5getChristmas is coming up, and customers have a budget to spend. This is the season for retailers. If you haven‘t already done so, you should be optimizing your email strategy now, to take full advantage of the upcoming season.

First of all you should be asking yourself what went wrong last year and the years before and look for some valuable insights: What was customer behavior on your web site like last year and how did customers interact with emails you sent out? Which products were bestseller and which sales channels were the most effective? Do you know what the competition is doing?

Different campaign types

What was your strategy last year, and did it work? Here are some additional campaign ideas: campaigns with gift recommendations, reminders with specials for last-minute-Christmas-shoppers, Christmas e-cards for your customers, gift wrapping service, gift coupons that can be used online or in a store. Communicate clearly the last possible order date to be able to ship before Christmas or inform customers about additional payment methods.

Important dates

There are certain dates which may be important to keep in mind to take action in time:

  • November 26th is Cyber Monday, the busiest day for online businesses, and you should present special offers for this day only.
  • If you are a multi-channel retailer, inform your customers about opening hours, special sales and other events via email.
  • Are there any dates of special importance to your company? Is your revenue higher on certain days of the week? Do you sell most on weekends? When do you get the highest response rates from your emails? If you don‘t know, find out!
  • Christmas Eve is too late for online order, but you can try to attract last minute buyers to your stores.
  • Christmas Day: social media is used a lot on this day and customers tend to spend time online looking for information and or accessories for gifts they received.
  • According to Hitwise, the 26th of December is the busiest day for online businesses – thus, use the opportunity to inform customers about special deals and more.
  • From December 27th onwards you should be starting with January specials and informing customer about innovations and new products to be expected in 2013.

Optimize design and layout

Adapt your templates to fit the season, and don‘t forget to optimize for mobile devices! Be creative! Try to be different than other mails in people‘s inboxes. Make sure your website and emails are both optimized, and make it easy for customers to click through from the email to your site. Pay special attention to the links in emails and make sure they are optimized for touch screen users. Last but not least, pay special attention to your subject line. Your customers should recognize you and get the most important message at a glance.

Test your campaigns for better response

Everybody wants to profit from the business Christmas has to offer, so it just might be a really good idea to test out different email versions with different target groups beforehand. It is also a good idea to run some tests with different or differing subject lines, to get the attention you want in people‘s packed inboxes. Also test out if your mails are displayed correctly across devices and operating systems.

Segmentation and user behavior data

Try to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Make sure to send out relevant content by segmenting cleverly, according to information gained from earlier campaigns. Analyze customer data, and make use of dynamic content, section targeting and filters to define target groups. Find out who your customers are buying for (family, friends, parents, children) and make use of behavior data to specifically target your recipients. Also make use of data you‘ve collected about the interests of your customers as well as information about the place of living, gender, age, previous buys, interests, and user behavior. Target your best customers specifically, and send them different messages, e.g. thanking them for their loyalty, or offering them specials. Keep in mind, at the end of the day, it‘s quality not quantity that matters.

Automation and life cycle marketing

Analyzing, segmenting, targeting and finding the right content can cost a lot of time and money. If you can make use of automation, it can save you a lot of resources:

  • Use the tools of your email marketing solution to plan campaigns and to achieve a maximum of automation, also enabling automatic reactions. Adapt for Christmas.
  • Make use of dynamic content to offer products based on consumer behaviour.
  • Track your website traffic and analyze email responses according to weekday and time of day and use this data for planning sending times.
  • Analyze performance tracking to define relevant product offers and to deepen customer relationships.
  • Use the data of abandoned shopping carts, to send reminders or implement retargeting strategies.
  • Integrate up selling and cross selling messages, where appropriate.

Optimizing for mobile

Although it should go without saying, don‘t forget all those mails which will be received on mobile devices. Christmas Day was the day in 2011 with the most mobile clicks. Also make sure you‘ve analytics in place for the mobile data. And obviously, make sure that your mails and website are optimized and displayed correctly across all devices.


Although it is not easy to really earn money via the social channel, it plays a key role for promotion and communication. Social is used by consumers a lot during the Christmas season, and it‘s important to integrate social into your marketing activities. Thus, don‘t forget the close relationship of mobile and social - 23% of smartphone users share information daily via mobile – and make sure your emails have content that‘s worth sharing!

Analytics and reports

Make sure you pull all the information you can out of the reporting tools available. During the Christmas season you should be measuring simply everything to be able to analyze and optimize for next year as well as other upcoming seasonal activities.

Beyond email

Email alone won‘t do the job, so make sure your website is ready and optimized for Christmas to handle additional traffic. Do you want to offer a mobile app or would it be good to have a mobile site? Have you updated social channels, and keywords? (Source: www.emarsys.com)

We wish you success and happiness for the upcoming season!

By MediaBUZZ