I have to admit that when I did my holiday shopping this year, I signed up for all the e-newsletters from all of my favorite stores online and then waited. Free shipping. Yes, I waited for the e-blast that announced free shipping. I think Land’s End sent me one of those once a week. It was kind of ridiculous. And frankly, anyone who did pay for shipping in December, well, clearly you weren’t in the loop. It became a game. But I also felt that if I did pay for shipping, I wasn’t doing due diligence looking for the deals. And while the flood gates have clearly almost closed as far as email marketing for the holidays, I am still receiving quite a few sale emails from online retailers trying to grab the last scraps of potential sales to deplete their overstocked inventory in the post-holiday doldrums. And it’s not surprising. In 2009, I imagine we’ll see an increase in email marketing campaigns. After all, they’re easy to create, cheap to execute. and if done correctly, are sent to an extremely targeted list of potential spenders. I suspect the ebbing tide of sales announcements will rise up again, only with different deals (think Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day promotions). If you haven’t integrated email marketing and email campaigns into your marketing mix, I urge you to go back to your marketing plan and revise it for ’09. Through email marketing you can connect with your customers on a very specific level, and provide them with not only resources, but also products that will help them ride out the churning waters of the economy. You can segment your database and tactically market to each segment based on their needs. If you haven’t started with email marketing, start now. Otherwise the competition will be at your heels before you know it. Perhaps they already are?