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“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

We all know it’s easy to get distracted by the millions of things that go on in our daily professional and personal lives that we forget to plan our email marketing & social media strategy. Don’t let that happen this year!

January is the perfect time of year to spend a little bit of time mapping out your strategy for the upcoming calendar year. The act of creating a “content calendar” can make things a lot easier for you in the future and avoid those fun “oh my god, what are we going to do this month” moments.

Your content calendar can cover your email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and even offline promotional activities. The nice thing about mapping it out now is that you’ll have one concise strategy for all your marketing activities.

To help with your planning, we have put together a list of the Top US and Canadian holidays for 2013. Holidays are a great way to make your email and social campaigns timely and relevant. It also goes a long way towards making promotions that much more clever.

Saturday, February 2: Groundhog Day
Will spring come early or are we all in for a lot more winter? This somewhat fun tradition still captures media attention and is therefore on people’s minds so it’s a good tie-in for your marketing campaigns.

When To Market: Week of
Email Marketing Idea: Create two offers in your email that hinge on whether the groundhog goes back into it’s burrow or stays out to welcome spring. Whatever happens with the groundhog determines what offer is live.

Thursday, February 14: Valentine’s Day
It’s the holiday of love, cupid and chocolates. It’s also a holiday loved by marketers since this theme is everywhere!

When to Market: Early February through to the day itself
Email Marketing Idea: Brand your emails in red and play on the idea of giving gifts to your loved ones by offering special prices on great gift ideas. Even if your product/services is not usually positioned as something you’d “gift”, now is the time to break out of that mindset for your marketing this month.

Monday, February 18: Presidents Day
A national holiday to celebrate the birthday of George Washington. Whether people celebrate Mr. Washington or not, the key thing to remember is that they are home from work so they have extra time to engage with your emails and social media postings.

When to Market: Week of & Day Of
Email Marketing Idea: Since people are off work for just the day (and ready to buy something!) it’s a good idea to create “today only” special offers. You can even build hype for those special offers the week before to get people excited and ready to act on your deals. If your products are made in America, it’s also a good idea to tout that.

 Sunday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
Green beer… need I say more? This day that celebrates the Irish in America may have a religious background, but now it’s celebrated by almost everyone. This holiday also brings about some great imagery that can be used in your marketing materials.

When to Market: Early March
Email Marketing Idea: Brand your emails in green. Create a contest playing on the “Luck of the Irish” where you award prizes or special offers to people who take a certain action such as liking your Facebook page, forwarding your email, purchasing a specific product, etc.

Sunday, March 31: Easter
Although this is a religious holiday, most organizations focus on the lighter side with images of the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs, and chocolate.

When to Market: Mid-March
Email Marketing Idea: Create a digital Easter egg hunt on your website. Hide an Easter Bunny on one or more pages and then push people to your website from your email and social media channels. If people reply to your email, tweet at you, etc. and find the bunny they can be entered into a contest to win a prize or qualify for special discounts. Sure, these posts may be public which makes the hunt less challenging, but the key is that you’ll have people engaging with you!

Monday, April 1: April Fool’s Day
Let me share a story with you… a couple years ago I showed up to work on April 1 and walked into my office. Instead of my office chair being at my desk, it was replaced with a toilet! I think that summarizes this day of pranks and jokes.

When To Market: Day Of
Email Marketing Idea: This is a day where you can have a lot of fun and go to extremes. There are no rules! You can really go for some shock value with your emails and social posts on this day.

Monday, April 22: Earth Day
We love our planet and today’s the day we really focus on going green to preserve our previous resources.

When to Market: Week Before & Day Of
Email Marketing Ideas: You’re already using email instead of printed flyers, so you’re going green in a big way (without much effort!). Remind people that you did this to help reduce paper waste so they feel like they are supporting a company that does good things. You can also offer to plant a tree for every X number of sales of a certain promotional item. This way you get sales, and mother earth gets more trees!

Sunday, May 12: Mother’s Day
As my mother would say, “mother’s should be celebrated every day”… but this day in particular!

When to Market: Early May
Email Marketing Idea: Encourage people to buy a gift for their mother. If you are shipping the items, give people a cut off date to both create a sense of urgency to make a purchase and to make sure it arrives in time.

Monday, May 20: Victoria Day (Canada)
A holiday in Canada typically called the May 2-4 long weekend that is the unofficial start of the cottage season. Officially it is a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

When to Market: Mid-May
Email Marketing Idea: Since this holiday sort of marks the start of summer, try to pair some special offers with the general summer season. If you sell seasonal products that are really summer-only, now is the time to put those front and center.

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day
A day of remembering the men and women who dies while serving in the US military.

When to Market: Mid-May
Email Marketing Idea: Make sure to thank our troops on this day! You can also offer special discounts to members of the military and their families. This may exclude a large percentage of your customers, but it also sends a nice message about how your organization feels about the people keeping us safe.

Sunday, June 16: Father’s Day
A day to celebrate dad’s everywhere. Since I just became a father last October, I am personally looking forward to my first father’s day.

When to Market: Early June
Email Marketing Idea: If you sell products commonly used by men, this is the holiday for you. Encourage the women/mothers on your mailing list and social media channels to buy gifts for the great men in their lives. Just like mother’s day, give a cut-off day to order by so that you create a sense of urgency and can make sure items arrive in time.

Monday, July 1: Canada Day
OH Canada! Similar to Independence Day in America, this day celebrates Canada’s birthday.

When to Market: End of June
Email Marketing Idea: Theme your email in red & white. Try to find a linkage between your products and celebrations to pair them together for a winning deal.

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day
Today we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Bring on the fireworks!

When to Market: End of June / Beginning of July
Email Marketing Idea: Today is all about being patriotic so brand your emails in some good ol’ red, white and blue. Run special “one day only” discounts and if you’re products are made in America, be sure to emphasize that.

Monday, September 2: Labor Day (USA & Canada)
This federal holiday celebrates the economic and social contribution of workers. More importantly for merchants, it is historically one of largest sale days of the year.

When to Market: Mid-August / Early September
Email Marketing Idea: This is going to be a big spending day for consumers so hold nothing back on your special promotions. Show people that they get the best value when they buy from you!

Monday, October 14: Columbus Day
The anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas. History Pop Quiz… what year did that happen in? If you said 1492 then your history teachers are proud of you!

When to Market: Early October
Email Marketing Idea: If you have a traditional physical location for your store, then you can offer special in-store discounts only for those that take the voyage into your store instead of shopping online.

Thursday, October 31: Halloween
Ghost, goblins, vampires and yummy yummy trick-or-treat candy. A marketing mega holiday that is cherished by people of all ages.

When to Market: October
Email Marketing Idea: This is another holiday that is tied with great imagery to put into your emails. Last year we had a customer send out a “bobbing for apples” email. There were 8 apples in the email and each one led to a page on their website with a different special offer. Of course, people could click all the apples, but that type of engagement is to be celebrated.

Monday, November 11: Veteran’s Day (USA) & Remembrance Day (Canada)
A holiday that honors people who have served in the American & Canadian armed services. [Note: Don't confuse this with Memorial Day which remembers those who died while serving.]

When to Market: Early November
Email Marketing Idea: Similar to Memorial Day, it’s a good time to use your emails and social channels to thank everyone in our armed services. You can also offer special discounts to members of the armed services and their families. To expand your potential market, you can include people who are buying a gift for someone in the armed services.

Wednesday, November 27: Start of Chanukah
It’s time for the festival of lights and 8 days of presents.

When to Market: Mid/Late November
Email Marketing Idea: Since this holiday lasts for 8 days, you can offer a discount on 8 different items. To create a sense of urgency you can have each item only be on sale for one specific day or you can have the same in effect up until a certain day and then it expires.

Thursday, November 28: Thanksgiving
This is one of the major holidays of the year in America, often used for family time (and possibly watching some football!).

When to Market: Mid-November
Email Marketing Idea: This is a good opportunity to push for sales prior to the beginning of the December holiday season. If you’re looking to clear out some inventory space in preparation for Christmas, now is the time to offer deep discounts on those items.

Wednesday, December 25: Christmas
The Christmas season begins well before the 25th as Santa Clause shows up in malls around the country and streets become lined with beautiful lights. Get ready for marketing mayhem!

When to Market: Day after Thanksgiving
Email Marketing Idea: T’is the season for daily deal promotions. Having the “12 Days of Christmas Deals” is a great way to send out an email every day with a special offer for 24 hours only.

Tuesday, December 31: New Years Eve
Wow that year went by fast. Here comes 2014! Before you drink too much champagne be sure to pat yourself on the back for all the great marketing you did this year.

When to Market: After Christmas related emails
Email Marketing Idea: It’s time to celebrate as people get caught up in the excitement of New Year’s. Harness that excitement by offering special end of year discounts on items that might not have sold as well as you wanted during the Christmas season. Don’t forget to take this time to wish everyone a happy new year.

One last suggestion is to make sure you have a mailing list signup button/form on your website right away. This way by the time you get to December, you’ve accumulated all sorts of great new contacts on your mailing list and can really boost your email marketing throughout the year! All Elite Email customers can easily generate these buttons & forms from their account.

Happy Marketing!

2013 Email Marketing Content Calendar

 

 

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