Holiday Marketing Tip: Don’t Send Pointless Greetings!

Can sending a “Happy New Year” or “Merry Christmas” greeting hurt your email deliverability?

Earlier this week, I was talking with Tom (our founder) about the holiday marketing tips we posted recently, and we got to talking about the email habits of both publishers and subscribers around this time of year.

There’s something that thousands of businesses (and in my experience, especially small businesses) do on holidays that brings you little benefit while making it harder to get your email through. Plus it potentially hurts other areas of your email marketing and your business as a whole.

So what is it?

Sending Email on Major Holidays

Now, you may think:

“What’s so bad about sending a holiday greeting email? It’s a great opportunity to show the ‘human’ side of my business and build some subscriber loyalty. Plus I can even make a special post-holiday offer and up my sales.”

Sounds good in theory, right?

But Here’s The Problem With That Logic

You’re assuming that your subscribers are going to see your greeting, stop and read it, see that you care enough about them to wish them well, and get a warm, fuzzy feeling.

See, I don’t think that’s what really happens. To show you why, let’s play a little game called “count the holiday emails in our hypothetical inbox.”

The Clogged Holiday Inbox

Let’s say we get holiday emails from:

  • Family: Parents, Children, Grandchildren, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews, Cousins… (maybe 5 emails in all, could be more/less depending on how spread out your family is)
  • Friends (? – let’s just say 5, though it could easily be far more)
  • Bosses, Co-Workers, Employees (5)

So far, only about 15 emails, which might not seem too bad.

But now, let’s say we’re subscribed to oh, 20 different mailing lists/newsletters, and they all send out a holiday email. Now we’re at 35 greetings. (And by the way, if this seems unlikely to you, consider that the two days when AWeber users send the most email are December 25 and January 1.)

Now, throw in the fact that we probably haven’t been at our computer as much over the holidays, so the other emails coming in over that time are piling up, too.

Are We Really Going To Read All of Those?

Especially when they all have a similar subject line? It’s not like “Happy New Year!” leaves us wondering what surprises await in the body of the email.

Now, consider that first day back. We’ve just been relaxing with family, and now it’s back to the grindstone. And the first thing we see? We have a big old stack of emails that we have to go through. Hooray.

Think anybody uses the “spam” button to clear a lot of that stuff out of the inbox? You betcha.

So complaint rates spike. And ISPs react. And deliverability drops.

Other Reasons Not To Send Holiday Greetings

  • They’re Not Relevant.

    Sure, there’s a holiday and you’re emailing about a holiday. But your subscribers didn’t sign up for holiday greetings. And unless they signed up to your list to be some sort of calendar service, they don’t need you to remind them that it’s New Year’s Day.

  • They Create More Work For You

    When you send an email, subscribers can reply to it, right?

    If they reply on a holiday, when you’re out of the office, now you have to sort through all of that extra incoming email — and unlike your subscribers, you don’t have the luxury of just deleting it all, because there may be questions and unsubscribe requests in there.

The Long and Short Of It…

  • If you want your email to get noticed and read, don’t send when everybody else does.
  • If you want to build subscriber loyalty, don’t get them in the habit of expecting fluff from you.
  • If you want to get your email delivered, don’t send messages that are likely to get marked as spam.

There are plenty of good holiday marketing ideas that you can take advantage of. Don’t resort to the tired “Happy _________” greeting.