Getting the Most Out of Email This Holiday Season

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Those long lines we normally anticipate on Black Friday won’t be the norm this year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions have already started and will seemingly last until roughly December 24. But email, whether for acquiring or engaging with current customers, still remains one of the most effective and important ways to drive ROI — if marketers do it right. Consumers are already being inundated with email messages, sometimes multiple in a given day from the same vendors, so the more relevant the message, the better the return.

Here are some ways marketers can ensure that their email messages get to the right people at the right time to deliver the most revenue and build loyalty.

Data should underpin all campaigns. When prospecting for an acquisition email, knowing your audience is critical – and that means having critical customer insights to develop custom-segmented email lists and rich data profiles. The more you know, the better. For example, emails must make sense based on your prospects’ household income, interests, and previous site visits. Outdated email addresses or those that haven’t engaged in a long time will likely increase the spam complaint rate.

Make it personal. Coupons and discounts are great, but those coupon-heavy emails can get lost in the shuffle during the busy holiday season. When possible, use customers’ names to make it more personal and share other content of value, whether it be trends, upcoming events, or expedited shipping. Previous purchase history and providing unique offers on similarly purchased past orders can also be a draw.

Subject lines matter. You have less than three seconds to capture a viewer’s attention, so make your subject lines as strong as you can. If you have a %-based offer, communicate that. If your offer is for a limited time, include those dates. Use positive action-oriented words and keep it SHORT.

Know the difference between brand advocates and bargain hunters. Someone who visited your site for a one-time deal is far different from someone who repeatedly visits your pages. How often and with what message you send email is dependent on their level of interest in your brand. There are many people who sign up to receive a one-time discount code but who will unsubscribe in short order. And to ensure delivery, you can send messages and offer-based emails from different domains or IPs to ensure inbox delivery at a time when a significant number of messages go to spam. 

Consider your cadence and timing. Cadence matters. It may take multiple messages to stand out from the crowd or to reach a customer at the right buying moment. Alter your messaging and subject lines for engaged customers (those who open and click) and people who haven’t opened your email yet. If you know someone is engaging with you and you have their attention, try messaging that continues to move them deeper down the funnel or a journey-driven email series to increase the connection and close the sale.

Plan, but remain nimble. As with all marketing campaigns, planning ahead is important, but this year we continue to experience the unexpected. Be ready to react to unforeseen changes such as regional lockdowns or shipping delays so that offers can be tailored and their delivery spaced out in smaller batches so you’ll see the best campaign performance.

It’s not too late to make plans and adjustments to your email strategies for the 2020 holiday season as shopper behaviors are continuing to evolve and change.

Valarie Geckler is Director of Client Services at Stirista.