Top 5 Email Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season

October 26, 2015

Attention email marketers – it’s time to start preparing for the holidays!

With retail sales projected to rake in up to $ 965 billion between November and January, a 4% increase from last year, there is ample opportunity to get a piece of the holiday advertising pie. And according to Forrester Research, e-commerce alone is expected to bring in nearly $ 334 billion in consumer spend by the end of this year, meaning it’s of the utmost importance that your email marketing game is on point.

Crafting the perfect email campaign can have a huge impact on your bottom line in 2015’s last quarter. With that in mind, I’ve penned the top 5 email marketing tips for the upcoming holiday season so you don’t end the year with coal in your bank account.

  1. Email O’Clock

Timing. Is. Everything. With so many consumers hitting the shops this season, they will be relying heavily on their mobile devices to present them with the best, and most timely, email offers.

Whereas many once relied on deals being publicized in their town newspaper, the access to mobile devices and the increase in online shopping means consumers are pushed deals earlier and given the opportunity to participate in a sale prior to the actual holiday.

It’s important to understand the unique timing that takes place during the week before a holiday and on the actual holiday. My advice is to time your emails to correspond, or be slightly ahead of, the main media push. Send your holiday email offers at least a week in advance of the big day, and make sure to send reminder emails afterwards.

Timing is also crucial when considering replies. Holiday email campaigns should always have real-time reply capabilities built in. Real-time replies can take shape in the form of a subscriber taking action with your email, such as clicking on a “learn more” button, and then receiving an auto-generated relevant follow-up email containing more information about your brand or offer.

  1. Arts & Crafts

Creative is key. Your email is one of hundreds of thousands that your target audience will receive over the next few months. And the last thing you want is for yours to be deleted upon inbox arrival. My advice: work with your creative department to craft compelling, festive content. If you don’t have an in-house creative team at your fingertips, look into outsourcing creative from an agency that specializes in multi-channel marketing approaches. An agency’s experience with both advertising and creative best practices can save you the headache of falling victim to technical issues that could have a negative impact on your campaign’s performance. This is particularly important when it comes to time-sensitive campaigns, such as those that are for 24 hours only.

In terms of aesthetics, remember that a clean, simplistic email design is more likely to produce an action from a consumer versus a complex, multilayered email that will eat up the battery life of a mobile device. In fact, too many images in one email typically result in low CTR.

Note that creative utilized should complement the “from” and “subject” lines. The end goal of creative is to persuade the reader to take action, so if what is promised in those lines is falsely advertised, viewers might be compelled to quickly delete or worse, unsubscribe from your list.

  1. Call Me Maybe

Speaking of action, a call to action should be included in every email. Specifically, the option to click-to-call. This tool enables potential customers to easily contact your business via a one-step dialing process, meaning those who want to take action NOW can do so without working hard to find your number and dial it themselves. A click-to-call in your holiday email campaign does the work for your readers and in my experience, will help generate more leads than emails that don’t encompass this convenient function.

Click-to-call is a crucial component of every holiday marketers’ email toolkit and especially useful for those direct marketers looking to sell a unique product or service.

  1. The Perfect Holiday Recipe

Bear in mind that you don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers with an influx of sales-heavy emails during the next few months. I suggest experimenting with a balance of content versus sales emails to understand what works best for your target audience during the holiday season. This doesn’t mean that your content emails can’t mention your seasonal campaigns altogether – make sure to tie in those promotions when relevant. Content can take the form of recipes, a holiday greetings card, home decorating and more.

  1. Merry Mobile

Lastly, and perhaps most important, is ensuring your emails are mobile-friendly. It’s no surprise that prior to (and during) holiday shopping trips, consumers are looking to their mobile devices for the top email offers in their inboxes. Data points in this direction, with internal analytics where I work, at Matomy Media Group, showing that 50-70% of merchants’ marketing emails are being read on a mobile or tablet device. Coupled with Goldman Sachs’ forecast that mobile commerce will jump to $ 626 billion in 2018, proves the importance of meshing mobile and email.

Note that 65 percent of all email in the US is now opened first on a mobile device. Take advantage of this device segmenting by sending email offers with key words such as “[INSERT HOLIDAY] SALE!” or “[INSERT HOLIDAY] – 30% Off Online Only!” Phrases such as “Early-Bird Special” or “24 Hour Sale” work well too.

Keeping mobile top of mind will improve your lead generation and customer acquisition numbers.

A holiday email marketer who follows the above strategies will ensure their campaigns reach the right consumer, at the right time, with the right offer, during the busiest time of the year.

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