Jamie Harper

Jamie Harper

Spend days duking it out with synonyms, sometimes for global brands.

5 last minute tips for your email marketing this Christmas


Lights festoon the streets. Shoppers wear stroppy faces. Somehow, Christmas is here already. That means it’s time for three things: mince pie scoffing, mulled wine quaffing and making the most of your Christmas email marketing.

Chances are high - especially if you run an eCommerce business - that you already have an ingenious festive email marketing campaign ready to go. But in the frenetic run up to big JC’s celestial birthday celebrations, it’s easy to forget a few little things that could make a big difference to your audience.

Disclaimer: As a copywriter I’m not talking about split-tests, pixel-width and landing page optimization. I’m talking about a few basics of human communication. Get them right you are sure to ratchet-up the success of your email marketing this Christmas.

1. Remember that email swings both ways

Are you using a no-reply email address? Hmm.

Sorry to say this, but do you know what that makes you? The annoying one at the Christmas party who talks about nothing but themselves. A no-reply email address says to your reader: “Look! Here! Read all our lovely important words! But don’t bother us in return, yeah? We’re like super busy with this Christmas thing. Thx!”

Way to bum your reader out.

Do you really want to block an opportunity to engage with a (potential) customer? What if your reader has questions about one of your products? Or needs your guidance on a transaction? Your support could be the difference between making a sale and losing that customer for good. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that your reader won’t notice a no-reply email address. They will. And don’t discard it as a trivial thing. It’s not.

Email is a communicative touch point. Use it.

2. Make it easy for people to recognise you

These days people don’t open an email client, they open a digital battlefield that’s shelled on an hourly basis. How do you boost the chance of your email being opened instead of hurled to the trash can? Sender name. It’s the biggest influencer when it comes to open rates.

Consistency is key. You want to be familiar and recognisable to your reader. That’s done by using the same sender title, time after time. Before your big send, be sure to double check the sender field in your email marketing software. Occasionally it defaults to the email address or username you use to sign in. Oh and we don’t need to tell you that now is not the time to experiment with your sender name, right?

3. Sweat over your subject line

If the sender name takes pole position as the most critical element of your email campaign, the subject line is seconds behind. You could spend the rest of your life reading what the blogosphere’s digital marketing mavens have to say about email subject lines, but really there are few hard and fast rules. Ultimately your subject line should be driven by context.

Having said that, it’s best to observe the following tips:

  • A total of 50 characters or fewer
  • Don’t repeat anything from the sender field
  • Don’t be too salesy or spammy

You have a second or two to grab your reader. So it’s worth working the grey matter to draft a number of options. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and see what feels right. And if you have time, send 10-20% of your emails and split test two or three different send titles to see what works best with your subscribers.  Then send the remaining 80-90% and watch those customers come a’clicking.

4. Don’t stuff your emails with too much content

The festive season is prime time for gorging on food. Don’t expect your reader to do the same with your content.

Respect your reader’s time. You are privileged to have it. Chances are they are reading your email on their smartphone during a stolen moment while the kettle boils. As they process your content your reader’s mind is most likely somewhere between panicking about work deadlines, fretting about finding a Christmas tree and fantasising about putting their feet up with a large sherry.  Be clear. Be concise. You can bet your pigs in blankets that your reader won’t hang around to listen to you ramble.

Bottom line? Get in. Get to the point. Get out.

5. Run an eCommerce business? Give the gift of postage deadlines.

How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?

If you are one of those effortlessly organised types who has everyone’s presents purchased, wrapped and gift tagged before you’ve opened the twelfth door on the advent calendar then good for you. Unfortunately most people spend December in a kind of flustered half-life as present-panic fills the veins with enough cortisol to take down a baby reindeer

Let’s get real. Most of your customers and prospects will leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute, or thereabouts. Do them a favour and send out an email showing clearly what your last Christmas delivery days are. It’s a simple, thoughtful idea that’s incredibly useful for your customers. 

If you can, include the name of your courier or delivery handler too - and state whether or not your customer will need to sign for any packages they order. One simple email is all it takes. After that it’s a smart idea to include your final delivery dates at the bottom of every subsequent pre-Christmas email. Your customers will appreciate it.

Let’s excuse dodgy puns and wrap this up

  • Don’t send from a no-reply email address - be open with your readers
  • Be consistent with your sender title and don’t use the festive period as a time to experiment
  • Take time to consider your subject line - split-testing one or two different options
  • Respect your reader’s time by being concise
  • Win points by sharing your final Christmas delivery dates and courier details

Jamie Harper

London Design Works.

Communication pervert with BA (Hons) in English Language Studies and 1.25 million words in the portfolio. Spend days duking it out with synonyms, sometimes for global brands. Spend downtime wondering what kind of hands the person who invented shrink wrap has.

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