christmas-effortAh – the ‘C’ word. It seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, while most people are doing everything they can to avoid seeing anything remotely linked to Christmas at this time of year, as email marketers, we need to don our best santa hats and begin thinking about festive campaigns.

Now is the perfect time to start ramping up your Christmas email marketing effort, and in doing so, you’ll avoid any last minute panic sends that are akin to a dash around the shopping centre on Christmas eve.

It’s time to beat the rush and get your Xmas marketing game on. And if you’re still not convinced, here’s 5 reasons you should start planning your Christmas campaigns today:

1. You can get ultra-creative

If you leave your festive communications until the last minute, you’ll end up rushing them and creating bland, uninspiring emails that no one will engage with. Start the design process now, and you can really get creative.

This is particularly important come Christmas, as people’s inboxes are busier than ever at that time of the year. Your emails will need to shout loud and clear if you’re to be heard when December takes hold.

The good news? The same rules apply – go for a short subject line that acts as a cliff-hanger to the rest of the content and have some fun with your logo and branding, like these guys have done:

2. You can take time segmenting your lists

Time is on your side, which means you can really dig into your subscriber base. Sending out your festive emails en masse is rarely good practice, which is why it makes sense to make use of these autumn months by segmenting your subscribers into lists that enable you to target them with the most relevant festive offers.

For example, if you’re an electronics retailer, you may want to ensure that past purchasing habits dictate the exact emails people receive. For restaurant businesses, a distinction between people who have previously booked meals at Christmas and those who haven’t will be particularly useful.

3. Making good first (and second) impressions

People are bombarded with emails at Christmas, but you can be different. Arrive a little earlier with a sneak peak at what’s in store and then follow up on the promise with a later email. It’ll make pitching last minute deals far easier if you’re already in your subscribers’ minds.

Stand out in a crowded inbox by being festively different and add some personality by including real people from your business within the emails themselves. Below, we’ve highlighted a great example of this tactic in action:

4. You have time to fail and rectify

Anyone who has invested significant time in email marketing will know that mistakes are relatively easy to make – but just as easy to recover from.

Start your Christmas email marketing effort early and you’ll have far more time to rectify any mistakes you make with the content or opportunities you miss to segment your subscribers.

Start your Christmas email marketing effort too late, and you’ll make mistakes by rushing and have zero time to fix them. That translates into nothing more than an entirely wasted effort on your part and a long twelve month wait before you get another chance to try again.

5. Dig into last year’s metrics

The key to ensuring festive email campaigns go off without a hitch lies in fastidious planning. Ask yourself: would you rather be undertaking that planning in December or well before the mad rush?

The statistics from your previous Christmas campaign contain a goldmine of information. Take a look at open rates and click-throughs and assess how they translated into hard and fast sales. There’ll be clues everywhere as to what you should do this time.

Open rate particularly low? You may need to work on your subject line. Very few click-throughs? Was the call-to-action clear enough or did you include too many? Poor sales? Are the landing pages laid out optimally? Are you fulfilling the promise offered in your emails?

Spend as much time as possible on last year’s metrics before you do anything with your forthcoming festive campaign.

Final thoughts

Just like ticking off the last Christmas present purchase in November, nothing beats the rather smug feeling of being super-ready for a big event. Put the work in for your Christmas email campaigns now and you’ll reap the rewards later on.