It's the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Most entrepreneurs are falling into two categories today.
One group is business-as-usual: emails, projects, production, client meetings, regular stuff.
And the other group is having a total comeapart because the holidays showed up this week.
Raise your hand if you're scrambling because Black Friday is THIS WEEK!
If your hand is up you're in that second group. You're in good company.
Maybe you planned to be prepared for the holidays, but there were other, more important items on your list.
Or maybe you're being completely honest and you never had a plan to be prepared for the holidays because this is just how you roll.
And that's ok.
Regardless if you planned to maximize your holiday email marketing or not, there's still time to create and execute a plan that won't feel last-minute to those that matter: your customers.
And wait. What's that I hear in the back? Some of you are saying "I don't even have an email list!"
If this is you, why not create one today? There's literally no better time. This is the time of year that we wait for all year long. People are shopping and they want what YOU have to sell them!
So, a short aside for those who have no email list. Here's your to-do list before you read any further. Take ONE HOUR and get these things DONE. Don't hesitate. Do it now.
4 Steps to Create your Email List NOW
1. Create a free account with MailChimp. I'm suggesting MailChimp because it's free until your list is bigger, and it's easy to use. Personally, I use Klaviyo (and love it) but if you're doing this quickly, let's just stick with the chimp. You don't even have to set it up all the way (with your logo, etc). Just create an account.
2. Gather all of your emails from shows you've gone to and set out a list (but never compiled), plus a list of your friends and family. Be careful entering customers' emails who haven't explicitly signed up for your emails (it's actually illegal), but if it's your mom, best friend, grandpa, etc., add them. They will probably a) buy from you and b) share your email with their network (not illegal), expanding your reach.
3. Enter those emails into your new MailChimp account. BAM. You have an email list.
4. Now, take it a step further and take the link from your MailChimp list and post it on your facebook page and your website, if you have one. Now more people can sign up!
OK -- now back to the program.
So. One hour to map out your emails for the holiday season.
Really. One hour.
Schedule your Holiday Emails in One Hour
1. Set a timer for 60 minutes (just ask Siri -- then put your phone away).
2. Open up a google doc or your notebook -- however you do it.
Now. Let's work.
Here's a screenshot of my WIP (work-in-progress) Hattie Rex email plan for this year (yep, those come from me!).
Please note that it's not pretty. It's not complete. It's not branded or even all in the same font.
But it's a plan that helps me map out my emails, including what I need to say and when, and gives me a visual of what else still needs to be done.
Which is what you're going to do now.
3. So on your notebook or Google doc, list out all the emails you want or need to send.
Include columns for the date, for the topic or any specials you're promoting, and a column to mark when you've scheduled (or sent it).
NOTE: This isn't an hour to actually WRITE all your emails. It's an hour to plan them. You don't even have to write them in advance -- feel free to write on the day they are due. Just don't forget to contact your email subscribers this holiday season.
Don't Miss these E-Commerce Holidays
As you're listing the emails you want to send, here are some must-email days to make sure you don't miss anything.
1. Black Friday (Friday, November 23)
2. Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 24)
3. Cyber Monday (Monday, November 26)
4. Your holiday shipping deadlines - check the carrier deadlines to be sure you'll have enough time.
5. Actual holidays -- don't just email your list when you want to sell them something. Email them on Thanksgiving to tell them you're grateful for their support. Wish them a happy new year. Treat them like you would a friend. They ARE your friends.
6. Other sales/specials throughout the month - aim for one a week
Now that you have your must-dos on your list, along with any sales or specials you'll be promoting, let's take it above and beyond with these tips.
1. Do this today. If you don't regularly email your list, why not touch base with them BEFORE the holidays to re-engage with them before you try to sell? Selling online is about building relationships, and if you've been ghosting your list for months (or forever), it's especially important that you re-ignite that flame.
Not sure what to say? Tell them what's new with your company or your personal life. Show them new products you've been working on, or tell them about holiday shows you're attending. If it's brand-appropriate, share a favorite holiday recipe, or link to a YouTube video of your favorite Christmas song. Tell them where you're going for the holidays. Just connect. Provide value and/or entertainment. Remember, these people signed up for your list (or they're related to you) so they WANT to hear what you have to say.
2. Don't treat everyone the same. If you have a segmented list, or sales data to accompany your regular list, treat your best customers to a special treat. Maybe it's a heads up about your Cyber Monday sale before the weekend. Or maybe it's a special coupon or bonus. Whatever it is, make sure you let them know that it's because they are your best customers and you appreciate them.
3. Make sure your abandoned cart email is ready and sending. You can even change it up to be holiday-specific, but you want to make sure that if someone leaves a product in their cart over the holidays, you're following up. Remember that the holidays are a stressful time for your customers with the pressures and deadlines of gift-giving. Keep your emails helpful. You're here to educate them on your products and help them make the best decision they can about where to spend their hard-earned money and to make it easy and convenient for them to do so.
So, was an hour enough time to at least make a list of the emails you want to spend? If not, take a break, and come back to it for another 30-60 minutes. I hope you get on a roll and just knock them all out today!
Tell me in the comments if there's something I missed.