5 Holiday Email Tips

The fourth quarter of the business calendar is upon us, and many e-marketers are readying their campaigns with high expectations. Let’s face it, we shop more during this time of year; and more of us are doing it online. The holiday season breathes new life into restaurants, retail shops, travel agencies, supermarkets, beauty salons and pie shops. Do you have a good pie shop near you? Mmmmm. Pie. The holidays also cause an increase of traffic on the Internet. Perhaps it is because we are so busy during the final weeks of December that we take advantage of the efficiency and speed that online shopping provides.

In a tidy article, 7 Tips to reduce holiday email stress, Donna Hanson provides sound email management advice to small business owners on the recipient side. As email marketers, it is most important that we understand our recipients, especially during this time of year. The fact is, there are parties to go to, presents to buy, pies to make and family to visit during this time of year. At the same time, you and other marketers are seeking their attention more than usual, hoping for some wallet share of the holiday budget. In online marketing, we often talk about Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C). But the reality is that during the holiday season, we all become customers – busy customers. So even if you are engaged in B2B marketing, the same recipient understanding applies.

Here are 5 email tips with the holidays in mind

  1. Get the calendar out. The timing of your holiday campaign is crucial. For example, in Ireland, the 8th of December is traditionally a day set aside for shopping. People actually take off from work so that the family can go into Dublin for a Christmas shopping spree. Think about days that might be “off days” for your recipients and schedule your mailing around them. Consider also that during the holiday season, workers might take more half days. Do you think it would be best if your mailing was delivered first thing in the morning? Think strategically.
  2. Focus. Everyone is busy this time of year. Make your campaign easy to remember by focusing on one offer over a longer period rather than on multiple offers over shorter periods. One generous promotion will be remembered better amongst the multitude of competing offers sitting next to it in the inbox.
  3. Be compatible. There are more and more email clients and hosts out there. Your email looks different across many of them. If you haven’t already, open email accounts with as many different providers as possible so that you can test your message on Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook Express, MSN and others. Also consider how your HTML will render in Firefox and IE. Do what you can to ensure that the quality of your message holds firm across multiple platforms. Sometimes, simplicity does wonders.
  4. Clear for landing. Don’t forget the ultimate goal of your campaign – conversions. How awful would it be if your holiday email campaign was successful at bringing customers to your site but failed to convert any of that traffic to sales? Make your call-to-action clear and easy to take on your landing pages. Ensure that your shopping cart is working properly and trimmed down to expedite action.
  5. Be considerate. Increasing the frequency of your mailings during the holiday season might irritate some of your recipients who are accustomed to a regularly paced delivery cycle. They might even think that it’s the start of a more aggressive strategy and request to opt-out. If you are going to increase the frequency of your mailing during the holidays, let your recipients know in advance, and specify what they can expect to receive from you during the period. Be transparent about your holiday campaign and even make your customers look forward to upcoming offers and announcements by outlining a holiday promotion schedule in your first mailing.

What are some holiday email tips that you would share, based on your experience? What has been effective for you? What hasn’t? Join the discussion at The Messaging Times eMarketing forum.


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