Email Thursday – Home for the Holidays



Today’s topic is Home for the Holidays – three practical tips on creating email messages that effectively grab your readers’ attentions during the fourth quarter.

As the holidays approach fast and furiously, email can be your best friend… And worst enemy.

How can you craft email messages that won’t slip through the cracks?

As there are little more than seven weeks left before Christmas, every email counts. Today, I will present some tips that you can use today to generate sales and loyalty tomorrow.

The first tip is to know what your competitors are doing. In the holiday marketplace, your message must be distinguishable from everybody other marketer.

Just like “Where’s Waldo?” you have to stand out!

So what are some key differentiators that you can use in your email?

Some key differentiators are:
Promotion can be mentioned if you have a unique discount or product package. This is especially effective if you are a smaller retailer going up against a big-box giant. Try to find incentives that big box retailers are currently lacking. Maybe the answer is in a unique product bundle.

In many cases, product quality, selection (and availability) are key factors that lead to a purchase. This is especially true if you have a high-tech gadget or toy that is in high demand this season. Exclusivity, by way of limited availability, is a great way to push customers towards the impulse purchases.

The holidays are supposed to be happy! Use email messages to convey joy by way of humor and “insider” information. An example of “insider” information could be a sneak peek at a product or promotion that will be unveiled on Black Friday.

Variety is the spice of life. If you are sending out more emails during the holiday season, don’t repeat your message and offer from one email campaign to the next.

Take the time to change your offers so that your readers do not get tired of your brand and message.

During the holidays, change goes deeper than the superficial. Change different factors to create a sustained sense of excitement that surrounds your email campaigns from broadcast to broadcast. – this applies to both subject lines and main body content.

Some obvious areas that you can switch from campaign to campaign are:
You can switch out promotions or send out limited time offers that expires in 48 or 72 hours.

You can also segment your subscriber list and separate your most loyal customers into a special VIP group for special offers or the deepest discounts.

Although you want to use this last agent in moderation, changing minor details on your newsletter template can keep your communications fresh and exciting. You can even create special templates with “holiday colors” or “holiday artwork” to add to the festivities.

With so many perceived opportunities in the holiday marketplace, there is a temptation to be everything to everybody. As the marketing adage goes, when you are everything to everybody, you aren’t anything to anybody.

My third tip is to know what you are… and what you are not. This principle can be transferred to the realm of email marketing.

Avoid the temptation send out contradictory messages.
Do not send out an email portrays your brand as a price leader, and follow up that email with a message that highlights your brand as a seller of luxury goods. You must choose one or the other.

Be consistent and be precise in your consistency.

In some cases, you may be slightly changing your brand and corporate identity without even know it!
Here are some elements to be cognizant of.
Language is important because it helps your reader understand who you and are what you are about.
Be aware of visual cues, like font type and certain key words that you use from email to email. Do not change those elements.

If your email messages are heavily dependent on product photography, do not suddenly switch to cartoon images of Santa and his reindeer for the holidays. When it comes to image style, stay the course.

You may also want to retain the primary colors of your brand and logo.