Are holiday cards part of your B2B email marketing plan this season? True, they may not attract the same attention as those fabulous thought leadership blogs, or convert at the same rate as your content-rich offers – but holiday emails give B2B marketers a valuable opportunity to show a different side of their brand.
Not only that, but they offer existing customers the perfect pinch of “delight” in their inbound journey. Just like all of your marketing efforts, though, your holiday emails are subject to rules and best practices that, when done wrong, can seriously backfire on your brand. This holiday season, make sure you don’t dampen spirits with these five common mistakes:
Mistake #1: You “Go Rogue” With Your Branding
In the B2B world, your holiday email is a time for your creativity to shine. Just don’t get so creative that your recipients lose sight of who you are. Balance your creative efforts by retaining at least some elements of your brand. This can be as simple as incorporating your color theme and company logo into your holiday card, or using images and messaging consistent with your website. Google, of course, strikes the perfect balance of “festive branding” by dressing up its logo for different occasions.
Google’s mastery in this area is just one example of how you can infuse a little holiday flair without compromising your brand’s existing look and feel. (Don’t have a designer? No problem! You can create your own with fun tools like Pop Art’s Holidize.me or Logoworks.)
Mistake #2: You Think You’re Off the Hook on a “B2B” Technicality
There’s no reason to let B2C have all the fun in December. Remember, it’s people, not faceless entities, who are getting your emails. While retailers are filling inboxes with messages about sales, discounts and free shipping, B2B marketers can grace those same inboxes with a message that’s personal, heartfelt, humorous and, well, more “human” than what they might typically see from you.
Take, for example, this stripped-down message from RedTail Solutions, followed up by a link to a still-shot video with music and beautiful winter scenes. (Oh, and be sure not to miss the dozens of warm responses in the comments area when you click on the link below!)
Mistake #3: You Disregard Religious Sensitivities
This one is a biggie, so it would be remiss of us not to mention it. Without exception, play it safe with a holiday-agnostic message. There are several ways to spin a fun, festive message and still make it jolly for all audiences. The following corporate eCards do a great job of delivering a universal message that nicely captures the spirit of the season:
Mistake #4: You Fail to Think Outside the (In)box
Your audience may not check emails during the holidays as much as they normally do – so if you really want your holiday wishes to be heard, consider spreading the cheer across other channels as well. This can include your website, social posts, even your email signature. PayPal does a stellar job of adding seasonal flair to its home page, while still remaining functional and on-brand.
Additionally, there are dozens of other ways that B2B marketers leverage the season to connect with prospects and customers. The holidays are ripe for partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, “thank-you” parties and outings, and community efforts that promote charitable causes. Check out these 33 creative ideas for small businesses marketers during the holidays.
Mistake #5: You Sneak In a Sales Pitch
There’s no better way to kill the holiday mood than with a blanket B2B sales pitch. Remember, the focus of your holiday email is “delight.” Stick to a heartfelt thank-you, and/or find creative opportunities for engagement outside of your usual CTAs, whether it’s a clever hashtag, an animated activity or an amusing video.
I mean, really… who can resist the CTA to “Shake a Snowglobe” or “Draw a Snowman”? The latter idea was superbly executed by inContact’s 2015 holiday campaign, shown below:
Now that you know what NOT to do with your holiday emails, get creative, have fun – and go forth and be merry with your brightest B2B holiday marketing yet!
From all of us at Precision Marketing Group, have a warm and wonderful holiday season!