Scheduling automated marketing emails this time of year is a bit tricky, forcing B2B marketers to ask themselves, “Should we even bother…will anyone be reading them? If we do, is there a day to send an email that’s better than others?”
B2C marketers have it “easy” – emails have a good chance of getting consumers’ attention because everyone’s looking for last-minute, year-end deals. But what about marketers in complex industries, like a manufacturing company?
For B2B marketers, it’s important not to annoy prospects or customers with mentions of business too near the holidays; they’re taking a much-needed rest from the business grind and aren’t terribly receptive to work-related outreach.
On the other hand, you don’t want to completely ignore them and be the one partner that doesn’t extend a holiday greeting. And…you may want to use this holiday opportunity to include some incentive or offer, if appropriate (and not pushy).
So, to answer the question: Yes! You should conduct a B2B email campaign over the holidays, but there are some important things to consider before you hit “Send.”
Considerations for Holiday Emails
Let’s dig into each of these four considerations to make your B2B holiday emails most effective. Then keep reading for a list of email ideas below!
If you’re going to send emails close to the holidays, identify a specific goal, as you would for any of your other B2B email marketing campaigns — and keep track of it.
Your first goal should be to wish customers and prospects well during the holiday season – it’s a gesture that demonstrates that you value your relationship with them. But there can be other, more business-focused goals. For example, can you also use this outreach to help reduce inventory by offering a discount? Can you use this opportunity to engage prospects who’ve gone dark with a free design for manufacturability study? Whatever the case, make sure there is a goal, and monitor the results, including open rates and possible lead generation.
2. Focus Your List
The wonderful thing about integrated marketing automation and CRM is that you don't have to fire off your holiday message to your entire list of contacts. If you’re simply sending a holiday greeting – without an offer of some kind – you probably could send that to most contacts on your list, but you still need to follow best practices to ensure you’re not hurting your deliverability by sending to old addresses.
On the other hand, promotional emails during the holidays should be more selective and targeted, with a curated list of contacts that aligns with your goals, and — most importantly — with those contacts’ needs. HubSpot offers fantastic email tools to help you accomplish this.
Between the week of Thanksgiving and January 1, we’re all busy – very, very busy. If your email isn’t something recipients should be concerned with now, wait until after the new year to send it. If you do have an offer designed to drive year-end revenue or opportunities, though, by all means send the email – but make sure not to appear solely concerned with sales. The content should include genuine, thoughtful messages about the holidays and your grateful appreciation for their business and relationship.
The right time is almost certainly not going to be the day before (or day of) an important holiday. Not only are people busy with holiday “stuff,” but many will have taken time off to prepare for and enjoy the festivities. That means that if you send your email too close to the holiday, recipients will miss it or flat-out ignore it – and could be very irritated that you sent it when you did.
There’s a good chance, though, that in the weeks leading up to the holidays your email will get read – especially if it includes an offer/incentive that’s meaningful enough to keep you top of mind until after the holidays (see Make Emails Worthwhile, below). The trick, of course, is to send it close enough to the holiday that it makes an impression they’ll remember when the new year rolls around, but not so close that it gets tossed.
Pro Tip: double check and adjust your automated nurturing workflows to make sure the emails don’t go out on days and times they shouldn’t.
4. Make Emails Worthwhile
Time is scarce for everyone during the last few weeks of the year, so if you’re trying to grab some of it, you’d better first get their attention with an excellent subject line, and follow through by making it worthwhile to read your email.
“Worthwhile” means different things to different recipients, but there are a number of enticements you could promote in your end-of-year email. Consider things like a discount aimed at getting prospects to purchase before year-end, or a free trial/demo so they can experience (and fall in love with) your product.
An offer of valuable, solutions-focused content is a smart gift, too, and something recipients can download and read any time. Include a link in your email to a tip sheet, ebook or other content that addresses your contacts’ pain points, and reinforce the holiday theme by designing its landing page to express seasonal sentiments.
The holiday season provides an opportunity to mix things up from the rest of the year. Some ideas for holiday emails include:
Customer Appreciation — An email to thank your customers and subscribers for a great year and a holiday or year-end discount, for example, can lighten almost anyone’s holidays
Gifts — Along those lines, straight-up giving customers a gift — like virtual gift cards — goes a long way to maintaining a positive relationship and tangibly showing your gratitude
Invitations — Throwing a party? Invite your customers if it’s appropriate, and include them in the fun!
Holiday Sales — Let your customers know you’ve reduced prices on goods and services they may be interested in, or offer a free consultation — a treat for the holiday season as the year heads to the finish line
Content Promotion or Distribution — Could your customers benefit from some of your blogs or landing pages this time of year? Send them information they may find helpful
Event Announcements — Are you putting on a webinar or participating in a conference in November or December? Let your customers know well in advance and remind them again when the date is drawing near
New Year, New Goals — How can you help your customers prepare for the incoming first quarter of the new year?
Improve Your B2B Email Marketing Year-Round
Of course, in all of this, you’ll want to follow the basics and best practices for B2B email marketing all year long. With 99% of people checking their email daily, getting a space in their inboxes and engaging them is an important part of your inbound marketing program.
We’ve got you covered! Click the link below to download our 10 Ways to Improve Your B2B Email Metrics tip sheet for free today.
Posted by Kate Eastman Kate’s 20+ years in corporate marketing lend her unique perspective on client service and a passion for building trust-based relationships. She brings attentive care and a collaborative approach to creating inbound strategies that have profound, measurable impacts on her clients' objectives.