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Prepare your email marketing for the holidays, here’s how

To “regular folks”, the holidays are a chance to celebrate, unwind or take a trip to an exotic destination. For us marketers, however, they are an opportunity to maximize sales and profits. Don’t waste this opportunity by failing to prepare well. Let’s look at some practical tips to help you gear up your email marketing for the holidays.

Why holiday email marketing is good for business

The power of email marketing is undeniable. It is wide-reaching, yet at the same time affordable. When done right, email marketing allows you to keep your audience interested, educated and loyal.

It plays a pivotal role in lead nurturing and user conversion, regardless of the time of year. Email marketing is crucial 365 days a year. But like many other important things, it becomes even more important during the holidays. 

It’s a fact that purchase trends change during the holiday season. People tend to spend a lot of money on stuff they wouldn’t normally buy.  As a business owner, you can’t afford to pass on the chance to capitalize on the holiday cheer and boost your financial health.

So, don’t pass on the chance to capitalize on the holiday cheer and boost your financial health.

The 7 Things you can do to make your holiday campaign the best ever

If you have the right tips to guide you, email campaigns can be relatively fast and easy to deploy. If done right, they help you generate sales with comparatively minimal investment on your part. This makes them an excellent holiday marketing tool.

Can you afford to underutilize holiday email marketing? No. Your competitors will be sure to take advantage.Click To Tweet

And don’t forget that your competition will also be promoting their products just as fiercely. You can’t afford to lag behind and allow your brand to go unnoticed during the holiday marketing season. With that said, let’s take a look at some useful strategies you can use to create the best holiday campaign ever. 

1. Start planning your holiday campaigns on time

You need to plan everything. This includes planning out the first emails, the follow-ups, the exact discounts and offers that you will make, and which offers you send during which holiday.

Don’t leave everything for the last minute. The sooner you start preparing your holiday campaigns, the better. Compared to the rest of the year, mailing frequency soars during the holiday season. This means that you have to stand out even more. The competition is just that much more fierce.

Preparation and deployment of holiday campaigns can be a complex endeavor. By definition, this is more special and takes more time, attention and effort. But if you know what to focus on, it can be a bit easier and less overwhelming. So keep reading and learn where to direct your focus for maximal returns.

Choose designs that will match each of your holiday campaigns. It really helps if you select email designs that reflect the holiday spirit. You will want to catch people’s attention by using some awesome holiday headers. The idea is to harness the holiday joy and remind your customers that it’s shopping time.

Fortunately, if you’re using Emercury, this is quite easy, we provide you with some really classy holiday email templates.

Prepare the content well in advance. Your holiday content has to be different than the usual. You will want to make it more festive, attention-grabbing and perhaps more interactive, with animations and video elements.

You also need to plan the design, sending schedule, user segments, etc. Start planning on time so that you’re not left making these kinds of decisions on sending-day.

2. Use this opportunity to improve your conversion skills

You can use this holiday season as a great opportunity to pick up a new understanding of how to produce higher conversion rates. The great thing about the holidays is that they’re an excuse to do things that would otherwise be seen as overselling or “pushy” throughout the year.

One of the best ways to truly understand something is to “overdo it”. This is something you can’t do for most of the year. During the holidays, however, you have a lot more freedom to try all the things you’ve wanted without scaring people away. This allows you to learn more about what different aspects of marketing do for you.

The great thing about the holidays is that they’re an excuse to do things that would otherwise be seen as overselling or “pushy” throughout the year.

Learn to fully utilize your email footers

They can do a great job enticing your subscribers to buy. Use the footers to include info about holiday store hours, your best deals or order deadlines. Include links to gift guides and gift card promotions. It’s best to adjust the footer as the season unfolds to address changing customer needs.

The holiday season is a great opportunity to learn what footers can do for your conversion rates. Take this knowledge and utilize some of it during your regular campaigns and newsletters as well.

Create attractive calls to action

Holiday season or not, the key purpose of email marketing is conversion and sales. Make it easy for people to shop by providing an easy buying option. Highlight the CTA button to make it more prominent. Your subscribers shouldn’t waste time searching for it. Make your CTA interesting so people are compelled to click.

Keep your CTA message concise and to the point. Tell people what will happen when they click the button. Make it clear whether they receive a coupon, a holiday gift, a discount, etc.

Your CTA should always lead to a landing page that matches the offer in your email. Do not redirect people to a page on your website that’s unrelated to your call to action. They’ll most likely get irritated and leave.

Analyze past campaigns

Experience is a great teacher. Analyze your past campaigns to detect significant trends and see what you can improve. This is both to determine where to go with your holiday campaigns, but also where to take your email marketing in general in the upcoming period.

3. Take the time to create some subject lines that stand out

With so many businesses competing for attention in the inbox during this season, you need striking subject lines. So take the time to come up with some clever subject lines during the planning stage.

The holiday season is the perfect time to practice your subject-writing skills and level-up. #email-marketingClick To Tweet

Don’t use a boring generic subject line in your campaign drafts and say “I’ll come up with a better subject line on the day I send the campaign”. Treat those subject lines as perhaps the most important factor to the success of your holiday campaigns.

There are several things you can keep in mind when crafting your holiday subject lines

Clearly state your stunning holiday offer right there in the subject line. For example mention (where appropriate), things like free shipping, coupons or a holiday discount.

Perhaps you’re offering your subscribers useful tips that come in handy during the holidays. In this case, the subject line can read “5 great ways to wrap a present” or “How to pick the perfect holiday gift”.

Or, you can phrase the subject line as a question to prompt people to open the message.  If your content is about gift ideas, you can go with “Looking for some neat gift ideas?”

Make the subject line more personal by addressing the subscribers by their name. People respond to a personal touch and these emails tend to have higher open rates.

You can also make your subject lines more festive by adding cute emoji like a snowman, twinkling star, or a Christmas tree.

You can make your subject lines more festive by adding cute emoji like a snowman, twinkling star or a Christmas tree.

4. Send a gift guide

As it turns out, most people are procrastinators, and this goes for holiday shopping as well. Sometimes, people are simply out of ideas about what to choose as a gift for their loved ones (or clients and business partners).  To help your subscribers with their holiday shopping dilemmas, consider creating a gift guide.

Awesome trick - send a gift guide to your email list, it will do wonders for sales. #email-marketingClick To Tweet

This one will depend on the nature of your business. It might or might not be appropriate to your business model, but if it is, gift guides can be an amazing way to boost sales. It is best if your business actually sells a lot of products in many categories.

But even if you run something like a B2B business, you can still use this technique. You could make a “recommendations guide” where you recommend non-competing and complimentary business-centered products and services – as an affiliate. Your very own product can be one of the recommended gifts, of course.

Include different categories that match their interests. Of course, make sure the segmentation of the gift guide matches your buyer personas. Don’t create a gift guide for grandparents if your target audience is “teenage girls”.

You can send several gift guides as the season progresses. Or, you can create a single guide divided into sections addressing different customer categories.

Don’t forget to optimize your guide for mobile devices, given the time we spend with our gadgets. For easy access, place a link to the gift guide in the message footer and keep it there throughout the season.

5. Take the time to segment your mailing lists

You need to send your campaigns to the right people. This is true for both holiday campaigns and regular campaigns over the rest of the year.

During the holiday season, you may feel that this is less important, but you would be wrong. Segmentation is even more important during the holiday season. Because of the inbox overflow typical for the holidays, you have to try hard to get in and stand out. 

Cleverly segmented emails provide value and result in higher engagement rates. Needless to say, user segmentation is something you should practice throughout the year. But it can make a really big difference in your deliverability rates during the holidays.

First, learn as much as you can about subscriber behavior, interests and preferences. The more information you gather, the more personalized your holiday emails and offers will be.

Once you collect the information, segment your subscribers into categories. Group them by purchase habits, age, gender, location, engagement, income, and so on.

Identify your holiday-only shoppers from past holidays and take steps to encourage them to shop again. For example, you can thank them for shopping and invite them to do it again this time around.

Don’t forget your repeat buyers. Send them an email featuring products matching their interests and previous purchases.

Your non-customers can also use some attention. There’s no time like the holiday season to convert them into paying clients. Target them with more aggressive offers that stimulate conversion.

Your email marketing for the holidays can convert non-paying customer into regular clients.

6. Optimize your content for mobile devices

A significant percentage of people use their mobile devices to access their email. Many use their cell phones or tablets as a mobile office. As a result, mobile traffic and mobile sales are growing at a rapid rate, even for B2B businesses.

It’s important that you optimize your holiday email campaigns for mobile viewing. It goes without saying that your website should be mobile friendly as well.

Keep in mind that most people check their emails from mobile devices on the go. In other words, in an environment full of sounds and other distractions. This means you have to convey your message as simply and clearly as you can in the limited screen space.

Start with mobile responsive email templates. Emercury’s mobile templates adjust to different screen sizes, keeping important content in view. They can also resize the CTA button and hide certain images to provide the best user experience. This is important because people shouldn’t scroll up and down to find the call to action. It has to be onscreen when they’re ready to purchase.

Don’t forget to test how easily your campaign email can be read on a mobile device before deployment. If you modify the templates or create your own, you can break the responsiveness. So be sure to test before sending anything. It’s very easy to overlook this and lose a ton of sales from your mobile-only readers.

The landing page should also be mobile friendly. Use larger fonts that are easy to read and avoid complex headers and redundant elements.

Make sure your content loads fast. Content that takes ages to load is a big deterrent for mobile users. On this note, avoid using a single large image or other large files that don’t render well on some devices. Opt for several smaller images instead.

The purpose of your email should be clear from the first few words of the subject line. This is in case the entire sentence isn’t visible at once on some mobile devices.

7. Tidy up your mailing lists

If your list isn’t clean, you can’t have a successful campaign and high deliverability. Good email hygiene is recommended throughout the year. But during the holiday season, it’s an absolute must.

It’s normal that you want to have a large mailing list, but don’t hold on to every address at all costs. It is not about the number of people you email. It’s about how many of them open your emails and engage with the content.

The holidays are the perfect time to do a little 'housekeeping'. Clean up your email list and remove the dead weight.Click To Tweet

ISPs and mailbox providers use strict criteria to identify and eliminate spam. As the holidays are approaching, they get even more vigilant. Among other things, spam filters look at user engagement to determine inbox-worthiness. Low open rates indicate that the content is unwanted. You have to optimize your lists to reduce deliverability issues and stand out from the competition.

Start by eliminating invalid and useless addresses. People tend to change addresses frequently. So chances are a fair percentage of your addresses won’t be usable. The first thing you need to do is get rid of these bad addresses that hurt your campaign success. Eliminate abandoned email addresses and correct the misspelled ones.

The holidays season offers great revenue-generating possibilities. Don’t undermine this by using inaccurate mailing data. Good email marketing platforms offer list cleanup tools so you can keep your lists spick and span.

 Good email marketing platforms offer list cleanup tools so you can keep your lists spick and span.

Emails sent to bad addresses will bounce. High enough bounce rates can severely affect your reputation and deliverability. This, in turn, can get your emails blocked and your company blacklisted.

You will also want to drop all role accounts that aren’t associated with a real person. This includes addresses such as info@, sales@, helpdesk@.

Don’t forget the complainers. These are the people which mark your messages as spam. Don’t feel too bad. It’s often easier for people to click the spam button than unsubscribe. To prevent spam complaints, place an easily visible unsubscribe link at the top of your emails.

You must also remove inactive addresses. These are subscribers that haven’t engaged with your content or bought from you in a while.

It’s a good idea to make one last attempt to re-engage them before deleting them. Try to win them back with an attractive holiday offer. If this fails, simply ask them if they want to leave the list.

ISPs and mailbox providers sometimes use such addresses as spam traps. Since they aren’t in active use, they serve as baits to see if anyone sends unsolicited traffic. Senders have no way of knowing which addresses are used for this purpose. Hitting spam traps can severely damage your sender reputation.

Whether you’re a marketing expert or just getting started, you’ll need a quality platform for your campaigns.

Choose Emercury to create the best holiday email experience for your subscribers. Emercury offers a range of easy-to-use holiday templates. The template designs are festive, eye-catching and most importantly mobile friendly. Add attractive content to the mix and you’re sure to boost your conversion rates.

Emercury allows you to test your holiday campaigns and tweak them to perfection. For example, you can use our split testing feature to try different approaches. Send different subject lines, content and CTAs to different segments of your list and see what works best.

Emercury lets you send different subject lines, content and CTAs to different segments of your list and see what works best.

Give yourself the gift of a quality email platform

You’ve worked hard this year, why not treat yourself to a new email platform that will make your life easier? At Emercury we’re famous for our commitment to sky-high delivery rates. This is why we include all the support and tools you need to ensure maximal delivery rates and pristine clean email lists.

The best thing is that you can try most of these features for free. Our free plan includes more delivery and hygiene-related features than other providers include in their regular paid plans. And to take this further, all of our paid plans include features which other providers reserve only for their “enterprise” plans. For example a customized ramp up (high-volume senders love us for this), a delivery manager, and many other advanced features.

You can take advantage of these benefits by joining today. You can choose our forever free plan and experience most of these features. Or, you might choose to try our pay-per-send plans and experience all of this power at your fingertips. Transfer some of your subscribers or lists and give it a go. I am sure you’ll be amazed at the advanced features now available to you.

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