This time of the year every marketer out there is trying to figure out the best way to deliver the perfect email message during the holidays. We met with Responsys’ senior strategy manager, Mary Kathleen Sullivan, at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org annual summit in Denver, and she shared with us the Responsys Retail Email Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season.
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Here are 4 tips from that guide on how to master that holiday email.
Thanksgiving is the new Black Friday
As more and more retailers are getting a jump on the holiday season, now is not the time to miss the boat. “You cannot wait until Black Friday anymore, stores are open on Thanksgiving and people are shopping on Thanksgiving,” she said.
According to guide, “Last year, 75% of major retailers sent at least one promotional email campaign to their subscribers on Thanksgiving Day, up from 60% in 2010 and only 45% in 2009. That increase supported a huge leap in online sales, which rose 39.3% compared to Thanksgiving Day 2010.”
Highlight free shipping
“Although this is now the norm during the holidays, it has to be done,” Sullivan said.
According to the Responsys email guide, 55% of all major online retailers offered free shipping during the holiday season. “Half of those retailers have adopted an “Every Day Free Shipping” policy, while the other half offered free shipping just for the holiday season. The remaining 45% of retailers offered free shipping for limited periods of time, offered it on just a narrow selection, or didn’t offer it,” the email guide said.
“Free shipping is the most popular and effective online promotional offer, with consumers consistently valuing it more than it costs retailers to provide it. That’s why we’re seeing more and more retailers move to an “Every Day Free Shipping” policy, which is in turn forcing other retailers to keep up by offering free shipping more often, including for the duration of the critical holiday season,” according to the email guide.
Showcase expedited shipping
When the holidays are just a few days away, it’s important for retailers to look into offering express shipping. The email guide found that many retailers “dramatically increased their messaging around express delivery last year, with many retailers offering free or discounted express delivery options.”
Most of these offers, according to Sullivan, occur just a few days before the Christmas holiday. The guide found that 74% of retailers sent at least one promotional email to their subscribers around that time, which “made it the fourth busiest email marketing day of the year, ahead of Green Monday (No. 5), the day after Christmas (No. 9), and Free Shipping Day (No. 13).”
Make email mobile
Sullivan recommends that retailers pay close attention to the email design and messaging strategy during the holidays since most shoppers will not be at home in front of a computer checking emails. It is important to make sure your emails are mobile friendly, so you do not miss an opportunity to reach the shopper on the go, especially on days such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and on the weekends nearly a holiday.