It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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With only eight Fridays to Christmas, now is the time to get your email campaign plans sorted if you haven’t already! If you want to get really precise on how many days are left until Christmas, click here to see the countdown! There is nothing like prompting people to start thinking about Christmas by saying how many days are left.

A good starting point for your plans is to look at your activities from last year, drawing on your successes and any useful insights into purchasing habits. Don’t forget to review your competitor activities and the year overall as well.

If your inbox was anything like mine on Christmas day you will have received a lot of the “Happy Christmas” emails. However there are lots of other messages you can include as part of your email plans and I’ve pulled together some examples.

With online shopping rising for the likes of John Lewis by 22.6% in 2013, a helpful message for consumers is to confirm last day for Christmas delivery. This can be followed up with a sense of urgency like Millets did with the subject line “Today Is The Last Day To Order For Christmas Delivery – Don’t Miss Out”. Admittedly it is a long subject line, which probably could have been shortened. However the message is clear in the body of the email, the only thing was the online code maybe should have expired at the same time as online delivery ending.
Millets Last Delivery For Christmas
Hotel Chocolat also sent an email to remind their customers with a subject “Boxed and delivered – guaranteed in time for Christmas”. This also featured their key products as a reminder with clear call to actions for each.
Hotel Chocolat Christmas deliveryEven when online delivery has stopped for the Christmas period, the focus of the message could be directing last minute shoppers to their nearest store.

Over the last few years, online advent calendars or 12 days of Christmas programmes have seen a surge in popularity, from the likes of Marks and Spencer to holiday companies like Viking Cruises, using them to offer special discounts.

12 days of Christmas and online advent calendars
Currys and PC World predicted that 1 million Brits would be unwrapping a new tablet in 2013 for Christmas. This show cases a perfect opportunity to promote your app but make sure the email is designed for mobile & tablets!
 Expedia Merry Christmas email

ITV even used this concept as the basis for their subject line “New tablet for Christmas? Download the ITV Player app”. The call to actions could have been stronger in the email and perhaps the app ratings or a testimonial could have been included to encourage more downloads.
ITV Christmas download our app email 
Expedia went for the humorous spin with the subject line “Appy Christmas!” I personally think the messaging in the email is a bit confusing once you open it and the creative could have been better themed.
Expedia Appy Christmas email 
This was one of the Happy Christmas messages I received on the 25th, where the creative stood out for me. However it could have been even better by replacing the treat yourself section with two self segmenting sections– ‘Not got you wanted? Treat yourself instead’ or ‘Share your Clinique presents with us’ linking to social media.
 
Ted Baker used a Merry Kissmas campaign with the #kissted in the run up to Christmas 2013, where people could enter their store photos. The email on the 25th used an animated gif to show some of the entries and an incentive to click through to see if your picture had been featured. A great example of offline and online campaign activity working together.
 
Incorporating a Christmas message video into the email could offer people waiting for the turkey to cook a funny or heart felt branded message. There is also the opportunity for them to socially share it with friends and family, so don’t forget to put a reminder at the end of the video and in the email.

Book People Merry Christmas email with video 
Lakeland focused on the charity aspect in their email and asked their subscribers to vote on their donation split for the year. The email has a clear message and purpose with a very on brand creative.
 Lakeland Merry Christmas email
I love the use of countdown clocks in emails like Aerie included for ‘the party ends’ last year. We all know animation catches your eye and people love to tell us others how long is left!

Aerie Christmas countdown email Opening hours are very useful to include in Christmas emails, which Chatsworth House could have considered alongside using some images of their stately home decorated. I’m sure this would have got some shares socially as well.
Chatsworth House Merry Christmas email I love the idea of being able to drop a hint in the Christmas build up and this example from Tiffany who used the subject line “Drop A Hint (or Two)”.
Tiffany & Co Drop a Hint email 
Even using pre-populated social links give companies the opportunity to allow their customers to share items without the need to set up a microsite. A quick win with the potential to grow your database as well. This example is from Hotel Chocolat with the added bonus of clear call to action text.

Hotel Chocolat Christmas share email Content for Christmas messages is key like any email, make it personal and relevant based on the segment you are targeting. Key things people might be looking for during the festive period might be stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts, which I’ve picked out two examples for.

Even though this is a long email, I like the helpful tone from Blacks suggesting their top 10 stocking fillers. Perhaps the creative could have just had the top 5 items to make it shorter with a call to action see more ideas on the website.

Blacks stocking filler email
Very tapped into the secret Santa market using the subject line “Secret Santa sorted…200 gifts under £10”. However when the email was opened my expectation was that it would be filled with secret Santa ideas, but instead there were lots of other messages and only a box feature at the bottom.
 
Top tips

Stand out from the crowd. For example instead of the usual “Happy Christmas” subject line, Boden used an intriguing one for their Christmas day email which helped them stand out in a cluttered inbox “A note for naughty email readers…”

– Have some fun, get people sharing and talking about it socially.

– It was estimated in 2012 that £4.4 billion was spent on gift vouchers, so make sure you include a feature on this. Make it easy for people to buy them online otherwise if it becomes too much hassle they might go elsewhere.

– Plan for pre and post Christmas as well. E-consultancy Christmas 2013 ecommerce stats round summarises British internet users made 129m visits to retail websites on Boxing Day, a 15% year-on-year increase, making 26 December the biggest online shopping day ever.

– Christmas is a perfect time to review your customer baseand offer your loyal customers something unique as an extra special thank you. I saw this in Debenhams the other day and loved the idea of sending your VIP customers a branded bauble as something different to the usual Christmas card. Branded Christmas baubles

– People don’t browse items they aren’t interested in so don’t forget your behavioural emails and make them festive for the season as well.

– Don’t forget about timing and checking your deliverability status. It is well known the number of emails being sent in December ramps up so ESP’s delivery is more fragile.

– According to The Logic Group study of Christmas Shopping in 2013, 25% men buy their presents last minute and online shopping increased with tablets leading the way for 45-54 year olds and 22% of 25-34 year olds used mobiles to do their shopping. This reinforces the need to segment your data to offer them the most relevant messaging.

Infographic styleemails to summarise the year are an interesting alternative to the standard Happy Christmas message which I think Ridgeway have captured very thoughtfully for the B2B marketplace. <

Year infographic

– For more top tips Econsultancy have put together – 30+ Christmas email marketing tips from the experts.

Want us to help with your Christmas plans or have any questions? Please contact 01392 211765 or email [email protected]

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