This year, email marketing drove roughly 25% of Cyber Monday sales. By some estimates, effective email campaigns are responsible for about the same in overall holiday sales, too.
Let’s put that into perspective. The National Retail Federation reported $691.9 billion in holiday sales from November to December 2017 alone.
Could your business use a quarter of $700 billion? Of course it could. Use these winter email marketing best practices to get your cut.
‘Tis the Season for Sending
The power of email marketing is best captured by its ability to increase conversions, generate new leads, and improve customer lifetime value. But at a time of year when you’ll be competing with some 41 billion other holiday promotional emails, you can’t afford to not be on your A game.
Good email marketers also know that if they do their job right, they’re likely to make up to 20% more sales during November and January than any other time of the year. These increases are largely fueled by the relative success of their Fall and Winter marketing campaigns. The more they can capture and hold a customer’s interest now, the better they’ll be able to plan future campaigns when the calendar rolls over.
Below are some tips to give your holiday email campaigns their highest revenue-boosting chance during this peak sales period.
1. Keep it personal.
Personalize your email messages and you’re likely to increase your open rates to about 19%. This is roughly 5% higher than those non-personalized promos.
Try sending customers curated offers and promotions that complement purchases or services of Christmases in the past. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using email segmenting to target folks who’ve shown interest in a particular product but have yet to make a purchase. (More on this in a bit.)
2. Give Tuesday tidings.
Over and over again, email automation studies show that Tuesdays are the best day of the week to send promotional emails. More specifically, 10 am seems to be the sweet spot for firing off holiday, or year-round, email campaigns.
If you’re feeling skeptical, you can always test and track your open rates and CTRs. This will give you an idea of when your audience is likely to be the most receptive.
3. Refresh your mailing list.
No matter how clever your copy, regardless of how great your graphics, you’re still likely to have some inactive recipients. Whether they’ve changed email addresses or simply can’t be persuaded to hear you out, you need to get them off your mailing list. (And maybe on to your naughty list.) If you don’t, you run the risk of it severely dragging down your deliverability rates. Plus, the only real value is marketing to the right people.
Here’s where we continue to sing the praises of email segmentation. It’s an evergreen way to improve your email marketing, and that goes double during the holiday rush. When you segment your email list, you’re able to target your messages to recipients who are primed to receive it – and act on it!
If you’re not sure where to start, use your buyer personas to help you figure out the most strategic way to segment your products or services.
4. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
There’s just no getting around this one. If you want your email campaigns to land, they need to be optimized for mobile.
Not only do some 75% of Gmail users access their accounts through their phones, Google’s “How People Use Their Devices: What Marketers Need to Know” study revealed that users are fixated on their phones for about 3 hours every day. About 2/3rds more time than they’re spending on their computers.
Mailchart’s Holiday Email Marketing Report also showed an impressive 63% of emails are read on mobile devices. There’s even been a 65% increase in smartphone sales since 2015. But herein lies the problem: of those targeted, strategically sent emails, less than half were optimized.
A few things you can do to optimize your holiday email marketing campaigns for mobile include:
- Using alt text. This way graphics that load slowly will still convey a message. You can also optimize the images themselves to cut back on load time and come through more crisp.
- Sending responsive templates. Otherwise, your content can get distorted to an illegible degree.
- Shortening your subject lines. They’re the biggest determining factor as to whether your email gets read or recycled. It’ll also help break up content in a digestible way.
Finally, don’t forget to check out your holiday marketing emails on your own phone. Bonus points if you look on an android and apple model!
5. Don’t forget less common holidays.
Sure, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are heavy-hitters, but they’re certainly not the only seasons to send. In fact, there are lesser known events during the holiday whirlwind that are less competitive, in terms of email influx, but no less potentially lucrative.
Think about creating some winter solstice promos. Or make a special full moon related coupon. You can also celebrate the starts of the seasons. Keep an eye on the weather, too. Unusual or intense weather events may be the perfect excuse to offer something extra cozy.
6. Create time-sensitive offers.
Few folks get away from feeling rushed during the holidays. Email marketers can put the pressure on by promoting early bird prices or installing an interactive countdown clock to their email template. At the very least, make sure your subscribers are aware of your holiday shipping cut off dates, lest they wake up Christmas morning to an empty stocking.
Before you hit send on your next holiday email marketing campaign, remember that executing it effectively can mean the difference between high engagement and more momentum for the new year, and a lump of coal in your inbox.