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Every marketer knows that it’s cheaper to keep customers than it is to find new ones, so when looking to make the most of the festive period, taking the time to plan and execute an email campaign could pay dividends.

If your business is new to email marketing or has not been using it to its full capabilities, here are some suggestions as to how to make the most of your current customer base through email during the holidays:

  1. What products do you recommend for Christmas?

Putting together a gift guide can help build excitement around your key products. Depending on what you sell, you could even create multiple guides - For Him, For Her, For Kids, etc.

Putting links to these key products and the relevant categories on your website into an email will help encourage people to browse your site for inspiration.

  1. Segment your database and make use of dynamic emails.

If your email platform allows you to add in dynamic sections, use segmentation to target people with specific content in your emails. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, why not segment by gender and include a block about Christmas party outfits so your male and female customers get content specifically for them, as well as details about all your other offers and the content you want to promote.

  1. Provide exclusives to your mailing list

Make your current customers feel special by offering them a little Christmas bonus - give your mailing list early access to sale items, an extra discount or a gift if they make a purchase. For example, an extra 5% off code, or an add-on item with any purchase above a certain amount could encourage customer loyalty and additional purchases.

  1. Run a competition

Get your customers engaging with you by offering a nice Christmas prize. If you offer all entrants something - like a £5 voucher - then you could encourage additional sales.

  1. Build a calendar of offers

Don’t just make it about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Run different offers up until the final Christmas shipping date. This gives you a reason to keep contacting people and it also gives you a better chance of finding an offer that will inspire each of your customers to buy.

  1. Mystery voucher codes

Encourage customers to browse and find items they want by offering them a voucher code that won’t reveal how much of a discount they’re getting until they input it during the checkout process. By telling them they could get anywhere from 10% to 100% off their purchase - and that at least one person will get 100% off - you stand a good chance of increasing sales as people will likely go ahead and buy once they’ve spent time shopping. You can also continue to target shoppers who abandon their basket at the last minute.

  1. What did people buy last year?

Use segmentation to offer people similar products to any festive purchases they made the previous year. For example, did they buy a party dress? Festive foodstuffs or decorations? Any type of Christmas-themed items? They may be likely to want similar items again, so provide them with easy access.

  1. Use automation features

If your email platform has any automation features, you should use them. If it doesn’t, then you need to find a new email platform.

At the very least, you should be sending out cart abandonment emails. But, you should also send follow-up offers for related products, page abandonment emails and emails to remind people what they were browsing most recently and what discounts you have on those products right now.

For example, if you send a gift guide email and a user clicks on a link to look at a specific product or category and does not make a purchase on that visit, you should send a follow-up email within 24 hours to remind them of what they were looking at and how long they have to get the discount and when the last shipping date before Christmas is.

As with any email campaign, don’t just send one email. Resend with different subject lines to people who haven’t opened your mail shots. For people who do open them but don’t click, resend the offers a second time as well.

Finally, your campaign should be just that - a campaign, not a single email. Plan out a series of emails containing both content (gift guides, festive ideas, pictures, etc.) and marketing messages (discounts, offers, links to products). Get people excited about the festive period and how your products can fit into their celebrations. Without overwhelming them, keep your brand in their mind by sending regular communications that inspire and entice them to spend their holiday cash with you.