I’m not ready for the holidays.
Hot chocolate, old-man sweaters, ice skating with the family while pretending not to be frozen to the core–I’m all for it.
Holiday marketing? Not so much. I swear, I just sent my Fourth of July email campaign.
Black Friday is when the insanity begins, but rather than wait for the day to arrive, you should start sending emails now. Once your customers know to expect your email on the busy day, use the next email to present a unique offer, and then make sure the best deals go to your best customers.
It’s time to make this holiday season outperform last year — ready or not.
Start your Black Friday marketing a little early
As shoppers descend on stores around the country at the crack of dawn, you don’t want to be up at the same time creating emails. Instead, schedule your campaign a week early. Your email series should have three emails, one that teases your deals, another that presents the offer, and a third that closes with a last chance reminder. This is more effective than a single message, and the time to send your first email is a week early.
The teaser email that holds back the full surprise gives customers a taste of what to expect while building excitement. It also helps your second email stand out in a crowded inbox because customers are expecting an email from your business. Send the second email early in the day on Black Friday, and save the last minute reminder for when shopping starts to slow down.
Offer your customers something unexpected
The standard discount offer can be effective, but when every other company is using the same tactic it can be hard to stand out. Instead of discounting your products, offer a different kind of value they don’t expect, like exclusivity. Everyone likes to feel like a VIP, so create a special collection of products reserved for the customers that repeatedly support your business.
If you run a brand built on a subscription model, the VIP collection could be reserved for subscribers. Including a teaser about the VIP product line in the first email of the series could provide a boost in subscriptions before Black Friday even arrives. If your business uses a different model, you could keep the products a secret, but let customers refer a friend to expand your audience at the same time.
Get the right deals to the right people
If you do offer a discount to customers, make sure they receive it. Use segmentation to split up your large list into different groups of customers. Then you can send each segment a different holiday offer, such as the VIP product collection to your most valuable customers, and a simple 10% discount to new customers.
Segmentation also keeps you from sending too many emails, or the wrong one. If the email sent on the morning of Black Friday convinces a customer to buy a product, you don’t want to send them another sales email at the end of the day. Instead, send a thank you email, an incentive to refer a friend, or a special piece of holiday content.
There’s still time to make an impact
Luckily, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to get your holiday marketing off the ground, even if you haven’t planned a thing. Look back at your historical email campaign data. Major trends, like the time of day with the most opens, or the most popular subject lines, can help you shape future campaigns. Think of how you could improve on your past success, and avoid the tactics that didn’t work.
Once you have a game plan, write a subject line that gets customers to open your email, include an eye-catching headline, add the right photo, and present a clear call-to-action. Double-check the call-to-action button at the bottom of the email properly links to the right page of your website. After reading your email, customers should know exactly what to do next.
Use Black Friday to kick-start your holiday marketing
I haven’t started my holiday shopping, and I still don’t know how to wrap a present with only three pieces of tape (Lies!), but I’m scheduling my Black Friday email series a week early. Make a list of holiday campaign ideas for your audience, check it twice, and then start scheduling. When the tryptophan starts to lull you to sleep on Thanksgiving day, you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing your holiday marketing has already started.