Let’s face it.
No matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to ever be completely prepared for the holiday season.
Hopefully, you’ve prepared your store or office to make sure you’re providing the best experience to customers.
But what about your online marketing?
Whether you sell products to customers, offer services to other businesses, or run a nonprofit organization — there are plenty of last-minute emails you can send out before the end of the year.
Here are 15 ideas to help you get started:
Need help with your holiday emails? Check out our webinar: Last-Minute Holiday Email Ideas!
Business to Consumer
Consumers have a lot of businesses vying for their attention during the holiday season. A well-timed email can help you stand out from the competition and bring people into your store, restaurant, or office before the end of the year.
Here are five ideas for businesses that market to consumers:
1. Holiday sale
Choose a day (or days) to offer exclusive discounts to customers during the holiday season. You can include a coupon in any email you send out for customers to redeem in-store or online. You can also offer daily or weekly specials and promote them out to your email list.
2. Free shipping
If you sell products online or let customers place orders over the phone, consider offering a special holiday discount on shipping to encourage customers to shop small.
You can also create an email to remind customers of any upcoming shipping deadlines to make sure their gifts make it in time for the holidays.
3. Holiday giveaway
Giveaways are a fun way to reward your most loyal customers while also generating sales during the holidays. Rather than offering a discount, create a holiday giveaway and promote it to your email list.
For example, one year, 3 Kittens Needle Arts, a Minnesota Yarn Store, celebrated the holidays by giving away free poinsettias to the first 25 customers to spend $50 or more on Small Business Saturday.
4. Gift certificate
Send a special offer on gift certificates to loyal customers and encourage them to share it with a friend. This is a great way to generate revenue toward the end of the year, and introduce your business to new customers who will come back and shop with you in the new year.
5. Holiday party ideas
Show customers how you can make their lives easier during the holiday season. Send ideas to help them plan for their holiday parties and look for opportunities to highlight how your products or services can fit into their holiday plans.
Business to Business
Even if you’re not a business that sells products or services to consumers, you can still use the holidays to connect with clients and generate new opportunities for your business.
Here are some last-minute ideas for business to business companies:
1. Client appreciation
No matter what time of year it is, clients always like to feel appreciated. There are a number of ways you can use email to show your gratitude. For example, a business like Davidson & Company, LLP sends an email with a holiday video to say thanks for a great year.
You can also look for opportunities to offer discounts on products or services that can be used during or after the holiday season.
Celebrate the season with current and potential clients by hosting a holiday event. If you already have an event planned, you can schedule a series of invitation and reminder emails to help drive registration. Or, show your support for the community by sponsoring local events.
December isn’t all about the holidays. A lot of your clients will also be involved in planning for the New Year and will be looking for advice.
Think about how you can share your expertise this holiday season. A free eBook, webinar, or training video can make a great gift to your loyal customers.
4. Holiday discount
You don’t have to be a business that sells gifts to offer a holiday discount. A special holiday promotion can help you end the year on a high note and reach your annual goals. It can also set you up for success if you’re heading into a slower season for your business.
Previously, Arlington Promotional Products, LLC offered a $30 coupon for loyal customers to celebrate the New Year.
5. Preview email
Give clients a sneak peek at what you have planned for next year. Are you introducing new products? Have you grown your staff or expanded your services? Send out an email recapping the past year and let people know what you have planned for the New Year.
December is a critical month for nonprofits, especially those who rely on end-of-year giving to reach their fundraising goals. Whether you’re in the middle of your December fundraising planning or just want to connect with supporters before the end of the year, email can help.
Use these five ideas for nonprofits:
1. Fundraising reminder
Chances are your end of year fundraising is already underway. Maybe you participated in #GivingTuesday and are already on pace to reach your fundraising goals.
Build on that success by sending a fundraising email to encourage more people to get involved. Update people on your fundraising goals and give them different options to get involved.
2. Thank you message
Don’t miss the chance to say thank you to all the people who have contributed to your success this year. Send a thank you message to everyone on your email list, or create a personalized thank you message for all the different groups of people that you work with.
Do you have a list of recurring donors or volunteers who are always there when you need them? Are there businesses or other partners who have shown their support? The personal touch of a thank you email can make people feel appreciated and remind them of how important their support really is.
It’s not too late to engage supporters in a new way this holiday season. Baltimore Humane Society ran a holiday contest, asking donors to text “WAG” to 50155 after making a donation in order to “unlock their managers.”
Contests like this are a great way to bring your email marketing and social media together and generate valuable word of mouth for your organization.
4. Recurring giving
December is a great time to highlight the different giving programs you have available for next year. Tap into the giving season and set your organization up for success in the New Year by encouraging people to become recurring donors. Attach giving levels, special perks, and impact descriptions to monthly gift tiers so that you make recurring giving an attractive option.
5. Holiday gift guide
There are a number of ways nonprofits can offer gift ideas for the holiday season.
Massachusetts animal rescue organization, Fairy Dogparents, sells gifts like bottles of wine and candles that include the Fairy Dogparents logo, which benefit their organization. Gorilla Doctors, an organization that works in areas of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, puts out an annual calendar as a way to raise proceeds.
You can also encourage people to sponsor a donation as a gift to a friend or family member.
Put these ideas into action
Don’t miss out on the chance to connect with customers and supporters during the holiday season.
Constant Contact’s customizable email templates make it quick and easy to create holiday emails that look great in any inbox.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated in November 2019 for relevancy and accuracy.