Looking out the window, with the sun beaming down and a warm summer breeze, it could be hard to think about Christmas – it seems so far away… right? Well if you are in Marketing, Christmas will be coming around all too soon.
The Christmas period is a crucial quarter for businesses to hit sales targets and get rid of dated stock on flash sale days such as Black Friday. In 2016 the total sales figure for the UK over the Christmas period was £77.6bn . Working out at a staggering £809.97 per household – incl; gifts, food, travel and decorations
But without an email marketing plan, the Christmas spirit may sweep you off your feet leaving your brand forgotten as the giants swoop in with their mesmerising campaigns.
To sprinkle extra joy upon your email marketing campaign this festive season we suggest starting planning now. Don’t worry- the tinsel can remain in the loft and you will still be able to embrace summer to the full; we’ve got you covered with a 5 fold plan for getting your email marketing campaign prepared for Christmas.
1. Up-date & segment email lists
Before you start spreading the gift of your fabulous email campaign, it’s crucial to do some house-keeping to your mailing lists.
Ideally you should be conducting regular maintenance, however, if you have been putting this aside, Summer is the perfect time to start scrubbing up those lists to ensure maximum effectiveness of your festive campaign. Inactive subscribers will only dampen the Christmas spirit, potentially skewing your results and damaging your ROI results.
Once you have deleted in-active email addresses, a reactivation campaign could be sent to currently un-engaged subscribers. A further cleanup can be conducted to remove recipients who didn’t engage with the nurturing campaign. Simply place them in a segmented group which won’t be targeted with the Christmas campaign, but don’t forget to wish them Merry Christmas as this could be all it takes to raise your brand profile and re-engage them.
You are now left with a list of jolly subscribers, eager to hear from you. Further segmenting your database by subscriber’s content preferences, life cycle stage and past behaviour will further increase the success of your festive email activities.
2. Analyse last year’s campaign
As with every campaign, to optimise your next email series it’s vital to use analytics to assess what content customers engaged with.
For your email marketing to make the ‘nice list’, sift through past reports and identify what worked well, see what generated clicks, drove people to your website and if you can link directly to sales. You can re-use successful elements of your past campaigns or re-purpose these concepts in line with your strategic objectives and this year’s email trends. Metrics such as open and click-through rates can be used to decide if your campaigns packed a Christmas punch.
Don’t stop there – assess competitors Christmas activities too. Start subscribing to those mailing lists now and you will be able to compare what the competition is doing.
3. Create an email marketing plan
If you are looking to deliver merry and bright season’s greetings, a plan of action will be needed to create your amazing email content in time for each Christmas marketing milestone.
Start by deciding what you want to achieve from your Christmas campaign and then go on to set SMART objectives.
Christmas is the time to show your creative side and provide tempting emails to your customers. Communications that use time sensitive offers and live promotions such as advent calendar themes need to be structured in advance to ensure that they coincide with each date. Don’t’ forget it is also a time that your competitors will also be capitalising on, so you have to make sure your campaign will stand-out in your recipient’s crowded inbox.
Don’t worry – if your business doesn’t have the time or means to create a dazzling Christmas design, e-shot™ provides seasonal email marketing templates, with lots more being designed for this festive season.And if an advent style campaign, complete with dynamic content is something that you would love to do, but don’t know where to start – our dedicated team can help you with that too.
4. Start creating content sooner rather than later
Starting your Christmas email marketing campaign sooner rather than later can provide many benefits. Scheduling your campaign to begin in September will allow you to beat the abundance of promotional campaigns which will start filling up your customer’s inbox.
By engaging with your customers earlier, you are able to develop a relationship with them prior to other brands. This means that they are more likely to open your emails.
Businesses in the retail industry can benefit from sending campaigns earlier on to reach early bird shoppers, who will be more susceptible to offers such as buy one get one free or free shipping.
If you leave it till November to begin your festive campaigns you will be trying to entice an already disengaged audience, who are sick to death of the sound of Christmas carols.
5. Create an automated workflow
Once you have created all the content for your Christmas campaign, placing it in an automated workflow will guarantee that the differing email campaigns are getting seen by the right target groups on the correct marketing dates.
See the further benefits that you can reap from marketing automation.
On top of our preparation list for you, we have also created a printable list of the key Christmas marketing events for the UK. Identify which dates you want to focus on and devise your content schedule. And don’t forget to include dates specific to your business i.e. last date for pre-Christmas order processing, last dispatch day for guaranteed Christmas delivery.
Don’t hesitate to contact our email marketing service –e-shot™, if you have any queries regarding email marketing or would like to have a chat with one of our team, give us a call on 020 3320 8777.
We are confident that we can help you, which is why we offer a free healthcheck to identify potential issues with your current programme and free advice on things that could be done to improve it.