Tips for Successful Holiday Email Marketing

Here they come again: the holidays! For business owners, the selling season is over in a flash.  Thankfully, you can use email marketing to reach more customers and share holiday tips or recipes, spread seasonal news, or hammer home the details of a sale or discount.

Email marketing for the holidays

Before you do, though, make sure your important messages are actually reaching your audience.  Between spam filters, the flood of emails from your competitors, and your readers’ miniscule attention span, getting through and getting read is more challenging than ever, especially during the holiday selling frenzy.

Increase Deliverability

Having a good sender reputation is key to getting past the spam filters, so protect your reputation by carefully tending to your list and avoiding these pitfalls:

Too many bad addresses

Bad addresses cause bounces; bounces make you look like a spammer. So clean up your list: immediately delete any addresses that bounce and remove any inactives. (Save the inactives for a later, separate enticement to become active again.)

Spammy subject lines

Subject lines that contain too much punctuation, spacing between letters, or certain phrases or words can look like spam. Both the spam filters and your readers’ own natural spam radar block iffy messages, so be careful in crafting your subject lines. There are several exhaustive guides online—our favorite is from HubSpot—that can help you avoid certain words and phrases that you might not have suspected were spammy.

Spam complaints

People will sometimes hit the Report Spam button if they can’t figure out how to unsubscribe (and if they don’t think the unsubscribe process actually works). So make your unsubscribe button easier to find and use than the Report Spam button. In it, give users ways to manage their preferences and the frequency with which they receive your messages. If they still want to unsubscribe, let them. It’s better to let a subscriber go than to risk a spam complaint.

Increase Opens

Congratulations! You’ve made it past the filters and you’re in the inbox! But look around—you’re among dozens of emails waiting to be read. Let’s hope you’ve done some of the following things to get noticed.

Time it right

Though most promotional emails are sent out in the morning, that’s not necessarily when customers are acting on them. According to a report by Retention Science, an e-commerce customer retention company, 28.5% of email conversions happen in the morning, 38% in the afternoon, and 27% in the evening. Further, 26% occurred on Tuesdays and 26% on Fridays. (The days and times with the worst conversion rates? Late night and Saturday or Sunday.)

Email conversion rates by time of day Email conversion rates by day of week

 

Make yourself recognizable

Your customers need to know you before they’ll open your emails, let alone buy from you. Be sure to start out right and send a “welcome” email to new subscribers, not just to confirm they opted in but to make them glad they did: a short message with useful and unique content or an exclusive (but not aggressive) offer. Having a personality in email is important, too: Adopting a unique tone and style helps readers connect with and remember you.

Also key: keep your brand—your email “from” name—consistent. If readers have to stop to think about whether they know you, your message will be bypassed.

Use irresistible subject lines

Most readers scan their inbox and weed quickly. Your subject line has to pique their curiosity enough to want to click it. Make subject lines concise but inviting, and be clear about what’s inside: subscription information, exclusive deals or helpful tips.

Be the helpful elf

Go beyond trying to beat your competitors’ deals and engage customers with emails that focus instead on how you make their shopping easier, more fun and more rewarding. Highlight your customer service features, like your wish list and rewards programs, and make it easy to order.  A prominently placed countdown to shipping deadlines can be helpful, too.

Give, give, give

Reward readers with something of value in every email: news they can use, tips that make their lives easier, or exclusive perks for email friends only. (One of the most reliable promotional offers is free shipping, which has a higher conversion rate than percent-off discounts.) Like the bell for Pavlov’s dog, your message in the inbox ought to start mouths watering.

And be sure to give them each what they want. As we said in How to Grow Your List, emails customized for specific subsets of your list show you know your customers and reinforce your relationship.

Your readers tell you something with each open, click, share and purchase. Carefully track feedback and metrics from prior emails and adjust your content and strategy accordingly, and the holiday emailing season should be all ho-ho-ho and no humbug.

Contact New Perspective today and let us show you how to create and launch a successful email marketing campaign.