Holiday Email Marketing Guide
Written by Rob Lane.
The most wonderful time of the year is well on its way and email marketing can boost your bottom line.
Today, we are presenting tips and tricks to keep in mind while designing your holiday campaigns. When we wrote the inbox battle in March, we mentioned that the average user receives 84 emails per day, inboxes are overloaded therefore sending the email at the right time is extremely key.
During the holiday season, inboxes are even more packed and consumer attention spans decrease even more. The time of delivery is extra crucial during the season. Time of delivery can be broken down in two: Time of the Day and Day of the Week.
2. Time of Day
Most of our readers leverage the predictive delivery feature so their subscribers individually receive the emails at the time of day they’re most likely to shop on your online store. If you’re sending bulk emails, here are some things to think about:
- Avoid the early morning delete rush, meaning does not send your emails before people get to work.
- The ideal time to send is between 9am ~ 11am, but most stores will do the same and send it around that time. To stand out, you should try to avoid this pick time as your amazing email might be lost in the inbox and email service providers are going to experience a high volume of emails during that peak period, which increases your chances of being deferred.
- Sending between 12pm ~2pm as the inbox traffic is slowing down.
3. Day of Week
On top of the time, the day of the week matters a lot. The general of thumbs with email, highly used by salespeople, is to send emails between Tuesday and Thursday because prospects are mentally absent Monday & Friday. In ecommerce though, Friday is under-utilized. Think about it, if people are distracted to get their work done in the office, chances are that they might be doing something more fun and easy like shopping online. Sunday afternoons are also a good time to send emails as most people are at home, casually surfing the web for ideas and new items. Most importantly, they have the time to digest your message. Try to avoid Saturdays even during the holidays as people tend to make plans, especially in North America.
Beyond the time of deliverability, frequency matters in email marketing. During the holiday season, you can afford to send more emails than usual as customers expect an increased in frequency of emails. Having said that, you should correlate your increase of emails with past engagements. This is where segmentation options are extremely valuable as you can adjust the frequency based on different segments.
4. Holiday Email Marketing Ideas
Holidays are good opportunity to contact your customers with special offers. So without further ado, here’s an email marketing cheat sheet for this year’s holiday!
Here, you should leverage the anticipation of Black Friday to push some exclusive offers to your customers while thanking them for being awesome customers. Think about it, they still haven’t unsubscribed to your emails, thank them with a unique offer and they’ll reward you with some sales. This year’s Thanksgiving should be fun as it falls in line with Hanukkah.
Customers are already anticipating this event. Black Friday is a big day for the retailer, even bigger for email marketers. Most online stores send their Black Friday emails earlier during the week, to create anticipations. Here are some campaign ideas:
- A Black Friday “Sneak Peek” email to your best customers, they deserve the VIP treatment.
- Hit their inbox with a let’s get it started a campaign and feature your best offers in the email.
- Extend the deals over the weekend to increase the sales. Many consumers do their Christmas shopping on black Friday so the extra weekend push is very important.
Similar to Black Friday, most customers are expecting the day. In fact, some customers are trained to ignore Black Friday and go crazy on cyber Sunday. Keep it simple, showcase your best products and let customers crash your store. Most retailers have one-day-only sales, the time constraint enable you to leverage 3 types of email:
- Cyber Monday email early in the morning to announce your promotions
- “Only a few hours left” email in the middle of the day to remind customers about the special day.
- “Last chance” email later in the day to remind customers who did not shop.
This is the perfect occasion to present one daily offer at a great price to your customers days before Christmas. A 12 Days of Christmas series generates momentum and anticipation of knowing each day’s deal, which translates to higher engagement. Here is a few recommendation for this type of campaign:
- Do a “kick-off” email prior to the campaign. This will alert your contact base that they should expect the emails in the coming days.
- You might want to segment your list to send the campaign to your most engaged customers. Since there’s a significant increase in frequency by moving to a daily email, you don’t want to risk spiking your attrition rates by alienating contacts who would not tolerate a daily email.
In general, I’d recommend running the X Days of Deals on the brand, category, or sub-category level vs. the product-level. This casts the net wider, and appeals to a greater portion of your contacts. It also works if you want to showcase your 2017 product lines as pre-orders. Use the holiday time to cash in on the Christmas fever. Running a boxing week campaign works better than a single day of sale. But make sure to have at least 2 or 3 unique sales on boxing day so your customer tune in ready to shop.
Some online stores opt for the site-wide discounts. Those discounts usually perform well via email as the message is very clear. Having said that there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Novelty: Despite having a storewide discount, customers still expect special deals on Black Friday and Boxing Day.
- Duration: The length of the promotion will help shape the perception of how exclusive it is, and thus the urgency to purchase
- Customer Experience: Keep it consistent and make sure your special Black Friday or boxing Day offers to make sense. Customers might return items bought at higher prices to simply repurchase the same item at a lower price.
A seasonal greeting is a great email to add to your holidays email arsenal. This email is sent your contacts wishing them happy holidays. For one, let’s forget about sales and simply wish them happy holidays. Many companies include a special gift, perhaps a discount code on the next purchase to thank your loyal customers for the amazing year.
People love novelty and those emails tend to perform well. During the holiday season, you should definitely push your new product via email marketing. Those emails not only generate excitement and engagement but it helps diversify your email content, which is crucial to maintaining contact engagement during the stretch of the holiday season.
NEW YEAR’S SALE
New Year’s is another opportunity to push a clearance sale. You could put up a dedicated landing page with slow-movers in your inventory at discounted prices. Most retailers launch right into the New Year’s sales on the day after Christmas, which is not necessarily bad. I’d say shoot for anywhere between the 27th and 31th to start and run the promotion for several days.
To finish the guide, here are some key dates to keep in mind:
Nov 22 – Happy Holidays
Nov 24 – Black Friday Sneak Peek & Early Birds
Nov 25 – Black Friday Sale
Nov 26 – Small Business Saturday/Extended Black Friday Sale
Nov 27- Black Friday Last Chance/Cyber Monday Pre-Sale
Nov 28 – Cyber Monday Sale (2 sends)
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday Extended
Dec 4 – 5 Days of Deals Kick-Off
Dec 5 – Day 1 of Deals
Dec 6 – Day 2 of Deals
Dec 7 – Day 3 of Deals
Dec 8 – Day 4 of Deals
Dec 9 – Day 5 of Deals
Dec 12 – Green Monday (Largest Online Sales Day In December!)
Dec 15 – Last Day For Ground Shipping
Dec 19 – Subscription/Nonphysical/Rush Delivery Gift
Dec 23 – E-Gifts
Dec 26 – Boxing Day
Dec 25 to Jan 5 – Twelve Days of Christmas
Dec 28 – New Year’s Clearance Sale
Jan 2nd – New Year’s Clearance Last Chance
Holidays are magic moments, keep the magic going with email marketing.
Rare.io makes it easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails and more! You can learn more about our powerful email marketing automation features here or go ahead and get started right away by using Rare.io for FREE.
And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.