Holiday Email Marketing Insights from the Experts

Oct 27, 2017

Article ImageEvery year, the holiday season is one of the best opportunities for email marketers to make the most of their marketing skills. The sales performance of holiday marketing 2016 is a testament to this fact. The total online sales recorded from Nov 1 to Dec 31 alone was about $91.7 billion. So here is a quick question for you: what marketing strategies are you implementing this holiday season to grab a giant slice of the ROI pie?

If you are still wondering and looking for answers, we have your back.

We asked a number of email marketing pros frequently asked questions about email marketing strategy and Implementation, and we're sharing their answers with you to make your holiday emails stand out in noisy inboxes.

How do I plan for holiday email marketing?

Planning early for holiday email campaigns is always a great idea. According to Christopher Donald, president of operations and managing partner of InboxArmy, creating the plan, creative/production, and deployment calendars earlier can help you execute your strategy even better. He also suggests that email marketers should be open to make necessary changes to the plan based on the email metrics. If something isn’t working, there’s no harm in tossing it out. Moreover, you can always carry out A/B testing to figure out what’s working.

I have a dearth of resources already. What should I do to ensure successful holiday marketing?

Resource crunch is a major concern during the holiday season. If you are running low on manpower, you are not alone! Two out of three email marketers believe that their resources are not enough to ensure good email marketing campaigns.

Jaymin Bhuptani, director of EmailMonks, believes that modular email templates minimize the production time, thereby increasing your business productivity despite the lack of staff. As modular email template have a consistent look and feel, it helps you build your brand image too.

See how Godiva takes help of modular templates and sends out visually attractive emails that are sure to entice the reader to complete the purchase.

godiva_email marketing

Can you share some tips about holiday email subject lines?

Have a look at these five subject line examples from 2017 holiday emails.

  1. Bring your little goblins to our Halloween Spooktacular event! – PetSmart
  2. Eek! Halloween is coming... – Fortnum & Mason
  3. PSA: Our Holiday Gift Shop is now open! – Urban Outfitters
  4. Holiday Front Door Decor Under $75 | Set a Striking Holiday Table | - Houzz
  5. MUST HAVE: All new Holiday bags! - Peace Love World

Your holiday email subject line should be captivating enough to make the subscriber open your email. Dennis Dayman, chief privacy officer of Return Path shares the importance of an intriguing subject line. It should be useful, unique, memorable, and specific. The reader should get an idea about what to expect in the email. Don’t mislead the subscriber by using words like Re: or Fwd:.

Use of emojis has become very popular. Try using a snowman in the subject line and see if that helps you increase the open rates for holiday emails.

How do I make my content more engaging for the holiday shoppers?

This may be the most interesting question!

To begin with, segment your subscribers.

Tink Taylor, founder and president of DotMailer has a brilliant strategy to group your customers into segments like big spenders, recent spenders, and wishlisters. This makes your emails more relevant for your target audience and generates higher conversions.

Ryan Phelan, vice president of marketing insights at Adestra promotes the use of real-time content that allows you to update the inventory even after the email is sent. This is of great significance for holiday shoppers.

There’s a lot of buzz about hyper-personalization. What is it all about?

Personalization in emails began with the usage of first name in the copy. However, email marketing has come a long way from “Hey <first name>”. Now, it is more about using machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance the subscriber experience. It is expected that AI market will be worth more than 16 billion USD in the year 2022. That’s a huge figure, indeed.

Kath Pay, CEO of Holistic Email Marketing encourages the use of automation and data-driven decisions managed and delivered by machine learning.

RescueTime studied the behavior of the user and sent out an analysis that shines light on how he had used their services in the past week.

It wasn’t a holiday email, but you can incorporate the same principle in your holiday email marketing strategy too. Just make sure you don’t invade the user’s privacy and come off as creepy.

I have heard that visual marketing can be effectively used in holiday email marketing. What can I use other than .jpeg images?

Innovation is the only constant in the world of marketing. When it comes to holiday emails, you can experiment with animations like GIFs and cinemagraphs to drive greater user engagement. It also reflects holiday cheer and adds a fun element to the email. Lauren Gentile, VP of creative and digital solutions at Epsilon brings to notice an important point of employing a suitable fallback strategy while using interactive elements in emails. It’s recommended that you have a “View Online” link or relevant Alt text to support the interactivity.

Have a look at this cute holiday email by PetSmart. They have used a nice GIF as the hero image that makes the subscriber go “Aww” and prompts them to make the purchase.

petsmart_email marketing

You can even have live-polling in the email to know what type of products resonate the best with your customers during the holidays.

What trends can I expect in 2017 holiday emails besides interactive elements?

2017 will be a path-breaking year for holiday emails. Other than machine learning, hyper-personalization and interactivity, gamification is the latest trend that is sure to metamorphose the world of email marketing. The idea of incorporating game-related mechanics in emails is also advocated by Sam Hurley, Founder – Optim-Eyez.

Last year, Taco Bell sent out a wonderful Christmas email with gamification.

Two, a digital marketing agency also sent out a lovely gamification email to wish their subscribers Merry Christmas.

Should I integrate social media marketing into my holiday emails?

A big yes!

Probably, your subscribers may not check their email inbox during the holiday season as frequently as they would otherwise. To make sure that they do not miss out on your interesting holiday discounts, spread the same message on your social media pages and blog as well.

I have an online store and my major concern during holiday season is the cart abandonment. Do you have a solution for that?

Cart abandonment is a most unfortunate event for marketers and business owners alike. Your cart abandonment email during the holidays should create a sense of urgency in the mind of the subscriber. You can offer a discount and have a countdown timer that lets the subscriber know that time is running out fast.

Creating “Fear Of Missing Out” always works when you want someone to take quick action!

What else should I keep in mind so that my holiday emails do well? Any additional tips?

Often, holiday shoppers are impulse buyers which makes it imperative for your email to tap into the emotional pulse of the subscriber. According to National Retail Federation, 7/10 holiday shoppers self-gifted themselves during 2016 holiday season.

Bloomingdale’s entices their female subscribers with a catchy subject line – “Make It Yours! Don't Forget to Complete Your Purchase”. Their image and supporting text are also engaging enough to encourage the readers to buy from them.

  • Make shopping easier for the customer by providing a smooth user experience.
  • Your emails should be mobile responsive to cater to mobile users without any rendering issues.
  • Conversational tone works better than a salesy pitch. Always remember that there’s a human at the other end of the email.
  • Test your emails before clicking send. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Holidays are all about spreading joy; so it’s a good idea to send out an email greeting that wishes the subscribers ‘Happy Holidays’ and expresses gratitude to them.
  • Last but not the least, consider the color of your holiday emails. Although red and green are most commonly used colors in holiday emails, it is worth trying out shades of blue and white too.

Do you have any ideas to share? Start the conversation in the comments below. We would love to hear from you…

Happy Holiday Email Marketing to you!!!

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