How to nail your email marketing for the holiday season

Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of reaching people over the holiday season. With 57% of email subscribers spending 10-60 minutes browsing marketing emails throughout the week, you’re highly likely to reach people no matter where they are, especially with the rise of smartphones. It’s important to fine-tune your email marketing for the holidays because you’ll most likely want to use a slightly different approach than your efforts from other periods in the year.

Email Marketing

First things first: get an email marketing platform

If you’re not already using an email marketing platform then you should seriously consider setting one up, even if it’s just for the holidays. They go a long way when it comes to targeting and segmenting customers, A/B testing, scheduling and analytics, so it’s worth trying one out, especially if you can find one that offers a free trial. When it’s time to implement a complex holiday email campaign, you’ll see how an email marketing platform can make things much simpler.

Some popular email marketing software to try out:

Subject lines

This is of course a tip that applies year-round, but put an effort into creating a clever subject line that pulls them in and plays on the theme of holdiays. Short and snappy always works best – subject lines with fewer than 10 characters tend to have the best open rates.

Keep mobile in mind

Don’t miss the opportunities that mobile has to offer, especially when it comes to the holiday season. One of the key drivers is the fact that email is predominantly viewed on mobile – In 2013, 48% of all holiday emails are opened on a mobile device, and that number is only going to increase. Mobile is getting even bigger and better, and more and more retailers are catching on. This means your emails need to look awesome on smartphones (and don’t forget tablets), and that your site is easily accessible and interactive via these mobile devices.

When users are on the go, mobile keeps them tuned into the offers, news and reviews. Last year 72% of consumers planned to use their smartphones to assist their holiday shopping by browsing online, checking reviews, and getting product information, which goes to show that they’re likely to respond more immediately to an email that appears in their hands, so make sure those emails (and your site) are mobile optimised.

Ready, aim…fire!

Targeted emails have a 59.82% higher clickthrough rate than non-targeted ones, so don’t just blindly fire off a single email blast to your entire contact list. Instead, use the information that’s readily available to you on your customers – age, interests, location and purchase history, customers will have already divulged this information to you when they signed up to make a purchase. Use this information to craft and send customised emails that are far more likely to grab and engage those customers and to motivate conversions as a result.. Segmentation plays a huge role in this process, so, analyse your lists and create different groups based on the following:

  • Consumer behaviour – active or non-active, opened, clicked, purchased in within x time period.
  • Date they signed up – you may have a holiday promotion that is relevant those who have signed up recently (a “first time users’ holiday sale” for example), or you could create a holiday campaign that incentivises older subscribers to buy from you again.
  • Previous purchase history
  • Geographic location – e.g sending customers in London an Oxford Street exclusive sale promotion.

For example, if you’re a health and beauty retailer, send a holiday promotion for the latest perfume arrivals to subscribers who have purchased a perfume from you in the past.

Leveraging whatever information you have on your subscribers and segmenting those accordingly into email list will help you to determine the best offers that will generate optimum rewards for your efforts.

Use limited time offers

Offering something that has a deadline can be a great strategy to stick to. Use FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) as an incentive to encourage sales. Offer a deal that has to be redeemed by a specific deadline and send follow-up emails a day or two before this offer expires. By pointing out how close they are to missing out on a great deal, you’ll encourage customers to purchase because the risk of losing out is too high. You’re creating scarcity, and you’ll be getting your browsers to consider making the purchase immediately, which speeds up the consumer decision making process,

Incorporate social media

You already know that consumers are relentlessly searching for reviews and testimonials on social media, so it makes sense that you need to get your social media marketing campaigns  planned out and in order, ready to be implemented early into the season and ensure that they are in line with your holiday email marketing offers. Having share buttons embedded into your emails can also be a great way to encourage social sharing – your customers may see gift ideas that would be perfect for a friend (or themselves) and feel compelled to share it on Twitter or Instagram.

Add social sharing and connecting buttons to features in your email, upload your subscriber lists to your social media sites and vice versa – collect emails from your social media subscribers.

It’s worth spending the extra time to hone your email marketing skills for the holidays. People are much more likely to pay attention around this time because they’re in the mood to consume, so take advantage of their interest and make sure your email marketing efforts kick ass.


Further Reading:

Mailchimp set-up and email packages from Web Wise

A simple way to push yourself to grow your online store

Is your digital marketing prepared for the festive season?


This was a guest post by Jodie Pride, content creating executive at order management software for online retailers.

About the author

Dan Wiseman

Founder & director of Web Wise. He writes about web design, marketing, entrepreneurship, investing and games. Dan regularly speaks on these subjects and is available for coaching and consultancy.

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