Top 5 Holiday Email Marketing Must-Haves

At this point in the holiday season, you’ve successfully sent out your Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. You know that there are those last-minute holiday shoppers you should take advantage of, but aren’t quite sure how to best leverage your final email sends before the New Year. The following top 5 holiday email marketing must-haves are intended to keep you on your subscribers’ “nice list” and prevent you from getting on their “naughty list” or in email lingo, the dreaded unsubscribe list.

1.      Keep Sends Consistent with Subscriber Expectations

I know that you have the most spectacular savings this time of year and want to communicate this to your subscribers as much as possible. After all, you have their best interest at heart and don’t want them to miss out on the perfect Christmas gift for their loved one, right? Well, even if you have the season of giving spirit in mind, your email contacts are going to get frustrated if you substantially increase frequency. Keep reading for more tools on how to prevent list fatigue during this pivotal time of year.

2.     Create Exclusionary Segments

A great strategy for preventing unwanted unsubscribes with your eCommerce customers is to create a segment within your campaign for subscribers who have already converted on one of your holiday email offers. Then, you can exclude them from additional campaigns triggered toward gift-giving and maintain their overall expectations. If you become the Christmas clutter in their inbox after they’ve already made a purchase, chances are they’ll be annoyed and wonder why you haven’t been paying attention to their purchasing behavior to begin with. Utilize segments to better optimize your campaigns and don’t forget to be creative with the content- a winter wonderland theme or surprise gifts for them to “unwrap” by clicking through can lead to higher conversion rates.

Banana Republic Christmas Email

 3.     Segment by Subscriber Preferences

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but is often ignored this time of year when there is so much content email marketers want to distribute to their lists. From special discounts to unique new product offerings, there’s an abundance of information companies are trying to get across to their ideal customers. The key is to set-up segments catered toward subscriber preferences. Depending on the type of company, this could include new email content based on gender, geography, purchasing history and preferences selected by the subscriber. If you have a large database that’s widespread throughout the country, geographical segments can be a clever way to optimize your sends. I’ll never forget when one prominent department store chain sent me an email about the warmest sweaters to wear for each day of the week, during the same time we were having record-breaking heat in Southern California. Let’s just say I didn’t warm up to the idea of converting on their email.

4.     A/B Test Subject Lines & Email Content

A/B testing is more important than ever with a high-volume email season. You’re competing with every other B2C company who wants to make their message stand-out the most. A/B testing subject lines is an important tactic to utilize when your goal is to increase open rates. I recommend A/B testing your subject lines first to determine a clear-cut winner for the remainder of your sends, but at this point in the season, it’s even more important that your emails feature conversion-focused content. Set benchmarks for your holiday campaigns and continue to optimize your content with each send. Are the emails with the most variety of products generating a higher click-through-rate or is it the email with a centralized theme producing better results? Pinpoint which campaign is going to drive the best results and make that your focus for the remainder of the season. Once you have the ideal email designs created, be sure to continue to test different email offers as well. Most eCommerce sites offer free shipping with a minimum purchase as well as special discounts on full-priced items. Based on your ideal customer’s needs, wants and demands, determine what will set you apart from the competition. It’s usually not the steepest discount that drives results, but the offer that’s catered toward your subscriber’s unique preferences that wins.

5.     Maintain List Hygiene Best Practices

Nobody wants to get coal for Christmas. This is essentially what you’re doing when you email to inactive subscribers. They’re going to give you nothing but coal in return- which means lowering your credibility in terms of email service providers because you’re sending to people who are non-responsive. Check through your contacts and put subscribers who haven’t opened an email within a few months (exact number depends on your campaign frequency) or have bounced more than five times on an entirely new list. You can always create a win-back email campaign and send to them at a different time based on your campaign goals, but for now, exclude this inactive list from your holiday sends. This will result in better engagement, clear-cut metrics and of course, presents under the tree in the form of email conversions.

With these tools tucked away in your Christmas stocking, I wish you a successful and happy remainder of your email holiday campaigns.


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    • ventage
    • July 1, 2013

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    • Kayla Eide
    • December 10, 2012

    This was helpful. Thank you.

      • admin
      • December 11, 2012

      Thanks Kayla. I’m glad you found it helpful!

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