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Season’s e-greetings (say it with email)

September 1, 2014

Sending customers Christmas greetings is an old and established practice, but this year rather than send them a printed, mass-produced card why not send them a greeting by email? Sending a seasonal greeting by email that is highly personal, and personalised, is not only a great way to stand out from the crowd, but it is more likely to be remembered than a traditional card – and may even elicit a response. Customers will undoubtedly appreciate the thought, you’ll touch them in a way that your competitors probably won’t even have thought of, and it won’t soak up too much of your budget... The Christmas period can be a funny time in marketing. For some, this time of year is a great opportunity to promote products and services, whilst for others; campaigns will have little or no impact. For the retail sector the Christmas shopping season is the most important time of the year when sales are often at their highest and the pressure is on to maximise opportunities. In the B2B sector however, December can be a very difficult month. Decision-makers may take extended holidays or are distracted by the seasonal social whirl. Whatever sector your business is in, even if it’s a bad time to get a decision it is nevertheless a great time to strengthen customer relationships and show that you care. Here are some seasonal ideas from the team at Extravision...

Building your Christmas List

If you don’t currently have a house list of email addresses sending a Christmas greeting could be the perfect opportunity to acquire those addresses. At Extravision we’ve found that the best way to acquire addresses is by running a telesales campaign. Obviously this is something that should be done sooner rather than later, it’s advisable not to send your greeting the week before Christmas when many recipients may already have finished for the holidays. If you do not have the resources to obtain all the addresses in time, consider outsourcing the work. Although it will add an additional overhead it will still be cheaper than printing and posting cards to customers.

The Personal Touch

Once you have the addresses, they need to be matched up with the other data you hold about your customers. Personalisation is about more than knowing your customers’ names, although obviously that’s a good place to start and even if that’s all you can do then it’s worth it. Above all don’t start your greeting ‘Dear Valued Customer’ - addressed in this way the customer is unlikely to feel particularly valued and probably won’t care too much about the content of the message. Adding a higher level of personalisation than this however will make all the difference. Even if you don’t have a CRM system you will hold a wealth of information about your customers that can be used to make your Christmas message highly personalised. What information is most appropriate will very much depend on your business, but even a small nugget of personalised information will be worth its weight in gold. It’s not good putting time and effort into personalising the email if the tone of the message itself is all wrong - emails tend to be more informal and personal in tone than other forms of communication. First you need to decide who the message should come from, for example a personal message from the CEO or an Account Manager. The content of the message will then be driven by what personal message they have for the customer. Beware of making it sound like addresses in an annual report however, remember this is an opportunity to show a friendly face. The copy should be light and chatty in tone – personalisation is only part of the equation for a good email, combine it with a personal message and you have a combination that will probably elicit a high response rate. You might be surprised to find that even e-greetings by email will elicit a response even when one isn’t required.

Be Creative

Christmas is not the time to present a staid and stuffy image. It’s the perfect opportunity to show a different side and engage your customers in a different way than you might dare at other times of the year. Here are a few Extravision ideas for different approaches to e-greetings: Send a rich media email, get your web designers to flex their creative muscles and create a fun email with graphics and sounds rather than a plain text message If you regularly produce a newsletter make the Christmas edition stand out. Use slightly different content that's perhaps more informal and entertaining, or includes a competition with a prize. Offer a discount or time limited offer if appropriate to your business as a way to reward loyal customers (and draw in additional sales). Be charitable, why not donate all the money you'll save on traditional campaigns by using email to a charity? And make sure you tell your customers that's what you’ve done giving them the opportunity to join in. In our experience taking the time to deliver a personalised Christmas greetings by email can reap immense rewards for the smart marketer. Most marketing campaigns strive to reach above the clutter and be memorable, seasonal communications with customers should be no different. By sending a personal, fun e-greeting your customers are more likely to feel valued and remember. If you would like more information please email us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)161 817 2929

Posted by Jenni Malley
Topical email

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