Email Best Practices

How to kick off your holiday email strategy with a whiteboard

Kickstarting your holiday email strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Here's what to consider when brainstorming for some brilliant ideas.

Two gods decorate a Christmas tree in front of some more decorations

We’re getting into the holiday spirit here at Mailjet. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking more about email strategy during these busy winter months and best practices to get to the top of the inbox as businesses vie for wallet share. From content to design, deliverability and analytics, we’ll cover it all.

When coming up with Christmas present ideas, what’s your strategy? Do you shop around to see what’s in fashion? Recycle an old gift from last year? Find out what other people are getting the recipient?

When strategizing your holiday email marketing, try a mixture of these. Get the team together for a few hours around the whiteboard before jumping into your campaigns. Pulling up your list of goals for the holiday season, think about current topics your customers are talking about, their needs and pain points. Consider what’s worked well for you before, as well as competitor and industry trends. Drawing together all of these points will help you and your team come up with words or themes to focus your campaign on.

Here are our marketing team's three favorite points to follow for a successful brainstorm session.

The data of Christmas past

This Christmas, be a Scrooge. We’re not saying that you should be miserable. Instead, use insights from your past to change the way you act. As an email marketer, you’re probably already aware of the importance of reviewing past campaigns to improve your content and fine-tune your audience going forward. A tool like Mailjet’s Campaign Comparison allows you to easily compile data and analyze trends over time. You can also group past email campaigns together and average metrics to create benchmarks, which give a standard to measure the success of future campaigns.

Ultimately, benchmarks will help you answer those all-important questions: Which subject lines best captured your subscriber’s attention? Was there a certain piece of holiday content that generated more click-throughs, e.g. a funny video, a link to a festive blog post? How did you phrase those winning call-to-actions (CTAs)?

C is for customer behavior, competitor research and current trends

Customer behavior changes over time - you have to be flexible, adapting to their needs while staying one step ahead, predicting what they may want or need next. Revamping your past content with some fresh new ideas will keep your relationship with your customers strong.

The first step to refreshing your holiday content can be to research industry trends to make sure that you’re relevant. Are there any trends going viral that you can incorporate into your campaigns? What are your competitors up to this holiday season? What content channels are most successful for them (social, blog, advertising)? What content pieces are most popular?

They might be running a special promotion this holiday season, or have introduced a new interactive element on their website, e.g. an openable advent calendar. Remember, their existing customers are your potential ones. Keep an eye on which themes appeal to this demographic, and how you can integrate these into your marketing, while retaining whatever makes you unique.

There are some useful tools to help you stay in the know. Buzzsumo can help you discover trending content topics in your industry; filter by type and time period to find out which are most relevant to your strategy.

Use social listening tools, such as Mention, to find out what interests your subscribers, what they need and what their pain points are. Which hashtags are currently popular among your customer base? Find out how your customers interact with your brand, and use social media platforms to experiment with new ideas, for instance running a ‘caption this photo’ competition. Walmart shows how it’s done:

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Once you’ve come up with a list of themes, based on current trends and past insights, combine these with your specific year-endgoals.

For instance, you might be an e-commerce shop looking to drive more sales during the holiday season. Your past campaigns suggest this is a great time to do so - in fact, industry research predicts that by the end of this year, the industry is projected to reach nearly $334 billion in consumer spend. Saving money might be a popular theme among your customer base and your competitors’. Your subscribers might respond well to engaging visual content. So how can you combine these? One idea could be to run a mystery promotion campaign, where subscribers are given various promotions at random after clicking on a festive image in the email. Only a small percentage of your subscribers will receive the promotional code-containing emails, but the prospect of doing so adds excitement, intrigue and drives engagement.

Kickstarting your holiday email strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Sit down with your team to consider all of these elements and combine them to come up with some great ideas. It’ll get you in the festive mood and make your holiday marketing more efficient and even more exciting!

Liked this content? For more holiday tips and tricks, check out our gift that’ll bring you to the #topoftheinbox this season.

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