3 Strategies for Last-minute Holiday Email Campaigns

Dec 20, 2011 8:08 AM  By

Most email marketers have their holiday promotional calendar mapped out well before Black Friday. But what if you find yourself needing to put together a message quickly to meet your end-of-year or holiday season sales goals? Here are some tips to help you create a timely email when you are short on time.

Reuse and recycle
Why reinvent the wheel when you can use what you already have? To speed the production process, take a look at existing assets, either from previous campaigns, or from other marketing channels, such as your website.

You can take graphics and text from your website and create a new email design. Keep it simple, don’t try to get too fancy with dynamic content or animated GIFs.

Petco used this tactic in October for their Black Cat Friday campaign. They designed a postcard-style email which was different from their usual product-focused messaging. They used holiday images from their website and gave a blanket offer of 20% off the entire site. This allowed Petco to cut production time to three days and still have a positive impact on ROI.

For those who send catalogs or direct mail, try using the catalog cover art, and let customers know the catalog is coming soon.

A friendly reminder
Don’t be afraid to remind subscribers about the great deal they’re missing out on. Many merchants send their promotional emails in the early hours to be sure that they will be seen in the inbox first thing in the a.m. That makes a lot of sense, but over the course of the day, even the best intentioned shoppers may not get a chance to take advantage of your offer.

Send another message at the end of the day, with an updated subject line to reinforce the urgency of the expiring offer? L’Occitane en Provence used this tactic on Cyber Monday, when they offered a $10 gift card with a $50 purchase in the morning email, then sent a reminder in the evening that used the same creative, but the subject line and pre-header reiterated the midnight deadline for the offer.

Mobilize the troops
If you need to get people moving, think about an email to in-store campaign. Studies have shown that shoppers are more likely to purchase an item when they can physically touch it. For products like electronics, toys, and even clothing, this can be an important consideration. The execution on this can be very simple, just include a discount code the customer can print out or show to the cashier on their phone.

Speaking of phones, are you connecting with the increasingly-mobile shopper? Your email service provider can probably tell you what percentage of your emails is being opened on a mobile device, and possibly even which specific devices. If you have an app, now is the time to promote it. Especially if it makes shopping easier, which is what everyone needs this time of year.

For example, an iPhone app from Toys “R” Us lets you see if a product is also available in stores, and offers gift suggestions based on a child’s age and interests. Features like wish lists, shopping lists, and weekly promotions are also popular.
While waiting until the last minute isn’t the best strategy, all is not lost. With a little creativity you can create a happy holiday inbox for all.

Andrea Orvis is director of strategic service at e-Dialog.