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Inflation, global recession, and other economic issues mean that this holiday season may not be like last year’s. However, holiday sales growth is mostly driven by emotional instinct rather than any monetary aspect. Therefore, retailers and marketers will continue to scramble to attract customers and get high conversions in this most lucrative time of the year.
Among all the marketing channels, my vote goes to email, as it allows businesses to reach out to customers with tailor-made communications that resonate the most with them. However, the challenge is to stand out from the astronomical number of emails in the subscriber’s inbox.
Worry not! We have got you covered.
To help you beat the fierce competition, here are some expert tips that will make your holiday email campaigns work like magic.
Subject lines have the maximum influence on the open rate. If the readers don’t open your email, nothing else would matter — no copy, visuals, or CTA. So, make sure you draft catchy subject lines that align with the festive mood, and don’t be afraid to use emojis related to the holiday season.
Take a look at this back-in-stock email subject line by UncommonGoods:
Pro-tip: Your subscribers might be worn out reading the same ol’ puns, like “spooktacular,” “trick-or-treat,” and “fang-tastic.” So try to think of something new for your subject lines.
What are the user’s main concerns during the holiday season? Shipping, gift-wrapping, return policy? eCommerce marketers must let the shoppers know about their free shipping, shipping timeline, easy returns, and gift-wrapping feature.
If you are in the B2B or SaaS industry, let your prospects know how your products can drive better business growth and bring more sales for them.
User-generated content works wonders in driving sales throughout the year, and the holiday season is no different. Include testimonials and customer reviews in the holiday emails to gain the user’s confidence. It will make the users choose you over your competitors.
Pro-tip: Incentivize the users with an attractive offer that will tempt them to share their user experience and help you get user-generated content.
As TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are gaining more impetus in the current times, email marketers should consider putting short videos in their holiday email marketing campaigns. If adding videos gets too technical for you, you should go for attractive animations or visual elements that would appeal to your readers. However, you should abide by the 80:20 text: image ratio to keep away from the spam filters.
The color scheme is also important when it comes to holiday emails. Use bright shades like red, white, and blue with holiday elements like pumpkins, a turkey, reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes, wreaths, etc.
Take a look at this Christmas email by Boden that makes brilliant use of animation.
Your subscribers are very busy during the holiday season. So, you must add some interactivity or gamification to make them engage with your emails. Click-based events are a good way to enhance the CTR and sender reputation. It will, in turn lead to better email deliverability.
Take a look at this animated Halloween email by Stop Aging Now.
When the user clicks on the CTA, they will be redirected to their landing page, which looks like this:
Just like AMP has made website navigation a breeze for mobile users, the same goes for its usage in emails. With the help of AMP technology, you can create emails that emulate mailable microsites. It allows the user to take action from the email itself without the need to visit the landing page.
Just make sure that your subscriber base uses Gmail and that your ESP supports this technology. Also, you will have to take care of all the prerequisites for sending these emails. So, start planning early if you want to try AMP emails.
Take a look at this AMP email by Booking.com to understand how it works.
The user can see the deals from the email itself and also adjust their email cadence preferences.
If you want to reach maximum subscribers, your emails should be accessible to everyone, including the ones using assistive technologies and screen readers. Choose the font type and size that is legible and readable across all devices. Also, avoid using animations that have a flashing rate between 2 to 55 Hz. It can aggravate the condition of photosensitive epilepsy. Color contrast is another important aspect to be considered. If possible, fix a limited color palette in accordance with the WCAG guidelines. Refrain from using any text over animated background images and add alt-text with every visual you add in the emails.
As a best practice, use visuals wisely so that it does not overwhelm the users.
Consider setting up a subdomain exclusively for the holidays. As send volumes are at an all-time high during these months, having a new subdomain will help you evade the strict vigilance of ESPs and ISPs. However, make sure you warm the IP and have a sufficient sending history so that it is not treated with suspicion. Also, get the email address whitelisted so that it does not trigger the spam filters.
If needed, pause the automation emails for the holiday season so that the subscribers do not receive too many or redundant email communications. Also, modify the segmentation criteria. Considering Apple’s MPP, remember that your open rates might not be accurately tracked. So, refrain from sending emails to non-openers automatically.
The holiday season is the perfect time to re-engage the dormant subscribers. Send out an attractive offer that they can’t refuse. In case they still stay inactive, feel free to remove them from your list. After all, a small engaged list is better than a huge list full of inactive and invalid email addresses.
Pro-tip: Consider signing up for Benchmark Email and take advantage of their Smart Sending feature. This feature automatically excludes inactive subscribers from your email marketing and helps improve your sender score.
Holidays are the time when you might have to make some pivotal changes in your email strategy. So even if you have a holiday email calendar in place, don’t restrict yourself to it. Keep tabs on the performance and optimize your strategy accordingly.
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.