Keep Calm and Email On: Email Marketing Best Practices for the Holidays

By November 25, 2018Email Marketing

email marketing best practicesWith Thanksgiving over and done with (although we’re still enjoying those turkey day leftovers), the December holidays are officially upon us! But it’s not too late to start thinking about your marketing strategy for the holiday homestretch. 

The email marketing is one of the most cost effective strategies. So it’s imperative that your holiday email campaigns are dialed in. Email enables your brand to sell itself, stay top-of-mind with consumers and convert potential customers. It makes for personal connections with readers and urges them to action. At this crucial time of year for ecommerce businesses, consumers are more likely to open emails from brands and retailers as they’re in the mood to shop and on the hunt for deals.

Whether you’ve succumbed to the perils of procrastination or you just want to spice up your existing holiday marketing strategy, here are five email marketing best practices to help make this holiday season your most lucrative yet.

Tip 1: Plan Ahead

While it may seem a bit late for this, it’s still worth discussing. When it comes to holiday marketing strategy, you must plan ahead.

Without a plan, you’ll miss important opportunities to connect with users or overlook important details to communicate. Q4 is peak buying season and most ecommerce brands’ highest revenue-driving quarter. In order to cover all your bases and create the most conversion opportunities, you’ll want to stay organized and have a meaningful strategy in place.

The first step is to assemble a promotional calendar. This will includes all relevant send dates, content, marketing channels, testing and more. Having all your important information in a comprehensive schedule will make staying on top of things that much easier during this busy season.

Tip 2: Make the Buying Experience as Simple as Possible

Increased demand means increased competition. The fight for the inbox is at an all-time high during the holiday season and users are moving a mile a minute. They have absolutely no time to waste. Make sure your checkout process is quick, simple and mobile-friendly to avoid losing high-interest users. The easier to navigate, the quicker the buying decision, so optimize your checkout process. Test the purchase funnel to ensure your checkout experience is quick and easy. If it’s not, act fast to fix the issue.

Holiday gift guides offer a simple display of your most holiday-appropriate offerings. Make sure your guides appropriately cater to your most prominent customer segments. If your products are geared toward discount shoppers, organize your guide by price. If your products are geared toward lifestyle-focused consumers, organize your guide by various lifestyle “types” that fit into your brand identity. Get creative and craft your guide with the right consumers in mind.

Tip 3: Follow-Up

With the flood of promotional content hitting inboxes this time of year, the difference between sale and no sale can be as simple as getting in front of your users and staying top-of-mind.

If there’s ever a time to exceed your typical email send cadence, it’s the holidays – this holiday season, consumers will see even more promotions from their favorite brands. You’ll need to be careful not spam your users, but be mindful of what other brands are doing and make sure you’re keeping up.

Get ahead by closely monitoring the engagement of your users during peak buying times. If you see high open rates but low conversion rates during morning hours, set a follow-up email to remind users of what they saw earlier. This can be specifically effective during Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the likely case that a user saw your email but didn’t have the time to convert.

Tip 4: Send Relevant Content

Never send just to send. Make sure your holiday content is relevant. Discounts and offers are hyper-important during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but by the time we reach December, users often suffer from deal fatigue. Instead of pushing more discounts, send emails that touch on shipping dates, a last-minute sense of urgency and notes of appreciation. These can help nudge busy or overwhelmed consumers who still have some buying to do.

The key to keeping content relevant is understanding how your product fits your user’s holiday season and how to treat different user segments. How will you communicate with a last-minute shoppers versus a prepared shopper? What can you offer that this last-minute shopper would need? How can you be of service to them?

Tip 5: Leverage Technology

As technology continues to evolve, creating better methods for email marketers to personalize their content and target consumers. Make sure you understand the capabilities of the platforms and conversion tactics available.

Many email capture platforms, like Justuno, offer the ability to display onsite banner offers. Use this kind of feature to clearly state your holiday sales and encourage conversion. Outside of the holidays, you may be more conservative with your offerings – but during this high-intent time, you want those offers to be as apparent as possible. Leverage your ESP’s automation features to create behavior-based triggers – many users are comparing products at this time, resulting in abandoned cart increases. Ensure you’re following up on these opportunities with automated, well-timed and articulate messaging to win those potential customers back.

You can also use purchase data in your ESP to discover your highest-contributing users. Segment customers by total spend, lifetime value and how long they’ve been a customer. Target these users with special offers or gifts to get the most out of your highest-value subscribers.

Shayna Zeigen is the Public Relations Coordinator at Hawke Media.

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