Christmas is ace and so is the spam!

Christmas is great! You can eat lots of things that are bad for you. You can drink lots of things that are…well, bad for you. And you can get lots of spam emails - mainly from the shops where you’ve already done some of your Christmas shopping. But I don’t care about that at Christmas. In fact, I actually quite like getting emails from shops telling me that if I don’t order this gift I can’t afford within the next couple of seconds my life will, clearly, be incomplete and my loved ones will hold it against me until I pop my clogs.

So why is it that at certain times of the year I actually like receiving email-marketing junk? Why, at Christmas especially, do I stop being a grumpy old bugger and turn into an individual who chuckles merrily away while actually reading all my buy-this-now-or-be-a-bad-person emails? And why do I occasionally buy the stuff they email me about? Well, psychologically I’m primed. I’m in the mood for Christmas and I want to be a good person. I need to ensure that I have all the things that will make this Christmas the best ever and, crucially, the emails are from shops I’ve already bought stuff from. So for that business, I’m the right target audience at the right time.

I don’t do a great deal of B2C copywriting. I’m a B2B specialist. A grumpy, hermity, geeky, nerd. But over the years I’ve done my fair share of fashion, lifestyle, travel and retail copywriting. For a couple of years I even wrote for a high-end, luxury shopping destination. See! I still remember the terminology! That means I know that the art of writing words which sell your products or services to a warm target audience is pretty much the same whether they are written for an end-user consumer or another business – i.e. it’s much easier to deliver results if the recipient is warm – it’s more difficult if they’ve never heard of you, aren’t looking for your services/stuff and are potentially sceptical about you.

OK. This is all fairly obvious stuff. So where are you going with this Sarah? Well, I’m going to John Lewis. The other day they released their figures, putting a 40 per cent year-on-year rise in online sales in the last three weeks down to the fact that Amazon, and others, don’t pay as much tax in the UK as they do. Now call me cynical but when I’m shopping online the last thing on my mind is the tax regime of the company I’m buying from. In fact, that’s probably down there with: Does the MD wear ties with spots on them or does she wear a gold scarf with horseshoes on it? I do however accept the need for John Lewis to get into the FT, so I don’t blame them for giving the story a hook. But, please. The reason your profits have increased, John Lewis, is that not only do you sell good stuff at a reasonable price but half the UK population has bought items from you before, which is precisely why that cash you spent on your relentless countdown-to-Christmas email-marketing campaign this year has delivered such spectacular results! Your target audience knows you and loves you! And it’s Christmas!

So the moral of this story is…if they’ve bought from you before, keep in touch with them, keep it relevant and use a copywriter to do it!

Merry Christmas!