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Trick or treat, the email marketing way

Here are a few sweet moves to try and a few sticky situations to avoid

With Halloween here, the holiday season is officially upon us, so we're kicking things off with an email-friendly set of tricks and treats. As you prepare your fall- and winter-themed campaigns, consider implementing the three treats below — and avoiding the three tricks. Your campaigns will bewitch your subscribers (in a good way).

And, remember, if you're looking for some design inspiration, you can use one of our responsive holiday templates all season long.

TREAT: Automated birthday emails that turn a profit
If you're capturing your subscribers' birth dates, consider setting up an automated email to send a birthday coupon on their special day — it'll increase engagement and profits, especially in the months leading up to Christmas. And it may have unexpected bonuses. Take this, for example: I recently received a birthday email with a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich from Star Bagel, a bagel shop here in Nashville. It's one of my favorite places so I was thrilled about the email. While I was busy running a few holiday errands (I'm starting early this year!), I redeemed my birthday coupon, and then I ended up purchasing more. (Nice work, Star Bagel.)

TRICK: Not customizing the preheader text
You know the slightly grayed out text that shows up after the subject line when checking emails in your Gmail account or on your phone? That's preheader text. It’s great because it can tease the content of your email (and catch the eye of someone scanning their inbox), and then with a little coding magic, it goes away when the email is opened. Not customizing it is the equivalent of forgetting to turn your porch light on during trick-or-treat. You run the risk of subscribers just passing right on by your email. Instead, take advantage of this real estate by adding content that encourages opens, like a quick, catchy summary or a clear call to action.

Falling prey to these email tricks is positively frightening.

TREAT: Using video to mix things up a bit
Adding video to email is an excellent way to boost engagement. In fact, Wistia found that it can increase clicks by almost 300%!  And there’s lots of helpful how-to's out there. Our friends at SnapShot Interactive share 5 tips for adding video to your email marketing, and here are a few brands who have this whole video + email thing down. So give video a try. It's a great way to add a human touch to your email and introduce your brand.

TRICK: Ignoring your email results
You might feel like kicking your feet up and toasting a job well done once you press “send” on that beautifully designed, painstakingly crafted email. But unfortunately, your job isn’t quite done. Like sorting through your candy haul after a long night of trick-or-treating, you have to dig into your email results to get the most out of all that hard work. It’s all for naught if you don’t know how your audience is responding to it. The nice thing is that there are a number of new insights that help you see what’s working at a glance so you can do more of that good stuff next time. You can even check your results when you’re on-the-go with Metric, our iPhone app!

TREAT: Enable Social Sharing to grow your audience list
This might just be the easiest treat of all. By adding social sharing buttons to your email campaign, you can give your subscribers the ability to share your email via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email. That word-of-mouth and social proof can really help grow your list. Oh, and in doing so, you could be increasing your campaign's click-through rate by 30-55%. Not too shabby.

Adding social sharing buttons is an excellent way to "reach" new subscribers.

TRICK: Sending your campaign to your audience without testing
Giving your campaign the once over and clicking a link here or there in preview mode might seem like sufficient testing when you're pressed for time, but it's not enough if you want to ensure a solid delivery. Your emails will render a bit differently in the major email programs, and it's a good idea to test all links from the inbox. Plus, getting another set of eyes on your email's content and formatting will help you spot typos and formatting inconsistencies. And don’t forget to split test different copy options in your subject line. It’s an easy way to see what copy is resonating most with your audience so you can get the most opens possible.


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I hope these treats and tricks have sparked a few ideas of your own. Please share your tips in the comments here. And if you'd like to show off your holiday-themed campaign, share the link, too. We're ready to see the spooky and the spectacular. We may just feature yours in an upcoming post!