festive-season-1Christmas is fast approaching! With only a few weeks to go before the big day, inboxes everywhere are starting to fill with festive-themed emails. Last year, shoppers spent £13billion online in the run up to Christmas, so a good Christmas email campaign can be the key to huge sales. Although time is running out, you can still prepare an email campaign. Here are some tips to help take your email marketing into the festive season:

Before Preparing Your Campaign

Look At Your Previous Campaigns

A lot of planning needs to go into a Christmas email campaigns. If you miss the mark slightly, all your time and effort will be wasted. You need to be sure that what you’re sending your customers will yield results.

Before preparing your Christmas campaign, take a look at your campaigns from previous years. Was there anything that worked particularly well that could inspire this year’s campaign? Or were there some elements that didn’t work at all that you need to avoid? Just doing this can offer you a lot of Christmas inspiration.

For example, in 2014, Hobbycraft sent out an email showing their customers what they would need to make their own Christmas wreath:

Hobbycraft Christmas 1 Hobbycraft Christmas 2 Hobbycraft Christmas 3

This kind of tutorial email obviously worked well for them, as this year they have sent one showing their customers how to make their own Christmas stockings:

Hobbycraft 2015 1 Hobbycraft 2015 2 Hobbycraft 2015 3

Keep An Eye On Your Competitors

While you should always be aware of what your major competitors are doing, this is particularly important at Christmas. Use their email campaigns for inspiration. Are there any ideas that you like? Is there anything you don’t like? Can anything inspire you own campaigns? By being aware of their strengths and weaknesses, your company can perform better.

Christmas adverts have become major talking points in recent years. Because of this, last year, both John Lewis and Tesco used marketing emails to preview their Christmas commercials:

John Lewis Christmas Subject John Lewis Ad

Tesco Christmas Subject Tesco Ad

What to Send

Advent Campaigns

Christmas is a great time to reward your customers for their loyalty. By sending them regular gifts and offers over the festive season, they will be more likely to repeatedly visit your website and, hopefully, make purchases. You can do this using an ‘advent’ campaign. Just like with an advent calendar, your customer can open a ‘window’ every day and find a prize or offer behind each one. You can send out a daily email reminding your customers to ‘open’ that day’s window.

In 2013, InStyle magazine ran an advent campaign where their subscribers could win different prizes every day:

InStyle Advent Subject InStyle Advent

Don’t Always Sell

Most of the time, the purpose of a marketing email is for customers to respond to a call to action, visit your website, and make a purchase. However, not every email you send needs to follow this formula. By sending a Christmas email that doesn’t overtly try to sell something to your customers, it will show that your respect them, and they will feel more valued. And, even if it doesn’t lead to a purchase, any email that is clicked on can be beneficial to your business.

For example, many companies send their customers an email on Christmas Day. Most of these simply include a friendly subject line and a ‘Merry Christmas’ graphic. However, some also include something that may drive traffic to their website, although this is rarely the focus of the email.

In this example from Debenhams, they are wishing their customers a Merry Christmas, but also letting them know about their boxing day sale:

Debenhams Christmas Subject Debenhams Christmas 1 Debenhams Christmas 2

Christmas is such an important time of year for sales that a lot of thought and effort needs to go into your email marketing campaigns. In my next post, I’ll offer tips on how to put together great Christmas emails, including inspiration for your subject lines and body copy.

Ready for part 2? Click here