Chad White, the lead research analyst at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, wrote a nice holiday planning checklist for email marketers in Internet Retailer on Monday. Among the topics he covers that should be of interest to consumer brand manufacturers are deadline messaging, ‘season’s greetings’ emails, and ‘swipe’ files.
Take note, having a ‘swipe’ file—a place where you can easily go back to retrieve great offers/images/subj. lines/topics for future use—is a great idea for any email marketer, let alone those in the retail and e-commerce spaces. Indeed, we at Fathom use one internally to determine newsletter and email lead-nurturing messages for our own audiences. I highly recommend creating one.
I would also add to Chad White’s list these tips from Angela Fabek, lead email strategist for Fathom Retail:
Know the past. Look at previous holiday email campaigns, review for areas of improvement and successes to repeat.
Mark the calendar. With analytics, determine which campaigns are worth keeping and organize an email calendar for a broad view of all campaigns in one place.
Set benchmarks. Typically, the more granular the benchmark, the better. Last year’s figures should help determine good projections for each campaign as well as individual emails.
Temper expectations. In order to avoid high opt-out or complaint rates, send an email to current subscribers letting them know that there will be promotions for the holiday season (and therefore, a higher frequency of emails). Then offer customers the chance to pause their subscriptions for the holiday season, choose their frequency (e.g., number of emails per week/month), or choose to opt in to receive all holiday-related emails. This email should go out a few weeks before increasing the frequency. Send it 2 or 3 times, enhancing the subject line urgency each time and excluding people who have already updated their preferences.
Ask for (holiday) permission. Run a campaign specifically asking customers to opt in to holiday promotional emails. Do this through a light-box modal on the company website, as well as a sign-up form in the header or footer (or somewhere above the fold). For existing email sign-up areas, modify wording to be holiday-specific and collect subscribers in a different database or sign-up list than normal. A good idea is also to include a welcome series of 2 or 3 emails with holiday season messaging.
Monitor email metrics. In December, watch opt-out rates, complaint rates and open rates like a hawk to keep campaigns running smoothly. Large increases in opt-outs/complaint rates or large decreases in open rates may necessitate adjusting send strategy and frequency.
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Nova via Flickr.