity. Your business most likely has some combination of fonts, colors and layouts you use regularly in your emails during the rest of the year. Rather than abandoning your branding until the holidays are over, utilize your already established branding elements and supplement them with holiday elements. For instance, Creative Click Media follows a predominantly blue color story. While this lends itself well to snowy, wintry designs, we might also choose to integrate hints of holiday colors like reds, greens and metallic hues that would complement our blues well.
A Follow-Up Series
Holiday email campaigns have a tendency to be rather aggressive in their efforts to grab your attention, no matter how many attempts that takes. It makes sense – during the busiest email season of the year, businesses who send singular emails have a higher likelihood of getting lost in an inbox than business who send a series of emails. That being said, it’s important that your follow-up email strategy is intelligent and strategic or else you run the risk of pestering your subscribers.
One of the best ways to set the stage for a logical follow-up flow is to include a deadline for every email that requires your recipient to take action. One sale email could easily be extended into three sales emails, with an “Ends Tomorrow!” email the day before and a “Final Hours!” email the day of the end of the sale. Use this same logic with each email you send during the holiday season to multiply your opportunities to receive that highly-coveted response, click or purchase.
‘Tis The Season To Be Strategic
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be stressful, but your email strategy doesn’t need to be. With a smart and savvy holiday email campaign in place, you can set your business up to close out the year strong in less time than it takes to deliver a sleigh full of presents from the North Pole. Begin planning your campaigns now, and combine feedback, statistics and trial & error to improve your emails moving forward. For the ultimate stress-free holiday season, consider handing over your email marketing to a digital marketing agency (like ours!) with the creativity, ingenuity and experience needed to deliver results.
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