2018 Holiday Content: Be Merry, Bright, and Profitable

November 12, 2018
Libby Croak
Libby Croak

November 12, 2018

Hear that? It’s the sound of bells jingling…and it’s coming from right around the corner! If your holiday strategy isn’t in place yet, now is the time to start getting festive. Holiday sales are a critical revenue-driver for so many businesses, and we know the flurry of holiday marketing decisions can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’re offering a three-part holiday blog series to share some of the insights we’ve gained over the years. This first post focuses on making choices around content. The second will cover holiday send times and the third is about holiday triggered sends. Look for new posts each Monday after 9 AM PST or sign up below to receive our weekly blog digest.

Three Steps to Merry, Bright, and Profitable Holiday Content Plans:

Your content is the most important piece of your holiday strategy, so take the time to get it right. Define your offers, target your customers, and lean on data to inform your creative direction.

1. Make Intentional, Data-Informed Choices about Which Deals to Offer around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The digital holiday game has been in full swing for a while, and customers are trained to look for deals online in the days after Thanksgiving.

  • Consider a Black Friday Pre-Sale campaign, but only if you have the right kind of offer. It can be tempting to try and beat the Black Friday inbox rush, but data shows only certain types of offers are successful in generating revenue before the big day. The offers that work best are discounts on highly limited quantities of specific items (think of these as digital doorbusters), comparable in value but different from what you offer on Black Friday. The Pre-Sale deal should expire before Black Friday begins. If you’re able to offer such a deal, the payoff is considerable. In 2017, Black Friday Pre-Sales that offered discounts on highly limited quantities saw tripled conversion rates YOY1. If you’re not able to get this specific kind of offer together, don’t worry – customers will still be hunting for deals in their inbox come Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • Your next move is to carefully choose your deals for each day. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two different days, and the most successful campaigns treat them that way. That means different deals with clear cutoff times. Emphasize scarcity and urgency.

  • One final note: Be careful when offering progressively deeper discounts. If a customer purchases an item at 30% off on Black Friday and then sees it on sale for 50% off on Cyber Monday, it’ll leave a bad taste in their mouth – and you only want them thinking of sugarplums when your brand comes to mind. If you plan to use progressive discounts, you’ll want to have a solid suppression plan in place.

2. Target Your Offers.

Even Santa Claus segments his list, and he doesn’t even have any MarTech tools! Don’t give everyone on your list the same thing – get them something you know they’ll like based on their attributes and past behaviors.

Consider these segments for targeted messages:

  • In-store vs. online purchasers
  • Loyalty members
  • Customer lifetime value
  • New customers and/or prospects
  • Annual holiday purchasers

Of course, targeting isn’t just for holidays – these tips are evergreen. Providing your customers with tailored and relevant content will increase your engagement rates, lift your revenue, and set you up for long-term customer loyalty. (For more on this, check out our recent partner post on boosting the relevance of your messaging.)

3. Deploy Your Top-Performing Email and Creative.

Have you been testing all year long? Great! Now is the time to grab those subject line structures and creative treatments that drove results. If you don’t test regularly, there’s no time like the present! Plan intentional A/B tests around holiday campaigns to inform your marketing strategies going forward – including for holiday 2019.

And just a little tip: Inboxes get packed with subject lines touting “% off” “free shipping” and “save $.” Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and go bold with your creative to differentiate yourself. ‘Tis the season to aim for maximum surprise and delight.

Could Your Holiday Workshop Use Some Extra Hands?
When it comes to holiday campaigns, our team has seen it all, and we’re here to guide you through the ins and outs of planning your season. If you’d like more direct help with your design, HTML, campaign services or any other holiday needs, find out how Shaw + Scott Holiday Services can support your team this season – or help you start strategizing for the new year!

And be sure to stay tuned for our next two blog posts in our series: 2018 Holiday Send Times: Catch Subscribers at Their Cheeriest and 2018 Holiday Triggered Sends: When Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

Ready to chat? Give us a call at +1.520.762.4842 and press option 1, or reach out through our simple contact form.


(1) 2018 Holiday Marketing Guide: Lessons & opportunities from the 2017 holiday season. Yes Lifecycle Marketing. 2018.

Holidy Secrets Series Part 1

Tags: Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy, Best Practices, 2018 Holiday Secrets, Content

Digital Strategist, Shaw/Scott (Seattle) Libby is a data-driven digital marketer with deep expertise in the email channel. She brings more than 6 years of experience crafting triggered emails, lifecycle programs, mobile-first strategies, behavior-focused dynamic campaigns, and much more to the Shaw/Scott digital strategy team. From publishing to travel, Libby has applied her skills for iconic brands such as The Boston Globe, Alaska Airlines, TaylorMade, and Forever 21.

Subscribe Here!