Christmas Email Campaign Tips

Christmas Email Campaign Tips

With Christmas fast approaching, if you haven’t finished planning your upcoming Christmas campaigns, here are some pointers for getting the most out of the next few weeks.

Think about the customer’s context:

While in many circumstances, past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour, when it comes to Christmas shopping, consumer behaviour can be less easy to plan for. As email recipients are likely to be looking for gifts, their buying patterns and what is likely to trigger them to react, is likely to be different to what would motivate them to purchase goods for themselves.

In this example, Just Jeans has provided a quick route for shoppers to find gifts based on age, gender and price range, in addition to the usual navigation bar that appears at the top of all their regular emails.

If you have behavioural data from last Christmas season, use this to inform the personalisation if at all possible. In absence of this data, it is a great time to test what will work for your list recipients at this time of year.

As much as this is a frantic time of year for marketers, it is a great learning opportunity. Testing on subject lines, day and time of sending is usually pretty easy to conduct in email systems, so take advantage of this capability and adapt all of these elements to the season.

Test offers, including offers in subject lines:
Trial offers and discounts on products and test what motivates people – it could be messaging that reinforces delivery timeframes in time for Christmas, ease of return policies or simply the range of products available.

Here are some recent examples of subject lines with Christmas shopping offers we’ve received – it is worth experimenting and seeing which drives the best response for you.

Test Email Length:

If you haven’t already tested the length of emails, this can be an interesting test to conduct.

People’s patterns of interacting with email has changed, mainly due to the proliferation of smartphones, where reading emails on the bus or train on the way to work is now simple and for some a useful distraction from the commute.

This is another area that can be tested by comparing results between shorter and longer length emails.

Email Frequency:
At this time of year, tolerance to email frequency can also change – there is an expectation that there will be more email activity overall. While this can be more difficult to cut through, this can also work in your favour as there is the opportunity to send reminders about sales or other deadline driven messages eg last few days for free shipping.

If increasing your frequency of email sends, keep track of whether this has any impact to open rates, clickthrough rates, traffic and any objectives such as increased online purchases. Also keep an eye on whether this impacts unsubscribe rates.

The example here shows the frequency of emails we’ve received from David Jones – in previous months we’ve received 5 emails per month on average, and have received 10 in November:

Leverage touchpoints – to drive up your email base and raise awareness of your social media activity:

Use email to also remind your email base about your social media presence, and ensure that you are also providing offers and updates on your social media channels.

You should also be capturing email addresses and optin from other touchpoints, such as Point Of Sale and social media.

This example shows Bedcrumb reminding Facebook fans of the benefits of signing up for their regular newsletter:

Capture your learnings: Document the outcomes of any of the tests you’ve conducted and any learnings you would like to take forward into your 2012 campaigns.

In summary:
Email at Christmas time is different. Your messaging needs to appeal to the recipient’s likelihood of shopping for people other than themselves, so you might not have the same depth of behavioural data to help you plan targeted content. You can test offers, subject lines, and email length if you have time, but keep track of any impact to results. You can also trial increasing email frequency as tolerance for email activity tends to change at this time of year. Finally, capture your learnings so you can take them into the new year.

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