Christmas List-Building Tips

Christmas MarketingIn a previous Christmas marketing tip, you learned about 3 potential goals that you might set for your bulk email marketing campaigns this season.

One of those goals – getting more subscribers – doesn’t focus primarily on immediate profits. In fact, it’s possible for you to pursue this goal and not see a single extra sale during the holiday season.

But that doesn’t mean this is a bad goal to have for your Christmas marketing. You’re simply focusing on the growth and long-term profitability of your business, rather than on relatively short-term gains.

Why Focus on Building Your List?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that increasing sales is a poor goal to have. It’s a great goal – especially at Christmas. After all, your family, boss, employees and/or coworkers will probably be much more jolly if sales are up.

But let’s face it: however hectic the holiday season is, and however much people talk about spending around this time of year, it’s only how long – two months? Maybe? Out of a whole year?

Email Overload Drops Response Rates, Raises Unsubscribes and Complaints

On top of the Christmas season being (in the grand scheme of things) a short time – it’s the 2 months when email marketers worldwide get “trigger happy” and ramp up their frequency (see The Retail Email Blog for proof). As frequency rises, it gets harder and harder to get noticed in the inbox.

Plus, as recipients get fed up with the volume, they’re more likely to engage in mass unsubscribe/complaint sprees and less likely to respond to email campaigns from anyone.

Rather than just squeezing another buck out of your current list, maybe you should instead work on getting more subscribers that you can build relationships with and market to all year long.

Christmas List-Building Tips

  • Post-Purchase Product Registration

    Sure, you don’t make household appliances or flatscreen TVs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage customers to register products with you.

    This enables you to offer customers highly relevant information and offers after their purchase.

    Sure, some people can easily collect this information right off their order form, but not everyone. Plus you can use a product registration to collect interest/preference related information (helping you increase the relevance of your email campaigns) that wouldn’t be part of any reasonable order form.

  • Discount Gift Cards

    For most companies, gift cards are Santa’s greatest gift. Their fulfillment costs are low, you increase cash flow before having to provide products/services and customers often spend beyond the gift card value (or they lose the gift card completely!).

    With margins so high on gift cards, and with so many people giving them in place of specific gifts, you can afford to offer shoppers a discount on one this holiday season.

    Example: assume you offer a $100 gift card to a customer for $95 plus his/her (confirmed!) opt-in.

    If a confirmed subscriber is worth (on average) more than $5 to you, you’ve just made a great deal.

    (Of course, there are possible abuses here, and you’ll want to place appropriate terms on this to protect yourself. Even so, I think this one has a lot of potential.)

    Some payment processor/shopping cart software offer gift certificate/card sales – if you’ve never offered them before, check with your provider to see how to set them up.

  • Promote The Vote: Subscriber-Choice Sales

    I’ve been impressed with Amazon’s Customers Vote promotion.

    Basically, you vote for your favorites out of several (much better than usual) deals. After voting, there’s a chance you’ll get selected to purchase the product you voted for at the deal price.

    The brilliance of this promotion, to me, lies partly in the fact that you have to be a member/subscriber to participate. If you try to participate and aren’t a member, Amazon prompts you to sign up.

    I think this is a great twist on the subscriber bonus or freebie: let subscribers vote for one of your products they’d like to get a sale on. Tell them to share the contest with friends to get more people to sign up and vote, and promote the vote on your site.

    After all, people love to “win” a vote, and you love getting more subscribers, right?

More Christmas Marketing Tips On The Way

As promised in the last of our Christmas marketing tips, we’ll be talking about other goals you can aim for this holiday season, too. Stay tuned…


  1. Lori Titus

    11/26/2008 1:36 pm

    I decided I wanted to increase my email list. I am using a snail mail campaign towards that end. I compared my customer list from the last two years and my aWeber email list, and removed duplicates and anyone who was already on the aWeber list. I used to create a postcard offering 10% off for Black Friday, and 15% off if they sign up for our email list through the website. 1200 postcards were mailed, for just over $500. People will be receiving the postcards today, so hopefully I’ll get see a surge in my email list over the next few days.

  2. Lori Titus

    11/29/2008 8:52 pm

    Justin – feel free to post this somewhere else, if somewhere else is more appropriate.

    I split-tested a Black Friday email, same message, two different subject lines. The first said, "(first name), Here is your Black Friday coupon from The Bee Folks". The second said, "Get 15% off at The Bee Folks with coupon code xxx".

    At this point, 52% have opened the first email, and 40% the second. There is a 12% click thru rate on the first, and a 6% on the second. I have had 11 sales off the first message, and 9 off the second. I have a 0% spam rate on the first, and a 0.22% spam rate on the second.

    I doubt the difference in spam rate is significant. I don’t know if the difference in sales rate is significant. However, the open rate and click thru rate definitely are.

    I have not quite finished deciding how to interpret this data. I wish I had used two separate coupon codes while testing this to see if people would bypass the links and type my web address into the browser bar directly. Still, figured others might be interested in this knowledge.

    Justin – I’d be interested in finding a way to link the actual sale value back to the aWeber stats, and not just an assigned average value. Any way to do that?

  3. ErikJ

    12/1/2008 11:28 am

    I really like the vote option. I see many peoples blogs and sometimes successful bloggers who do not offer anything to the people to sign up for their list. It is very hard for people to give out there email if they are not recieving something or doing something like voting and people like to vote. Great idea I would have never thought of it since I never go to Amazon.

  4. Justin Premick

    12/1/2008 11:58 am


    Thanks for sharing your results!

    This entry from our Knowledge Base should help you set custom sale amounts:

    Let me know if you have any questions about it.


    Thanks! I’m a big fan of the voting option too. Let me know how it works for you if you end up using it.

  5. Grant Waldman

    12/2/2008 11:55 am

    It is great to read about results from email campaigns Lori – thanks! There are still many people out there who are very cautious around email because of spam and the volume of email that people are receiving. I continue to emphasize how critical the subject line call to action is and how import incentives are. Thanks again!

  6. Christmas Marketing Tips: 2 Ways You Can Use Segmentation To Increase Conversions - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    12/3/2008 9:18 am

    […] the last Christmas marketing tip, you read my thoughts on focusing your efforts on building your list, rather than pulling in a few extra sales: [H]owever hectic the holiday season is, and however much […]

  7. Top Posts I read (week ending 12/5/08) –

    12/8/2008 12:18 am

    […] Aweber Shared a Great Article on Christmas List Building Aweber is a Great service to use for your list and it is what I recommend if you do not have an autoresponder service yet […]

  8. An Email Marketing Christmas Carol

    12/16/2010 11:23 am

    […] are looking to buy gifts right now. “It’s a good time,” says Elfy, “to ask for subscribes, “The holidays can help build your email […]