Fine-tuning end-of-year campaigns

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By Karen J. Bannan

As the number of days left in 2004 dwindles, many marketers turn their sights to next year’s campaigns. But while it’s smart to look ahead, doing so might mean you miss opportunities that, like an open box of holiday cookies, will be gone before you know it. We spoke to Ronen Yaari, president of OpenMoves Inc., an e-mail content and branding company based in Huntington, N.Y., about making the most of December marketing opportunities.

  • Keep ‘em coming. Although it might seem logical to suspend newsletters until after the holidays, take note: Customers are often more likely to read your e-mail message when workloads are lighter. People have more time to do thinking and deciding during the holidays, Yaari said, especially the week between Christmas and New Year’s. "We see people are more likely to make big decisions," he said. "After all the holiday hoopla, it’s almost an escape to be able to log on from home and catch up on business reading."
  • Create urgency with last-minute offers. If your targets have a need and extra money left in their 2004 budget, they may be open to offers, especially when many companies operate under the use-it-or-lose it mentality.
  • Give your readers a gift. Now is the perfect time to offer access to a free white paper or attach a perk with purchase, Yaari said. "You can even provide value by putting out an extra issue that gives readers something they can really use," he said.
  • Look ahead. Readers love roundups, especially if they can help them do their jobs. For example, Yaari is sending out a newsletter to his own clients that includes predictions for 2005. "It’s a good time for reflection since it gives readers an idea of what’s coming and helps them plan for the coming year."
  • And look back. Take the opportunity to ask your readers what they liked about your newsletter over the past year and what they’d like to see more of in the future. "This is a perfect time for a survey, especially if you attach a time-sensitive offer as well," Yaari said. "Ask them straight out: ‘What will keep you reading this coming year?’ and be prepared to move on their suggestions."
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