6 E-mail Marketing Ideas Designed to Take the Ho-Hum Out of the Holidays
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and most analysts agree this holiday season will go down in the books as one of the worst in memory. But that doesn't mean you should scrap your e-mail marketing efforts. With the right planning and approach, you can turn a ho-hum holiday season into a jolly old time.
Here are six simple ideas that you can implement today to breathe new life into your holiday e-mail marketing campaigns:
1. Focus your offers. The trend today is to get back to basics; you should do the same with your e-mail campaigns. Make them memorable by focusing on just one or two offers, rather than a menu of offers that confuses the subscriber. Make sure your call to action is clear, your landing page is welcoming and your shopping cart functions properly.
2. Toss in some seasonal spirit. Most people reflect on those in need during the holidays, and this is especially true today. Showing your support for a favorite charity gives you an advantage over your competition. Do this by teaming up with a charity and donating a percentage of your sales. Don't forget to merchandise your partnership: Tell your subscribers about your efforts, make sure they know how much you've donated so far and post your sponsorship on your Web site. You can even note in the shopping cart how much of each purchase is donated to the charity.
3. Resist the temptation to over mail. Nothing lands you on the "naughty list" faster than increasing your e-mail frequency. While tempting, increasing frequency in an effort to drive up sales may result in spam complaints and ISP blocking. In addition, sending more frequent e-mails might be training your readers to gloss over your e-mails. Instead, send more relevant e-mails that tempt subscribers to take action.
4. Reinvigorate your list. Even the best e-mail campaign won't bring in sales if the list is full of dead or off-target addresses. Get your list elves busy segmenting your list. Try re-engaging subscribers who haven't clicked in six months or so by sending them a special offer; tell them you miss them. Send a different offer to your loyal customers, rewarding them for their devotion. Don't forget your new subscribers; they should be welcomed with a separate offer.
5. Review your e-mail design. There's still time to make design changes to your e-mail and supporting Web pages — such as landing and opt-in pages — that can make a big difference. Review your sender and subject lines to make sure they show who sent the e-mail and what the reader can expect from the message. Make sure you place your company name or brand in the sender line. Test your e-mail against the major e-mail clients to make sure your images render correctly. Check that your most important content appears in the top section of the e-mail. And, just as importantly, make sure your unsubscribe process works correctly.
6. Accommodate last-minute shoppers. No matter how hard we all try to be prepared, it's human nature to procrastinate. Help your customers by offering last-minute gift solutions. Allow your customers to make donations to a charity, or to print gift certificates, gift vouchers or cards announcing their gifts are on the way. Make sure you promote this capability in your e-mail campaigns.