Looking for a strong showing in your email results this holiday season? Craft a plan now with our tips, featuring special appearances by North Pole guests.
If you haven't started your holiday plan yet, you still have time. And there's a tremendous opportunity during the year-end months for you to make the most of email marketing. You numbery types might like to know, for example, that email-driven sales were up 11% from 2008 during the 2009 holiday season.
Of course, your holiday email goals may not be sales-focused. Perhaps you're out to drive donations, promote an event, or just share a festive little greeting with your customers. A little holiday campaign planning really does go a long way. (Insert "making a list, checking it twice" joke here.) So, ask the big questions first. What do you want your holiday emails to accomplish? What are the main messages or offers your customers will connect with over the next few months? And how can email help drive the holiday initiatives you're planning offline?
1. Look for trends in recent response data.
As you're crafting your holiday sending strategy, spend some quality time digging into data that'll tell you what's been most and least effective over the last few months. For example, if you notice that click-through rates are higher in your more graphic-rich emails, design your holiday campaigns accordingly.
How to: In your Emma account, your Response page displays interactive charts of your mailing results that help you spot big trends at a glance before you drill down to see who's opening, clicking and more. If you'd like some help interpreting those charts, see some real-life scenarios and advice elsewhere on the blog.
2. Consider your sending frequency and volume.
In 2009, we saw the Emma community's overall sending volume increase 29% in the holiday-packed final quarter of the year. But think about your email frequency carefully — every fatigued subscriber who opts out in December is someone who won't see your emails at all next year. Send an email now that gives your subscribers the option to manage how frequently they hear from you, or start slowly ramping up your frequency now (and keep a close eye on ye olde opt-out rate).
How to: Your readers can update their own subscriptions by using the "manage your preferences" link at the bottom of your Emma stationery. You can find more details on customizing that subscription form in our Help Guide. Emma's survey feature provides another way to learn more about your subscribers, and we've got some helpful tips for creating effective surveys.
3. Keep your emails social.
People stay busy during the holidays, but not too busy to keep up with their social networking. In fact, according to Experian, traffic from social network sites to retail sites during the holidays was up 37% last year. So make sure your subscribers have an easy way to share your emails with their friends and followers, and add easy-to-spot links to your organization's social networking sites, too.
How to: With Emma's simple built-in social sharing feature, recipients can share your emails with their friends and followers, and you can track your email's online reach. Read our 5 reasons to embrace social sharing, and then check out the video overview in our our Help Guide for more details about how it all works.
4. Give folks a reason to join your list.
Are you planning on sending exclusive offers and content to your email subscribers during the holidays? Update the language on your website's email sign-up form accordingly.
That way, your casual site visitors will spot that juicy incentive and become more loyal email subscribers. Just to be clear, you may not want to involve actual juice with your incentive.
How to: You can customize your Emma-powered signup form and publish it to your website, blog or Twitter feed. Our Help Guide provides handy instructions for customizing your form and posting it anywhere you have an online presence.
5. Welcome new subscribers right away.
Here's one thing you can count on. When someone signs up for your email list, you know they're interested in hearing from you. Probably right then and there. So build a strong relationship with new subscribers right away with an automatic welcome note. Set a great foundation now, and you'll have more loyal subscribers through the holiday season. If you're already sending a welcome note, good for you, and also, take a fresh look to see if it could use a little holiday-specific tweaking.
How to: Welcome emails are a snap with Emma. See real-life examples, or check out the Help Guide for instructions on how to set up any campaign to send automatically whenever someone joins your list. For extra bonus points, consider creating an entire welcome series.
One last thought about your holiday planning: Consider special holiday creative. Since your subscribers get more and more emails in their inboxes during the holiday season, fresh and festive design can focus even the most fruitcake-addled attention spans. Rework your standard template design with a few holiday touches, or put together a memorably designed holiday card or greeting. Need email design help? Emma offers affordable custom holiday designs.
And happy holiday planning from all of us at Emma!
Illustrations by Taylor Schena, Emma designer extraordinaire