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Lucy Literado
Lucy Literado
VP of Marketing
3 months ago

How to Know If Your Holiday Emails Are Too Much


See the picture above? Well, that’s exactly how my inbox looked this Thanksgiving day :)

What’s more surprising is that most of the emails came from just a couple of companies that wanted to get my attention to their holiday offers soooo badly. I’ve seen it before and as far as I can see, there’s more to come.

© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

That’s how I’ve come up with my own personal UN-checklist for holiday marketing that we could use at Reply and share with those in need of something like this.

So, here’s the story…

Once, there was a time when holiday marketing meant a quick radio ad or a banner on the front of a shopping mall, but I can’t seem to remember it.

Neither do you, I guess.

What I do remember, is a time when most holiday offers were still worth your time and attention.

Rumor Statistics has it, they aren’t like that anymore. All you see is an endless flow of special offers, gifts, giveaways, discounts, lotteries and prize-winning promos that seem to never ever stop.

No wonder holiday marketing is often being mistreated these days. We’re so overloaded with all kinds of special offers that we are doomed to become ad-blind long before we even earn money to buy what is being sold to us.

Nowadays, people are not sensitive to discounts less than 30-40% and cannot care less about anything in the world other than gift cards.

I’m sure you can spot that big sale on Amazon or those Christmas deals on Ebay, but can you think of an SMB company that really captures your attention with a nice holiday offer? And, what’s even more important, how can you become one of those companies whose holiday deals are really anticipated and valued?

There’s no magic pill (there never is).


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But, here is my UN-checklist for any holiday marketing you can think of.

If you’re doing at least one of these things, you really should stop before you totally ruin your relationship with your customers and lose them for good.

Bombarding your subscribers with emails

Seems obvious, right?

The reason I decided to focus on this one is because this Thanksgiving I received 46 emails. From a single company.

During one week.

Fourty Six. No joke.

And no mercy to those who have to relentlessly clean their inbox instead of getting ready to celebrate.

I don’t usually mark marketing emails as spam, but after the first 15 messages this company sent me in only two days, I was sooo ready to do it. Eventually, I decided to “make lemonade” and share my story hoping that it would encourage at least some holiday abusers to reconsider their strategy.

One thing I know, I will never buy from this company.

Ignoring deal expiration

Not only can it be bad for sales, that one can be really bad for your client relationship building strategy. If you promote your offer like something limited, unique, worth hurrying up to seize the moment, you’re in trouble.

Big trouble.

While you might think that extending your holiday deal might seem like a sign of good will to your customers, they are likely to disagree with you. You should never forget that you’re talking to people, not businesses, even if you’re a pure B2B company. A person will read (or ignore) your email, a person will or will not learn about your product or service, a person (not company!) will decide whether to buy from you.

Adding just a couple of more days may be a really nice idea appreciated by those who didn’t have the time or availability to take a closer look. On the other hand, having one deal with many faces that seem to never end is not an option.

It makes your customers feel deceived and mistreated. What is even worse, it changes their core attitude towards your holiday marketing to “always ignore” mode.

Don’t say it’s my “last chance” to know this brand-new information followed by another 5, 10, 15 last chances. If you don’t respect me enough to presume I’m not that stupid, then we’re done before we even start our conversation.

Even if you do think Thanksgiving is immediately followed by Christmas Eve, take a pause and give your leads a chance to get some rest before you start another campaign. This will make them if not anticipate your new deal, at least pay their attention to what you have this time.

Forgetting about existing customers

The last, but not the least thing in my UN-checklist for holiday emails is preferring new customers over existing ones. Even now, when everyone knows the huge power of upselling, lots of companies come up with shiny deals for new clients completely forgetting about those who have been with them “all those years”.

And like in every relationship, this is the beginning of the end.

The Breakup.

It may seem small to you, but when your customer sees dozens and dozens of discount offers that are only meant for newbies, they feel underrated and disrespected, almost “betrayed”. And getting to know about those deals from an email (not a public page on your website or promo banner) makes them feel even worse because it means you don’t care about their feelings.

Like, at all.

With such things on their mind, they can easily leave you for one of your competitors — one that pays more attention to the art of retention and encourages customer loyalty on a regular basis.

To avoid this sad and lonely scenario you only need to make sure you have these three things done:

  • Segmenting your email database so that your contacts only receive offers intended for them.
  • Make sure most of your deals are available to both existing and potential customers.
  • Put effort into keeping your clients happy and showing you really care about them (a special offer for customers that have been with your company for XX months is a nice plan to begin with).

As long as you keep them happy, don’t hover with an excessive number of emails and keep your deadline promise, you’re safe.

The 3-holiday email “deadly sins” I listed are obviously not the only ones. But I’m sure we can help change this for the better.

Have a holiday marketing story to share?

Feel free to share your not to-do’s or stories in comments!

P.S. By the way, here’s our holiday offer =)

Lucy Literado

VP of Marketing at Reply
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