What Are You Doing For the Holidays?

We’re headlong into the holiday season now. If you’ve ever ordered anything online, you’re probably receiving all kinds of promotions and messages into your inbox.

How do you feel about these? Are there companies you’ve never heard of and have no idea how you got on their list? Conversely, are there some that are offering something that appeals to you, e.g., free shipping for a period of time, 30% off select items, a contest or drawing for a $100 gift card?

As a business, what are you doing for the holidays? If you’re sending out emails to your customers and contacts, make sure you’re not guilty of those practices that annoy you.

I recently read a very relevant post in Constant Contact®’s blog. (You can read the original posting here.) As a recipient of email campaigns myself, I appreciated what was said in the post. So, turning it around and viewing it from the sender’s perspective (you and your business), here are some things to try to do:

  1. If you’ll be sending out more email campaigns than usual, let your readers know. They’ll be less annoyed and more likely to continue to read your emails. For example, if you typically send 1-2 messages a month, but from now until January 1, you have plans to send 1 or more per week, let your readership know. You can word it in a way that encourages them to look forward to your messages, e.g., “From now through the end of the year, Acme Company will be sharing weekly holiday tips along with coupons, discounted items, announcements and good cheer for their loyal customers.” See how easy that is?
  2. Everyone gives 20%, 30%, 50% off. Why not offer 22% off because your daughter’s birthday is December 27 and she’s turning 22 years old. Think of something unpredictable, even explain how you chose it. Have fun with it.
  3. In a previous blog, I talked about using email marketing to nurture a relationship with your customers and subscribers. These are people that are interested in you and your business. Show that you are interested in them. Offer something that is only available to your readers: “Bring in this coupon for ½ off your next massage” or “Get your shopping done before the rush. Doors open 1 hour earlier for customers showing a copy of this message” or “This message is your pass for carefree shopping…”, etc.
  4. Along with the specials, offer something completely different: your favorite holiday recipes, decorating ideas, shopping/parking tips, or holiday events happening near you. Ever get one of those emails with some gift ideas? I look at those EVERY TIME because I always need help! You could feature certain products by listing them under “gift ideas for men/women/kids/under $100/under $25”, etc.
  5. Now that you have all these great ideas running around in your head, I’m going to pull you up short for a moment: keep your emails short. Remember #1? People are getting lots of email. If yours is too lengthy, too busy, or too hard to read, forget it. Instead, use images, largish fonts, short phrases with just the highlights, white space, and links to your website for more details if necessary. Remember, too, that people will often read these messages from their mobile phone while on the go.
  6. Be inclusive. There are actually several holidays being celebrated by different cultures and religions at this time of the year. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa to name a few. Keep in mind that your audience is likely to be a cross-section of cultures and ethnic groups. Use inclusive terms like, “Holiday Savings” instead of “Christmas Savings,” for example. People can become less interested in doing business with you if they feel you don’t recognize this diversity.

More ideas? Let me know what you’ll be doing for your valued customers this holiday season.

Next time: TBD

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