The Quick Guide to Developing Winning Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns

The holidays are right around the corner!

You must have had your email marketing strategy all chalked out. As a marketer you’re faced with many questions such as: how do you propose to target new leads? What is your holiday email game plan? Who is your target audience this season? How can and will you boost your email deliverability? And much more…

According to a survey, email marketing drives 20% of online orders during the holiday season. National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting 2016 holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent. It’s a complete testing period for marketers as they are faced with many challenges and campaign targets. Here are the components required for a grand email marketing campaign.

Email Must-Haves

Your email must have a personality. Every email that you send out this holiday season must incorporate the best practices needed to follow, so as to increase open/click-through rates and heighten conversions. Here are a few key indicators:

Catchy Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing a potential lead reads in the inbox. Make sure to have a crafty and catchy subject line that clicks with the reader. Personalized subject lines increase the open rate by 41%, and lead to higher transaction rates and revenue per email. Yet only 35% of brands personalize their subject lines according to a report.

Easy Mobile Renderability

Responsive emails is the flavor this holiday season. With more and more customers accessing emails via mobile devices, it’s become necessary for marketers to design mobile-compatible emails that renders across all devices. According to a Litmus report mobile views back up 56% of email market share. Also, since mobiles continue to control opens, crafting mobile-friendly email designs will be a wise move.

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Enhanced Social Sharing

Social platforms can immensely boost your brand visibility. Make sure to have social sharing tabs in your emails so that the subscriber/customer can share the offer on social platforms (thus enhancing brand visibility). Email sharing can also increase open and clicks as higher number of people tend to open and click emails from known sources.

Interesting Content & Themed Designs

Your content and the overall look of the email is what can make or break your brand image. Smart, to-the-point and witty text in the email can help keep your customer engaged. Following a theme-based email template for the holidays can keep you in sync with the current trends and at the same time attract and target customers who’re looking for festive discounts.

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Impulsive CTA

The template of your email must have a bold, highlighted and impulsive CTA. The customer must be drawn towards the CTA button present in your email. Make sure the message is composed, yet catches the attention. Don’t be too pushy, nor make it too mellow. You can have a catchy line to support your CTA button, play around with it a little. Also having one CTA is more effective than having multiple CTAs.

Play With GIFs

GIFs add life to your email. Having timely and attractive GIFs can really boost open and click-through rates. But make sure to use GIFs sparingly as too many animations can even confuse and bother some customers. They might even get used to it if they see it’s used frequently. It’s advisable to surprise customers with GIFs and not make it an all-time affair.

Awesome Offers & Discounts

With the festive spirit on the rise, customers would be expecting amazing offers and discounts that can help them complete their festive shopping with ease. Offering discounts that the customer can’t resist, such as ‘BOGO’ offers, ‘flat discounts’, etc. can really boost sales.

Make sure to give discounts that are realistic and stick to it. People appreciate when brands do as they say, this also increases brand loyalty and aids to boost conversions.

Emails That Matter

Yes, your emails must matter. Sending out emails that are apt, in sync with your target audience and relevant is a must. Here’s a list of emails that matter during a great holiday email campaign.

Welcome Emails

This email must be sent immediately to a subscriber, as soon as they register their email. Welcome emails make a potential lead feel comfortable and welcomed. These emails are your brands first image and interaction with a potential lead and making a good first impression can help you enhance that bond and generate brand loyalty.

Welcome emails should have first-time discount vouchers or promo codes so that the subscriber can kick off with ease. They are a great way to get the customer hooked to your site.

Promotional Emails

Sending festive promotional emails are a great way to boost conversions during holidays as most of your subscribers are looking out for best offers and discounts. Not only should your promotional email comprise of excellent offers that sell, make them exciting by adding interactive elements like Sliders, GIFs and Countdowns (to create urgency).

Holiday Announcement Emails

Sending emails that announce the arrival of holidays and the offers that follow that holiday are extremely engaging. Customers look forward to such discounts and eagerly await once they get such announcement emails.

These emails are also great to build curiosity and keep customers on their toes until the day of the Offer. Usually these offers last just a day or a few hours – generating higher curiosity and engagement rate.

Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment is a rising issue in the marketing world. 2016 statistical report by SaleCycle states, cart abandonment rates have reached a whopping 74.52%. With such a high spike in cart abandonment rates it’s extremely important to win back these customers through emails and offers.

Also, with the holiday season on the charts, abandonment rates will be on an all-time high, so will the competition. But sending the right email at the right time with the right targeted offer can win back cart abandonment customers in a jiffy.

Target The Day

Holidays are limited. Target the days (holidays) strategically to maximize revenue. Sales pick up during the period from Thanksgiving, through Cyber Monday until Christmas and New Year. These few months pull in more revenue than other times of the year.

Thanksgiving Emails

According to comScore, U.S. e-commerce sales were more than $1 billion on Thanksgiving Day in 2015. That amounts to a major chunk. With Thanksgiving being one of the prime holidays, e-commerce sites soar with offers and discounts. Not just this, many marketers resort to sending emails simply thanking their customers. Forget not, your customers will love it!

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Black Friday Emails

Black Friday sales garnered a total of $13 billion in 2015, according to a sales report by PracticalEcommerce. And of this, email was responsible for converting sales of a whopping 25%. Black Friday nonetheless also amounts up to be one of the busiest days for a retailer with steep discounts and Offers.

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Cyber Monday Emails

Cyber Monday being one of the most heavily discounted online shopping day, it also one of the most awaited day for email marketers. Research indicates that 92% of shoppers look forward for discounts online just to find the best holiday bargain and Cyber Monday accounts for one of the largest online sales day. According to the Adobe, total online sales on Cyber Monday rose 16 percent in 2015 from 2014, to $3.07 billion.

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Christmas & New Year Emails

Christmas is one of the busiest, brightest and most awaited holiday. With emails infused with GIFs and interesting offers, Christmas emails can have fascinating and punny subject lines. Christmas and New Year emails are loaded with festive wishes and offers that make the customer want more. From ‘free shipping’, heavy discounts, clearance sales and surprise gift vouchers; marketers can really play around with these emails.

Key Takeaways

Holidays are the best time for marketers, yet extremely challenging at the same time. Planning a flawless and holiday-centric email marketing campaign can really boost sales this season.

  • Email marketing drives 20% of online orders during the holiday season.
  • National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting 2016 holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent.
  • Subject lines increase the open rate by 41%, and lead to higher transaction rates and revenue per email. Holiday are the best time to play around a little with the subject lines and make it more catchy and festive.
  • Mobile views back up 56% of email market share. This indicates the significance of crafting responsive emails this holiday season.
  • Make sure to have social sharing tabs in your emails so that the subscriber/customer can share the offer on social platforms. The holiday time is the best time to share offers that click with the masses.
  • Smart, to-the-point and witty text in the email can help keep the customer engaged along with an attractive theme to go with it.
  • An attractive GIF in email can help boost open and click-through rates.
  • Holiday time welcome emails should have first-time discount vouchers or promo codes that the subscriber use to grab festive offers. This is also a great way to get the customer hooked on to your site.
  • Promotional email must compile of excellent offers and bold visible CTAs at strategic points.
  • With a spike in cart abandonment rates it’s extremely important to win back abandoned cart customers. And the best way to do that this holiday season is through cart abandonment emails with irresistible offers.
  • Holidays generate a high revenue. Sales pick up during the period from Thanksgiving till Christmas and New Year.

What tips can you share for other ecommerce business owners looking to send more holiday-themed emails? Tell me in the comments below.

Kevin George Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks - one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email design, PSD to Responsive Email HTML conversion and much more. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage and share insights with fellow marketers. You can follow him on Twitter.