Billions of emails are sent every day. There’s probably close to that many sitting in your inbox(es) right now. That number is only going to increase as the holiday season swiftly approaches. There is an influx of emails being worked on right now to be sent leading up to, during, and immediately following the holidays.
While you might think this is only applicable to e-commerce email marketers, everyone knows the value of capitalizing on this highly engaged season, which is why you should, too.
However, the last thing you want to do is fill your audience’s inbox full of random fluff. You never want to do that anyway, but during the frenzy of the holiday season, when people are in the mode to “buy,” “respond,” and “act now,” you have a prime opportunity to truly connect. As you prepare for the holiday season, keep in mind the strategy behind your holiday emails and make sure these 10 essential sends top your list.
#1: The Promotional Email
According to data collected by Hubspot, 86% of consumers want to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with on a monthly basis at least, and 15% would like to get them daily. That means it’s highly likely your audience is anticipating the day you send them an offer they can’t refuse, so to speak.
Keep in mind a promotion doesn’t have to mean a sale. It can be a promotional email to highlight an upcoming event, new service or product, or a packaged deal designed specifically for the holidays. The key here is to focus on the one thing you want to promote and make the value points come across clearly in your holiday email campaigns. Address what you are promoting, why your audience should want it, and how they can get it.
#2: The Sale Email
Different than the promotional email, the sale email fits in with the buying season. While you might think the inundation of sale emails will overwhelm your audience, the opposite might actually be true. Study findings published by Inc.com found that although the volume of sent emails increased by 34% during the 2013 and 2014 holiday season, the average open rate remained the same. Chances are, your readers are still opening your emails, but what will make them take your desired action?
Is your sale a one-time exclusive? Is it an end-of-the-year blowout? Is the sale geared toward one specific item or service? What is the goal of your sale? These are all questions you should ask and answer when setting up your email campaign. For example, although your sale may be for a percentage off a specific product, the primary goal may be to get more traffic to your site.
Be strategic in the setup. Ever notice when you shop in stores, there are impulse, low-priced items near the counters? It’s not because they are high-demand purchases, but it’s an easy way to drive sales revenue and gives the buyer the feeling of “getting a good deal.” And who doesn’t like that? Include the same way of thinking with the next holiday sales email you send.
#3: The Holiday-Themed Email
Get creative with your holiday messaging and figure out ways to work it into your brand. Perform some social listening to understand the kind of conversations your audience is having online. Use this information to lead your email campaigns.
As an example, food-centric brands have a lot of content to work with during the holidays as meal planning is top-of-mind come fall and winter. Even if your brand is not part of this industry, think about how you can use these same concepts to deliver your emails. Use terms like “food for thought” or a “recipe for xyz” to give helpful tips or information. Or incorporate language like “indulge your cravings” when you’re sending a sales or promotional campaign. It all comes down to aligning the messaging to the sentiments are feeling at the time.
#4: The Wrap-Up Email
People start to think about the year in review this time of year and it’s a good idea for your company to do the same. Whether you deliver your own year-end wrap up via a list of stats, blog series, or short video, make it meaningful. Share with your audience some of the successes your company has seen along the way. What awards have you received? What challenges have you overcome? Not only is it a nice way to highlight the hard work of your company, it can also set the tone for the new year.
PsyBlog founder Jeremy Dean said, “When concentrating on a story, people are less aware that they are subject to a persuasion attempt: The message gets in under the radar.” The story make people interested and engaged to come back for more.
#5: The “Thank You” Email
No, this isn’t the auto-email people receive when they download or order something from your site. This is the email of gratitude sent to your customer/client base to let them know how thankful you are for them. Did you know that emails that have the words “thank you” in the subject line have the highest above-average engagement levels? Make it short. Make it sweet. But above all else, make it sincere.
#6: The Holiday Card Email
Images of awkward family holiday cards make the rounds around this time every year and people engage with them because they’re funny, traditional, and sometimes nostalgic. While your holiday card email doesn’t have to be awkward, it still gives your audience a personalized look into your company.
Get the team together for a group photo or share several candid shots from throughout the year and send a happy holidays to your email list. Show people a different side of your brand.
#7: The New Year Goals Email
What will be different in the new year? It’s something to ask your team so you can hit the ground running in the first quarter, but it’s also something you should think about sharing with your audience. Are you expanding? Are you offering a new service? Are you launching a new product? What kind of goals do you hope to achieve in the new year? These goals don’t have to be detailed in full, but the goal is to show your subscribers that you have plans for success that you want them to be a part of.
#8: The Countdown Email
The countdown to Christmas, the countdown to the Times Square ball drop, the concept of a countdown is familiar during the holiday season and one you can use for your own. Share a countdown of the top best blogs you’ve posted on your site, the top sale items, the top news updates from your industry.
Whatever information you give, make the final email of the countdown series lead to some type of reward. For example, if it’s a countdown to the best blogs from 2017, then package them up nicely in a repurposed whitepaper your audience can download. The point here is to create a sense of excitement, intrigue, and value for every person who subscribes to your emails.
#9: The Feel Good Email
There are a lot of emotions going on during the holiday season: joy, stress, anxiety, happiness, but everyone can benefit from a “feel good” email. Is your company donating to a cause this season or partnering with a non-profit in your city?
Find the feel good story within your company and tell it. It could be a personal achievement from one of your staff members. It could be all the exciting places your team traveled to throughout the year. Make this email be about connecting people to people (not marketers) to target audiences.
#10: The Gift Guide Email
There will be no shortage of gift guides flooding inboxes this holiday season but there’s always room for one more, especially if yours has value. Tailor it to your different audience segments to make it feel more personal to their gift giving needs. Gift guides are especially helpful for e-commerce industries who want to highlight specific products. They’re also a good way to connect with online influencers who can share your gift guide (or parts of it) with their own audiences.
Adapt these top 10 essential holiday emails and apply them to your own company and brand. Choose which ones will work best for you and set up a schedule and strategies. Identify the audience for each email campaign and the specific goals and see your open rates skyrocket. Some emails may be geared to receiving a high click-through-rate, while others might be designed specifically to boost brand visibility.
End the year strong with campaigns created specifically for the holiday season because people will already be expecting them. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday greeting cards, there are plenty of opportunities to implement a strategically planned email marketing campaign. The statistics show your audience will be diligently checking their emails despite the flurry of activity in these last months of the year. Give them a reason to be in the holiday spirit. Deliver messages that will make a difference. Figure out what will make them click and more importantly, connect. And then, take that information into the new year to perfect your strategies and improve your emails for 2018.