on’t let the holidays, with their throngs of shoppers and calendar full of events, exhaust you before they start. It’s possible to stay calm and keep things running smoothly -- all while ramping up your own holiday marketing efforts.
Creating a holiday email marketing plan is a simple and surefire way to cut through the holiday noise and entice your customers. Best of all, it’s not much more complicated than writing a naughty or nice list. Just answer these questions and you’ll have an email marketing plan in no time.
What are my marketing goals this holiday season?
Do I want to grow my customer list? Reconnect with lapsed subscribers? Reward my best customers? Raise money for my nonprofit? What worked (or didn’t work) last holiday season? Determining who you want to reach, why, and how you’ll measure success will help you figure out what to say in your emails.
This holiday season, I want to:
The audience I want to reach is:
This is how I’ll measure success:
Plan to test two versions of the same email with small segments of your list. Send the winning campaign to the wider audience.
What am I offering my customers?
Once you’ve identified which customers or potential customers you want to reach, the next step is deciding what to offer them. Whether it’s a coupon, a buy-one-get-one promotion, information about special holiday hours or services, a matched donation to a charity, or a contest or sweepstakes (to name only a few), having a clear message gives your audience a reason to open your emails -- and then take action.
This season I’m offering:
What unique benefits am I providing? What key message do I want people to associate with my offering or business?
Consider the intangible benefits of your business that set you apart from similar companies. White glove service, expert craftsmanship, extra-helpful staff members -- all these benefits are lifelines your customers cling to. Make sure you focus on these points and use consistently in your email campaigns, social media posts, in-store signage, and even in-person interactions.
My key messaging is:
What add-ons am I providing this holiday season?
Customers respond well to a little something extra, especially during the harried holidays. In-store food and drinks are always festive, and extra services like free shipping, free gift-wrapping, or extended hours can be heavenly helpers. In addition to the key messaging that you’ve already established, be sure to mention these add-ons when you send out holiday emails and post on social media.
My company’s holiday add-ons are:
How many holiday emails will I send, what types, and when?
Now that you’ve established what you want to say and to whom, it’s time to decide when to send those emails. Allow yourself enough time to notify customers of the sale or event, to remind them as it gets closer, and to thank them afterwards.
Autoresponders are a huge help with this. If you’re running multiple sales or events, create a schedule for each one.
I need to create schedules for these emails:
Holiday Marketing Tip
Use a calendar to plot out when you're going to send seasonal emails.
Post it where your whole team can refer to it over the holiday season.
What extra help will I need this holiday season?
Sticking to your holiday marketing plan might require scheduling extra shifts, hiring seasonal workers, finding the right creative assets for your email campaigns and social media posts, printing signage, and seasonalizing your logo or website. Any prep work you tackle now will mean smoother sailing during the busy last months of the year.
My holiday prep work:
What about January and February?
New Year’s marks the official end of the holiday season, but the following winter months don’t have to be blah for your business. They’re the perfect time to evaluate what worked over the holiday season, and also to re-engage customers with sales, shop-for-yourself promotions, and Valentine’s Day tie-ins. Budget some time for email campaigns that cut through the post-holiday winter blues.
In January I’m going to promote:
In February I’m going to promote: