New Report Shows Holiday '08 Email Volume Was Heaviest in Mid- to Late December
In what appeared to be a last-chance push by marketers, the heaviest holiday email volume last year was targeted to late-season shoppers in the second and third weeks of December, when both open and click rates were at low points.
The report — which examined 640 million email messages from 12 companies sent in October, November and December 2008 — is designed to help marketers prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
Other findings from the report:
- email volume was heaviest on Tuesdays and Fridays, also the peak revenue days for the season;
- opens and clicks were generally higher in 2008 than 2007, likely due to the economic climate and bargain hunting; and
- holiday click rates spiked on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and then trailed off. Conversions spiked the week before Christmas, four weeks after clickthroughs peaked.
The report also offers tips for marketers as they plan for the upcoming holiday season. They include the following:
- Send email marketing campaigns earlier in the season, especially when promoting larger items. Triggered campaigns can target consumers who demonstrated early-season interest by following up with a combination of brand-building and hard-offer messages.
- Use cross-channel promotions. Successful campaigns use direct mail and the internet to drive store traffic, and store displays to encourage incremental online shopping. Offers should emphasize all points of purchase.
- Use "gifting" messaging. Use email and direct mail that provide gift suggestions such as “The Top Gifts of 2009.”
- Remember the power of viral. Viral promotions spread the word quickly and effectively through influencers and loyal customers. A friends and family promotion or holiday sweepstakes can expand marketing reach. Let your customers spread holiday promotions via social media.
- Offer deals of the day. This technique can bring about ongoing engagement through the holidays. Free shipping and targeted sales promotions are musts to remain competitive.
- Clearly communicate shipping deadlines. Provide an opportunity to connect with last-minute shoppers, and create a sense of urgency. Focus on consumer procrastination and smaller-ticket items that increase the likelihood for impulse buying. Include cross-sell opportunities to mitigate the lower transaction amounts.