Guest Blog, Jill Brittlebank – Christmas in August: Festive proofing your marketing

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The early bird catches the worm – and for marketers, it’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas. A recent study of Apple users in the US found that the majority spend only three seconds viewing an email at the best of times, and consumers aren’t any less time-crunched on this side of the pond. Competition for a share of the customer’s wallet is only set to get fiercer as we approach the gifting season, so how can brands break through 2016’s peak inbox clutter?


Combatting email exhaustion 

Overall email volume increases by 25% during the festive season, making it tougher than ever to achieve consumer cut-through against your competitors. In a highly saturated market, then, content needs to be creative and engaging enough to draw the reader in.

Packing emails with smart content will not only help brands to stand out from the crowd. Shifting away from the expected, heavily promotional approach to a more inspirational, content-led alternative will also help brands to develop a more genuine relationship with customers. And don’t be afraid to show them the true personality behind your business, as the better they feel they know you, the more loyal they are likely to be.


First impressions count

You only get one chance to make a first impression and, in the world of email marketing, subject lines are everything. According to research by the Convince and Convert blog, one in three recipients decide to open an email based on subject line alone. So make it sharp and snappy to draw in the biggest crowds.

And don’t hide your engaging content behind a boring format. Get creative with your presentation, using tools like animation and interactivity to tempt the click-throughs that will ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.


Making the most of mobile  

This past Christmas, more than 40% of ecommerce sales were made on mobile – and as our dependency on smartphones increases, this number is only set to rise.

Also crucial to your Christmas campaign, then, is creating device-responsive marketing to accommodate customers who are shopping on-the-go. Marketers must make sure their offers are as appealing on mobile as they are on desktop, whether that’s through channel-optimised creative, tailored offers or punchier editorial.

Design wise, brands should also tailor navigation for the thumb-user. This could include using sticky banners to help reinforce a message to consumers, which stay put as the recipient swipes up and down; introducing swipe to like; or adding the “hamburger” button to view collapsible content.


Last Christmas…

Marketers will also benefit from using feedback from their 2015 campaign to help inform this year’s strategy. Creating an aggregated report of past activity – including best and worst drivers for opens, click-throughs and conversions – will ensure businesses learn from their mistakes and successes alike.

Any marketer worth their salt knows the key to a successful campaign involves fastidious planning. And at retail’s busiest time of the year, the stakes at Christmas are higher than ever. But testing opportunities in the months ahead will help push creative and technical executions. This creative pre-planning, including factoring in potential teething problems, will make sure all kinks are ironed out well before emails hit inboxes.


Zeta will be hosting a webinar for UK marketers on Wednesday 31st August – register here for more tips, helpful how tos and best practice examples to make the most of your Christmas campaigns. 


Jill is the senior director of Strategy and Analytics at Zeta Interactive. She has extensive knowledge of data driven communications and customer journey planning across direct, digital, social and offline. Jill is a seasoned CRM professional with over 20 years of experience working in digital marketing.

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