The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Marketing Email Campaigns
It’s the season for giving! While that might spell stress for most people, it spells sales for most businesses. In Australia alone, Christmas spending across retail stores is expected to reach a massive $51 billion in 2018, a 2.9% increase from 2017. Now that’s a lot of giving.
Millions of consumers are ready to spend. Businesses everywhere are ramping up their ad spend and marketing budgets to get a piece of the Christmas pie. And as competition increases, you can bet your baubles ad costs will too. If you’re running any digital campaigns, your CPM’s, CPC’s, and CPA’s will start creeping up as Christmas grows nearer. This can wreak havoc on your marketing return on investment (ROI).
Integrating email into your Christmas marketing strategy is an easy and effective way to help keep your ROI in check. In fact, the average ROI of email is 122%!
So with giving aplenty, and spending abounds, here’s the Vision6 Ultimate Guide to Christmas Marketing Email Campaigns to help you sleigh the competition this Christmas!
The subject line is the wrapping paper of your email. Make your subscribers want to open it!
Let’s look at why subject lines are so important.
These are some interesting stats, especially the last one. Subject lines can make or break your Christmas email campaign. The right Christmas email subject lines can accomplish the following goals:
– Increase your email open rates
– Improve your click-through rates (CTRs)
– Drive more traffic to your website
– Potentially increase conversions/ sales.
But, what makes a winning subject line?
Let’s delve into some best practices for writing email subject lines for Christmas marketing campaigns. You could find your subject line letting you down without these in practice.
Personalise your subject line
Personalising using information from your database. This could be first name, location or the job title. But, don’t overdo it. Use personalisation sparingly for best results. This could help you achieve increased click-through rate and overall conversions.
Keep it casual
Use casual tone to build a personal connection with your subscribers. This can be similar to how you write to your friend but be respectful. This helps build a personal connection with the readers and also shows your personality as a brand.
Use exclamation sparingly!!!
Exclamations make your emails look like you’re trying too hard. Also, exclamation in subject lines might negatively affect open rates.
Around 66% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Use shorter email subject lines that are easy to read and well-optimised for landing pages.
Use Emojis (if possible)
Emojis work well in subject lines when not overused. Again, use this tactic sparingly, as too many emoji’s can also increase the chances of your email being marked as spam. Emojis are utilised best to express emotions non-verbally. Good examples of subject lines with emojis:
🎅 11 days left for Christmas
30% OFF – Your first gift of 2018🎁 💫
We’ve Got Something For You Chris 🎁
🎄 January workshops on sale tonight 🎅
Hurry, Apple & Samsung Guaranteed 🎄 Delivery Ends Midnight!
Test subject lines
Use the inbuilt A/B testing tool in Vision6 to increase those open rates and CTRs for your campaigns. Write great subject lines for running successful Christmas email campaigns. More subject line ideas here.
Imagery and Theme
You wouldn’t wrap a Christmas present in “Happy Anniversary” wrapping paper, would you? It might be a little funny, but it’ll mostly be jarring, downright confusing, and would make no sense. Giving your recipients something they expect makes the whole path to purchase much easier. And the easier it is, the more likely they are to take it. So, if you want to make sense AND dollars, you can’t afford to not get into the Christmas spirit. From stock images and editors to email templates, this list is one you’ll want to check twice. And best of all, these resources can be used for free!
Despite being free, Pixabay still offers some great stock images – especially for Christmas. They’ve got a massive selection of images, so to make things a little easier for you, here’s a few of our favourites.
A lot of these images are great to use on their own, as is. But to really sleigh your email design, and keep your branding on point, you’re going to want to overlay some text or logos over them.
It’s the season for giving and we’re getting right into the spirit of things! If you sign-up for a new account or log-in to your existing account right now, you’ll find a few special gifts from us. Vision6 accounts have been loaded up with free Christmas templates and stock images you can use right now. You’ll find the “Christmas” folder already included in your list of available templates and simply search for “Christmas” in the “Stock Images” folder to find our range of Christmas images. Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find inside when you unwrap your Vision6 gift.
Canva is a really easy to use image editing tool that not only lets you edit images but it also has a lot of images and icons already included. It’s great for designers and non-designers alike, capable of handling most design projects without the complexity (and price) of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
Stencil is a Canva alternative that’s a little more focused on graphic design specifically for marketing and social media images. Stencil has a nice drag-and-drop editor and comes preloaded with a lot of icons, images, quotes, fonts and templates that you can use from the get-go.
You can create and use Stencil for free right now however, free accounts are limited to 10 creations per month, and have restricted access to photos and icons.
Bad gifts are disappointing, regardless of how nicely they’re wrapped. If you really want your audience to take action, you need to do more than just have a stylish email with all the bells and baubles. To drive meaningful engagement and conversions, you need to deliver on the expectation.
Free shipping, percentage discounts, or free gifts with purchase are all pretty common promotions. They’re common for a reason. They’re quick and easy to implement, and will usually see some positive returns. But if you’re ready to get right into the Christmas spirit, and want to send that ROI all the way up to the North Pole, then try these Christmas marketing campaigns.
12 Deals of Christmas
Running a 12 Deals of Christmas marketing campaign is a great excuse to really up the send frequency and engagement with your list. 12 emails over 12 days would be a bit of overkill at any other time of year. Granted its relevance to the Christmas season, and the overcrowding in inboxes, your list should be a little more receptive to it. Be wary though, such high frequency still might annoy some recipients, so make sure you’re providing genuine value and great offers to minimise any negative effects.
Nutrition Warehouse really take the 12 Deals of Christmas marketing to the next level.
Staying on theme is an easy win. What your recipients are looking for is never more obvious than on Christmas. So capitalise on the festive season, maximise relevance, and deck the halls. Work the festive season into your imagery, and get creative with your copy and subject lines.
Build the Anticipation
What’s more enticing than a huge, beautifully wrapped gift under the tree with your name on it? Lift it, how much does it weigh? Shake it, what does it sound like? You might have some guesses, but you won’t know until the big day.
Nutrition Warehouse does a great job of building the anticipation in this Christmas marketing campaign. They show their recipients the deals that they can claim right now, but then remind them that there’s a few more under the tree with their name on it. Having the future deals *somewhat* blacked out, with nothing but the date gives the recipient just enough to get excited.
This style of promotion is not only an extremely effective Christmas marketing campaign, but it can be rolled out easily with Vision6’s automation and scheduling features. Set it up ahead of time, let Vision6 handle the sending and you enjoy your holidays.
We all know that when it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. And when consumers are thinking about gifts, they often find they need a little bit of help. Interest in “gift guide” topics reach their peak during the season for giving. So why not help them out with a Gift Guide style Christmas marketing campaign?
Selfridges provide us with a fantastic example of the Gift Guide style.
Empathise with your recipients and appreciate the situation they’re in. Acknowledge the stress they’re most likely feeling, then present them with the solution. Selfridges takes a playful approach, relating to the last-minute shopping situation we’ve all been in before. Just a quick message in the body: “Left your Christmas shopping to the last minute? You daredevil, you. Get it finished in a (festive) flash with our pick of guaranteed-a-grin gifts” is enough to set the scene.
Provide them a range
There’s no one gift that’ll be perfect for everyone. So where possible, showcase a range of products/services. A single product/offer leads the reader to ask themselves “Is this exactly what I’m looking for?” and a lot of the time it won’t be. However, a range of products leads them to ask “do they have what I’m looking for?” It’s a subtle difference, but the latter is much more likely to lead to a click-through than the former. You don’t need to provide exactly what your readers are looking for, just something close enough to prompt them to explore your range. So the more products you include, the more chances you have. That being said, just listing all your products is not the way to go.
Curate your range
Each one of your recipients are unique, and what they’re looking for is too. But try to resist the urge to jam-pack your email with all of your products in the hopes something will catch their eye. You want to guide your recipient through your range. Take a look at the products/services you offer, and try to find common themes or categories you can group them into. Selfridges group their products into “For Her”, “For Him”, “Exclusive to Selfridges”, and “Gifts Under ￡75”. Segmenting by price is often extremely helpful for a lot of consumers. Many have a previously determined amount they’re prepared to spend on a gift, so narrowing down their search to just what’s within their price range is helpful. Anything you can do to make their purchase decision quicker and easier is a win for you.
Use a Button
After reading a paragraph or two of text, a simple hyperlinked piece of text can easily be overlooked and end up unclicked. Readers tend to scan emails, stopping only when something stands out. Your call-to-action is the most important part of your Christmas marketing emails, so it has to stand out. A call-to-action as a button consistently attracts more clicks than anchored text and in some cases has been found to increase clicks by 45%. The psychology behind this is simple, words are for reading, buttons are for pressing.
A simple box or border around your call-to-action text is often enough to make it stand out. But it’s the bare minimum. If you really want to stir some action in your readers, then you’ve got to take it a little bit further.
- Use a larger or heavier font in your button than you do in your body text
- Add colour to your button, and make sure it contrasts against the background
- Ensure the call-to-action text has a high contrast against the button colour
- Use the Adobe Colour Wheel tool to find complementary contrasting colours
- Get creative with colour gradients, shadow effects, or even slightly different shapes
- Have space between your button and other elements to separate it from the bulk
Keep it action-oriented
Keep your call-to-action text simple, short, and to the point. 2 to 4 words tend to work best here. Avoid boring words like ‘click’ or ‘submit’, and instead opt for more exciting verbs like ‘create’, ‘get’, or ‘claim’.
Make it about them
A call-to-action tends to use phrases like “Reserve your seat”, “Place your order”, or “Start your trial”. But a small change from “Register your seat” to “Register my seat” subtly implies more ownership or entitlement in the mind of the reader. This small shift increases the likelihood they’ll take you up on the offer. In fact, Unbounce found a 90% increase in CTR after making the switch to “my” from “your”.
Give them an idea of what will happen after they click, for example, “Shop Summer Styles,” “Book my tickets”, or “Claim my Gift.” And of course, take your reader where they expect to go. If they’ve clicked the “Buy Now” button for a particularly ugly Christmas sweater, take them somewhere they can buy that particularly ugly Christmas sweater. If they click the “I’m in” button for your Christmas Movie Marathon, take them to the RSVP form.
Remember, the easier and shorter the purchase decision, the more likely it’ll be made.
We’ve all heard the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The grumpy old man, stuck in his old ways, stubbornly defying Christmas cheer, and refusing to change his behaviour. That is, until he’s visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come.
Christmas is the most competitive time of year for businesses. If your audience doesn’t seem to be reacting to your marketing campaigns as much as you’d like, it might be time to take a line from old Ebenezer Scrooge’s story.
A really good way to get your customers to change their behaviour and really lean into the spending season is to implement remarketing into your Christmas marketing. Give your audience a visit from purchases past, purchases present, and of course, purchases yet to come.
The Ghost of Purchases Past
If you’ve got previous purchase data on your customers, then serve them ads and offers for that product or service. This type of remarketing works best if you offer consumable or perishable products like cleaning supplies or confectionery. It’s also a perfect fit if you offer repeatable services or events.
Depending on your business and your CRM, if you’re able to determine the average lifespan of your product, you can time your remarketing strategy to maximise relevance. If you know your product lasts your customers approximately 6 months, send them an email and start remarketing on other channels around that time.
This method is a great way to retain customers, keep your brand top of mind during purchase consideration and reduce the chances of them experimenting with other brands.
The Ghost of Purchases Present
Abandoned carts. The bane of online stores everywhere. While on the surface they might signify lost revenue, 63% of abandoned carts are potentially recoverable. But only if you take action. Abandoned cart emails are a great way to bring shoppers back, and get them to pick up where they left off. Start recovering revenue with these great abandoned cart email tips.
If you have different forms or downloadables on your site, then you could be sitting on a remarketing gold mine. A form submission or a content download is a fantastic indicator of intent and interest. For instance, if a visitor downloads a spec-sheet for a particular vehicle you can assume they’re in the serious research phase of their decision and have a high intent to make a purchase. Send them a series of informational and inspirational emails promoting that vehicle to ensure you stay top of mind during the rest of their decision-making process.
The Ghost of Purchases Yet to Come
If you offer another product or service that’s complementary to an item your customers have already purchased, then show it to them. For example, if they’ve purchased a new set of ski’s, remarket to them with emails and ads for snow goggles and boots. If they’ve just purchased tickets to your website development workshop, start serving them ads on Search Engine Optimisation services.
Of course, make sure you’re collecting all the required consent and adhering to Spam and GDPR regulations. Which by the way is easy with Vision6’s in-built tools.
Remarketing lists aren’t just useful for serving ads, they’re also great for not serving ads.
Sometimes repeat purchases just don’t make sense for your business. For example, if a customer already has a subscription to use your app, you’ll want to exclude them from future marketing campaigns. This makes sure you don’t waste money trying to convert someone who’s already converted.
This kind of real-time remarketing requires you to integrate your customer lists with ad platforms. Usually, this process involves manually exporting your list from your CRM software, then importing it into each ad platform, and updating your audiences. In order to make sure your lists are always absolutely up-to-date, you would need to repeat this process every time there was a change in your list.
Vision6 however, directly integrates with Facebook and Google Ads. You only have to set up your remarketing audience and exclusion lists once and let Vision6 update them automatically. This automatic updating of your lists makes sure your Christmas marketing ad spend is 100% focused on potential customers. And once a potential customer converts, they go into your exclusion list, removing them from your Christmas marketing campaign’s targeting.
Why should you integrate SMS into your Christmas marketing campaigns? Let’s look at some data to get perspective:
99% of all text messages will be read by your customer. No other marketing solution has that kind of open rate. This makes SMS marketing the most powerful marketing platform to close sales when used together with email marketing activities.
Here are 5 different ways to leverage SMS in your Christmas marketing campaigns.
Tis’ the season to build relationships. Every touch of SMS is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your customer. Treat your most loyal customers with some extra love by incentivising them to opt-in or give a Christmas offer they can’t resist.
Use SMS to build exclusivity into your Christmas marketing. Send special promotions only via text message to make your customers feel special and build excitement around your text message marketing. To really drive home the exclusivity, make it obvious to them that it’s an SMS only deal.
Christmas eve Promos
95% of text messages are opened within 5 minutes. With Christmas discounts, coupon codes and timed restricted offers, SMS is a great way to engage them quickly, and surely. Their phone is never far away, even on Christmas.
Encourage Impulse Buys
Remind customers during their busy shopping days that they can either order online or visit your stores. Timing is everything. Customers will be more likely to pop into your store if they receive the promotional SMS while they’re already out shopping. Running exclusive offers just on SMS work great too.
Last Minute Offers
Sell out the stock that’s hanging around beyond Dec 24th. Send out a last minute SMS campaign to your customers and ensure your last minute deals are seen. Track link clicks and track URLs using Vision6 inbuilt SMS features.
Festive Opening Times
It’s a good idea to let your customers know about any changes to your opening and closing hours during the Christmas period. This also acts as a ‘we are here when you need us’ reminder too. Make sure your customers, suppliers and staff are all kept in the loop with personalised text messages for Christmas.
Email is still an extremely effective marketing channel despite there being so many cool new kids on the block. Email marketing outperforms even Facebook marketing in many ways, with marketers enjoying higher than average click-through-rates, reach, and most importantly your ROI.
If you’re running Christmas marketing campaigns without an email component, you could be missing out on some serious revenue. If you’re not running Christmas marketing campaigns just yet, email is a great place to start.