Think ahead for winning email campaigns

How many of you sent out special promotions on St. Patrick’s Day? Based on the volume in my inbox, I’d say there were quite a few retailers with promotions, so good for you for leveraging the holiday to do some marketing.

Use a calendar to plan your email campaign.

How many of you who did were scrambling to get those promotions designed and built last week? Again, based on some of the quality of the creatives, I’d wager that there was a lot of last minute scrambling and more than a few Microsoft Clip art selections to round out the emails.

Here’s the funny part about this: it’s not like the holiday was a surprise, announced at the last minute. Holiday schedules are published months or even years in advance. Barring a Mayan calendar apocalypse, you could plan out your entire holiday email campaign schedule right now and have your graphic designers working months in advance to come up with some great templates.

Take a look at what’s coming in the following months and think about how to plan your campaigns:

April

April Fool’s Day April 01, 2012
Passover April 6-14, 2012
Tax Return Due, Tax Day April 17, 2012
Earth Day, April 22
Administrative Professionals Day April 25, 2012

May

Cinco de Mayo May 05, 2012
Mother’s Day May 13, 2012
Armed Forces Day May 19, 2012
Memorial Day May 28, 2012

June

Flag Day June 14, 2012
Father’s Day June 17, 2012

July

Independence Day July 04, 2012
Ramadan July 20, 2012 (through Eid al Fitr)
Parents’ Day July 22, 2012

August

Eid Al Fitr August 19, 2012

September

Labor Day September 03, 2012
Rosh Hashonah September 16, 2012
Yom Kippur September 25, 2012

October

Columbus Day October 08, 2012
Boss’s Day October 16, 2012
Halloween October 31, 2012

November

Election Day 2012 November 06, 2012
Veterans Day November 11, 2012
Hijra November 15, 2012
Thanksgiving Day November 22, 2012

December

Chanukah / Hanukkah December 08, 2012
Christmas Eve December 24, 2012
Christmas Day December 25, 2012
Kwanzaa December 26, 2012
New Year’s Eve December 31, 2012

If you have demographic data on your subscribers, be sure to leverage that as well. For example, if you have a mailing list that is predominantly Jewish, you should know that Passover will negatively impact your list performance. If you have a list that is predominantly Muslim, you should know that the work week during Ramadan for many Muslims is compressed – some countries, like the UAE, restrict work to a 36 hour week due to fasting.

The WhatCounts platforms (Professional and Publicaster) both have built-in calendars, so you can design, deploy, and schedule campaigns for holidays far in advance. Combine them with a blogging plugin like the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, and you’ll have all of your content marketing lined up for special days well in advance while your competitors struggle to meet preventable crunches.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

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2 Comments

  1. You can schedule a newsletter to go out weeks or even months in advance. It’s important to plan ahead for each campaign. It’s when you wait until the last minute that things can get sloppy.

    Reply
  2. ITA w/ planning – it’s critical to get the most value from any campaign. That said Chris, I also think you should think OUTSIDE the usual holidays. 1) it’s when everyone else is emailing and 2) you can schedule and create a campaign to offset the seasonal marketing that not only helps you stand out from the competition, actually attracts more business. FWIW:

    Ex. 1 – If you’re a summer biz, run those promos fall/winter/spring – when everyone else isn’t. You’ll stay busier in the slow months, then be ready for prime time come summer.
    Ex. 2 – Arbor Day. National Jelly Bean Day. Get creative w/ it, find ways to balance the ‘usual ho hum holiday’ promo by creating your own day, or building on a lesser known and more funner event.

    Reply

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