Your Q4 Holiday Email Plan Checklist

By September 30, 2016Email Marketing

It’s coming. Yes… winter. Winter is coming, Game of Thrones, blah, blah, blah. But really, the holiday season is upon us and it’s beginning to look a lot like super stuffed inboxes. Our busiest time of year as a marketing agency is Q4 as companies trying to capitalize on the most profitable season in online (and offline) retail are looking to us to stay ahead of the shopping crazed masses.

Here’s the big question we’re asked most at this time of year: How often should you be sending emails during the holidays? You’re not going to like this, but the answer is it depends. The success of every email you send depends on how well you know your customer and how you’ve put that knowledge to the test. Every message, every send cadence, every detail to the point of your landing page matters in crafting a successful email and it all varies depending on what your business looks like. I can’t tell you exactly what to send or how often to send, but I can show you what to look for when coming up with your plan.

Here’s your Q4 holiday email plan checklist:

  • Yes, of course, create a promo calendar, but pimp that thing out. Make sure that in addition to email content, date of send and subject lines that you are including your testing strategy and specific segments for each email.
  • This brings up two good points:
    • A/B or multivariate split test: You should have tested in advance to ensure you’re setting up quality comparisons, but this is the best time of year to get significant key performance indicators (KPI) results. Still not sure if morning time converts better than the afternoon? Take advantage of the large volume of opens (fingers crossed) and test it!
    • Segment: Take what you know about your users spending habits and use that info to craft the most relevant messaging. The more targeted, the better the results. If you don’t have the resources to send at different frequencies to each possible segment (it can be a real black hole), pick the most meaningful cohorts or easy to differentiate: i.e. VIP spenders, bargain shoppers, browsers. Each unique segment will require a different amount of attention depending on your offerings. This simple differentiator will help you make a deeper more personal impact.
  • Hit the major holidays, but really stand out with the more overlooked revenue driving calendar events – like these:
    • Green Monday: eBay’s best sales day in December – usually 10 days before Christmas
    • Super Saturday: Users respond to deadlines. Super Saturday is the universal tap on the shoulder urging users to buy in time for Christmas, before it’s too late.
    • Boxing Day: Feed off the gift getting bender of Christmas as Boxing Day (Day after Christmas) serves to promote sales and clear inventory for the new season.
  • Don’t use same tactics as last year: A year in the real world is a few light years in the digital world. Your customers and even product have most likely changed a lot since last holiday season and you’ll want to message users with the latest data in mind. Look at last quarter’s sends to inform your decision making.
  • Lastly, chill out: Don’t overthink it. Start with a good foundation and build off of that. Look at every facet of your past email sends (from the last quarter) and plan around your strengths. There is no magic day in which you send an email and get stellar results. Let the data behind your past efforts guide you and you’ll be on your way to a ho ho hoppin’ fourth quarter.

Good luck out there with your Q4 holiday email plan!

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