8 Tips to Improve Your Holiday E-mail Campaigns, Part 1
As the news goes from bad to worse regarding the national economy, many multichannel marketers are holding out hope that the upcoming holiday season will provide some relief from their struggles. And to help salvage what's proven to be a trying year for most, many will turn to e-mail marketing.
A recent webinar presented by Target Marketing magazine (sister publication of eM+C), called "60 Minutes to Accelerate Holiday Sales — Top tips for leveraging Q408 e-mail campaigns," provided tips on how to optimize your e-mail campaigns this holiday season.
The webinar was sponsored by Montreal-based e-mail marketing firm Campaigner.
Huw Griffiths, marketing director at Campaigner, and Simms Jenkins, CEO of the Atlanta-based e-mail marketing firm BrightWave Marketing, presented their top tips on using e-mail effectively.
(This is the first part of our two-part coverage of this webinar. This week, tips one through four are revealed. Check back next week when we'll conclude our coverage with tips five through eight.)
1. Be prepared. "Preplanning is the first step in any e-mail marketing program," said Griffiths. "Look at your trends, failures and successes of previous years for yourself, as well as your competitors." Before launching an e-mail campaign, define your goals: Do you want to increase online traffic? Boost new sales? Increase returning customers? Increase average order value?
Once this is determined, then figure out how you're going to measure these successes, Griffiths said. Here's a look at a few campaign goals and the metrics needed to track those goals:
- increase revenue — ROI, total revenue dollars, conversion rate;
- improve loyalty — total subscribers, unsubscribes, customer retention/frequency; and
- boost brand recognition — open/clickthrough/deliverability rates.
To accomplish your goals, you may want to consider using an e-mail
service provider, Griffiths advised. "Let somebody else worry about the
technology while you focus on the marketing."
2. Timing is everything. Create an e-mail timeline based on when prospects need to hear from you, Griffiths said. Factors in this timeline should include: seasons, holidays, past purchase dates, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. These messages should be timed in relation to changes in your prospect data and sales cycles, and automated when possible. As for the best time and/or day of the week to send your e-mails, don't waste your time worrying about it. There's no right answer, Griffiths said. Among other things, it varies by industry, type of product and buying cycles, he added.
Key dates to remember for holiday e-mail campaigns include Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) and Green Monday (the second Monday of December). "Focus on key events and dates," Griffiths said. "Especially as more and more people are shopping from work." And as a rule, start early with your e-mail campaigns, he added. Techniques to use include advance discounts, information on new products and specials available to e-mail subscribers before the general public, among others.
3. Grow your list. Griffiths cited several tactics to help grow not only the quantity, but also the quality of your e-mail mailing lists. They include:
- using Web sign-up forms;
- enticing new subscribers with the promise of additional discounts and advanced notification of holiday discounts; and
- adding viral components to e-mail campaigns (e.g., forward to a friend, family/friends coupons, in-store forms, surveys).
The added benefit of coupons forwarded to family and friends via e-mail is the coupon code allows you to easily track the success of these programs, both in terms of new customers gained and sales totals.
4. Personalize your e-mails. "Take the time to personalize your e-mails on the subject line, salutation and content to make your e-mail stand out in the inbox," Griffiths said. "Personalization lets your customers know you understand their interests and want to offer content that speaks to them."