During the holiday season it is customary to reach out to your business partners or to your customers with seasonal messages. Be it to promote your offers, to transmit greetings or pleasantly mark this joyous (and prosperous) time of year, these messages represent a tradition that evolved through time and goes on upgrading in the currently digital business environment.
Although it is noted that customers are also leaning towards printed communication (which might go through a revival phase), emailing your customers is far from being a futile action, especially when done right.
1. Show that you know your customers
Of course, it would be impossible to take this desideratum to a full one hundred percent. Nevertheless, out of the entire pool of business partners and/or customers, there are people that you know better, whose preferences are familiar to you– and that represents a plus. Personalization can be easily realized for these special situations. Maybe you know details about their principles, business credo or personal preferences. Your message could feature a discrete or openhearted remembrance of that – as a nice personal touch.
As for the very common case where you only know the recipient via his purchases, there are however two main structural types:
- The persons who see the world in terms of products and services, and
- The persons who appreciate seamless experiences that integrate products and services.
Although a very simplistic example of customer segmentation, this process can effectively help in starting the creative process when it comes to holidays email greetings (plus or minus its marketing opportunities).
Once you or your team have established who fits into what category, all it remains to do is following a schedule and putting your energy and good thoughts into messages for those who have been fueling your business the entire yearlong.
2. Be empathetic, content-wise
What kind of message would you like to receive yourself during this season? Not all people are alike, but choices have to be made. You might go formal, traditional, sentimental, brand-representational and so on. Here you may find various inspirational headlines and opening phrases. It helps when brainstorming, or when wanting to adapt your approach to a certain style.
The message you want to convey can stand out by:
- Minimalism (just thank your customers for their loyalty without selling anything);
- Originality (include an exclusive offer);
- Professionalism (review your yearlong collaboration, include statistics, relevant links, engage customer segmentation (again) – to suggest future interactions, depending on how frequently you have been in touch with a specific client); or by
- An overall remarkable appearance (you make shape your email as a digital holiday greeting, something the recipient would cherish and keep because of its outstanding visual aspect).
Here are some examples of visually engaging seasonal emails. Don’t overlook the fact that there are several holidays following each other, and that various people celebrate various festive occasions, according to their values, beliefs and faith. For an extra touch of surprise, there are apps and websites that provide animated e-cards to include in your emails.
3. Sharpen your quill for each type of customer
Remember how (in an effort of simplification), we mentioned there are product-focused and experience-focused people?
The people that utmost and foremost show interest in your product/services offer and your Unique Value Propositions (UVP) need palpable information – and actually welcome seasonal promotions. Develop a strategy, be concise in your presentation and boldly include at least a link to a dedicated webpage in your holidays email. It will be a welcomed greeting email AND call to action.
On the other hand, there are people for whom a straightforward offer is not necessarily what they look forward to during holiday season. Instead, they enjoy receiving a thank you email, or a message that transmits a positive thought or creates the right atmosphere. If their attention is discretely captured , it suffices to mention that your online presence is reachable at any time – they will find their way. It is more a case of offering the right perspective – you need not insist to make your point. Your message can be a breath of fresh air that generates positive reactions.
Whatever the case, there are recipes to follow when you want to make sure your emails will not be overlooked. One of them is finding the best headlines and subject lines (product-focused or experience-focused). For example, when offering SaaS to companies, a company can either present its actual services or it may present the concept of hustle-free working environment, when such services are professionally handled.
4. Take yourself and your business seriously
Regardless whether someone is the CEO of an organization or one of its employees, taking oneself seriously is an important skill. It migrates toward taking your own activity seriously, taking the entire business seriously – and it shows in any communication that reaches towards the customers. A business holiday email can emanate this basic truth of a solid, business-centrist attitude. This does not exclude having the sense of humor or embedding the festive spirit in the entire experience – a special pre-existing set of mind ensures that feeling of being committed to your activity, maybe even more than trying to cram it into sober words.
What would be some of the elements of the serious, business-centrist state of mind?
- Be aware of your realistic data: for example, your emails will have serious competition; last holiday season over four and a half millions emails were sent from Sidekick (a HubSpot tool) users alone, out of which a much smaller number stood the test of the first glance end even more earned their right to a reply;
- Wisely schedule your emails. Apparently, according to the same HubSpot article quoted above, there are precise interest high and lows when it comes to receiving emails during the holiday season, e.g. the week before Christmas registers a six percent higher email opening rate, while on Christmas Eve 91 percent fewer emails get opened. This data comes from automated analytics, but even when choosing to go without such tools it makes sense that there are times when the recipients are not planning to immerse themselves into business-related emails. By trying to anticipate the way your peers and customers feel and think, you might just find the right timing for your messages.
- Client appreciation emails are a great way of personalizing the message: it’s all about your client, in relation with the common business interactions. Any special moments from over the year can be included and re-memorized via a nice video or picture – a pleasant memento for the recipient. When you show that business interactions are appreciated and accounted for in a positive way, you actually show how much you invest in building up your organization and your partners.
- Other B2B appropriate email ideas might be instructional gifts (advice, free eBooks, training videos) or webinars; a 2016 business preview feature; other nonprofit features such as reminders of your business’ community contributions or invitations to any holiday contest you might plan on organizing; or you might include seasonal discounts offers.
5. Ensure that your message reaches your clients unaltered
There is no need to remind any business owner how hard it is sometimes to convey the intended messages towards the recipients once the tasks are assigned to various employees – sometimes things may get a little hectic. Sending holiday emails is no less a delicate and important task as any, therefore one should follow the usual tested inside procedures.
When working with your on premise team, make sure to establish your strategy for this season early, to communicate your expectations with your team, and to include any possible meetings and feedback moments on this matter in your schedule. Even if holiday emails are a gratuitous act, they are nevertheless a formal, polite gesture that reflects upon your attitude and business relationships. Act informed and professional – as usual, and make sure your team passes on the same message.
When deciding to hand over this task to an external service provider – pick one that you know and trust. Letting a professional represent your company is always an important decision and it should be brilliantly executed to the smallest details. Plan ahead whenever possible, and cleverly outsource when needed, because holiday stress should be cut down – any business owner deserves that. Give yourself the gift of an impeccable season’s greetings campaign, and enjoy it.
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