Developing an early strategic Christmas sales plan all comes down to communication with your customers. It assumes, of course, you’ve already fine-tuned your timing, holiday deals and delivery.
While direct mail is always an option, email will likely be your choice because of its cost, immediacy and ease of implementation. To follow are some important things to consider when doing a holiday promotion, particularly via email.
1. Just as you’re going to increase your email frequency to your customers and prospect list, so are other retailers. Everyone’s email volume picks up during the holiday season. Experts claim it will double — a competition for attention. So, the game is to get your recipients to click.
2. You’ve only got about 45 characters on an email subject line to grab your customers’ attention before they delete the message. Be creative with this key line. Forget the direct but understated “Here Are Our Christmas Specials.” Be more enticing, such as, “This Solves Your Gift Problem” or “We’re Almost Giving Stuff Away!” Good humor can get attention, like “(Owner’s name) Thinks He’s Santa — He’s That Old!” or “Shiver Me Timbers, and Ransom Great Gifts!” Avoid anything that could trigger an email filter that sends your offer to spam, particularly using all caps or exclamation points.
3. When it comes to the body of the email, short and to the point is best — a paragraph ... two at most. You are trying to convey excitement, gift value and immediacy in a short summary. Include whether the item(s) must be picked up at the store or can be shipped. For the latter, note a shipping deadline. State a specific time limit to the special offer. And, of course, make it an attractive price point.
4. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is an absolute marketing truth. People are drawn to images, and especially if there are people in them. On the other hand, an email only with text is virtually worthless. Whenever possible, include at least one image, if not two.
5. When is the best time to send such emails? There’s no absolute answer but many experts suggest sending emails on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8-10 a.m. or 4-6 p.m. to improve the chances of them being read.
6. Always consider the smartphone in your e-mails. The number of people accessing their email on their phones is astronomical. Smartphones have replaced desktops as the most frequently used devices, but many people still prefer to shop on their computers. And, there’s no doubt boating customers are into this technology so email promotions must be optimized for mobile devices. To do this takes some balance. Avoid using any attachments or links, and while a picture is important, too many may slow down the time it takes to load your message.
7. Because many dealers, particularly those in the north, reduce store hours in November and December, it important that every holiday email offer emphasize the current open days and store hours.
8. Finally, there’s a great opportunity after Christmas Day to take one more shot at the market. While many dealership are closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day, there are still opportunities at that time for dealers wanting to weigh in. Some post-Christmas Day sales ideas include: “Our Get What You Really Wanted Sale.” Open you promotion with questions such as, “Didn’t Get What You Want?” or “Is There Still Something on Your Christmas List?” We’ve all received a gift we can’t figure out. And, it’s not likely we got everything we want. So, why not “talk” to the email recipient with a post-Christmas email offering a discount on a variety of items for the new year?
The Christmas gifts may have been unwrapped, but the opportunity for some additional sales could still be around post-Christmas Day. Take advantage of that and all of the suggestions above to fill your holiday coffers.