10 Tips for Elevating Your Email Marketing Efforts This Holiday Season

Why utilize email marketing during the holidays?

While it might be easy to write off using email as a marketing tool, there’s truly no better time to invest your time and dollars into email marketing than the holiday season. With the massive amount of holiday spending happening, it’s a great time to boost conversion rates and capture this massive spend. Holiday sales generate as much as 20-30% of retailers’ annual sales, making it a time of year you can’t miss out on.1

Holiday email campaigns don’t just boost sales, however. They are also a great way to boost brand awareness, stand out from competitors, and attract new customers with special holiday discounts and offers.2 70% of consumers shopping for deals find out about them via email, making it even more beneficial to advertise via email this season.3 We’ve gathered a few important tips for anyone trying to stand out this holiday season.

Segment Your Email List

Our first tip for enhancing your email marketing this holiday season is segmenting your emails. This means separating your audience into categories so you can better target them. This is crucial for increasing open and click-through rates. You can use Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to categorize your audience effectively.4 Personalizing emails has been shown to make the click-through rate 8 times higher.5

Segmenting to generate more engagement can look different for each business. You can segment by interest, which is based on previous purchases or website activity. You can also segment by year-round vs. seasonal shoppers, targeting your year-round shoppers with a loyalty program and your seasonal shoppers with promotions and discounts.6

With our expertise in audience segmentation, we’ve put together a few audience segments to help you reach as many shoppers as possible. First, the fine dining patrons who are seeking more sophisticated dining experiences, sourced from restaurant visits and survey data. Second are bargain shoppers who are looking for a good deal. Third, we suggest targeting health & beauty shoppers, sourced from in-store purchases and survey data. Finally, we recommend targeting travel shoppers–those who travel frequently in any form–who have been sourced from traveler loyalty programs and memberships. With the right data and goals, you can target several niche groups with the right messaging this holiday season.

Email Automation

Speaking of the right messaging, it’s critical to not only reach the right audience, but to send the right message this holiday season.7 he best way to do this is to curate your messaging and templates to effectively speak to your audiences. Creating a unique template for Welcome Emails, Promotional Emails, and Abandoned Cart Emails will help you to achieve best results. Welcome Emails are especially important this season since more customers are subscribing to emails. Abandoned Cart Emails are also important and can make you stand out from a competitor who might not be creating personalized emails.8

Craft Interesting Holiday Subject Lines

Personalizing your email templates isn’t the only way to stand out among your competitors. Creating interesting holiday-related subject lines will be crucial when it comes to grabbing your customers’ attention this holiday season. A whopping 35% of customers decide to open emails based on subject lines alone, and this is even more important during the most festive time of the year.9

It might seem simple, but including elements like festive puns and holiday emojis can greatly increase your engagement and open rates along with questions, attention-grabbing words like “last-minute offer,” and easy to read CTA buttons.10 It’s important to have two things in mind when crafting these emails. First, focus on breaking the mold to pique your audience’s attention. Second, be aware of how many emails your audience is likely receiving both from you and your competitors. Quality is more important than quantity.

Serve Up Insights & Benefits to Customers

Grabbing your audience’s attention doesn’t end at the subject line. A great way to continue holding your audience’s attention is doing a giveaway. Offering free items and doing special promotions where customers–especially new ones–can win a free item is a great way to get customers interested in your brand and products. Giveaways don’t always have to involve actual products, however. Another great way to earn your customers’ interest, trust, and loyalty is to offer relevant insights to your customers. Intrigue them with targeted information that they’ll want to learn more about. This will help you to attract more customers and to build brand awareness.

Offer Holiday Gift Guides

A great way to combine both targeted insights and product suggestions to your customers is to send out holiday gift guides via email. Shoppers are always eager to get new ideas, especially when they are shopping last minute and in desperate need of assistance.11 Taking the stress out of shopping for your customers will win you a positive opinion on your brand and put your products front and center.12

Like email segmentation, you can target your audience and achieve higher engagement with unique gift guides targeted to certain audiences. Gift guides can be based on price point, relationships, interests, age groups, and product types. Overall, holiday gift guides are a great way to get customers to peruse your products, learn more about your brand, and receive a valuable benefit during the holiday season.13

Don’t Forget the Footer

To ensure you make the most of your special offers and holiday gift guides, it’s crucial that you don’t forget about the footer area of your email. This is an excellent place to promote your carefully curated holiday gift guides, any gift services you have to offer, and important information about final orders, shipping dates, and more. Making the most of all the areas in your holiday emails is hugely important so you can make the most of your efforts.

Promote Holiday Sales Early

One of the best ways to make sure you make the most of your email efforts is to start promoting holiday sales early! Building anticipation and preventing your customers from missing out on offers are two great benefits of starting your emails early. This being said, it’s important not to overwhelm your customers. Try not to increase year-to-date email frequency by more than 3x during the holidays.14

Not only are early bird deals hugely popular, but getting the jump on emailing for big sales like Black Friday can make your emails and sales far more successful. Emailing the day before can make a big difference in performance. With the typical buying cycle taking typically 1-2 weeks before the buyer makes a decision to buy, starting holiday emails around December 4th will ensure you capture holiday shoppers in time and get the best possible results.15

Send Mobile-Friendly Emails

It’s also important to know not only when shoppers are looking for deals, but how they’re looking for them too. As many as 1 in 5 shoppers have made a purchase after opening a retailer’s email on a mobile device.16 With mobile shopping having increased greatly over the past couple years, it should come as no surprise that mobile shopping increased by 50% last year. This makes it a necessity to optimize emails for mobile with responsive mobile-friendly templates. Otherwise, your business can lose out on as much as 85% of your audience. Make sure you put optimizing your emails for mobile on your holiday season to-do list.17

Remind Your Customer of Deadlines

As the holidays grow closer, the pressure increases on customers to make buying decisions. Using this pressure to your advantage and reminding your customers of deadlines will prevent procrastination and motivate them to make decisions about their wish lists and empty carts. Using a subject line that speaks directly to the customer about these deadlines will make these emails even more effective.18Last minute deals are another great way to play off the impending deadlines of the holiday season. Pushing last minute deals is perfect for winning over and relieving your last-minute shopper audience.19

Don’t Skip Post-Holiday Emailing

But wait! Your emailing strategy shouldn’t end when the holidays do! Customers are actually 9x more likely to convert with post-holiday emails than first-time visitors. Your holiday season email campaign should extend past the holidays to include follow-up emails so you can engage your new subscribers that you obtained prior to the holidays and convert them to sales. Post-holiday emails should emphasize the same elements mentioned above for pre-holiday emails. Finish up your holiday season strong and get the results you want! 20

With the right holiday email strategy, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to boost your brand awareness, engagement, and sales this holiday season. Contact us at Connext Digital for more tips on how to optimize your holiday season email campaign!

Jessica Rodriguez