Humanizing Your Brand in Holiday Emails: Ideas And Best Practices
People want exclusive deals. But people need to trust. 79% of Gen Z say that trusting the brand they buy is their first priority.
So, what’s the deal with trust? It’s this: your customers need to realize that they are engaging with people like themselves. Not with a distant brand in the sky occasionally glimpsed via short-lived advertisements. Only then can they begin to consider trusting you.
People connect with people, not with brands per se. Like any genuine relationship, the relationship between a brand and its consumers is mutually reinforcing.
WestJet’s memorable “Christmas miracle” campaign is a shining example of the same. And speaking of building relationships, email is second to none. This is why email marketing is the best way to drive engagement, especially during the Holiday season. Let’s explore this a bit.
The Directness of Email Marketing
On social media, you are one among millions of people interacting with a brand (through comments, likes, and shares.) On email, you are one in a million interacting with the same brand. We’re not even talking about segmentation and personalization. Email is direct and personal by nature.
Consequently, according to a 2022 survey, 25% of consumers in the United States stated that they were more likely to make a purchase after receiving a newsletter via email. In the same year, over 80% of marketers said that they used email newsletters in their marketing strategy. Equally, in early 2023, email was the channel that made the most of automation.
In light of the personal directness of email and its multiple-times-over proved worth, you don’t want to dedicate any other channel to showcasing the human side of your brand. Understand that people want to hear from your brand through email. Translation: Mr. So-and-so wants to hear from you. Let’s find out how you can pull this off.
Tips to Humanize Your Brand Via Holiday Emails
But first: humanize does not mean sentimentalize. You don’t want to appear mushy. It’s cheap, it’s fake. With that in mind, here are five ways to pull off humane marketing via email this holiday season.
1. Introduce Your Team
Kickstart your holiday email series by introducing the people behind your brand. Not just the management leaders who may already be listed on your dedicated website, but, where relevant, the ground staff as well. Share their stories, highlight their roles and personalities, and what the holiday season means to them.
2. Showcase Your Workspace
Give a virtual tour of your workspace. It could be the office, or even your home space if you work remotely. For instance, if you are a fashion brand, offer a virtual peek into the warehouse “where the magic happens.”
This way, you make your brand tangible. And customers love that. Indeed, 57% of consumers say that human communication would enhance their brand loyalty.
3. Share the Creative Process
Share how your holiday campaigns come to life. Walk your customers through images and short videos of brainstorming sessions, design drafts, boardroom meetings, etc. Let your audience be part of the narrative. It’s not for nothing that 55% of consumers are more likely to remember a story than a dry listicle of facts.
4. Share Holiday Traditions
Offer customers a glimpse into your brand’s culture by sharing images and videos of how employees celebrate the holiday season. It could be anything from office Christmas parties to Halloween shenanigans to holiday-themed team-building activities.
5. Community Involvement
Discuss your brand’s involvement in the community or social issues.
No, it’s not just another drab CSR drive. People no longer connect with brands solely over products and services. It’s a brand’s values that drive consumers. Association with a brand is indicative of a person’s moral character nowadays. Authenticity sells. In fact, 88% of consumers agree that authenticity plays a key role in their choice of which brands to support.
So those were some of the ideas you can use to reinforce the personality of your brand via email. But the more critical part is implementation. Let’s run over the four main technical aspects that must be fail-safe in order to nail holiday email marketing.
Holiday Email Marketing: The Technical Side
1. Open-worthy Subject Lines
Instead of writing ‘compelling’, and ‘enticing’ subject lines, focus on crafting subject lines that are open-worthy. Given the nature of this holiday campaign, you need not rely on wildly sales-y phrases. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Depending on the type of email in the series, you can experiment with subject lines.
For instance, the email that introduces your team could use a subject line like this: “Meet Samson Love, the heart as well as the brain behind our packaging line.”
2. Optimizing Image and Video Content
Naturally, your holiday email campaign will be image- and video-centric. Emails with images can increase open rates by nearly 10%. In fact, the mere mention of the word ‘video’ in your subject line can lead to a 6% increase in the open rate, But there are a few key points you need to bear in mind.
Embedding videos in email is challenging thanks to email client limitations. To ensure seamless playback and compatibility, host your videos on popular platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Use a vivid, attractive thumbnail image for your video. When users click on it, they will be directed to the hosting platform.
Provide alt-text for your images. Keep file size in check since large-sized image and video files tend to mess up email load times.
3. Uptime Monitoring
Uptime monitoring is critical for ensuring the performance and reliability of your email services during peak seasons like the holidays. You need to constantly and consistently monitor your email infrastructure so that it remains operational when you need it most.
Interestingly, server failure alone accounts for 45% of all downtime issues.
Make use of services that provide real-time monitoring. These tools will alert you to server downtime, network issues, and other technical glitches. Consider implementing failover mechanisms. So, for instance, you can use backup email servers that can quickly take over when your primary server conks out.
Implement load balancing to distribute email traffic across multiple servers. In case of sudden server failures, traffic will be automatically redirected, ensuring uninterrupted email service.
4. Load Testing
For brands sending a high volume of emails during the holiday season, load testing is non-negotiable.
When you increase your email marketing efforts during this time, the demand for your email infrastructure will naturally grow. Load testing helps you identify potential bottlenecks in your email delivery system, allowing you to address them as quickly as possible.
This also includes nipping deliverability issues in the bud. 11% of emails never reach the inbox due to deliverability woes. Load testing can reveal if the email server becomes slow or unresponsive due to a spike in the number of outbound emails.
The power of trust in branding cannot be underestimated. As we saw, establishing trust requires humanizing your brand, not forcefully, but honestly. Evidently, email is an invaluable tool for achieving a relationship based on mutual trust, accompanied as it is by personal directness. Yes, that’s the phrase you need to remember this holiday season.