7 Boxing Day Email Marketing Essentials – How To Get What You Want This Year

ice swimming

Happy Boxing Day!

It’s time to talk about Boxing Day. That great British Bank Holiday so synonymous with rubbish TV,  good sport, cold turkey and some peculiar British eccentricities that seem predominantly to involve swimming starkers in extremely cold, outdoor water situations!

But the times they are a-changing.

Research from Experian shows that last year, Boxing Day was actually the busiest single online retail day on record. According to the figures, UK consumers spent 14 million hours online collectively and made 113 million visits to online retail sites on December 26th 2012, a huge increase of 17% from 2011.

So alongside Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the opportunity now presented to online
retailers in the UK by Boxing day is enormous.

The Experian data points to the fact that premature January Sales are one of the main reasons for the upsurge in traffic. They reported that ‘one in every 125 searches conducted in the UK included the word ‘sale’ or ‘sales’.

In addition to the overall traffic surge, mobile traffic was evidently on the up on Boxing Day last year too. In fact, 30.72% of traffic to retailer’s sites on Boxing Day last year came from mobile devices.

So, how can email marketers make sure that they harness the Boxing Day opportunity to its full potential?

Here are my 7 Boxing Day Email Marketing Essentials:

1. Use email marketing automation

On a basic level, your email service provider (ESP) should enable you to schedule email
campaigns in advance. This means that you can set up your creative, organise your data
and schedule campaigns to go out on days when your office is shut over the holiday period.

Clearly, Boxing Day is a day to be scheduling some serious campaigns for!

If the feature is available from your ESP you should also look to schedule auto-remails, so
you can follow-up those who failed to open your Boxing Day email, with a new subject line to re-engage non-openers. Read another blog about auto-remailing.

More sophisticated email marketing automation will enable you to drive up average basket
values and conversion rates during the crucial Boxing Day online sales window.

Check whether your ESP will allow you to:

  • Automatically follow-up abandoned baskets with personalised emails with recommendations and incentives to re-engage the potential customer and pull them back to your site and purchase funnel.
  • Automatically follow-up online purchases with upsell, cross-sell, and bundle offers, refer a friend offers, invitations to review and share socially.
  • Automatically follow-up recipients clicking on links in specified email campaigns, triggered to be sent on Boxing Day to maximise sales potential.
  • Dynamically tailor your triggered emails with content based on pages or products the recipient browsed on your website or placed in their basket.

You can download our new research paper on recovering abandoned baskets, here.

2. Luxuriate!

rubber duckNo, I’m not talking about the luxury bath & shower gel combo that a distant relative will surely buy you this year.

eBay recently reported that ‘the number of searches for ‘luxury’ items increased by 345% on Christmas Eve 2012, suggesting that consumers’ “selfish shopping” period is not solely characterised by bargain hunting’.

In January 2012, Ebay.co.uk recorded 63,100 searches for ‘luxury’ and almost half a million for ‘designer’ goods. They reported that this led to ‘3,024 sales of handbags over £150 and 5,346 sales of watches worth more than £300’.

The takeaway – don’t focus all your email efforts on bargain hunters when it comes to your Boxing Day email marketing. Boxing Day offers a great opportunity to shift luxury goods and high ticket goods and services too.

3. Get them before the Hello

I’ve already talked about how email marketers face the challenge of getting cut-through in a crowded inbox.

The one single device you have above all others to drive cut-through in the inbox is your
subject line. Don’t underestimate it. The ‘convince and convert’ blog reported recently that
35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone.

At a time when inboxes are likely to be crammed with ‘Boxing Day Sales’ calls, price
reductions and special offers all screaming from the subject line box, being different could be your secret, killer weapon.

Read more advice on how to write and test subject lines that work

4. Gone In a Flash

A flash sale is essentially a strictly limited period sale, fuelled by the threat of limited stock and a tight deadline for purchase.

We like this example of a flash sale email announcement from GAP.


Reuters reported earlier this year that ‘holiday business on e-commerce websites specializing in limited-time or “flash” sales grew at least twice as fast as for other online merchants, according to industry executives and analysts’. So they clearly work.

Running a flash sale is an opportunity to generate real major sales momentum, particularly when supported by social media and email marketing.

Download dotMailer’s Guide to Social Email Marketing for more help with this.

5. Mobilise!

If you make just one change this month in your marketing, before you schedule your Boxing Day and Christmas holiday email campaigns, make sure your email campaign templates are mobile responsive.

The Guardian recently reported that ‘more than half of the eight million tablets sold in the UK last year were bought in the last three months of the year’. They also say that ‘this year more than eight million are expected to fly off the shelves in the run-up to Christmas, helped by the launch of Apple’s new iPad Air, and the arrival of cheaper tablets.

It seems to me that Boxing Day is going to be a day of downloading apps on to brand new
tablets and smart phones. And it’s going to be a crucial time for your email campaigns to look great on all these screens  – both big and small.

For practical advice on mobile email marketing, download dotMailer’s free Mobile Email Marketing Guide.

6. Target pricing offers, where they will really hit home

If you’re planning to discount stock to launch your Boxing Day online sales then you’ll find
yourself in a strong position; price has been rated as the top factor for choosing to purchase online, by 61% of consumers, according to Rakuten.

You can be sure of one thing on Boxing Day – the inboxes you are competing for
attention in, are going to be extremely crowded.

A key factor in getting your recipients’ attention in this crowded arena is relevancy. The more relevant the content you are asking them to read, the more likely they are to read it.

odeonSo tailoring email content around previous search and website visitor behaviour can be an invaluable weapon in your battle for inbox cut-through.

Along with email marketing automation, consider building data segments of customers who have abandoned carts, based on product categories abandoned, with targeted price discounts on related products.

Read how ODEON cinemas are using transactional data segmentation to drive outstanding email marketing

7. ‘Didn’t Get What You Wanted?’

Traditional January thriftiness after the excesses of Christmas spending has been proven to be a thing of Christmas past.

It’s another reason why retailers should refocus their Boxing Day marketing activity to take advantage of what eBay calls “selfish shopping” – i.e when consumers, suffering from ‘gifting fatigue’ want to spend some cash on themselves, and they’re not looking to skimp!

Phuong Nguyen, UK head of eBay advertising recently said that ‘the traditional
value-focused messaging usually employed in January is “too simplistic” for fast
changing consumer behaviours.