We’ve already covered why promotional emails are important. Seasonal campaigns are a specific type of promotional email directly tied with the change of season or a specific holiday. Most best practices for promotional emails can be applied to seasonal emails, but campaigns surrounding holidays have their own nuances.
While the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is most popular for promotions, other holidays can be used to drive an increase in engagement. According to the National Retail Federation, the top ten consumer spending events include the winter holidays, back to school, Mother’s Day, Easter, Halloween and the Super Bowl.
Continuing our “8 Must-Have Email Campaigns” series, we discuss why you should develop seasonal campaigns and how to take advantage of holidays to improve engagement with your subscribers and customers.
Why do you need seasonal emails?
Most holidays involve some sort of celebration; families and friends gather for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day, etc., and those celebrations often involve spending money on food, decorations, gifts, and more. One-third of shoppers report that their holiday purchases were driven by promotions. During these times of year, people are expecting to spend money and receive promotions from their favorite brands; therefore it presents a huge opportunity for you to reach and engage your target audience.
Seasonal campaigns are especially lucrative for companies in the retail industry. In 2017, winter holiday sales made up nearly 20 percent of total retail sales.
Tips for an effective seasonal email
How can you use seasonal events to your advantage in email marketing? Follow these tips:
- Plan ahead
- Have fun, but be strategic
- Design emails with the goal of getting a recipient to purchase
- Know when it’s not a fit
Many brands don’t think about their seasonal campaigns until it’s far too late. Holidays and celebrations require some advance planning, with many people purchasing the items they need weeks or even months beforehand. With this in mind, don’t wait to the last minute to send your promotional email. Give your audience plenty of time to use your promotion for their holiday shopping and build anticipation. Plus, getting a head start into people’s inboxes increases engagement and puts you a step in front of your competitors.
Strategizing the seasonal campaign well in advance also gives you the ability to spread emails out and time it out in a way that will enhance open, click-through, and conversion rates.
Most holidays are a time to celebrate, and people are generally happy and even excited. Be creative and play into the joy surrounding the season with your email campaign.
However, make sure you are still thinking about the campaign as seriously as you would with any other promotional email. Consider your goals for the campaign, where different members of your audience are in the customer journey, the emotions they may feeling and actions they may take at those stages and what calls to action are most likely to persuade them to act.
Take advantage of holidays with themed offers that also take individual customers’ interests and activities into account. Whether you feature a percentage or dollar amount discount, referral specials, buy-one-get-one-free or other deal, use your marketing automation technology to personalize the content for every single subscriber.
Additionally, 41 percent of retailers use “Buy Now” buttons in their holiday emails; doing so makes it easy for your subscribers to get to your site to make a purchase.
Finally, remember: holidays don’t last forever. Create urgency with limited time offers. Just make sure that expiration dates are clear.
Not all holidays lend themselves to a promotion. Too often, we’ve seen brands attempt to draw nonexistent lines between their business and certain events, trying to be edgy and ending up involved in controversy or on a list of marketing fails. If there isn’t a natural fit from the beginning, don’t force it. Inserting yourself where it doesn’t make sense can not only lower engagement, but also harm your reputation.
Ask yourself if the holiday and messaging around it is appropriate for your audience; if the answer isn’t immediately “yes,” it’s probably not a good idea.
In general, consumers are more engaged and more likely to make purchases during holidays, and for that reason, seasonal campaigns should be an integral part of your email strategy.
Stay tuned for more must-have email campaigns. Next, we’ll be covering triggered emails and best practices for using them in your customer engagement strategy.