The holidays can freeze your sales pipeline if you’re not careful.
As companies transition from this year into next, work slows. Emailing gives way to virtual office parties. Your prospects are distracted – but you still need to hit your Q4 goals.
Increasing urgency in your outreach is the best way to cut through the holiday noise. Since we all have FOMO – or fear of missing out – this aversion to loss can be a powerful motivator.
This is doubly true because Q4 is when plans and purchases get made for next year. Meanwhile, the remains of this year’s budget are getting spent. In this context, an ‘act-now’ approach works wonders to fill your pipeline.
Here are 5 ways to use urgency to sidestep holiday obstacles, hit your Q4 goals, and fill your pipeline for 2021.
1. Get Creative
People enjoy receiving season’s greetings. For this reason, a unique holiday-themed outreach campaign is a great way to fill the pipeline.
At Sapper, we send festive emails with headlines, body copy, and calls to action all themed for the holidays. Much like an e-Christmas card, these emails aim to delight prospects with holiday fun to entice a reply.
Being creative is the key to success. Remember, your competitors are also spreading good cheer. As the inbox screenshot below shows, you’ll need to do better than “Happy Holidays” to actually capture attention.
Now’s the time for *original* holiday puns and Santa emojis in subject lines. Draw on pop culture and people’s experiences – i.e. Christmas sweaters, holiday parties, re-gifting – to craft reply-worthy emails. This familiar approach has the added benefit of humanizing your brand as the relationship develops.
Capitalize on the holiday spirit to make a good impression and earn a quick reply.
2. Incentivize A Reply
People flock to Black Friday because it implies huge savings. Similarly, a successful lead generation campaign during Q4 hinges on quality incentives.
Call attention to your promotions in a way that suggests massive value, such as:
- Free shipping, free integrations, etc.
- End of year discounts
- Free trials for the new year
- Holiday giveaways
Whatever incentives you offer, make sure they’re timely and aligned with your target customer.
“After a certain point in Q4, companies will start looking at campaign (or new vendor) agreements launching in January,” says Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing.
“To avoid a January overload, we often provide incentives for active leads to sign an agreement before the end of the year.. This can include discounts off the 1st month's service, or even longer term offers,” said Membrillo.
Sending gifts can also be effective in getting a response.
For example, send your middle and bottom-funnel leads a gift card to Starbucks or a cookie cake with your number on it. Thoughtful and unique gestures like this help you stay top of mind and spark action with key sales-ready leads. For best results, include a personalized handwritten card with your gift and mention any ongoing promotions.
Customers expect seasonal savings, so make yours worthwhile.
3. Give The Gift of Value
Urgency drives action, but only if the payoff is worthwhile.
Rather than assume people remember you and your offering, provide compelling reasons to act right now. Be creative and present your offers as ‘for a limited time’, but don’t forget to highlight your unique solution. The last thing you want is for your value to get lost in holiday messaging.
Seen below, GraphicStock offers free downloads on stock images for a 7-day period.
This promotion is effective because it promises unlimited value for a limited time. It also gets specific about the 300,000+ images, icons, vectors, textures, and backgrounds available to users. Even a forgetful prospect now has ample reason to give GraphicStock a try.
To drive immediate action, make sure you’re offering irresistible value.
4. Set a Deadline
Deadlines are critical to driving action. As prospects read your holiday emails, they should never forget that your offer expires soon.
For best results, announce the deadline in the headline. Use the body copy to discuss your solution, then end on a strong final reminder.
You can use the following phrases to convey deadline urgency:
- Order Now
- For a limited time
- Holiday countdown
- Last minute
- While supplies last
- End of year special
Avoid creating a false sense of urgency that might come off as scammy or inauthentic. To the point, here’s a list of words not to use in headlines because they can land your emails in the spam folder.
Seen below, Hubspot uses a Cyber Monday countdown timer on its website to jumpstart lead generation and sales.
By setting an end-date, Hubspot activates the loss aversion (FOMO) response in qualified prospects. If you’re keen to try Hubspot, now is clearly the best time to get started.
Use deadlines to beg the question: when is better than now?
5. Offer Reasons To Start Now
Q4 ‘tis the season for reflection and strategic planning. To inspire action, your holiday outreach should help people make plans and keep resolutions.
Remind prospects how your solution can help them achieve their goals. Highlight their recurring pain points, then vividly illustrate how you can solve these problems.
As prospects polish off last year’s budget and consider new purchases, educational content can be very persuasive. Use content to share tips and insights for success in the coming year, then ask readers to take a step forward.
Seen below, automation company Marketo offers a few “forward-thinking ebooks” to help with optimal decision-making going forward.
Even a subtle nudge can be effective in generating a response. It’s important for year-end content to elicit demand from readers, so include strong CTAs and create this content with a laser focus on a specific customer persona.
Increase Urgency to Fill Your Holiday Pipeline
The holiday sales slowdown is upon us. Given the turbulent year behind us, if you’re struggling to make your numbers, you’re not alone.
The urgency-inspiring tactics we discussed today can help you hit your Q4 goals and start 2021 with a full pipeline. Still unsure about how to proceed? A cold email expert can help you relieve some of the stress and sail into a new year full of opportunities.