'Tis the season for twinkling lights, festive sweaters, increased calorie intake, mailing Christmas cards, and figuring out the best way to email holiday wishes to your database. Like any holiday greeting, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out the right approach. The best starting place is to consider your business and your audience.
Are You a B2B Company? If Yes, You’re in the Right Spot! If No, Skip This.
For B2B companies, there is no need to overbake it. That is, less is more. The design aspect of the email does the heavy lifting. A simple but well-designed email — with a large image (for eye candy) and a short message — is perfect. Ensure your message is sincere, but keep it concise. This type of email lets your clients know that you care about and value their businesses. If you choose to send this to prospects, too, it surely can’t hurt since it brings you front of mind again. You can choose to send this a few days before the holidays or during the holidays.
Are You a B2C Company? If Yes, This is For You!
Emails for B2C companies during the holidays should be viewed as a campaign, not a one-off email. Out of the year, this is your time to shine. Ironically, in the era of social media and the expression that “email is dead,” email has become even more critically important to retailers over the past few years. First of all, email goes directly to your customer, versus the customer passively seeing you on social media. Second, people are doing more online shopping — much more, in fact. With the prevalence of mobile devices and a general lack of patience, many people would rather do holiday shopping on the train during their commute to work than fight long lines and big crowds at the mall after work and on weekends. Plus, with many retailers offering free shipping, why wouldn’t you buy online?
Remember, the emails you send should inspire readers to visit your website and shop. Emails also should be the one-click gateway to get those in your database to browse and buy your products.
That said, think of what would prompt readers to go to your website. Then create the path of least resistance for them to do so. For the holidays, drip campaigns are the best. Sending emails almost daily helps you stay in front of an audience, especially since inboxes are fuller this time of year. Here are some ways to get readers interested:
- Deep discounts: Consumers expect discounts this time of year. They are budget conscious, and they know they can get a “deal” from your competitor if they can’t get one from you. Consider these popular approaches:
- Free shipping
- Do you offer standard free shipping? If so, offer an upgrade to free two-day shipping.
- Percentage discounts off an entire purchase
- To spur urgency, you can add another offer to the discount for a limited time. For example, if you’re running a sitewide 20-percent sale this week — on Wednesday only — offer free shipping as well. Or offer an extra 10 percent off on Thursday (in addition to your sitewide 20-percent discount). This gets your readers to buy, and usually, buy more than they anticipated.
- Flash sales: Again, these spark urgency. Feature a certain product or a sitewide discount for only a short period (four hours, lunch-break flash sale or 24 hours, for example). Hit “send” on that email, then watch people flood your site.
- Daily promos: In recent years, many retailers do “12 Days of Deals” campaigns where a different product is featured and discounted each day. The advantage of these is that you often get repeat customers — or you capture satellite shoppers who wouldn’t normally purchase from you, but do now because they’re shopping for friends and family.
- Create exclusive offers: Everyone wants to feel like he/she has gotten a better deal over someone else, and everyone wants to feel like a VIP. Your email subscribers should be treated like VIPs because, after all, they do allow you to email their inboxes frequently. This is a privilege that shouldn’t be overlooked. Let them know you appreciate it by sending exclusive offers.
- Allow subscribers to browse online products before they’re made public.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar location, let subscribers shop before or after retail hours.
- Do you have a rewards program? Give your members double rewards points on certain days.
- Do you have a brick-and-mortar store? Encourage people to sign up for your emails at checkout. Entice them with exclusive offers. With the rise in sales this time of year, it’s an optimal time to grow your email database.
Tips That Apply to All
- Make it mobile-friendly. Everyone is checking email on the fly via mobile devices these days. Creating responsive emails is no longer optional.
- Subject lines should be relevant yet attention-grabbing. Remember, you’re fighting for visibility in the inbox, and the subject line should be your weapon of choice:
- Don’t overdo it, but try emojis in subject lines.
- A little wit can elicit a chuckle, and therefore increase the chance of your email being opened.
- Design: Don’t underestimate the silent power of design. Consider this: when was the last time you purchased something with ugly packaging?
- Content: The shorter the better. Period.
This is a short list of ideas, but you get the point. For retailers, the possibilities are endless. The best approach is to email your audience frequently and change your offers. You never know what offer will appeal to certain people, so the more ideas you can come up with and implement, the more likely you are to have a larger pool of buyers.
For B2B and B2C customers, the approach is completely different but equally as valuable. Although the holidays are chaotic and priorities are forced to shift, don’t push your holiday greeting to the bottom of the priority list — it really should be at the top. People love seasonal emails, and sending holiday emails/campaigns is one of the best ways to garner leads.