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15 Email Marketing Tips For the Holidays

Think it’s too early to start thinking about the holidays, let alone email marketing tips for the holidays? I hate to tell you (especially if you’re also mourning the end of summer), but people are starting their holiday shopping and planning now. In fact, a lot of them (like me) have already started.

And that’s why you and I are sitting here talking about email marketing tips for the holidays at the beginning of September. It doesn’t matter whether you’re B2B or B2C, either. Most of these tips are appropriate for both types of businesses.

1. Start mentioning the holidays this month

Stress the beauty of planning ahead in September and October. You can preview holiday merchandise, promote top-selling products, or highlight your most time-saving, convenient services.

2. Segment your lists

Your open rates will be awesome if you take the time to segment your lists based on interests, past purchasing behavior, gender, location, etc. Once you segment, you’ll be able to write more relevant emails for each audience.

3. Remind people to “shop local”

So many people, including me, make it a point to shop small and local year round. American Express’ Small Business Saturday is a great campaign for your bricks-and-mortar business to join. If you’re in a small business shopping district, promote your neighborhood as a friendlier, less-crowded destination during the holidays.

4. Incorporate charitable giving

The needs of those less fortunate always seem particularly acute during the holidays, so think about how you can incorporate charitable giving into your business model. You have lots of options: donate a portion of holiday sales to a local charity or collect non-perishable food items, coats, or new toys.

5. Offer price guarantees

Let me start by saying that I am not an advocate of compromising quality, sanity, or income to gain more sales. Only offer a price guarantee if it makes sense for your business model. You could tie this to a one-time event, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or for a specific set of products or services.

6. Definitely take advantage of Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is a hot phenomenon that shows no signs of abating. It’s OK (and expected) to send Cyber Monday emails out on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. If you’re B2B, you can totally jump on Cyber Monday. Consider offering a unique, one-time only promotion that lasts a couple of days (or up to a week).

7. Create a special holiday theme

Get creative and develop a theme for all of your holiday marketing, not just your emails. Just be sure to tie it to your brand’s visual identity and sense of humor. You know your audience, so think about what will resonate with them the most.

8. Develop gift guides

We all have people in our lives who are difficult to shop for, which is why we respond so well to gift guides. You can develop guides based on age, interest, activity, skill level, price, etc.

9. Provide inspiration

My favorite magazines – Vogue, InStyle, and Food & Wine – present ideas and inspiration from their staff and contributors in every issue. Why not do the same for your brand? It’s a genuine way for your audience to get to know your team better.

10. Highlight top-sellers and staff picks

Now is not the time to push underselling products or services. You want to make it easier for people to say yes – and you want them to be confident in their purchase. Round up and highlight your top sellers and staff picks throughout the holiday season.

11. Promote gift cards

An astounding $130 billion was spent on gift cards in 2015. Enough said.

12. Consider daily or weekly deals

Both B2B and B2C businesses can do this – it just take some planning. The 12 Days of Christmas is a popular theme, but you could also offer a weekly deal to make your life a bit easier.

13. Offer special holiday services

Do you offer special, time-saving services only during the holidays, like gift wrapping or free delivery? promote them continually – especially when we get close to Hannukah (starts December 24 this year!) and Christmas.

14. Send a custom holiday card

If you only do one of these email marketing tips, do this. Your web or graphic designer can create a custom holiday card that ties into your brand and includes a short, simple, and heartfelt message.

15. Don’t forget post-Christmas

Studies have shown that post-Christmas emails have very high open rates (I speculate it’s because people are either not working or they’re at work but don’t feel like working). You can send out product tips, product suggestions, reminders to use gift cards, or reminders to book services before the calendar fills up.

OK, now that I wrote that, I am actually kind of excited for the holidays! I hope you are, too. However, if you feel a little overwhelmed at the idea of putting together special holiday marketing campaigns, let’s talk about a content marketing strategy to ensure you have the best season ever. Drop me a line here. 

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