Marketing challenges

How many email marketing days till Xmas?

dotMailer’s step-by-step guide to planning and running successful Christmas email marketing campaigns.

Unlike your last minute Christmas shopping, successful Christmas email marketing campaigns cannot be put off.

Whether you work in B2B or B2C, planning for your Christmas email marketing campaigns is something you need to start now. Gulp!

If you haven’t already started, then where do you start?

At dotMailer we’re into our second decade of helping email marketers in companies big and small. That’s 11 Christmases and counting.

Follow our step by step guide and this year your Christmas email campaign planning will be as easy as falling off a Yule log.

Step 1 – Your analysis

Last year’s marketing

The first step is to review your previous years’ activity.

  • What did you do last year?
  • What worked best?
  • What subject lines generated the most opens, and what offers, product lines and approaches generated the most click throughs and conversions?
  • How did your contacts respond to your increased frequency?

Your sales teams and your competitors

As well as your own campaigns, take a look at what your competitors did. What were they doing that you should have been doing better? And speak to your sales teams and staff to collect their anecdotal feedback and analysis on how customers behaved and what they responded to last Christmas.

Your finance department

Get the hard facts. Speak to your finance people and get them to run you some key reports on which products/lines/offers performed best both last Christmas, and throughout the year.

Wrapping it all up

Based on your findings from all this analysis you will be in a position to draw up an outline plan of:

  • What you want to offer in your pre-Christmas marketing
  • How you want to offer it
  • And who you want to offer it to

Step 2 – Your Christmas lists

Emails containing targeted content based on customer data are proven to return higher ROI than untargeted, ‘blanket’ campaigns.

This is the busiest time of the year in recipients’ inboxes and you need to focus on the relevancy of your content. Avoid the blanket approach at Christmas and use targeted, data rich, opted-in lists.

Collect the data you need

If you don’t have all the data you need for targeting, it’s not too late to collect it. Start running customer surveys or competitions right now, and build in a data collection element. Promote these at all your customer touch points, always including your website.

You can also use contacts’ historical click behaviour to drive your targeting.

With dotMailer you can build a segmentation query that allows you to, for instance, select those who have been clicking on links for male presents – across several different campaigns.  You can then target those with your top selling male gifts.

Step 3 – Transactional Emails

Your transactional emails, such as invoices, customer updates etc are all a potential source of cross-sell. Make sure your transactional emails are editable and consider offering appropriate cross-sell offers.

Step 4 – Send a Christmas e-card

A Christmas e-card helps build customer loyalty and brand recognition. Don’t make it a commercial message. Make it a feel good factor.

Step 5 – Viral and social

Make sure your key content, messages and offers, whether on your website or your email campaigns can be easily shared on social networks and forwarded to friends.

Key advent calendar dates

The second Monday in December – 12th December:

This is traditionally the biggest online shopping day of the year. If you sell to online to consumers then make sure you are actively marketing on this date.

December 22nd: Lifesaver email offering next day delivery

December 23rd: It may be too late for online ordering and delivery but it’s not too late to direct customers to your store.

Christmas Day: Are your contacts being driven mad by their families and the TV? It could be a good time to connect with them via email.

Boxing Day: Target your contacts with your best offers and best sellers to take advantage of this high-traffic shopping day.