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Yes, We Realize When Christmas Is

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Monday December 10, 2012 )

A little originality is needed in subject lines of marketing emails at the moment methinks.

Every 10 minutes, my inbox is hit with at least one email mentioning the word Christmas or Santa in the subject line.

I’m not a fan of the day at the best of times, but it’s this incessant stream of reminders that helps me to understand why seemingly sane people go nutso at this time of the year. There are many people for whom this time of the year is anything but pleasant or worthy of celebration.

Merchants do not have to have Xmas sales specifically – there is no law requiring them to do so. There are all sorts of reasons for running special offers and if everyone is screaming the same reason; how does a merchant stand out from the mob?

By being different.

Email subject lines are prime screen real estate. The word “Christmas” sucks up 9 characters; even “Xmas” chews through 4.

I’ve pretty much tuned out anything with either of those two words in the subject line unless it’s a merchant I commonly shop with; and in that situation, the merchant could say “Intestinal Worm Day sale” and I’d still open it.

Even if you’re only annoying 20% of people by mentioning Xmas type themes; that could be the 20% you need. Why not try something that isn’t so polarizing? At the moment you could just state “huge sale” and you would probably stand out more than those hangers-on of Mr. Claus, who last I heard was in rehab trying to kick his hillbilly heroin habit.

Cynic? Me? Certainly – but I’m not the only one; and I buy online. Give me two merchants, one of whom has gone all out on the mistletoe on their site and another with a reindeer-less online home – and all other things being equal, the latter will get my dollars.

Enough of Xmas already; it may be a low-hanging fruit, but the concept with regard to marketing is rotten to the core.

Trivia: the myth of Santa is one of the first lies we tell our children. It sets also sets them up nicely for their first experience of disillusionment.


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