[Infographic] What Santa can teach you about email marketing

The most important shopping season of the year has started and it’s time to get your Christmas newsletters ready to go. For this year’s blog post, we decided to take inspiration from the ultimate master of all things Christmas — the man himself, Santa Claus!

So what can we learn from watching Santa and the way he organizes his work? A lot, actually. Every stage in the process that ends with a present under your Christmas tree has a parallel in email marketing. Let’s look at what Santa does and how we can apply those lessons to email marketing.

FreshMail’s Christmas Story

Build a list

Just like for Santa, it’s important for you to build and organize a list of names. Take advantage of every opportunity to promote your newsletter and what it has to offer, whether it’s on your website, blog or even in your email footer. There are ways to gather addresses when you’re offline too so even a visit to the North Pole is no excuse for not spreading the word about the benefits of your newsletter. Just don’t forget your tablet with FreshForm app.

Deliver the right message

There’s a reason why Santa never delivers ties to little girls or heavy winter jackets to kids in Hawaii. He knows the importance of getting just the right present to just the right person. This is important for email marketers too since the best way to lose subscribers is to keep sending them content that doesn’t interest them. Putting subscribers with similar interests or behavioral histories together into segment is part of the foundation of successful email marketing. This allows you to target them with tailored offers that are based on data that you know about them — what items they have viewed on your website, when their last purchase was, which mails they have opened, etc. You don’t want to get socks on Christmas morning and your subscribers don’t want newsletters full of offers that they don’t care about. Make everybody happy by using segmentation.

Know your subscribers

Santa famously knows if you’ve been bad or good (but let’s not think about how he’s watching us all the time…). If you don’t get the present you want, think back to the time you didn’t hold the door open for that old lady or didn’t tip the pizza delivery guy. Watching what your subscribers do is also important for the decisions that you make as an email marketer. Tracking codes and integration of FreshMail with Google Analytics provide the data you need to create dynamic content in your messages.

Test everything

Which one would you rather open — a present wrapped perfectly in shiny Christmasy colors or one wrapped in old newspaper from the bottom of a bird cage? Even if both boxes contain the same thing inside, the outside appearance matters and the same applies to your emails. As an email marketer, you have tools at your disposal that help to make sure that everything about your message is optimized to be as attractive as possible to subscribers. Emails that aren’t “wrapped” properly don’t get opened as often and that can definitely ruin your holiday. Always use tests for things like your subject line and sender name to make sure that recipients are always happy to get presents from you.

Reach inboxes

Santa knows that his work isn’t done until your presents are safely delivered under your tree, that’s why you never find them in your microwave or on your roof. An important part of your job is to make sure that your messages reach inboxes and not spam folders. There are some established rules and good practices for creating newsletters that won’t get unwanted attention from sensitive spam filters. You work hard to get the most out of your email marketing so follow the tips in the infographic to avoid problems after you hit “send”.

Automate your work

Let’s be honest and admit that Santa’s elves and his team of reindeer don’t get enough credit for the work they do that allows him to lie on the beach for half the year. As an email marketer, you can put your own team to work in the form of autoresponders. These are amazing tools that let you automate your conversations with customers by automatically sending messages to respond to various triggers activated by subscribers. They not only react to what customers do, they help to keep them engaged, interested and informed about you and your products.

Work smarter

Lastly, don’t forget that there’s more to Christmas than Santa. Setting up a nice Christmas tree isn’t enough — you need to decorate it to really make it pop with holiday magic. Add ornaments, stars and other colorful bits to make your tree the center of attention. Do the same by “decorating” your email marketing system through integration with Zapier and other platforms to make your email marketing even more powerful (and shiny!).

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas and successful campaigns!!! :)

Originally published at freshmail.com on December 4, 2015.