It is a little too early to hang the stockings, but there’s no better time than the present to consider how you’ll take advantage of the biggest spending season of the year. While many of us procrastinate, a quarter of shoppers start purchasing before Halloween. No need to fret, there is still time to gear up for the peak holiday shopping period.
How to create a holiday email marketing strategy
Email marketing is one tool for some quick holiday wins. Consider this, in 2016 retailers who invested in a strategy which combined mobile, email, and social marketing had an average of thirty percent higher sales over the Black Friday weekend (Shopify.com). No matter if you are sending out your own newsletters or investing in an email sponsorship, it pays to take stock of your strategy. With more email being sent during November and December than the rest of the year, getting noticed and instigating action are mission critical. So, how do you cut through the clutter and convert customers?
Making a List
Ideally, you or your media partner has been building up an email list over time. With a little work, you can stay on the nice list. Digital relationships start with permission and engagement. Don’t buy, rent or scrape email lists. Thinking of sponsoring email content? Ask media vendors how their lists are created. Make sure all users have opted in and are verified. Getting permission not only ensures you are communicating with people who are interested, it shows respect for their privacy.
Checking it Twice
Authenticating the quality of your list before the holidays is a great practice. As an email list expands, it’s important to keep an eye on quality. Cleaning lists regularly by removing undeliverable addresses will improve your delivery rate and potential conversions. Internet service providers (ISPs) use complicated metrics to determine what lands in spam. We know that bounce rates fall into the mix. If you’re seeing dramatic increases in bounce rates or rates above two percent, continuing to send to those addresses will damage your reputation and make open rates worse or potentially lead to blacklisting.
There are two types of email bounces. A hard bounce is an invalid address. Those should be cleaned out quickly. A soft bounce, on the other hand, can linger for a while since it may be a full mailbox or another technical issue. Consistent soft bounces from the same address indicate an abandoned email address and should be removed.
Segmenting Beyond the Naughty and Nice
When it comes to conversions, a little personalization goes a long way. If you haven’t done any segmentation, it is good to start small. Pick the most relevant holiday attribute for your customer based on your business. That criteria becomes the basis to split your emails into a few segments. A few to start with include:
- Email Engagement
- Website Behavior
- Purchase Behavior
Email marketing is part of the relationship building process. Be prepared to test your responses to bear fruit not only for next season but thought the year. As you measure your results, segments, frequency of send and messaging can be added and adjusted.
Making it lively and quick
Give your customers the gift of time. Make it easy for your audience to take the next step both in your email and landing page. Use your audience segmentation as a guide to focus on messaging based on the customer. Improve conversions by giving buyers a single clearly defined call-to-action. Think about your landing page from their point of view. Does it go straight to a booking site or product page or must the customer click around the site to find what caught their attention in the first place? Learning to Love Landing Pages offers some sound advice with ROI and customer experience in mind.
Wrapping it Up
Even though consumers are bombarded with seasonal advertisements it is possible to create an email campaign that delights customers and brings a return on your investment. With some basic housekeeping and personalization, you’ll be on the path toward a successful campaign. Holiday marketing should serve as a strong ending to the current year and relationships you nurture now will serve you well into the next.