The Holiday season is a time for family and friends, feasting on comfort food, and of course, shopping. Most brands send out email newsletters around this time of year, as we all know from our inboxes being inundated with sales, discounts, and limited time offers. What can you do to direct holiday traffic toward your brand, and capture some extra holiday revenues through email marketing? Read below for best practices!
Have a Plan
If you’ve done email marketing over the Holiday season in past years, or an email blast at all, take a look at your results from previous campaigns. The data you gathered in past years can be a great starting point when deciding which tactics to use (and which to avoid). Look at your email open rates and click-through-rates to determine what your email list wants to see and what persuades them to click through to linked content in your email.
Another important step in the idea phase is to set your holiday plans in stone. This means knowing when you will host any seasonal events, when sales will take place, and which days you plan to contact leads. It may help you to put these plans into calendar format to stay organized. A calendar is also a convenient widget to add into your emails to share important dates with customers. If you plan to share the holiday calendar with your email list, make sure that you send it out well in advance (with reminders along the way) so that customers can plan ahead!
Get Them to Read it
Gain exposure for your email newsletter by emphasizing the “sign up” feature on your brand’s website. With the holidays usually comes increased website traffic, so this is a great way to take advantage of the time of year and increase your pool of newsletter recipients. On a similar note, before you begin your holiday email blasts, you should go through your email list to weed out the inactive ones and those that continue to bounce back. This will make your data more accurate when you analyze it after each blast, as your open rates and other metrics will represent real current leads.
Once your email list is polished up, the next step is to get people to open and interact with your email content. One way to convince people to open an email is to use subject lines that capture attention. This will vary depending on your brand “voice”, but when used properly, you can take advantage of humor (puns are great for this), emotions, or numbers (such as % discounts, etc.). Statistics also show that people are 26% more likely to open an email with a personalized subject line, so inserting first names from your client list directly into the subject line will give you an advantage.
In today’s heavily mobile-focused world, you need to make sure your email format is mobile friendly. During the holidays people are always busy and on-the-move, so they are very likely to be shopping or viewing your site on their cell phone or tablet. In fact, about 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so optimizing your emails for mobile viewing is important all year long!
Make it Worthwhile
As important as it is to entice people to read the email you send out, it is equally important to make the content in your message worth the read! There are several types of information that your customers are looking for during the holidays, so make sure you’re giving the people what they want. Show your repeat customers some love for their loyalty and send them a special “perk” not available to the majority of your email list. For example, you can offer a sneak peek at upcoming products and sales, special discount codes, or gifts with purchase.
Make sure that when you send out promotional emails around the holidays that you are extremely clear about your shipping rates, return policies, and most importantly, your order-by dates. Most people want items ordered as gifts to arrive by a certain date, so missing those deadlines can ensure a dissatisfied customer. This is a good time to promote gift wrapping if you offer it, as well as holiday gift guides, and best sellers.
Another message that you can send to your newsletter list around this time of year is a general “Happy Holidays” email. Albeit festive, the busy holiday season can be a significant source of stress for many people, so receiving a kind email from a favoured brand thanking them for their business can be a welcome relief. Getting personal and sharing your genuine appreciation for your customers is also a great way to make an emotional connection with your audience (see our article on Relationship Marketing), which can lead to stronger brand loyalty, and increased sales!
Overall, you as a representative of your brand have the best idea of what your customers want to see in an email message. Use these tips as a guideline, and tweak them to fit with your industry and brand image to best connect with your audience. Good luck with your email marketing, and Happy Holidays from all of us at Sway!