It happened today- I wasn’t expecting it- but it happened. I received an email promoting the holidays. It’s September! But, hey, no better time than the present to start crossing people off the shopping list, right? It makes sense why retailers are trying to get a head start as there’s billions of revenue on the table, and 40% of shoppers surveyed by the National Retail Federation begin tackling their list before Halloween.
Email marketing drove 17.7% of online orders in 2014 (behind only organic and paid search) and is poised to be a major player in the 2015 holiday marketing season. To make sure your emails aren’t lost in a sea of dancing elf e-cards and ugly sweater party invitations, take these 3 steps to lay the groundwork for a successful holiday email campaign.
1. It won’t make a difference if you don’t make it to the inbox
Before you spend hours painstakingly writing your subject line, make sure your prospect will see it to begin with. Fifty-percent of marketers surveyed say that low quality data hinders successful email marketing- don’t become a statistic!
A quality, accurate email database is essential for an effective holiday campaign and it starts with scrubbing for incorrect addresses and appending other customer information with email addresses. Considering that 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually, it’s safe to say there are a few gaps in your file. Investing in an email append service to vet email addresses for accuracy and cross match them with third-party data is a great way to get your email list in tip top shape for the holiday season.
You can also use reverse email append to harvest important demographic and geographic data about consumers who you have email addresses for but no other contact information. This gives you a much more comprehensive customer view which is absolutely necessary for step #2.
2. Segment and personalize
Your database looks great! All email addresses are verified and appended with additional customer information like age, gender, location, and household income. Now you have to do something with those insights. Segmented email campaigns are proven to drive more clicks, higher open rates, and ultimately higher ROI than sending an email with the same content and call to action to all of your contacts.
Taking some extra time to really look at the data is worth it, and there are countless ways to segment and test outreach. Consumers aren’t all the same, but tailoring content based on common characteristics like age, gender, and location can make a huge difference. Even just a personalized subject line increases open rates by 22%, and personalized content increases click rates by 41%. Personalizing content also improves consumers’ relationship with your brand, as 74% of online consumers are frustrated by being inundated with content irrelevant to them.
3. Make sure your design is responsive
Over half of marketing emails are opened on mobile, meaning your email design must be responsive. Responsive emails show up to a 15% higher click rate than emails that don’t adapt to different operating systems and screen sizes. Plus, a 2014 study by Blue Hornet found that just over 87% of consumers say they will either delete or unsubscribe altogether from an email list if mobile email messages don’t display properly. Making responsive design an email marketing priority is a must to ensure your holiday campaign gets the best ROI.
Most email marketing systems show examples of how your message will show up on different devices, and offer steps on how to ensure a responsive design across platforms. In an omnichannel world, make sure your message looks its best no matter where or how the consumer is viewing it.
Although it may seem early in the year, the holidays will be here before you know it. Taking these 3 measures will ensure your database and practices are ready for maximum impact this season. For more insights on email marketing best practices check our free white paper.
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