6 Best Practices For Holiday Email Campaign Success This Year
August may be the busiest month of the year for email marketers because it's usually when they begin planning holiday email campaigns. How much should they increase their email volume? Which days should they send their holiday messages? How can they stand out in customers’ inboxes?
To help email marketers with these decisions, San Bruno, Calif.-based email marketing agency Responsys recently published its Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2011, which tracked the holiday email activity of more than 100 top U.S. online retailers tracked by the Retail Email Blog and on the insights of Responsys’ Strategic Services group.
The following are six best practices outlined in the report, designed to help retailers and other B-to-C email marketers have a successful holiday season this year:
1. Review last year's holiday campaigns. In preparing for the holiday email season to come, thoroughly examine what happened during your 2010 holiday email season. Ask yourself the following:
- Where did we run into time crunches in our production process? Are there production changes that would make things run more smoothly? How can our ESP or agency help?
- Which of my email campaigns generated the highest conversions? On what days were they sent? What were the emails about and what were the subject lines?
- Which campaigns generated the lowest conversions? On what days were they sent? What were the emails about and what were the subject lines?
- Which segmentation tactics were most successful?
- Which campaigns were forwarded and shared the most? What about those campaigns made them so viral?
- Which campaigns generated the highest unsubscribe rates? The highest spam complaints? Why was that?
- Did you have to send any apology emails? If so, why? Have steps been taken to fix the problems?
2. Start Christmas campaigns early. On average, retailers began their 2010 holiday campaigns 69 days before Christmas (Oct. 17), according to the report. That’s two days earlier than during the 2009 holiday season and 11 days earlier than during the 2007 holiday season, when the average start date was Oct. 28. Although the economy was improving a bit going into the holiday season last year, retailers were clearly still nervous and wanted to start their holiday messaging a little earlier. While holiday messaging remains low until October, the report points out, some of this early messaging may boost the effectiveness of later messages.