Plan Your Email Marketing Strategy For The Holidays

The holiday season is a golden opportunity for businesses to boost their sales. In the digital age, where online shopping is at an all-time high, email marketing has become a critical tool for connecting with customers and driving revenue. In the last holiday season, consumers spent an astonishing $1.14 trillion online, with $270 billion of that expenditure occurring in the United States. As a business owner, this surge in consumer spending presents a vast potential market for your products or services. However, to harness this potential, a well-thought-out email marketing strategy is paramount.

Email marketing is competitive throughout the year, but during the final quarter, it reaches its peak. With numerous companies vying for consumer attention and dollars, you can’t afford to make mistakes. In this article, we will explore five essential steps to optimize your email marketing efforts and ensure your business is well-prepared for the holiday season. From creating tailored offers for different audience segments to nurturing your subscribers with valuable content, we will delve into every aspect of holiday email marketing.

Segment Your Audience and Tailor Offers

One-size-fits-all doesn’t work in email marketing. Your customers have unique journeys with your brand. For instance, a repeat customer has different needs compared to a prospect who just created an account on your website. Therefore, when planning your holiday email campaigns, it’s crucial to take these distinctions into account and segment your audience accordingly.

Segmentation is not only about sending the right message to the right people; it also has a significant impact on email performance. Research indicates that segmented campaigns yield open rates that are 14% higher compared to non-segmented ones. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of conversion. By catering to the specific needs and preferences of your audience segments, you enhance the chances of making meaningful connections and driving sales.

Verify Email Addresses for Better Deliverability

Once you’ve determined the right offers for each customer segment, it’s time to ensure the health of your email lists. The first step in this process is to review your most recent email marketing reports. For instance, if your bounce rate exceeds 2%, it’s a clear sign that you should run your databases through an email verifier. Neglecting this step can severely impact your email deliverability, and during the holiday season, the stakes are high.

According to research conducted by ZeroBounce, after verifying more than six billion email addresses in a year, only 57% of them were found to be valid and safe to keep. Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that email lists decay over time. Hence, it is imperative to regularly remove obsolete data and verify every new email address you collect. Ensuring that your email list is clean and up-to-date is a foundational step in achieving a successful holiday email marketing campaign.

Perform an Email Blacklist Check

Have you noticed a decline in your open rates and clicks in recent months? Your IP or domain might be blacklisted. Mailbox providers and anti-spam organizations maintain email blacklists to block senders with a history of spamming. However, even well-intentioned senders can find themselves on a blacklist if they don’t maintain healthy email lists and adhere to best practices. Emails from blocked senders rarely make it to their intended recipients.

One of the significant challenges with email blacklists is that they are updated in real-time. To determine if your IP or domain is flagged, using a blacklist checker is the best approach. These tools conduct tests against hundreds of blacklists and promptly alert you if any issues are detected. Ensuring that your email infrastructure is not blacklisted is vital for ensuring that your holiday email campaigns reach your target audience.

Prune Unengaged Subscribers

Every email list comprises engaged fans and subscribers who rarely or never interact with your content. While these email addresses may not bounce, their lack of engagement sends negative signals to Internet service providers (ISPs). If a significant portion of your list doesn’t open your emails, ISPs may consider your content less relevant, potentially leading to your campaigns being flagged as spam.

Though it may be unsettling to reduce your email list size just before the holidays, doing so can result in increased engagement. Those subscribers who have not opened any of your emails in months were unlikely to convert anyway. By parting ways with unengaged subscribers, you can focus your efforts on a more receptive audience, thereby improving the overall performance of your email campaigns.

Engage Your Audience with Valuable Content

As the holiday season approaches, it’s essential to warm up your prospects by sending a series of engaging emails a few weeks before launching your major campaigns. An effective tactic is to create a series of educational emails designed to address your customers’ pain points. Whether you run a B2B or a retail business, consider offering free content such as e-books, infographics, or useful videos in your emails. This not only provides value to your audience but also helps build trust and differentiate your brand in crowded inboxes.

Remember that healthy engagement is key to email deliverability, demonstrating to ISPs that your content is relevant and well-received by your audience. By nurturing your subscribers with compelling content before you make your holiday sales pitch, you can significantly enhance your email marketing results.

Consistency Matters: Keep Sending Great Emails

Apart from crafting compelling content, consistency is the backbone of successful email marketing. If you’ve been inconsistent with your email campaigns throughout the year, it’s time to gradually increase your email volume. This approach helps you establish a stronger connection with your customers and positively impacts your email deliverability.

However, it’s crucial to avoid sudden and drastic increases in email volume, as ISPs may perceive such behavior as suspicious. The more predictable and consistent you are with your email sending, the better your chances of getting your campaigns into the inbox, where they have the highest chance of being seen and acted upon.

In conclusion, the holiday season presents a unique opportunity for businesses to boost sales through email marketing. By following these five crucial steps, you can enhance the effectiveness of your holiday email marketing campaigns. From tailoring offers to verifying email addresses, pruning unengaged subscribers, and nurturing your audience with valuable content, these strategies will help ensure that your email marketing efforts yield the best possible results during the holiday season. Remember, consistency in your email marketing practices is the key to long-term success and improved deliverability.

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Michael P
Los Angeles based finance writer covering everything from crypto to the markets.

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