Why planning your holiday promotions now can lead to greater success — and less stress — come November and December.
The holiday season seems to move into our lives and stores earlier and earlier. Christmas decorations appear on shelves before Halloween. Stores make space for Halloween costumes before summer’s end. No longer is there an official start to the holiday season. And no matter how soon decorations and discounts start to pop up, you still find yourself rushing around at the last minute to catch up on one thing or another.
Running a website during this time can easily add to the scramble. There’s a lot happening on a regular day when it comes to running a website, let alone during peak holiday season! Many site owners find themselves in a pressured rush to think of catchy but relevant content, to source out the best way to capitalize on online shoppers, to decide what sales to send out and when, and more.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Work through a few steps now and alleviate the year-end scramble for you and your website.
Email Marketing and the Holiday Season
As a site owner, you already know email is one of your top tools (if not the top tool) to boost sales and increase engagement both on and offline. The trick is working with your email marketing to produce organized and effective holiday campaigns, without annoying your subscribers or pulling your hair out in the process.
Plan Now to Avoid Stress, Confusion and Last Minute Pitches
Whether you are gearing up for a Thanksgiving series, Black Friday campaign or holiday sales, starting your preparations now allows ample time to get yourself organized, create the content, fine tune the details, and test things well in advance.
Get started by following these four steps:
Step 1 – Make Time to Strategize
First, start a new, blank document or pull out a blank sheet of paper and in one column write out everything you did last year for your holiday promotions. In the next column write out things you wish you would have done differently. Is there something you would have done if you had had more time? Write that down as well.
On the flip side, or on page two, take a few minutes to brainstorm anything and everything you could do during this holiday season for promotions. Include things for your website, in-store promotions (if applicable), discounts, giveaways, social media content and more. Write it all. If something was successful last year, should you consider bringing it back this year? Is there a central theme or a group of themes? With time to plan properly, would you be able to execute accordingly?
Step 2 – Map out your Plan
Now that you have consolidated your thoughts, it’s time to sit down and map out your plan. Decide how many emails you plan to send, look at the calendar and schedule when to send them, and take a few notes on content and images to include. In other words, create a content calendar for your holiday promotions. Use these details to coordinate other online or in-store advertising, and social media postings.
Once your basic calendar is in place, it’s time to drill down into the details of things. A few things to consider:
- Will you be using automated emails from website updates, individual newsletters or creating separate funnels for each holiday campaign?
- Should you send every email to your full list or reserve certain emails and sneak previews for those most active on your mailing list? (Hint: FeedBlitz makes it wicked easy to pull your most active, engaging subscribers in less than 15 seconds!)
- What tags will you use to track your subscribers who take an action? Are you going to tag them through a specific subscription form? A purchase made? A link clicked in an email?
These are all items to consider when it comes to not only your email marketing campaigns in general but especially your holiday campaigns. If you’re rushing at the last minute to throw together an email or campaign, missing details happen. You, on the other hand, are starting early, so you have plenty of time to get these items in place before your campaigns are sent!
Step 3 – Create the Content
It’s tempting to jump straight to writing your content and skip strategizing and planning, but we wouldn’t recommend it. With your plan in place, you now know what to write and when. It’s time to put pen to paper or in this case, fingers to keyboard.
Create every piece of content for your holiday campaigns in advance. This includes subscription forms, confirmation emails, funnels, the campaign emails, headlines, social updates, and so on. Doing this now saves you time in the long run, and allows you to take a step back and see the bigger picture. When you finish ask yourself:
Is my content inline with my goal(s)? Is it consistent in voice and tone?
Are my calls to action clear and enticing? Does everything fit?
If the answer is NO to any of the above, head back to your keyboard. Work through the creation process early to avoid second-guessing yourself, creating jumbled themes, or rushed content.
Step 4 – Test, Test, TEST
The most vital step, testing is often the most overlooked. Test every single item you’ve created with your email campaigns — your forms, funnels, newsletters — all of it. And don’t forget the less obvious things test your links, your images, your buttons, view your headlines and preview text in different mailing agents. Ensure your tagging is set up correctly.. Make and use a checklist to walk yourself through the process and mark things off as you test.
When everything has been tested, you’ll be confident things are in place, with the correct timing. You may not be able to control open rates and click throughs in your email marketing, but you can and should test your timing, content, and links. We can’t stress this step enough!
Spare yourself time, headache, and stress this November and December.
Imagine spending the holiday season with friends and family instead of scrambling to produce content. Put the time in now during September and October and relax a little in November and December, confident with the knowledge that your holiday campaigns are running smoothly and efficiently.
If you have any questions when it comes to email marketing or would like help in crafting your holiday campaigns, send our team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.