How to Plan and Automate your Christmas Holiday Campaigns

As we near the festive period of Christmas and its record sales potential for the year, marketeers have already started thinking and creating campaigns to lure shoppers and generate the biggest revenues they can possibly achieve with their digital marketing efforts.

xmas campaign

The economic climate, especially in the United States, seems ripe for success, so here we are to do our bit to help you get the most from your efforts.

This Christmas also coincides with the recent automation updates on the Moosend email marketing platform, some of which you will be able to discover in this blog.

Planning seasonal campaign adjustments
Even though we are talking about the 2015 Christmas period, there are some “generic” tips on planning the perfect seasonal campaign or on improving the same campaign you ran the previous year.

First of all, changing to a more festive theme in all your communications is a technique used widely to draw the user’s attention to the upcoming holiday or other upcoming event (think of the Superbowl in the United States).

Start your planning by thinking the best times of the day to send your campaigns, along with the key dates specific to your audiences. Certain brands (in certain countries) have started their Christmas email campaigns by late August/early September but the action usually starts to kick-in by October.

Don’t forget to also theme your welcoming emails and also apply identical designs to the landing pages on your website.

Another good tip is to think about your abandoned carts automations in advance, so you can think of creative ways to create your autoresponders to get these shoppers back to finish their transactions. These must surely have a relevant festive theme.

These two automations must be well optimised for improved performance, therefore increased revenue.

Another user segment to consider is inactive customers/subscribers. Use some kind of offers they can not resist to lure them back to being active.

Challenge: Figure out & meet customer expectations
Sending out just any offer – unless you have the ultimate exclusive gift or offer in mind – probably won’t do wonders. Start by analysing the behaviour of your customers and their needs during the previous year.

If you are new in the business, try to take early peeks into your competitors’ activities and try to determine what they are trying to do. After all, they probably have already done their homework and started sending offers based on their past Christmas campaigns.

Christmas is also a period that consumers spend looking for great deals prior to the January sales period. Think on how you can provide a better deal based on the offers competitors are heavily promoting.

Ensure you have the right tracking mechanism in place
Behavioural insights is what can make or break in terms of performance. Making sure you use trackable links which are not broken in your email campaigns and on your landing pages is key to improving both the experience of your users and the overall campaign performance.

Also test your landing pages, shopping cart steps and checkout pages. Make sure everything works a treat.

Christmas editorial calendar
There are many dates to consider when planning your email campaign and your planning can get messy without a great planning tool such as an editorial calendar.

Emails sent during October, November and early December will differ from emails you send for your “Boxing Day” promotions. Also your planning should not just stop on December the 25th. It must continue through to the January sales period.

The earlier you plan, the better emails you will be able to send. Your copy will need to be optimised and even tested during October and November. In November your first offers will need to kick-in.

Nurturing your customers early on, will increase the chances that they will buy your offers.

Consider which channels to use for new acquisitions
Based on the types of products or services you have on offer, carefully consider which channels to use for growing your customer and subscriber base.

The most important step is to consider where these consumers are spending their time on and focus on these channels. Use multi-channel marketing if your focus is also on increasing brand awareness.

However since we are talking about email marketing automation here, consider ways to increase the number of people receiving your email campaigns. Your acquisition offers may be ideal for certain Social Media networks, so it may be a wise idea to spend some of your marketing budget advertising there.

Another good (growth hacking) idea would be to advertise an introductory offer or a freebie to lure shoppers in your CRM and then involve them with your festive email campaigns.

Some recent email vendor updates to consider in your email strategy
Email providers and vendors are constantly improving their products in order to retain their users and provide the means for users of competing platforms to make the switch. So I think it is important to have a look at the recent changes of the major Email vendors and platforms.

I have outlined the key recent updates which may affect your campaign performance during the festive period, not a thorough list of updates, which is outside the scope of this post.

Gmail Block and Unsubscribe
The most recent annoucement on the official Gmail blog talks about staying in control withBlock and Unsubscribe.

Gmail is now making it easier for users to unsubscribe from a mailing list they don’t like to read straight from its Android app with the click of a button and block all emails from specific senders in both its website and on the app.

These changes (first introduced in September for the Android app) are surely making things harder for email marketeers, however content still rules and personalisation is still a very hot topic to keep users engaged and eager to receive more content.

Email campaigns with generic content (i.e.: without applying any segmentation-based personalisation) is likely to suffer badly and this is something quality email campaigns can take advantage of, since users’ inbox will be more de-cluttered, thus paving the way for more prominent display of quality content.

Yahoo! mail Desktop browser notifications and Block
Similarly Yahoo has introduced a block feature which has been very recently announced on its Tumblr blog.

It now allows the user to block further emails from a specific sender and also to automatically delete all emails received in the past from him/her. Yahoo also makes it easy to block multiple email senders at once.

The new Desktop browser notifications feature brings immediate attention to the user once a new email arrives, even he/she is browsing on a different tab. This means that marketeers may end up getting more email opens.

Outlook email efficiency and productivity updates
In July Microsoft introduced new features and a better interface to its popular Office 365 suite and particularly its Outlook Web App (OWA) which also got a new name: “Outlook on the web”.

Email subject lines are more prominently displayed and messages indented on the right-hand reading panel.

There is a new “Pin” function which allows users to pin emails so that they are displayed above any new emails, so they don’t get lost in the inbox view. This means that email campaigns will be delivered below the pinned emails.

Sweep is another tool in the form of a set of actions for managing newsletters and other “regular” emails. Sweep allows users to keep emails for a set number of days in the inbox, keep only the latest email or delete all emails from a specific sender.

Another important addition is the “one-click archiving” feature, allowing users to move all messages from a sender to a specific folder.

Incorporate everything into your planning
I have touched base with certain aspects which apply to many different companies, products and/or services. Of course what is missing is the creative aspect of your campaigns, which will need to be adapted so that the user (and shopper) experience is aligned to both their expectations and your brand’s messaging.

Was this blogpost helpful? Is there something I didn’t share? Let me know in the comments’ area

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