The meaning of ‘Holidays’ is subject to perspective. It can be a good opportunity for throwing a Halloween party, catching up with long lost friends, carving a turkey during Thanksgiving, waiting expectantly for that specific deal during Black Friday sales, or unwrapping Christmas presents while sipping hot cocoa near the fireplace.
For a marketer, the onset of the holidays is synonymous to gearing up for the biggest and busiest shopping season. The total online sales recorded from Nov 1st to Dec 31st alone was about $91.7 billion in 2016. So, to help email marketers, like you, make optimum utilization of this beneficial time we have compiled 7 tips that every email marketer knows about holiday email marketing; the catch is our insights on how to upscale them.
Tip #1: Plan Early
Most of the articles you may have read earlier must be stating that email marketers begin preparing their holiday calendar and strategies based on the calendar almost months in advance. This helps avoid any last moment hiccups and plug any unseen holes. Christopher Donald, President of Operations & Managing Partner at INBOXARMY, shares the same thought that planning your holiday email marketing strategy early can be a smart move for your business.
Fortnum & Mason sent its first Halloween promotion email at around mid-September
While this stands true, all hope is not lost. Most brands send their Halloween promotion email a week prior to the holiday.
Forzieri’s Halloween email that was sent exactly a week prior to Halloween
Tip #2: Segment Your List
Gifting someone based on their likes/dislikes or wants tells so much about how well you know them. Personalization in emails is a similar concept, and your subscribers are bound to feel attached to your brand when you personalize your email content based on their preferences. One of the easiest ways to cater personalized content during the holiday season is by segmenting your email list, believes Kath Pay, CEO Holistic Email Marketing.
This holiday season, clean your mailing list too. No point in sending holiday emails to those subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails in the past 2-3 months.
Tip #3: Spread the Cheer with Holiday-themed Subject Lines
The holiday season means your subscribers’ inbox is going to get flooded with promotional emails from all different brands. A relevant and contextual subject line can be the saving grace in such a scenario, says Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy Officer, Return Path. As per Convince & Convert, 35% of email opens are purely based on subject line alone.
Since most of your subscribers are going to open your email on their mobile devices, you need to make optimum use of subject lines and pre-header text. The maximum supported characters for subject lines and pre-header text for different email clients:
- Android Portrait:46 chars
- Android Landscape: 62 chars
- iPhone landscape: 64 Chars
- iPhone Portrait: 64 chars
Tip #4: Create a Holiday Guide
Most brands tend to create Holiday guides in order to help their subscribers make the right choice during holiday shopping. This is a valuable resource wherein customers purchase products that match their interests or a central theme.
HBO shop’s Holiday guide email showcases curated products that are neatly categorized
Add testimonials or Instagram live feeds in the email footer to strengthen the purchase impulse of your subscribers.
Tip #5: Create Urgency
Many brands tend to create a sense of urgency in their email copy by using words such as ‘Limited Free Shipping’ and ‘Buy Now’. This is effective in drawing up all the last moment shoppers by creating the fear of missing out.
Reitmans has a simple email design wherein the focus of the subscriber directly rests on the bold text in the image.
Jaymin Bhuptani, Director of EmailMonks, suggests the inclusion of a countdown timer along with your holiday promotion email, cart abandonment, or advance sale announcement email to boost the conversion rate. When a countdown timer is used along with an actionable statement such as “Buy within X-hours and get a 20% discount on the items in your cart”, your subscribers subconsciously would worry about missing a great deal.
Tip #6: Mobile First Designs and Responsive Emails
The holiday season is the time to be around your loved ones, so a majority of the subscribers are going to open your emails in mobile and other handheld devices. So, brands are creating emails that are specifically designed for mobiles and the email elements are re-arranged for desktop layout.
Most of the native mobile email clients support CSS3 coding, and with the help of keyframe animations, you can turn your plain holiday email into an interactive, visual wonderland. The plus point, in this case, is that the more your subscriber interacts with your email, the more time they spend in learning the message that your email conveys. This can significantly help your conversion rate. Those who open your email on a non-supporting email client can still get to experience your awesome email by clicking the ‘view email online’ link.
Taco Bell is famous for including interactivity in their promotional emails. In the following email, all the 3 characters are static/sticky, and rest of the email background moves when you scroll down. This is achieved by setting them as fixed positioned elements.
Click on the email to experience the interactivity.
On a similar tone, their Christmas promotional email made use of the concept of ‘Gamification’ in emails, wherein the email copy changes based on user input/interaction. As you can see yourself in this email, based on the alternative that you choose, the email copy displays a different message. In fact, the curiosity gets to you, and you tend to check all three alternates!
Tip #7: Improving Cart Abandonment Emails Timing or Frequency
During online shopping, visitors abandoning their cart for varied reasons is bound to happen; identifying the cause and offering alternatives in a timely manner is what matters and it is very important especially during the holiday season.
Due to the increased visitor flow and limited stock, many marketers tend to reduce the time gap between cart abandonment and triggering of the email to help bring the abandoner back to the cart faster. No matter what improvements you do this holiday season, what you need to keep in mind is that your cart abandonment email needs to:
- Be triggered quickly
- Remind the abandoner about the products in cart
- Have actionable content
- Show alternatives based on the abandoned products
- Have a holiday based message or seasonal greetings
While cart abandonment emails have the immense scope of improvement this holiday season, do not forget the other behavioral or triggered emails. A social sharing button in the welcome email, ‘Refer to a friend’ option in the transactional email or holiday based message in the re-engagement email can prove very beneficial.
With the December holidays and New Year's coming, you can still make use of the above tips to add that extra gleam to your email marketing campaigns this holiday season. How do you plan to execute your holiday email marketing plan this year? We would love to hear your thoughts.