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Plan your holiday email marketing now

Halloween is not till next week, so you may think it's premature to start thinking about the year-end holidays. However, it you haven't started planning yet, now is the time to do so. In this month's issue of Hints & Tips, we've got suggestions and advice for retailers, restaurants, nonprofit organizations, and others on how to stay ahead of the competition during the next couple months. You're bound to find something relevant to your business.

Our lead article this month is all about not abusing customer trust during the holidays, and it was written by Eric Groves, our Senior Vice President of Global Market Development. Eric wrote the book on email marketing. Literally. His recent release, The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, is now in stores and it's a must-read for anyone looking to build stronger customer relationships. Click here for more information, and to read an excerpt from the first chapter.

After you've read Eric's article and the two that follow, I hope you'll take this quick survey to let me know what you thought of the issue. I'd also like to know what topics you'd like to see covered in future issues so I can make this newsletter even better.

Our apologies for the delay in getting this issue to you. Wishing you much success,

Martin Lieberman
Managing Editor

Trust Me
Give customers the gift of respect ... and don't forget your neighbors

Everyone knows a story about a coworker who made a fool of himself at a company holiday party. All the excitement and high spirits turned that well-meaning celebrant into a loud-mouthed, in-your-face pariah. No one wanted to engage with this person, and colleagues began to flow toward the exit sign. 

Some big-box retailers were like that "crazy office-party crasher" last holiday season as they bombarded customers with promotional emails. As the weeks wore on and their attempts became more desperate, they ratcheted up their markdowns and their email frequency, sending out 40%, 50%, and 60% off promotions almost daily. By January, they were practically giving stuff away.

Excessive holiday email isn't just bad behavior — it shows a lack of strategy, and it's ineffective.

It's the Time of the Season
The dos and don'ts of nonprofit email marketing for the holidays

Many people may cringe at the notion of getting ready for the year-end holidays when Halloween hasn't even passed, but if you're a nonprofit organization gearing up for donation drives and holiday events, now is the time to get cooking on your email marketing plans.

Some organizations may be holding off on plans to ask for donations or host events so as to not conflict with holiday budgets in a weak economy. But for those of you who are going ahead with your galas and donation drives, it is vitally important to nail your message and delivery to supporters and constituents.

Some advice to those building their holiday campaigns: Keep the message short and on point. That's obvious. But here are seven other things you'll want to think about as you ready yourself to engage your supporters.

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