Create a Holiday Email Marketing Campaign that Shines

14 Sep

As the kids are heading back to school. It is cooling down in some areas of the United States. We find ourselves looking for holiday events to attend and set up “shop”. It is important for you to look into your email marketing systems. I am a big advocate for keeping in touch with your customers on a regular basis at least once a month with a phone call, email newsletter or card so that when the holidays come it won’t seem like you are coming out of the wood works for sales. Maintaining a steady flow of marketing solutions is a very important adjunct to your business practices.

Here are some tips I picked up on through my email marketing service, iContact.com (source written by Jenni Williams, iContact Product Marketing Manager).

1. Decide on your goals- It may sound very basic, but thinking about what you want to achieve with your holiday campaign is critical to creating the right strategy. As you think about your business right now, what is most important? It could be to increase your customer base, profit, or revenue. Keep in mind that it’s unlikely you will be able to do all of these things, so pick one or two.

2. Develop your budget-Your budget will help you decide what channels you can afford to use. Email marketing and social media marketing are two channels that don’t cost much and usually have very high return on investment, so consider making them a major part of your plan (my own personal note on this- My newsletters; when sent on a regular basis; reminded a customer to contact me regarding a fundraiser. I was planning on calling her once I received the new fall fundraiser packets, but she beat me to it.)

3. Look back at last year- In looking at what you did (or did not do) last year, what worked and what didn’t? Think about how you can improve what you did last year and don’t be afraid to recycle something that worked particularly well. You can always spin your recycles offer as “back by popular demand.”

4. Get familiar with key dates- You may have the big holidays covered, but there are many other key dates to keep in mind. Are there any quirky holidays you can use to stand out from the crowd? What are the can’t- miss dates for your business?

5. Choose what you want to offer- As a small business, it can be difficult to stand out from the big-box retailers during this season, so make sure you include more than just a discount on your product. Get creative with your offers, and wrap them up in a personal way that you as a small business can. If you’re at a loss for new ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your customers. Pose a question on Facebook or Twitter, such as, “What offer would you most like to see from me this holiday season?” Give your customers a few options to choose from (along with a write-in option), and be prepared to use the best idea.

6. Use an integrated approach- Think about how your channels work together and which channels reach your target customer. If email marketing is your primary marketing vehicle, think about how you can extend your message using social media and vice versa.

7. Create a messaging schedule-Now that you have come up with some ideas for offers and have circled key dates on your calender, you will want to come up with a schedule for promoting those offers. How long do you want your offers to last? When do you want to start promoting those offers. When will you use email, and when will you use social media?

8. Grow your list- The holiday season presents great opportunities for reaching new customers, so use this time to grow your email list and social media following. If you are at a party or trade show/event, ask people to sign up for emails during checkout. Online, make sure you have email sign- up forms on both your website and social media pages.

9. Keep the conversation going- Use social media to keep your customers engaged with you throughout the season. Start a conversation by asking questions related to your business. Run a sweepstakes for following/liking you (check the terms of condition on Facebook as they do change) or consider making a donation to charity if you get a certain amount of likes.

10. Don’t forget events- If you post holiday events, use email to invite your customers to attend, and use social media to talk about the events both during and after. Consider having an event to get people excited about your business, such as an exclusive presale shopping hour for your email subscribers. If your business is online only, create a coupon for a first look at your sale selection before the general public gains access.

I hope these tips have helped you with your holiday email campaigns. I would love to hear what you have implemented already. Good Luck!

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