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B2B email marketing during the holidays

Ian Roderick, communications manager at Newsletter2Go, presents his top tips for email marketing during the festive period

The brief interlude between Christmas and New Years is often overlooked by B2B email marketers. It’s true that a majority of business occurs before Christmas (this is particularly true in B2C industries, but is also the case for B2B). Even so, the Christmas period does present opportunities for B2B email marketers.

The quiet week provides a relaxed opportunity to communicate with your customers, thanking them for their business, announcing plans for the New Year, and providing limited-time discounts that can boost turnover during a typically quiet period.

I’ve collated the following useful hints into a basic guide to holiday email marketing for businesses:

Before Christmas (e.g. this week!)

Preparation is Key. Make a plan and stick to it. Have a specific goal in mind, whether it’s generating sales, driving traffic to your blog, or solidifying existing partnerships.

Organize Contact Lists. Take the time to ensure that your contact lists are correctly sorted. Segment them into harmonized lists based on unique identifying traits – e.g. size, industry, purchase history, etc.

Holiday Templates. Email Marketing Software providers sometimes provide Christmas-themed newsletter templates. Even in the B2B world, holiday templates can put your recipients in a holiday mood and thus help build rapport.

Automation is Your Friend. You don’t have to be in the office to send newsletters. Create automated newsletters to be sent between Christmas and New Years. Fewer of your customers will be in the office, but those that are there are more likely to open their emails.

Send Relevant Content

Limited Time Offers. A classic post-Christmas sales strategy. Make your offers time-sensitive and include a strong call-to-action: “Offering XYZ Service 50% off until December 31”

Produce Great Content. Did you publish an e-book that didn’t receive very much traffic? Take advantage of the fact that you’re not the only one with a lot of down time on your hands over the weekend, and that your partners are probably also checking their emails.

Information. You can also send at least one pre-Holiday newsletter in which you let your customers know about office hours during the holiday, and when your support team is available.

Followup Emails. Send reactivation emails to customers who’ve indicated interest in a product but haven’t made a purchase, and don’t forget Thank You messages to customers who recently made a purchase!

Learn From Your Successes (And Failures)

You will probably have some time over the holidays to analyze the success of your email marketing campaign over the past 12 months. Pay particular attention to your KPI’s: open rates, click rates, and conversions. Did sending weekly newsletters work well, or was it better to send every two weeks? Were your welcome emails effective, or was it better to wait until customers had logged in for the first time?

Take a look at your dynamic groups: did members of groups respond in similar ways to the same newsletters? If not, it might make sense to split that group into sub-groups. Are there any trait identifiers that you can add during the new year that will provide even more information about your customers?

Your email marketing software offers powerful analytics for a reason. Use them.

The Year Ahead

Let your customers and partners know that 2016 will be an exciting year. Armed with the data from 2015, I’m sure that’s exactly what it will be!