With the holidays around the corner the stakes for retailers have never been higher. Increased competition paired with the growing savviness of online customers means retailers need to put in place a robust email marketing strategy if they want to attract new customers and increase sales during the all-important holiday season.
With 20% of legitimate marketing email never reaching the recipient’s inbox, businesses need to follow some key steps to ensure their email marketing campaigns break through the holiday noise. Below are our top 10 tips for success:
1. Test holiday email campaigns
A/B testing is a way to measure the success of your holiday email marketing campaign. Try creating two or three different email campaigns, then send them out to segmented groups. Based on click-through rate and engagement, pick the most well received email campaign as the winner for your big holiday email blast.
2. Maximize the subject line
A good starting point, which is frequently overlooked, is that the subject line needs to be short and sweet. A recent study by Retention Science, found that subjects of six to 10 words are the most effective, yielding open rates of 21%, while subject lines of 11 to 15 words secured only 14%.
3. Don’t overuse images
Marketers are often tempted to go big on festive visuals at this time of year, but forget that – they increase the risk of emails being classified as spam. If images are unavoidable, emails should be sensibly balanced with at least two lines of text per picture.
4. Focus on formatting
Today’s email recipients access their accounts via a range of devices, so it’s vital to cater to smartphones, tablets and desktops to avoid being relegated to spam. Include a plain text version in HTML email and make use of responsive design templates.
5. Purge the uninterested
Unsubscribes aren’t always a bad thing. If someone has signed up to your marketing list but changed their mind, it’s important that they have a clear and easy method to unsubscribe. The alternative will see them flagging your email as spam, which is bad for your sending reputation and infringes on your deliverability. If you don’t feel comfortable with making the unsubscribe button more prominent, offer recipients a chance to “down-subscribe” or opt-out of your holiday emails in your preference center. This removes recipients from the extra emails during the holidays rather than unsubscribing all together.
6. Pay special attention to seasonal subscribes
If a recipient who engages consistently over the holidays makes a purchase, becomes active in a certain group, buys holiday cards (whatever your business model is) make sure you’re interacting with them in response to their activity to keep them engaged in your deals and offers.
7. Get personal
Spread some holiday cheer by tailoring your messages and using your customers’ names. Personalizing messages can see an uplift of 20% to email open rates, according to a report by Adestra. Why go to the hard work of asking for a first name and last name during the sign-up process if you don’t go on to use them?
8. Stay consistent
Straying too far from your fundamental brand (from address, logo, etc.) can be a dangerous game. Your recipients need to be able to recognize you during this busy time of year. Don’t lose your brand’s identity for the sake of cheerful holiday designs and ideas.
9. Segment your holiday email marketing sending
Remember to think about location in regards to where certain holidays are celebrated and segment your mail accordingly. As an example, don’t send Thanksgiving-centric emails to customers outside of the United States. You should also segment your list by age. If an email address has been on your mailing list for more than a year, and there has been no engagement, we recommend you don’t email them.
10. Think beyond the holidays
The holiday season marks a huge sales opportunity for businesses, but also gives you a chance to build your database to benefit from in the New Year. Capitalize on the opportunity by creating multiple options for customers to sign up to your mailing list on your website or mobile app. Sign up messages should be short; each time that someone new signs up for marketing email, send a stellar welcome email, which is personalized and makes a good first impression.
Follow these tips and your streamlined email marketing approach will help turn the 2014 holiday season into a springboard for bumper sales in 2015.