Using email for marketing your holiday promotions is a great way to get your message outreach - but start now!
I recently had an opportunity to chat with some small business CEOs and the conversations merged into “Have you made your Holiday promotional plans?”. They urged me to do a column on giving some tips for this task.
My first tip is this. Now is the time to finish the plan
Yes, I know it is August, but you have a lot of potential income resting on your business’s success over the next few months.
You may have created a killer holiday promotion -- now it’s time to let people know about it! Email for marketing is the perfect vehicle for your message, but, like all vehicles, you have to know how to drive it.
Sending an email is easy, right? You’ve probably sent or received one within the last 10 minutes. But sending out a promotional message along with millions of other companies can be tricky. How do you get people to open? How do you know your message is getting to people? Bryan Caplan is one of SCORE’s content partners. He is all about helping you build a bigger, better business. Bryan works with entrepreneurs around the world, learning and teaching digital marketing topics to help small businesses grow and succeed. I will share some of his key tips.
The holiday season is chaotic, and it’s easy to lose your marketing focus amidst all the hustle and bustle. To stay on task, you’ll want to start by setting SMART goals for your holiday marketing program. The beauty of SMART goals is that they make you accountable for any aspect of running your business.
According to a Dominican University Study by Psychologist Gail Matthews, if you can quantify your goals through the SMART framework, you are more likely to succeed. Those findings have also been found and echoed in similar studies according to Psychology Today and Harvard Business Review.
Setting SMART goals starts with asking yourself a few questions about your email campaign:
- What do you want your recipients to do?
- How quickly do you want them to do it?
- How can you help them take that action in the inbox?
- Understand Your Audience
You need to remember that your potential customers are being waylaid with ads, emails, text messages, and more during the holiday season. If you send a general “shotgun blast” email, you simply blend in with all the promotional noise around them. The key is understanding your audience, so you can create messaging that resonates with them.
Once you define your buyer persona, you can craft a marketing message that drives them to open, engage, and buy through your email campaign.
Laser Focus On Your Promotion
When you are crafting your marketing messaging, simplicity is key! These holiday consumers are overwhelmed with buying options, promotions, and sales; you do not want to contribute to their Analysis Paralysis by stuffing multiple thoughts into your email campaign.
Fight the urge to add in additional information, too many images, or other sales or promotions, so you can keep your reader laser-focused on the promotion at hand. By staying simple and avoiding analysis paralysis, you prevent overthinking and confusion.
Have A Strong Call To Action
Every email, promotional or not, should have a clear call to action. Telling your reader exactly what you want them to do is especially important when you consider consumers’ shrinking attention spans.
A call to action (also known as a CTA) is simply a text link or button with instructions. For instance, you may add a button that says “Read More” or insert a simple hyperlink in your paragraph to “check out the product.”
Before you send, you’ll want to decide what your call to action will be. Some effective calls to action for driving holiday purchases include:
- Buy now
- Shop now
- Claim your offer
- Grab yours today
- Click here to buy
Use that call to action in two or three instances in your email campaign to remind your readers what you want them to do.
Sense of Urgency
If you want to capture the attention of a holiday shopper, consider adding a sense of urgency to your email campaign. You can do this with some good old-fashioned wording!
Use an exploding offer to lean into the FOMO (or fear of missing out) on the deal: “This offer ends at midnight on Black Friday!”
If time isn’t the issue, you can allude to inventory: “Our elves could only create 20 of these magical widgets, so grab yours before they run out!”
By leveraging a sense of urgency, you let the reader know that this deal will not last long, and they must act fast.
This may seem counterintuitive, but you need to ramp up your email marketing efforts, especially during the holiday season. People expect to get emails, so don’t think you’re annoying them.
Each year about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween according to the National Retail Federation, so you should start sending more frequently - think weekly - starting in late September or early October.
In November, you should ramp up to twice per week, and in the week leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you should be sending almost daily with a morning and evening email on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, specifically. After those days you can drop back down to twice a week until Christmas.
Is it a lot of email campaigns? Yes, but you need to remember that your competitors and other businesses vying for holiday spending budgets are also increasing the volume of email for marketing their products, so to stay relevant, you need to send more.
Using email for marketing your holiday promotions is a great way to get your message to prospective customers as long as you make sure you are doing everything you can to maximize its effectiveness! Before starting, always make sure you set goals for your campaigns and do some research to better understand your audience. Once you start building your messaging keep your emails focused on your promotion with a clear call to action. And once you start sending, keep sending to stay relevant and top of mind!
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.