Generally, the fourth quarter of every year turns out to be the most profitable for every business. After all, the holiday season falls during this time. Every brand is busy sending holiday emails, promoting their offers, and trying to drive conversions. But the real challenge is to create holiday email marketing campaigns that stand out and leave an impact. Your holiday emails should pave the path to conversions and garner higher ROI for your business.
So, how will you go about building effective holiday emails?
Read on to get actionable insights related to content, design, and deliverability of holiday emails.
Start planning in advance
Remember the quote – Well begun is half done? That holds true even for your holiday emails. Holiday emails are not just about dragging and dropping the necessary elements in a reusable template. It is about conceptualizing an email that would cut through the noise and encourage the readers to convert. Early fall is a good time to start contemplating your holiday emails.
Just make sure that you are well prepared to fulfill the orders before sending out the first holiday email. Set the right expectations and let the users know your order processing and shipping timeline in the emails.
Choose the right ESP partner
Does your email service provider (ESP) offer the feature to create sub-segments according to the likelihood to open and prioritize the subscribers who are more likely to engage? If yes, you should use this feature more aggressively during the holiday season. The right ESP partner makes all the difference between a mediocre and a winning holiday email marketing campaign. Advanced tools like Marketo and Salesforce give you features like lead scoring and predictive analytics that can be of great help in the Holiday season.
Avoid sending emails to the entire list
Of course, you “can” select the entire list and bombard the subscribers with promotional emails. But you shouldn’t. Clean your lists, segment the subscribers, and consider their past interaction or activity before hitting the “Send” button.
Try to know your audience
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and draft emails accordingly. The holiday season is a time when people are not just buying for themselves but their family and friends too. So, keep tabs on their browsing history too in addition to their past purchases. Be sure not to send product recommendations solely based on their previous purchases.
Use interactivity in your Holiday emails
Your subscribers are inundated with too many emails. So, draw their attention by incorporating some kind of interactivity that will boost engagement and get you noticed. Holiday emails are not always about promotions and money-making. You can send out gamification emails just to spread holiday cheer and entertain the subscribers.
See how Fundbox has used interactivity to direct the readers toward the CTA.
Make your emails accessible
Getting maximum conversions through holiday email marketing is possible only if they reach all subscribers. That’s why it is recommended to follow email accessibility best practices. Choose the color contrast, font size, font color, and visuals in such a way that the important message and elements stand out. Add suitable Alt-text with all the visual elements to help the screen readers understand what the images are about. It will also be useful for subscribers using email clients with images blocked by default.
Adhere to the visual hierarchy principles and code the emails with semantic tags like <p>, <h2>, and <h3>. It will allow the assistive technologies to interpret the message properly. Using animations is fine but make sure the flashing rate is not between 2 to 55 Hz. It can aggravate the condition of subscribers with photosensitive epilepsy.
Create Dark Mode compatible emails as many of your subscribers would be accessing emails in Dark Mode settings.
Embrace new technology like AMP for email
Make your holiday emails more visually appealing by using AMP technology. It will increase conversions by facilitating the action that the subscriber needs to take. For instance: You can let the users checkout their cart from the email itself through AMP emails. Wouldn’t that make shopping a breeze for the customers?
Pay special attention to email deliverability best practices
In addition to pruning the email lists, it is advisable to start re-engaging the dormant subscribers before the holidays. Create a basic drip campaign that reminds the users why they signed up or purchased from you. Also, share exclusive holiday offers or product updates that will tempt them to convert. In case they still don’t engage, feel free to remove them from the list.
You can also set up a new subdomain for the holiday season. Doing so will keep you away from the scrutiny of ESPs and ISPs.
Monitor the bounce rate and unsubscribes. Accordingly, optimize your email campaigns to improve deliverability. You can take help of Mailtrap, an email delivery platform to handle all your deliverability related concerns. But remember that deliverability has several aspects to be considered. So, consult a trusted deliverability expert to help you out.
Revamp your automation strategy
It is a good idea to overhaul your automation strategy to match the holiday vibes. Add colors like red, white, and blue with visuals that add to the festive mood in your automated emails. Promote an exclusive offer in the welcome email for subscribers who join your email list just before or during the holidays. Take an omnichannel marketing approach and ask for the customer’s mobile number too in the email sign up form. Use it to send texts for back in stock notifications or cart recovery reminders. If needed, pause the automation workflows to refrain from sending too many emails.
As Apple’s MPP does not allow accurate recording of the open rate, avoid resending the campaigns to non-openers automatically.
Test your Holiday campaigns ALWAYS
Take the help of tools like Litmus and Email on Acid to test the emails before hitting the Send button. Your emails should render well across all email clients and devices, irrespective of the screen sizes. Even if you are using interactivity and gamification, include suitable fallback to ensure a pleasant experience for all the subscribers.
The holiday season gives you an opportunity to come up with out-of-the-box designs and experiment. These tips will surely guide you in the right direction to create your holiday email marketing campaigns.
About the author
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.