For most of the world, the coming holiday season means scheduling travel and parties, with a bit of shopping and vacation time thrown into the mix. All in all, it's a festive time, and something that most men and women look forward to all year round.
For those of us in the Internet marketing world, however – and especially the owners and managers of e-commerce sites – the holidays mean something different. They might be our favorite time of the year, too, but that has as much to do with profit potential as it does celebrating the occasion with friends and family. And, it tends to be our busiest part of the year, with lots of last-minute projects and changes to make to our campaigns.
That's especially true when it comes to email marketing, often the biggest priority for businesses that want to reach customers directly in November and December.
With that in mind, here are a few of our best tips for organizing your email marketing so you can make the most of the sales and marketing opportunities to come in the weeks ahead:
Clean your opt-in email lists. High bounce rates and unsubscribe ratios hurt the overall effectiveness of your campaigns, and can even affect email delivery. Take advantage of the testing features that major email marketing providers like Constant Contact and MailChimp provide to ensure that the names on your list are valid. And at the same time, optimize your social and blogging campaigns to attract new subscribers.
Segment buyers into specific groups and distribution lists. Except in rare situations, you don't want most of the contacts on your list receiving identical emails. Instead, you want different messages for long-time customers, gift-givers, and other distinct customer groups. You might also want to segment your list by budget range or product category interest.
Develop your content and offers ahead of time. Your holiday email marketing campaign should have a very intentional set of goals and corresponding offers. Decide on these early so you can pair them with the right subject lines, calls to action, and even photos or articles. Coordinating your effort from start to finish is a great way to boost response rates.
Get the corresponding parts of your website ready. Likewise, if your holiday email marketing campaign will involve landing pages on your website, new products, discount codes, or other forms of new content, put these in place – even if it's on a staging area of your business website. You'll want to ensure that these elements are tested and ready to use when the time is right.
Study past holiday email marketing campaigns. Each year might bring a new campaign, but that doesn't mean you can't learn lessons from the past. Study previous email marketing offers, and the results, to see if there are trends you can recognize, or ideas you can capitalize on.
Because it's fast, cost-effective, and highly targeted, email marketing can be your top sales tool this holiday season. But, if you want to take advantage of the opportunities, the time to start laying the groundwork for a successful campaign is right now. So, make the most of these tips and find a few extra things to be happy about this December.
Need help preparing your website or email marketing campaigns for the holidays? Talk to Union (formerly Studiobanks) today and see what we've been able to do for other businesses just like yours.