Pop into any supermarket now and you’ll see that the Christmas aisles have already appeared. We may think it’s a bit premature bringing out the decorations, gifts and food already, but Christmas Day is now only 9 weeks away. For those in the restaurant, entertainment and travel industries, if you haven’t started running campaigns already you should plug them into your email calendar now.
Here are our thoughts on running targeted campaigns to fulfil those Christmas bookings and maximise ROI via your email marketing channel.
Start Now – Don’t Miss the Boat
If you’ve subscribed to your competitors emails, I’m sure you’ll have seen or soon start to see their first Christmas promotions appear. If you don’t plan ahead there’s a danger you will be too late and your potential audience will shrink over time. Start now, even if you are not aggressive or leading with Christmas themes just to keep your brand in mind.
Remember to plan in key promotions and dates for your campaigns, and make use of the automation tools available to you. This way you can build your campaigns ahead of time and not worry about forgetting to send them out.
Think About Your Promotion
Why should your subscriber consider booking with you over the competition? Give them a reason to make that booking by offering something a bit different. If you run a restaurant, forget the usual ‘Free Glass of Presecco’ that everyone else is running with, what’s special about your establishment and the food prepared? Use this in your subject line to engage your subscriber and consider creating a sense of urgency to book.
Use Your Data Effectively
Many of your subscribers will also receive emails from the competition, so make full use of your data to win them round. Use personalisation along with location and preference data to ensure your emails are relevant. You don’t want to be emailing those out of your catchment area. Also, did they book with you last year? You could tailor your message and promotion around this data.
Frequency is Key
Starting early also means keeping the frequency high. Don’t be scared of annoying your customers – it’s about staying front of mind and giving gentle nudges every week. One email campaign in isolation will have a tiny impact compared to a consistent message. It is Christmas after all and they will be expecting an influx of emails.
Plan November to January
People will be making bookings for lots of reasons – a night out with friends, romantic trip with their partner, works party, etc. Not everyone’s social event fall into late December, there are many companies that plan their Christmas parties for January after the rush. Keep this in mind as you will need to work hard at keeping your email content fresh and push at a number of different promotions over this period.
January is going to be a lot quieter compared to November and December, so why not use this as an incentivising tactic to get more late Christmas party bookings? Rather than discounting the peak part of your year offer discounts for the quietest time of the year.
Avoid the Cyber Weekend
While Black Friday (25th November) and Cyber Monday (28th November) might not be the key weekend for the restaurant industry, it’s still important to note. Firstly, it’s probably best to avoid sending any big campaigns at this time as your email is likely to drown in the noise of other promotions hitting their inbox. Let the retailers have this time and plan your Christmas campaigns around it.