With the end of the World Series upon us, it’s officially time to say goodbye to summer and hello to the holidays. Though we’re forced to say so long to the boys of summer, we are able to take some lessons they’ve provided over the course of the season and apply them directly to our email marketing campaigns. The holiday push is always a busy time for email marketers who like to try new and exciting things for that holiday sales bump. If you remember these seven simple lessons when planning and executing your emails over the next few months, you’ll be sure to hit a home run!
1. Know How to Play Matchups
Just like the manager of a baseball team might substitute a lefty late in the game to combat a tough right-handed pitcher, a savvy email marketer will know when to segment offers and messages to different parts of his or her list. Do you track purchase information from the last six months? Develop different emails and offers for the people who purchased different kinds of products. Build dynamic content to show different images to different groups of people who have clicked on different product types in the past to make your emails more appealing and relevant to them. You can also personalize offers. Did you notice a group of subscribers over the summer who jumped at the chance for free shipping and another group who loved the idea of a 10 percent discount? Target them with the same type of offer. By drilling down your list into smaller segments, you’ll be able to maximize your ROI.
2. Don’t Always Swing for the Fences
It’s always more important to maintain a steady level of offers rather than push in all of your chips in one email send. Maybe the offer is too broad to be effective for all subscribers in your list. Maybe the big one misses people who didn’t check their email on that particular day. What’s more important is that if you offer a huge discount on Thursday, very few people are likely to bite on your smaller discounts and offers the rest of the week. Subscribers who bought on a smaller offer before the big one came out are likely to feel cheated and may not trust your email offers again. Repeat customers have been reported to bring up to 60 percent of business to a website, so it’s important to keep everyone happy with your product. Remember: although the big fly looks great, it’s ultimately consistency that wins.
3. Keep Throwing Strikes
Along those consistency lines, it’s important for your subscribers to know when to expect your email and what to look for. During the holiday period especially, it’s important to send out your emails on a schedule that your subscribers expect and to keep certain aspects of your email, like the header and footer, consistently looking the same so people can be certain of where to click to receive your offer or get to the product they are interested in. Just like a starting pitcher, it’s important to consistently throw your pitches over the plate – right where your subscriber list will swing at them and increase your profitability.
4, Read Your Scouting Reports
A good ballplayer spends a lot of time scouting both the competition and watching film of his own performance. Email service providers like Lyris provide detailed and sortable reports of our customers’ email sends. Be sure to take these into account when planning. Which offers produced the best click rates? Which subject lines resulted in the most opens? Have you noticed days of the week or even times of day that have produced premium results? Has a certain category in your navigation bar received more clicks than any other spot on your email? All of these questions and more can be answered by looking at your reports, and knowledge is key to getting a leg-up on your competition. By the same token, sign up for your competitors’ emails and remain aware of what they’re doing to market their products.
5. Remember to Use Your Change-up
Though consistency remains key when building and planning your email campaigns, it never hurts to mix in an alternate creative or offer from time to time that’s a departure from your usual messaging. At the holidays, think about email templates that involve a bit of winter fun or a pun based on the season. Though we don’t recommend something completely out of left field, it definitely can help to set your emails apart in the inbox during the high marketing email volume during the holidays. This email from Lowe’s does a great job in promoting the usual products but with a holiday twist:
6. Keep Sound Fundamentals
Don’t let an error derail your holiday marketing initiatives. Double check everything before you send it out. From rendering issues to incorrect links, it’s exceptionally important for your holiday messages to be flawless when they hit the inboxes. Services like Lyris’ EmailAdvisor can be very helpful when checking to see what the user will experience when receiving your email. Finally, though the point above encourages you to stand out, don’t forget your essentials. Keep things like your navigation bar and easy-to-click buttons intact. Keep your welcome program, but think about updating it with some holiday flair. Remember, the consumer experience is paramount in your digital marketing program.
7. Congratulate Your Teammates
At the end of any baseball game or after any great play, teammates are quick to high five and congratulate each other on their efforts. Consider your subscribers your teammates, and consider sending them a holiday card type of email to thank them for their loyalty over the past year. Sometimes, when mixed with a small marketing message, these types of emails can produce spectacular results. The email below from Lands’ End is a fantastic example of many of the ideas offered above, including this one. The company used its normal header for consistency, added a holiday theme and pun, sent a thank-you card as a bit of a change-up, and included a small offer that is consistent with its usual sends.
Holiday emails can be a lot of fun to create and deploy. Let your imagination run wild and come up with great ideas to reach your list in inventive ways. Just remember that the Great American Pastime can teach us a few fundamental lessons we can sometimes forget along the way. Happy Marketing!