Plan an effective Christmas email and online ad campaign

The holiday season is upon us, which means that marketers are looking to make the most of the relatively few shopping weeks between now and Christmas. Last year alone, there was a 19.2% growth in online Christmas shopping – the fastest increase in four years.

If you are aware of how popular online shopping is for consumers, though, so are other marketers, which means you need to come up with a campaign that gives your products a powerful punch to stand out from the crowd. We’ve reviewed two effective online Christmas campaigns, one ad campaign and one email campaign, and noted the effective – and not so effective – elements of each so you can learn how to make this a holly, jolly holiday season for your bottom line.

Learn some tricks from the Americans:

The brainchild of American Express, Small Business Saturday, which usually takes place the day after the American bargain shopping event of the year, Black Friday, encourages people to buy from small businesses when doing their Christmas shopping. Not only did American Express promote the event through an ad campaign targeting small business owners, it then provided participating small business owners with free Facebook ad templates, tweet and email texts that simultaneously promoted the businesses and American Express for a viral campaign.

Small Business Saturday is a trend that has caught on, in large part due to the targeted nature of the audience: it is very much focused on helping small businesses thrive, attracting small business owners of all ilks. The event is also viral in nature, in that while it attracts many small business owners it simultaneously gives them an incentive to promote the day to their books of business. Great campaigns should target a particular audience, but amazing campaigns give that audience a reason to promote the campaign past themselves to other audiences.

Make sure you look up the Small Business Saturday initiative in the UK. It's got nothing to do with American Express but it could be a great way to promote your business through their social channels. Start a dialogue using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK and ask @SmallBizSatUK to tweet out your product or service to its 15.8K followers.

Learn some tricks from disruptive startups

Uber haven't had great press recently - it makes you wonder what's happening in the PR department never mind the executives' office - but you can't fault their marketing department. They've come up with a Christmas marketing campaign which is centred around the consumer and makes them their brand ambassador. Queue a cheeky email title ''Tis The Season for Free Ubers to Your Holiday Parties‏' and email content which does exactly what it says on the tin.

The graphics may be lo-fi but the message is clear. You can offer free Uber rides to guests to your Christmas party and benefit yourself by getting free Uber credit. They've even targeted businesses by offering an 'Uber for Business' account especially in time for all those office parties. They dodge the religious significance of the holiday by helping us do what we wanna do: have more fun and spend less money.

By Khaleelah Jones. Catch her on Twitter @KhaleelahJones.