Every year, the Christmas season brings a kind of frenzy unique to the season. According to Statista, Christmas is the largest economic stimulus worldwide. In the US alone, total holiday retail sales reach up to $719 billion. That’s about 23% of the total retail sales in the country, which is a little over $3 trillion. The internet has also changed the way people buy their Christmas presents. In 2018, holiday shopping e-commerce grew to 16.6 percent compared to the previous year. And many experts expect this trend to continue well into the future. As more people shift to online shopping, brands will also need to embrace new ways of marketing. Email marketing has always been popular. But the rise of messaging apps means that you\'ll need to rethink how you approach your strategy. Don\'t know where to start? Don\'t worry. In this article, we\'ll cover eight ways you can use messaging apps to boost your Christmas email marketing. Christmas Email Marketing Strategy: Email or Messaging Apps? For the majority of brands, email marketing is the standard for holiday marketing. After all, holiday sales account for 20% of all retail sales, according to National Retail Federation. Although emails have been a staple for many marketers, messaging apps have recently taken the spotlight. Apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat have enjoyed steady growth in the number of users. Research also shows these apps have 20% more active users per month than social media sites. What\'s even more impressive is the engagement on messaging apps. According to a Frost & Sullivan study, mobile messages have a 98% open rate. Email marketing campaigns, on the other hand, have an average open rate of 20%. So, does this mean you should forego email campaigns altogether for messaging apps? Not necessarily. Ubisend reports that users are split when it comes to both tools. Email still wins as the preferred way to get in touch with a business, but only by a small margin. About 45.8% of users prefer messaging apps against 54.2% who choose email. 8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps and Email What if you don’t have to choose between the two after all? Yes, it’s possible to plan a Christmas marketing strategy that uses both channels. What the email lacks in urgency, your messaging apps can fill. And what messaging apps lack in space for content and offers, your email campaign can deliver. Here\'s how you can combine messaging apps and email to amplify your Christmas email marketing strategy: 1. Launch a Holiday-Themed Newsletter The Christmas season is a perfect time to get creative with your newsletters. You can start by launching a holiday-themed campaign covering your seasonal promotions. You can create an email marketing campaign to promote products right before Christmas starts. Or you could publish a short article about unique gift ideas and tips your subscribers can try. For example, Mothercare has created a holiday email campaign with tips and product offers for the Christmas season. You can also use messaging apps to remind people of your newsletter. This way, your newsletters are more likely to be read and even anticipated! 2. Promote Limited-Time Offers Every other business will have its version of a limited offer during the holidays. So how do you stand out? You can try showcasing products that are not currently available from competitors or retailers. Your subscribers will be more likely to buy your product if they know it\'s not available anywhere else. For example, Swatch created a campaign where users could design custom, one-off watches for Christmas. Again, you can use messaging apps to send notifications to your customers. This will lead to higher engagement with your offer. And, in turn, make your promotions more effective than if you were to send them via email alone. 3. Give Helpful Holiday-Themed Videos The Christmas season is such a hectic time for many. You can make it less stressful by sharing videos with solutions to common problems. For instance, you could share a video on how to wrap gifts, just like what Hobby Lobby did. If you sell items that need to be assembled, you can create a short guide on how to put those products together. Your videos don\'t need to be limited to products. Simple how-to’s on decorating the home and preparing for Christmas can also provide value to your subscribers. What’s great about this type of content is that you can publish it anywhere. Whether it\'s your site, social media channels, mobile apps, or email campaigns. You can also generate more views by adding messaging notifications to your campaign. A text messaging service could help you send timely messages to your customers even if you only have their email address. 4. Offer Custom Service to High-Value Customers Messaging apps provide several benefits to your Christmas email marketing strategy. But you can also use your email campaigns to tell users about how they can use messaging apps to access different services. For example, you can tell people to use messaging apps for a more personalized chat service. That\'s what lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur, did for their Christmas marketing plan. They launched a WhatsApp promo called, “Menage a Trois” for all customers. WhatsApp users could invite a personal shopper into a group chat to discuss Christmas gift-giving ideas for their partner. The result? 112 chats took place, which led to a 61% increase in website traffic and a 31% increase in store visits. Creating an email campaign that promotes a similar type of service can go a long way in boosting your conversions. 5. Give a Generous ‘Thank You’ to Customers Christmas marks the time of year when most businesses focus on enticing customers to buy discounted products. There\'s nothing wrong with that. But you can take a different approach to this occasion by thanking them instead. Show your gratitude by sending heartwarming emails. Express your appreciation for customers’ continued support. And let them know about any special offers they can take advantage of before the year ends. One example is what outdoor clothing brand Woolrich did. Their email campaign featured a thank you message. As well as warm holiday wishes, and information about their winter clearance sale. Attractive imagery complete with snowy views made the offer perfect for the season: You can take your thank messages a step further by sending them through messaging apps. Your messages don\'t have to be elaborate. A simple \"Thank for your continued support\" can make customers feel appreciated. 6. Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers During the holidays, it’s inevitable that some people will wait until the last minute to shop. You could design an email campaign for these folks. The campaign could showcase sale products and even provide tips on how last-minute shoppers can choose the ideal gift. Retail giant, Neiman Marcus, created a holiday email campaign to do that. The campaign explained their GiftNow service, which allowed last-minute shoppers to send a gift to their loved ones by Christmas: Each email included cool gift suggestions and videos about the service and provided a unique solution for a common problem. 7. Use Gamification Strategies Games will always pique our interest. So it\'s a good idea to add a bit of fun and excitement to your email campaign. You can do this by making use of interactive gamification. One noteworthy example of gamification comes from the creative agency, Two. In one of their campaigns, they sent an email allowing subscribers to take part in a Christmas tree decorating activity. Users were asked to share their designs on Twitter using the hashtag, #XmasHTreeMail. This led to an increase in social shares and email subscribers for Two. Using Messaging apps to promote your interactive campaigns can create similar results. You could even add exclusive freebies or prizes for those who win the contest. 8. Give a Sneak Preview Providing a sneak peek of your products is another good way to combine messaging apps and email. For example, you can create an email campaign to notify users about an upcoming product. You can also ask them to sign up for mobile notifications to get exclusive \"early bird\" discounts. Here’s an “early bird” discount holiday email from Current Catalog that offers 20% off Christmas cards if you buy them in September: Be sure to emphasize the Christmas theme in your emails. You can also mention how the product will be available in limited quantities because of the holiday rush. Takeaway Messaging apps are becoming a new way to reach customers. But this doesn\'t mean you should forget about email. We encourage you to use email and messaging together. Experiment with both channels until you find a winning Christmas email marketing strategy. Be sure to keep the needs of your customers in mind and ask for feedback whenever possible. With every iteration, you\'ll see an increase in your marketing performance. The ideas we shared in this article are great starting points, but they are by no means the only ways to use messaging apps during the holiday season. If you know about other best practices for using email marketing and text messaging during the Christmas season, let us know. Share your experiences and tips in the comment section. We would love to hear all about them!
Alexa Lemzy is the customer support manager and blog editor at TextMagic, the texting solution for small businesses and large enterprises. She is constantly monitoring best practices and innovative approaches that help companies build better communication with both employees and clients.