Technological advancements have transformed the arena of holiday email marketing. Innovations like interactivity and machine learning have made it imperative for marketers to have a suitable strategy facilitating the customer’s journey towards purchase. To stand strong in the competitive market, your emails should address the customer needs and deliver what they could be expecting from you during the holiday season.
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Holiday sales rose approximately 3.8% in 2016, surmounting 2015. It would sound quite obvious that e-commerce and mobile sales surpassed brick and mortar stores. According to NRF Data, more than 50% of shoppers preferred email notifications, a finding which reflects the popularity of emails over other marketing channels.
Before plunging into drafting your email marketing strategy, answer the questions below.
1. What are the marketing goals I wish to achieve during these holidays?
2. What will I offer to my customers?
3. Will I be offering any exclusive perquisites?
4. What kind of holiday emails will I send? What will be the timeline and frequency?
5. Which extra resources should I have?
6. How should the subject lines for my emails be?
Once you have determined the answers, you can set the ball of your holiday email marketing rolling. To make your task easier, here are the top 12 holiday email marketing tips and trends that are sure to work this season; that’s what these 10 experts say.
1. Plan your email campaigns early
Have all your planning, creative or production, and deployment calendars ready in advance for better execution. Once you start sending out your holiday emails, take into consideration the data and conversion rates. Be prepared to revise your strategy based on the results.
2. Execute a customer-centric approach
Your email marketing should not be about pushing your products to the customers. It should rather be about creating an experience that is customer-centric.
3. Provide a smooth and delightful UX
Make the shopping experience hassle-free with a smooth and enjoyable user experience.
PPC ad > Signup on the website > Email design and offer > Landing page or product page > Simple checkout procedure with easy payment.
4. Use modular templates
Minimize your email production time and enhance your productivity, ROI, and brand consistency during the holidays by using modular templates. Don’t waste the most lucrative time of the year in preparing new email templates each and every time.
5. Segment and target
Recognize the key segments by mining your data, and send out personalized emails tailored according to their preferences, past behavior, and demographics. Whether it is your subject line or copy, add a sense of urgency in addition to ‘context’ by using intriguing phrases that make your emails rise above the holiday email traffic.
6. Create real-time dynamic content
With majority of your audience using smartphones, it is recommended to create real-time content triggered by actions and location using automation. This can drive more conversions through your email marketing efforts. Remember that big data is useful only when you can turn it into small actionable data at the buyer’s persona group or individual level.
7. Have mobile responsive layout
The importance of having a mobile responsive layout cannot be overlooked. Subscribers are using a variety of devices to view your emails and it is of utmost importance that they see a flawless email regardless of their device.
8. Include interactive elements
Interactive emails are getting more and more popular. The trend will continue even during the holiday season. Whether it is GIFs, cinemagraphs, sliders, rollover effect, countdown timers or CSS animations, email marketers have a vast scope to experiment.
9. Gamification in emails
You can take your holiday email marketing to a different level by adding gamification in your emails. It is a great idea to apply game-mechanics in your holiday greetings or offer emails and tempt the subscribers to take the next action or make a purchase. It generates excitement and makes shopping all the more fun for the customer.
10. Implement proper fallback strategy
If you are experimenting with new CSS versions in your email, you should keep in mind that not every email client will support the interactivity. Consequently, it is a must that you add proper fallback in your email.
11. Incorporate social
It is quite likely that your target audience does not check your emails during the holidays. To make sure that your offer reaches to them, share it across all your social media channels and blog as well. The safest bet to get more conversions is to make your emails and newsletters easy to share.
12. Employ machine learning
AI and machine learning are making waves in the field of marketing. It would certainly be interesting to employ these principles and send out more personalized emails to your subscribers.
With that being said, let’s shift our focus on what not to do this holiday season.
1. Don’t forget that there is a real human at the other side of the email and you should converse rather than put forward a sales pitch.
2. Don’t send generalized emails with ‘Hi there’ or ‘Hey Customer’ to the entire email list.
3. Don’t exploit any trending hashtags only because everyone else is doing it, without proper planning and outcome evaluation.
4. Don’t aimlessly blast offer emails just because it is the holiday season.
5. Don’t overwhelm your subscribers by sending out too many emails.
6. Don’t over email on a single holiday and overlook the lesser celebrated holidays.
There will never be a dearth of holiday emails in your subscriber’s inbox. That’s why it is important to think out-of-the-box and send out engaging emails that facilitate your customer’s decision to buy. After all, it is the best time to revamp your email design and strategy, re-engage your existing customers, and earn huge profits.
Kevin, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free Master Email Templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage & share insights with fellow marketers. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter & LinkedIn.