Tags: holiday

8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps to Boost Your Christmas Email Marketing Strategy

8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps to Boost Your Christmas Email Marketing Strategy

Practical Marketer • November 27, 2018

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!


Read More
Free Holiday Email Templates

Free Holiday Email Templates

Practical Marketer • November 7, 2018

The season to be jolly is right around the corner! That’s right! Holiday cups are back at Starbucks, Christmas music is already playing in every store you walk into. Decorations are right around the corner. It always feels too early to start celebrating the holidays, but it’s never too early to plan your holiday email marketing. After all, email marketing accounts for 20 percent of holiday sales, according to Mailcharts. Holiday Email Templates Who doesn’t enjoy spreading some holiday cheer? Benchmark Email helps you get your email marketing in the holiday spirit with dozens of festive holiday email templates. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a holiday email template: Stay true to your branding. Don’t make your logo a color your subscribers have never seen it before, just to match the holiday motif. Same goes for buttons and other colors that are consistent across your email campaigns. Dress it up for the holidays, but don’t become something unrecognizable to your subscribers. Keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the house on the block with lights covering every square inch of the exterior and lawn with lights. You can’t look at that house without sunglasses. Don’t limit it to the template. Extend the holiday cheer to your subject line as well. That way it won’t be a surprise when your subscribers open your holiday email. Don’t just promote your sales. Promote your products too. A common mistake many businesses make is to only inform their subscribers of their promotions. That assumes they know everything you offer. Be sure to highlight your products too. The promo and the product together are the knockout combo you want. Templates To Automate Aside from the great holiday email templates available to you, we’ve also created strategy templates to let you automate your holiday email marketing. You can send a promotion and follow-up with your subscribers based on if they opened the email, clicked a link or visited a specific page on your website. Don’t wait for 2018 to take your email marketing to the next level. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and close out 2017 strong. We also put together some tips and ideas for your Christmas and Chanukah marketing campaigns to be automated. Holiday Email Marketing Tips Now that you know how to pick the right template and what to do with it, let’s look at some strategies and suggestions for your holiday email marketing campaigns. Make A Plan Everything will go smoother for your holiday email marketing if you start with a good plan. Holiday emails campaigns sent in the first half of November tend to get the best open rates, according to GoDaddy. The first step in creating a holiday email marketing plan is to know which holidays you should be creating campaigns for. These are the big ones: Thanksgiving, November 22 Black Friday, November 23 Small Business Saturday, November 24 Cyber Monday, November 26 Giving Tuesday, November 27 Hanukkah, December 2-10 Christmas, December 25 Figure out which of those holidays make sense for your business. Don’t contort to uncomfortable, Stretch Armstrong-esque lengths to make all of these holidays work for your brand. You may also not have the time or resources to do campaigns for all of them. Be reasonable and focus on the ones that will work best for your goals. What emails should you be sending for any (or all) of these holidays? A sequence of three emails is your best bet for successful holiday email marketing: First, you should send an email to announce your holiday promotion. You can send this up to two weeks prior to your sale. Next, you’ll want to send a reminder for your holiday promotion. If you sent the first one two weeks out, the follow-up email should go out a week later (one week before your sale). Lastly, you should send an email the day off the promotion. This one should really create some urgency and get your subscribers to act now. Segment Your List(s) Relevance is key with any emails you send, but especially so with your holiday email marketing. Most inboxes are even more crowded during the holiday season making it all the more important to stand out. Email list segmentation or targeted emailing are your best bets for sending targeted, relevant content to your subscribers. You can use purchase history, click history, demographic or location data to sort your list in order to send the best possible content to each subscriber. Holiday Email Marketing Content Ideas Giving gifts to our loved ones can be difficult. We want to give them something that will feel personal and picked out just for them. But where to start? Many businesses create gift guides to help their subscribers choose the right gift for everyone on their list. One way to create a gift guide is to sort it by price. Here’s a holiday email campaign from Bed, Bath & Beyond that sorts their campaign into sections by cost. It makes it easy to find the right item for everything from office holiday parties to something for your loved ones. Another way to organize your gift guide is by who the gift is for. It can be gifts for him or her, your kids, parents, etc. If you sell products for kids big and small, you can even create a gift guide sorted by age groups, from newborns to those of us with an inner child that still burns strong. This holiday email from Target shows how you can make it easy to find gifts for all your nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. Outside of gift guides, there are plenty of other holiday sales you can use email marketing to promote. Some companies offer a special gift to the first group of customers through the door in the morning. For some businesses, this results in customers camping out to receive the free giveaway! What better social media buzz than a line of anxious customers braving the elements to come to your store. This Black Friday from Chan Luu executes this strategy well: Other than giving customers a percentage off their total, you can also offer free shipping for your online shoppers. That’s what J Crew did with a recent Cyber Monday campaign: J Crew also creates a sense of urgency by telling their subscribers that free shipping deal is for that day only. One additional way to boost your holiday email marketing efforts is to include a charitable component with your promotions. If all of the proceeds from certain items or total sales are donated to charity, it increases the likelihood that a subscriber will make a purchase. PayPal itself wanted to inspire everyone to donate to charities during the holiday season. They announced that PayPal would add 1% to any donation made to a charity during the month of December. In 2017, more than $8.5 billion was donated through PayPal, in part due to this holiday promotion. Share Your Tips Have you run a successful holiday email marketing campaign in the past? Or maybe a favorite one you’ve received? Share your tips in the comments. We love to hear them!


Read More
Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Product & Design • November 2, 2017

Tis the season… ...for beginning your holiday email marketing, that is. I know, I can’t believe it’s that time of year already either. Especially since it’s been 100 degrees here at Benchmark HQ all week. Even if you’ve already begun your holiday planning or have a strategy in place, we’re co-hosting a webinar that will serve as a perfect refresher to make sure you have all of your bases covered. Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays We have partnered with our friends at Kickbox to kick off this holiday season and to make sure your email marketing campaigns are ready for your subscribers to unwrap. We’ll be discussing: Preparing your list and segments for the holiday List cleaning tips and best practices Email marketing tips and best practices Learning how to organize your data after the holiday craziness The webinar will be held on November 14th at 11:00 AM PST. Register today.


Read More
Mischief and Whimsy: Strategies To Throw Caution To The Wind

Mischief and Whimsy: Strategies To Throw Caution To The Wind

Beyond • December 28, 2016

The holiday season is a marketing playground. It’s the time of year where people are feeling more relaxed, which makes it the perfect time of year to be a little playful and mischievous in your marketing. Perhaps you’ve already tried a few new tricks this holiday season, or maybe you’re looking to learn from others examples for next year. Either way, here’s a look at the why and how you can effectively add emojis into your email marketing efforts during the holidays and beyond. Emojis Are Communication Imps Ask professionals what they hate most in an email and some might say it’s a “smiley face.”  When pressed on why they’ll usually respond that :) or =) are unprofessional in the workplace. While it might be a tabooed practice for some, the fact is that the expression of emotion does soften communication. It makes it more human. Smiley faces eventually gave way to emojis, and now we have more expressive emoji varieties along with ones for objects or even trends. The jury was still out on emojis and their place in the workplace - or even in personal conversations. Some users would fill text messages and social media posts with emojis, others would rely on it primarily as a mode of communication after finding it was just more time efficient to throw out a bunch of pictures messages. That idea, that we’re communicating with picture messages, is one of the key features that humanized and popularized emojis. Just like we were getting back into the art of storytelling and narratives to define ourselves - in keeping with ancient and rich oral traditions whose value we once again recognized - we’re not getting back to the simplest form of communication: pictures. It’s also more than that. There’s an element of mischievousness in emojis that otherwise has largely been lacking from our more perfected forms of communication. There an undeniable element of playfulness in the emoji choices, especially in how just a couple of pictures paired together can take a story and emit a feeling that words alone can’t capture. For the emoji-averse, there’s another development. The newest adaptation of email marketing is to elevate the use of emoticons beyond conversation and use it in subject lines as a way to be more engaging and piggy-back off of the personalized effect emoticons offer. Using emoticons does another thing: it catches the eye. By catching reader attention you’ve just upped the chances that they’re going to pay more attention to your email campaigns. Cos Play Your Subject Line There’s the saying that familiarity breeds contempt. The same can hold true for your email subscribers. They might not feel contempt exactly, but they are most certainly very bored. Seeing the same message from the same person, week after week, especially when nothing else has really changed, are, to be honest, quite boring. So how do you change it up? Take inspiration from the holidays. You could change up the sender to various Christmas characters, from Santa to Mrs. Claus or even the Grinch. Visualize your subscribers\' inbox and their pleasantly surprised reaction when they see an email from Santa’s Helpers with stocking stuffer ideas for your friends and family, with a little emoji of a stocking at the start of a subject line. An email from Mrs. Claus could talk about holiday hosting and even the Grinch can get on it with financial advice to get the cheapest gifts without looking cheap. Playful marketing is all about throwing the caution to the wind. Whatever typical reservations you have, put them aside for a month and experiment with a new way to do something. Competition in the email inbox is fierce. Your customers are loyal, but sometimes it takes trying a new approach to grab their attention. Remember that it’s about more than just you and your campaigns. Subscriber inboxes are filled with compelling and competing offers, which means that you’ve really got to find a way to shine a bigger spotlight on yourself. Emojis and changing up the sender name are two creative and highly playful ways to do just that. Think of it is getting past an important hurdle. As much as you might be averse to emojis or playful marketing, your serious marketing efforts don’t mean much if you can’t get past the hurdle of just getting email subscribers to click open your campaign. When you consider that Millennials are the largest growing demographic with a disposable income, you’re going to want to start communicating in their language. That language doesn’t take itself too seriously, has fun, and freely uses emoticons.


Read More
3 Ways To Infuse Thanksgiving Spirit Into Your Brand: Client, Company, Social Good

3 Ways To Infuse Thanksgiving Spirit Into Your Brand: Client, Company, Social Good

Beyond • November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving is probably one of the toughest major holidays in the year to market around. Everyone knows what’s expected for other holidays. When it comes to content and design it’s a given what tone and styles we’re going to be relying on. It’s a lot more challenging when the holiday of the moment is centered around a bird and gratitude. After all, there’s not a lot of style appeal to turkeys, leaves and fall colors. It’s a bit bland. And when it comes content, it becomes a bit dull to say you’re thankful. What more can really be said - and people want more. In past years, fall style is what motivated Thanksgiving campaigns. Rather than relying on the expected campaigns that tap into holding hands around the table, some companies ditched the traditional approach and favored centering their campaigns around the fall season. It’s not too late to try something different this year. With Thanksgiving just a day away, now isn’t the time to plan something grand. The best plan is to keep it simple and choose a campaign strategy that best mirrors your company. Your campaign can focus either on your clients, your company, or social good. If you’re going to focus on your clients, you can either spotlight something you know your clients are doing for Thanksgiving and share the spotlight with them. This works best for companies that have a more intimate relationship with a smaller pool of clients and who understand what’s important to them and feel comfortable approaching them. If you feel uneasy about the approach, know that most people will be thrilled for a wider audience on an issue they care about. It’ll in fact if done with respect, it’ll help you build deeper bonds with your clients. And if you have multiple clients involved in special acts of generosity or even a Thanksgiving tradition they’d like to share, there’s no reason you can run a profile of a few people. The wonderful thing about approaching the client, company, and social good approach is that it’s very simple for the approach to overlap. A client involved in social good - especially when your brand is too - overlaps nicely in a theme that shows you and your clients have common values. And if your marketing strategy is about your company - without the social good element - then it’s easy to tap into the heart of your company when you’re all around another kind of table. That table is the meeting room. In most companies, there’s a special bond when you’re all clustered around the meeting room for Monday scrum or Friday meetings. In fact, in one company, Friday meetings are talking about what went right that week. That right there would make a great feature to share in your Thanksgiving campaign. Through either your clients, your social good efforts, or your brand culture, you can tap into the spirit of Thanksgiving without relying on the tired monotony that Thanksgiving has otherwise one. Break that monotony by reflecting what makes your brand exceptional and soulful.


Read More
1 2