Even before we begin this blog, let me clarify two doubts that you might be having in your mind.
First, why do we need a special marketing strategy for the holiday season?
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales account for 20% of all retail sales. Back in November and December 2018, those sales accounted for $707.5 billion! Even if you are not into retail, the holiday season is indeed important for your business.
Second, what is so special about email marketing when we talk about holiday sales?
You wouldn’t have had a second doubt if you knew the ROI of this form of marketing. It has the equation:
$1 of investment = $44 returns
This number was $38 in 2015 and has been increasing steadily in the past few years.
But along with these numbers, the competition has also increased multi-fold in the inbox of businesses.
You will get to learn five email marketing tips to outsmart the competition during the holiday season. Let’s get started with them.
Know Your Holidays Well
Needless to say, this is the first thing you should do.
Every country has got its list of major holidays, which can help you plan marketing campaigns. For example, if you do business in the United States, the most important holiday season runs from early November to early January.
Thus, you should integrate your list of key holidays into your email marketing calendar.
You can use analytics data to figure out which holidays or festivals usually bring in the most revenue. Analytics data is a good starting point for holiday email messages.
You cannot ignore this, no matter what type of marketing strategy you are planning. It shows you what you’re up against.
Basically, you need to identify your top competitors and review their holiday marketing strategies. A good way to understand their promotional strategy is to subscribe to their mailing lists. You can then compare your emailers with them and tweak your strategies to register greater profits.
BONUS TIP: Consider your loyal customers as VIPs and offer an additional promo or gift with purchase during holiday sales. This will build affinity amongst them. Check out the email marketing flow used by Sephora in the image below.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Your technical knowledge will be put to use in this tip. Do A/B split testing to get actionable insights that can be useful in your holiday strategy.
I’m listing down a few testing opportunities that could yield good results for you.
- Subject Line: Short vs. long, personalized vs. generic, offer vs. no offer. Also, test on triggers like cart/browse abandon; these behavioral messages will see a spike in volume with increased traffic, representing a big opportunity to turn window shoppers into customers.
- Average Order Value: Test the number of products, the inclusion of dynamic recommendations, or the promotion of complementary products to lift AOV.
- Timing/Logic for Triggers and Series: Test time between the behavior and first mailing, time between follow-ups, and how many touches are included.
- Promo Type: $ off vs. % off, buy-more-save-more, gift with purchase, free shipping, etc.
Convey Your Message Clearly
The best emails are known to grab attention within seconds without making the readers think too much.
Keep your emailers simple and to the point. Focus on one main story per message to help users process information quickly. Highlight the best holiday offers creatively so that they catch the eye.
Most importantly, show urgency and include a good call to action (CTA) in the body of the email.
The below image covers almost everything that we just discussed.
Not optimizing for mobile means you are on the verge of losing nearly 85% of your audience.
The past and present data show that more and more sales happen on mobile devices each year. In the 2018 holiday eCommerce season, mobile accounted for 60% of online shopping traffic and 40% of online holiday sales.
You need to work on the following aspects when optimizing your email for mobile:
- Use responsive templates that resize for different screens without affecting the visibility of the most important content.
- Optimize images so that they can load quickly before the mobile users go away.
Summing it up
Email marketing works well during the holiday season when done right. Follow the tips mentioned in this blog and also learn other tricks to get the best returns from your campaigns. All the best!