Ho! Ho! Ho! And Merry E-Marketing
Written by Guest Blogger Katie Woods
While the elves are hard at work putting finishing touches on Santa’s special gifts in the North Pole, I want to share a few email marketing tips for all of Santa’s helpers a little closer to home.
Email is an extremely cost-effective method for reaching those last minute Christmas shoppers. But Blitzen beware: e-marketing it is a highly-competitive environment because you are competing with other businesses, co-workers, and family members for space in your readers’ inbox. To increase your chances of reaching your readers, strategically deliver some personality, content with a little pizazz, add a hint of holiday spirit, and swirl with peppermint stick. (The last one just because it’s fun.)
People don’t like a sales pitch, but actually love to buy, which is why Birchbox and Benefit Cosmetics emails make my day!
Send me emails like this, and I’m clicking! I know that they are consistently going to show me great products with a clever one-liner, stunning imagery, and often offer a discount based on my loyalty as a customer. A fun, personal email can make your email an inbox highlight each week, and drive readers to your most engaged and informed inner circle. And, with any luck, your readers will add your products under their Christmas tree this year.
We Need a Little Christmas
While not as traditional as other forms discussed
in my last post, email marketing has been a viable marketing method for long enough that inboxes are bulging and some negative e-marketing stigmas do exist. Using the following tips, email can still be a welcome, integral part of a marketing campaign when optimized with personality and best practice.
Ask first. If you don’t already have an email list to jump start a holiday email campaign, start including email signup options with your purchase process and on your site to welcome further engagement from casual buyers or visitors.
Have a plan and communicate it clearly. Make a calendar of all of the dates and seasonal items you are promoting, and plan email campaigns around those dates.
Inside Scoop: Ideally you’ll create this calendar in October (or sooner) to be sure to start prepping customers early for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday with newsletters, website updates, and social media.
While we may have missed some key holidays for this calendar year, no worries, it’s not too late to reach seasonal shoppers this year. Remember to be clear and direct. Use words like “sale”, “X% discount”, “last-minute gifts”, or “express shipping” in your subject lines to plainly communicate the products and benefits you’re offering frenzied shoppers and boost those read rates.
Outbrain reports that headlines focused on convenience and holiday inspiration hike click rates 22% higher than the average.
Make people look forward to your emails. Find a fun, witty, or inspirational way to send season’s greetings to your email list while working in products and holiday promotions. Hopefully, you have done your marketing research and know what your customers want. Now it’s time to deliver it. Remember, we are working with valuable inbox real estate: Make sure your content or promotion is valuable enough to deserve an email. Use emails to provide exclusive content such as special coupons, shipping specials, or last-minute deals. Exclusive content doesn’t have to be done solely with promotions and discounts; it can also be inspirational items, gift pairings ideas, or special events/campaigns.
Leave it to the professionals. The holidays are perhaps the busiest time of the year and we are constantly on the go with Christmas parties and shopping sprees. More Americans than ever before are receiving content on mobile devices. Design emails with mobile readers in mind using responsive templates. Most email marketing companies now offer a preview of your mailing on a variety of devices that show how your emails look on desktops and mobile devices across a variety of platforms. By using an email marketing company, you can automatically host your email on a separate web page. This feature links “View email in your browser” to a full screenshot of your email on a hosted page.
Set the stage. There is just something special about the holiday season: Christmas music, twinkling lights, the fresh baked cookies. Capture the spirit of Christmas with festive templates like Emma offers. These templates are intuitive, easy to use, and are a wonderful background to make your holiday content pop.
Get the picture. A picture tells a thousand words. Highlight your great images or find stock photography of glittering Christmas trees, snow-capped mountains, piles of presents, warm hearths, steaming mugs, and spritz cookies. A great image can evoke emotion, and used correctly, can generate more clicks. However, due to different security settings, never have an email that is solely a large image with all the information directly on it. If readers have disabled images, they’ll get a blank email. If this happens enough, they will likely unsubscribe. Use image alt text that includes a call to action so that even subscribers who disable images can see this descriptive text.
Have a personality.75% of consumers like it when brands personalize messaging and offers, like this one that honored the anniversary of my first purchase:
Step up your game with personalization that can be easily achieved with e-marketing services like Emma and Constant Contact. These e-marketing vendors allow personalization fields on their emails to pull the reader’s name into the subject line or text of the email. This makes your email seem personal and like a natural extension to a great existing relationship. Grab readers’ attention by avoiding generic headlines like “Christmas Shopping” or “Christmas Deals”. Take a quick scan of your own inbox to see what subject lines leapt to be read, and which fall prey to an automatic delete. With you and every other shopper being bombarded with holiday mailings, stand out from the crowd with a personalized header and a little pizazz.
Want to put this advice in action, but don’t quite know how? Contact us, even Santa needs little helpers to deliver during the holiday season.