Email Tips to Stay on the Nice List this Holiday Season
We’re well into the holiday marketing season, with Adobe Digital Index reporting that the Thanksgiving weekend accounted for a whopping $50 billion in online sales — a 16.8-percent increase. Cyber Monday alone did an incredible record-breaking $6.59 billion, with mobile setting its own record with its first $2 billion day. With much of that traffic generated from messages in inboxes, we can safely say that’s a lot of email.
But how do your customers see the swelling of their inboxes during the holiday season? Logically, it makes your emails more difficult to read if they’re in a sea of coupons, promotions, and updates.
So as the year-end approaches, don’t buy into the temptation to change your strategy to meet aggressive revenue goals. Now is decidedly not the time to test new tactics. The only changes should be ones you’re absolutely certain you should make — and even then you must test first so as not to test the patience of your target audience.
Here are four other core things to keep in mind when you’re rolling out emails this holiday season:
Send emails like giving wonderful gifts.
All people on some level get excited by beautifully wrapped boxes with shiny bows. Use that same mentality with your emails. The goal is to surprise and excite your customers in the email to get them to click through and explore on your website. So this is the perfect time to make emails more personalized and relevant. To do this, use dynamic content to populate the email with an offer based on either what your customers have browsed on your website or something related to a gift they purchased for someone previously. When you do this, it’s like wrapping your emails in a shiny bow that compels your customers to shop through your email.
Make gifts that look nice through rendering and mobile optimization.
Make sure your emails sparkle. This is about making sure — once the package is opened — they see clearly what it is. Your team can ensure the emails look good (across various email clients and browsers) by performing rendering tests prior to sending out a campaign. When you do this, you’ll solidify that the layout renders correctly, that your message fits all size screens, and that there aren’t any broken images. It doesn’t matter how creatively you’ve designed your email if it doesn’t render properly when your customers open it.
Additionally, use buttons (which are easier to tap), as opposed to smaller links that are often difficult to click on a phone. Keep in mind that an image-heavy email can take longer to load on a mobile connection without wifi.
And finally, ensure that the mobile optimization follows through to the landing page. If your customers click, then they’re interested. Don’t lose them because your website isn’t a good mobile experience. When we receive gifts we don’t like, like an ugly sweater, we’re likely to return them. If your customers don’t like your emails, they’re going to ignore them or — even worse — unsubscribe or complain via the spam button.
Incorporate volume and frequency recommendations.
When I was a kid, my father used to tell us that Santa’s elves could take back our presents if we were bad, so we would be on our best behavior until we went back to school in the new year. Marketers should take the same approach with email. The ISPs have the ability to block your emails if you’re not on your best behavior, or if you do something that negatively impacts your sending reputation. You’ve worked hard all year to ensure that your emails make it to the inbox. Don’t shift your strategy by doubling your volume or frequency during this critical sending time, or you risk the emails not making it to the inbox.
Don’t dust off old lists.
This one is hard to resist, but trust me, now isn’t the time to reactivate your contact list.
In your personal life, if you send holiday cards, you usually send them to friends and family or people you’ve spoken to or exchanged cards with in the last year. You usually don’t send them to someone you haven’t spoken to since college — not only are they not a normal part of your life, but you can’t even be certain you have their correct address.
The same holds true for email. It’s a risk to send a campaign to someone who hasn’t opened or clicked your emails in quite a long time. If you send to a deactivated account, you’ll get a hard bounce from the ISPs, which is the same as a “Return to Sender, No Such Person” designation from the post office. You see, the ISPs track the number of hard bounces you generate as an email sender. If you incur too many, they are likely to block your emails.
The holiday season can be truly lovely for people on a personal level and for marketers on a business level. But be careful before you prepare your campaigns. For you to be truly successful, make sure your campaigns are beautiful and easy to interact with, get delivered in the right way, and get delivered to the right people.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a happy holiday marketing season.