Mark Brownlow of Email Marketing Reports says he learned a thing or two while working in a cardboard-box factory as a teenager. "The first was the importance of proofreading," he says. "There are not a lot of alternative uses for 200,000 boxes advertising ‘Premium banannas.’ "

Another lesson was the importance of planning ahead: the factory got busy in July and August, when its customers began to prepare for the holiday season. And Brownlow says this is a good time to begin planning your email strategy for holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

He has made a tradition of gathering the best holiday-centric advice on the Web, and notes that this year's contributions are off to a good start—with ideas like these from Margaret Farmakis:

  • Use surveys to find out what your subscribers would like to see as the holidays approach.
  • Invite subscribers to opt in to a gift-giving series that sends one message a day for a week, or one message a week for a month.

Brownlow makes it easy to get in the Santa mindset with links to dozens of blogs that will put a little ho-ho-ho in your email marketing campaigns. "Reinventing the wheel is obviously a futile task," he says, "so be sure to consult the many articles from 2008 and before."

The Po!nt: It's time to don your holiday hat! Sift through these resources to make sure your 2009 holiday mailings will get off to a sparkling start.

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