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Sleigh bells! Dreidels! Turducken! It’s official: The holiday season is upon us and inboxes are more crowded than ever. Whether it’s finding the perfect present for Aunt Gertrude or coming up with an irresistible holiday subject line, waiting ‘til the last minute is par for the course this time of year.

Join Michael Baker (Senior Retail Sales Executive), Emma Mathews (Director of Professional Services) and Rachel Rogers (Onboarding Team Lead) as they help you solve all your down-to-the-wire holiday email conundrums. You won’t want to miss it!

Jamie: Hello. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s presentation “Ask Us Anything About holiday Email.” And boy, are you in for some treats, no tricks, all treats. A little housekeeping before we get started. We are going to definitely send a recording of today’s presentation out to you guys. So if you have to hop off, if you’re just like, “Wow, I need to share this with everyone I’ve ever met.” Don’t worry, we got you covered. You’ll get an email with that if you’re registered. So we got you.

Also, of course, this is a QA. So at the end of today’s short presentation, we’re gonna show you some slides first, we will get to your questions. We already got a lot of really good ones during registration. However, if you think of something, please, please, please don’t hesitate to type that directly into your GoToWebinar chat modal there, and we’ll be scooping those up today. And you can also tweet at us @emmaemail, #EmmaAUA, and we’ll check that out too. Or if you’re just wanna, you know, have fun on there with your friends.

So before we get started, I’m Jamie, the disembodied voice. My picture is not up there, but which is totally fine. I’m a content marketing strategist here at Emma. And basically, that means that I get to nerd out about email all day long, and hopefully educate people and sit with some of my favorite people at Emma, and talk about email to hundreds of people. So it’s a privilege to be here today with you. And we’re excited to talk about the holidays and show you some of our favorite examples, so.

And just a reminder, I know we have a lot of customers on the line. This is not a demo. If you have specific questions about your Emma account, contact, and they’ll get you squared away. If you’re not a customer, and you’re just really pumped and wanna talk about becoming a customer, you can email, and we’ll get you to the right person to have that conversation.  So now I’m going to introduce or have them introduce themselves. So Rachel will go first. Rachel, tell us about yourself here.

Rachel: Sure thing. Hi, everyone. My name is Rachel Rogers. I am the onboarding team lead here at Emma. That means I work with a team of folks that’s specifically dedicated to our newest clients. We were kind of a short-term account managers for folks when they first come on board with Emma, just making sure you have everything you need to get started, to start hitting your goals right off the bat. So super excited to jump in today and talk about some holiday emails.

Emma: Hey, guys, Emma here. I’m the director of Professional Services. My name just is Emma, so weird coincidence, but you’ll get used to it. We have a team of in-house email marketing specialists and design experts and technical services specialist all gathered around to help our clients do their best email marketing ever. So as we’re walking through this deck, specific strategic questions and design help, and all that good stuff is what we focus on. So, if you have questions after the fact, we’d love to chat with you, and see how we can plug in and help make this your best holiday season yet.

Jamie: Awesome. And the new edition, Michael Baker.

Together: Drum roll.

Michael: Hi, everyone. My name is Michael Baker. I’m a senior sales executive here, specializing in the retail and hospitality space, so really excited to be joining you today. I love listening to all your webinars. So I’m really flattered that I’m actually participating in them, so. And looking forward to all your questions out there, so.

Jamie: Awesome. Well, that’s a good way to get started, Michael. I appreciated that. So like I said, we’re gonna walk you through, or I’m gonna walk you through kind of a brief presentation here, just showcasing some of our favorite holiday examples from last year. And even some literally hot off the press as of like an hour ago, that we got, that we wanted to include. So you got the hot, hot stuff here.

So first question, kind of as we get started, if I can, there we go. Why are we talking about holiday emails? It sounds pretty obvious. It’s a really basic question. Obviously, the holidays are upon us. But there’s a little bit more to it. And as a brand marketer, I’m sure it’s because of this, it’s because of these numbers that you’re looking at here. So we all stand to move the needle for the brands that we represent during these crucial sort of Q4 months. And these next two slides actually come directly from our friends at the National Retail Federation. And even if you’re not working in the retail space, this is still super fascinating stuff. Basically, since the economic recovery started back in you know, ‘09, we have steadily seen revenue for holiday spending go up into the right, which as you know, is the way we want it to go. At the highest percentage increase in holiday spending ever, that was last year, so. And we stand, this year is projected to be even higher, so we stand to gain a lot during these next couple months.

Here’s another little interesting chart, we’re doing okay. If you’re just trying things out, if you just started with your holiday emails, if you haven’t started yet, you’re all right. We’re at the top of November and most shoppers are not starting to really dig in and get serious about their holiday spending, luckily for us, until November. So if you got started and you want to pivot based on some examples you see today you are a lucky duck. If you just need some advice and some tips now’s the time to get a little bit more serious about it.

So, you know, as marketers sitting here today, obviously we’re a little biased, but 70% of people learned about holiday promotions via email. As you can see, it’s in the running, in the digital space of all the channels, email is the most powerful for driving home that point. Better yet, one in five holiday shoppers made a purchase. They didn’t just learn about it, but they actually took an action after opening a retailer’s email on their mobile device. So we are walking around with these mobile inboxes, we are standing in line. I literally did this the other day and the Nike store. I was standing there. I was looking for coupons, and yeah, it’s pretty cool. It was all happening.

During the holidays on Black Friday, email marketing generated the most sales of all the digital channels with a share of about 25%. So that’s pretty cool, and that’s not on Cyber Monday, that’s actually on the day when, you know, the streets are painted black with your soot and your dirt.

Emma: I was wondering what that was…

Jamie: That actually is true. So yeah, people are buying online on these days, it’s not just Cyber Monday. So now we’re gonna look at some examples of brands that are navigating this holiday email thing pretty well, and again, you know, this is by no means a comprehensive list of every single mailing that you need to send. We are not here to tell you specifically for your brand X, Y and Z. This is everything that you do. But we can help you with that if you raise your hand and you need it. But what we’ve done is by the power of the four of us, we’ve compiled some of our favorites. And I’m gonna walk you through some of my favorites, some of Rachel’s, Michael’s, and really what’s powerful and important. And hopefully you’ll pick up some helpful tips along the way. But first more snaps.

So this one’s, you see 57%, almost 58% of consumers claim they are more likely to buy a product from a retailer site when the retailer emails them a discount code. That’s not a holiday stat, that’s just in general. And 90% of retail email campaigns during last year’s holiday season included some sort of offer according to experience.

So this is an awesome example from Jetsetter. They sent this actually, I believe it was Cyber Monday night. So it’s basically just really capitalizing on a busy day, giving you…I love this little cozy bed. I also love that it doesn’t look like a holiday email. There’s no, you know, berries or reeves in it. It’s just simply saying, “Hey, you’re busy. Here’s a mystery code.” It’s not even telling you what it is. So this is super compelling, and I clicked on it immediately, because I wanted to know what my code was.

And it’s not just that people want offers, though, we want offers that are actually tailored to us. And this is super important to point out, and I love this example from Zappos. They kind of are the… this is actually I think, yesterday, this was sent to me, and you know, there… It’s a beautiful mobile-friendly email, over half of all emails opened first on a mobile device these days. During the holidays, obviously, we saw the one in five people are buying from mobile devices. So the email on the left is the whole shebang. What you see in the middle is the very bottom, and they’re pulling out recommendations that are just for me, that are based on my past history and behavior. And 80% of shoppers say they want promotions that are about them. And it just makes sense.

So kind of shifting gears just a little bit, fun. West Elm is really capitalizing on not only just telling us about an offer, but really put something shiny in front of us, because we are lizards, basically. We need something moving. And animated GIFs, if you’re not using this currently in your email marketing, now’s a really fun time to try it out. Animated GIFS, actually, they aren’t just pretty, they can increase clickthrough rates by 26%. And I’m not stuttering, can increase conversion rates by 103%, which is super fun.

And I adore this example because this is actually from a, you know, a B2B brand, Evernote, and this one’s super great because I think it’s a really good time for anyone that’s on the line today. I know not everyone is a retailer, you are not competing with your competitors during this holiday season, you’re competing with amazing brand marketers in that retail space, inboxes are super crowded. And so, Evernote is capitalizing on Cyber Monday, which I think is smart. They’re using this GIF.

And this is a fun time to also point out that animated GIFs are powerful, because they actually render in most inboxes. However, in Outlook, sometimes they can show up as a static image. So if you are gonna use a GIF, make sure that whatever frame it freezes on makes sense. So this GIF’s a great example of that. If it doesn’t animate, nothing’s lost. If it does animate, even better, super cool. If you had a discount in here, and I couldn’t tell that because the GIF wasn’t animating, you stand to lose something. So just be mindful when you are dipping your toes and we can help you navigate that, too.

But if you don’t have a GIF, which is fine, be classy about it. I love this. This is really fun. This is really great copy, someone’s a weed eating outside, so if you do hear that, this isn’t a sound email. It’s just a fun ambient noise. But yeah, this is a really fun example. As you can see over here on the left, beautiful, mobile-friendly email. The text is right size. It’s big enough that anyone could read it. The calls to action are all focused. If this email gets skinnier, all of these beautiful little squares sort of stack on top of each other. And it’s just a real, I really like the copy, too, there. Can’t get it to the fridge fast enough? Good. So it doesn’t have to be gimmicky. It doesn’t have to be flashy. It just needs to be simple and easy for me to navigate the mailing, too.

So as we talk about design, as we talk about some fun stuff that you can do. None of this stuff matters if I don’t open your email, right. So this is actually a tweet today from someone that I follow, named Jason Meeker. I’ve seen him speak on email marketing. He’s a really smart guy, an email geek, if you will. You should follow him. He has great insights all the time. And I loved this, “Black Friday sales are just like emoji and subject lines. If every sale in November is a Black Friday sale, then no one’s going to pay attention.”

Michael: That’s really good.

Jamie: It’s getting loud. Sorry about that if you hear that weed eater. But I love this tweet, simply because, and we’ll look at some examples of that, you know, if you’re doing, again, you’re not competing with just your competitors, you’re competing with everyone else. So if on Halloween, every email said, you know, “No tricks, all treats.” And it’s trite, it doesn’t stand out. And he actually tweeted about that, too, which is funny. So we’re gonna look at some good examples of standing on the inbox during the holidays, and really, all the time.

So here’s a great one. I love this example. As you notice, animated GIF. And one thing that ClassPass is doing really well here, and why I love this example, is that, again, it’s not gimmicky. Unlimited classes, one GIF. It absolutely is just telling me immediately what this mailing is about, what the value proposition is. It’s super concise, super short. And we’ll talk about length of subject lines here in a second. But it’s just an excellent way to basically just be clear. Clarity can be your best friend and your besy ally in the inbox. And the holidays are no difference. So you know, you don’t have to be funny all the time.

Another example, that little bit longer subject line. But what I love about this one is that it’s, again, super clear on the frontend, “Hanukkah Gifts: 20% Off Today.” Then it’s cute, “Oy To The World.” It’s a funny subject line. But what I love about this as well is that the value proposition is up at the front. So if the end of that subject line got cut off, or if I’m just skimming, I can immediately see it’s about Hanukkah gifts, 20% is the number of the discount. And today puts a little time boxing, a little bit of urgency. And subject lines with a sense of urgency can actually bump your open rate by about 20%, 22%, on average. So love this one, I think it’s super fun. And also, Hanukkah, they sell stuff for Hanukkah. There’s lots of different holidays going on this holiday season. So they’re targeting this in a really, really great way and I love it. Madewell. Madewell, even if you’re not a woman that buys things from Madewell…

Emma: I just wanna meet whoever writes those subject lines.

Jamie: I do too. This was their Cyber…

Rachel: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Michael: This one’s great.

Jamie: Yeah. This is their Cyber Monday email last year, “Your boss is shopping today, too,” which kind of just…it’s a wink, it’s adorable. Another thing to point out about this is that on average on Cyber Monday, so Black Friday mobile shopping is another dates in the holiday calendar mobile email opens are higher. On Cyber Monday, it’s the one day when desktop opens are higher, because people are at work and they’re secretly shopping for about you know, your boss is…

Rachel: The code there is ShopAtWork. That’s great.

Jamie: I know, ain’t that great. Oh yeah, I didn’t even notice that. That’s awesome. So again, being mindful, this design though would work mobile or desktop, but think about where your recipients are, too.

I loved this one. This is actually a holiday email that I received. First thing I noticed was this subject line. If you don’t get it, you’re probably not a big Beyonce fan like I am, but this is actually Beyonce lyrics with the on sale in the middle, got my attention. I also, you know, Mara Hoffman’s fans are probably also Beyonce fans. It’s safe to assume. And the top of this mailing is really interesting because it looks like a glitch. There’s bathing suits, it’s out of season. So it’s kind of just this fun little play on the whole sort of, like record scratch moment of sort of breaking up the monotony of your inbox, and it got my attention immediately. So really fun tactic.

More fun tactics. This was super interesting. I found this in my studies this week, ContactMonkey did a survey, and the top five subjects lines and their study all had “Re:” in front of them. So like, you know, if I were to hit Reply All in my email. And I thought that was really interesting. And then I gasped, because I remembered this email that I myself received from Urban Outfitters last year, which is, there’s a lot going on here folks. I’ll be honest. That subject line though, is money in the bank. It got my attention. That’s a good sale. That GIF is doing something. Maybe not your style, but definitely works for this Urban Outfitters sort of lo-fi ironic teen market. But I loved that it said, “The $50 we owe you.” I mean, I was like, okay, who owes me money. It was awesome. So another tactic to play with, we’ve never tested that. It’d be a really fun one to sort of split test and see if you got more opens on it.

Oh, gosh. And speaking of testing, speaking of opens, this is actually a screenshot from my…it’s not even a full thing. This is what would fit on my screen. This is what inboxes look like on Black Friday, Cyber Monday. They are very crowded spaces. And so, it’s nice to sort of be mindful of, again, what you’re dealing with here. Some of the best ones in this mix are shorter subject lines. And on mobile devices, it really matters, because the average mobile screen can fit only around four to seven words. The character count, sometimes it’s around 28 to 32, depending on the device that they’re using. So the amount of words that you’re using in subject lines can be as important to test as what they actually say.

And here’s a really good one from REVOLVE. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in this mailing. You got a fun GIF. It looks different. Again, it doesn’t look like a holiday email. “Cyber time equals now,” it is super short, just literally like visually, it’s a short subject line. And then, I also love down at the bottom that they’re just allowing me to shop directly from this mailing, pick my size, sort of not, you know, have to dig around to get all the good deals. So cool stuff.

Here’s another fun one. So when you talk about being relevant, it’s not just necessarily about the holidays. It’s about the weather. It’s about what’s happening. Love this one, “It’s cold out, you need a new…” What do I need? It doesn’t matter, I need all kinds of stuff. I get to pick. Yeah. And so, this is again, a great, great mobile-friendly email. If this gets skinnier, all those pictures just neatly stacked on top of each other. That text is nice and easy to read. And it’s just easy. It’s kind of like pressing big buttons of like I need boots, button. I need shoes, button. And that subject line was just super clickbaity and fun. I’m gonna let Rachel talk about this next example, because this one is from her inbox today.

Rachel: Straight from my inbox this morning. Yeah, so not, again, not necessarily a holiday email, but a seasonal email, which for some people on the line I know not necessarily in retail, like this may be kind of more where your season is working for you. But this came from Madewell, so another example from them. And it’s a sale on sweaters and cold weather clothes, but we’re in Nashville and it has been unseasonably, unseasonably hot.

Emma: Loving it.

Rachel: Like it’s been in the ‘80s, honestly, all week, which has just been confusing for everyone. So the fact that they had the subject line, because it’ll eventually get cold was an extremely personalized message for me and folks around here who received this email. So I’m guessing that this campaign was ready to go out, and was going out all over the country. But they looked at the weather and realized that it’s not cold everywhere, because you’ll notice in the copy, “25% Off Wear-Now Styles.” This isn’t a wear-now style for me. So they tweak the subject line for people here to just say, we see you and we know that it’s not cold yet, but I bet you wish it was. And truthfully like, I’ve gotten a few emails lately that we’re shopping for clothes that were sweaters and I honestly have felt a little sad. I was like, “I wanna wear a flannel. Like, it’s just not time.”

Michael: Wishful thinking.

Rachel: Yeah. So this exactly spoke to that. And I just thought it was a really smart example and worth sharing.

Jamie: Exactly. And to Rachel’s point too, not everyone has control of changing the design of the email. This is hard coded. This might have even been planned and set up to send out today at a certain time. And this is something that the marketer clearly could control, and it is super powerful. So love it.

So, you know, as we talked about sort of the type of content, how relevancy is important, a question that we all get, I’m sure here in this room, constantly. I know we always get on webinars is, “When do I send these emails?” So it’s not just what do I send? But what time should I send them? How often should I send them? Obviously, the examples we just looked at were about time of year that you send them or even, you know, making sure that it may be…there may be a blizzard tomorrow in Nashville, that email that we got today about it not being cold, may not be relevant tomorrow. So the timing can be everything. So let’s look at some examples that sort of encompass that.

First and foremost, though, some data hot off the press, peak times for online holiday shopping. In 2015, we’re between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., which makes total sense. I know that I, other than maybe Cyber Monday, I don’t have time to sit during the day and buy things. But when I get off work, it’s almost a chore. You’ve got the list, you’re sitting there. So 9:00 and 10:00, that makes total sense.

The reason that I point this out is because that can also help, this data can help inform how you test when you wanna send emails. I think it’s important to look at, and I’m sure you guys would agree, when did you send last year, when were your… you know, what does your data say over the peak times that people actually look like they open the email. That’s something, if you haven’t looked at it yet, I think is important. If you don’t have that data, or you’re not sure how to get it, looking at, you know, “Maybe we should send during 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., or maybe we shouldn’t.“Or maybe we should test, maybe… The assumption is, everyone has this data now, and they’re all going to send it 10:00 p.m. So playing around with the time of day when you send it can be a really powerful tool in your arsenal year round, but especially during the holidays.

So talking about content relevancy. This an example that I received from Williams-Sonoma on October 17th. I like to point out the date. I fell for it. I love gravy, apparently. So I clicked on in a previous mailing this gravy base, and I got this awesome email from Williams-Sonoma. And it’s doing a lot of things really, really well. Right off the bat, they know that I haven’t purchased from them, honestly, maybe ever, via email. I am on tons of lists, because I do things like this all the time. So but they got me, I clicked and I gotta, immediately get a thing that says, “We’ve missed you.”

So they have data. This is called a reengagement campaign. This is something that I know Emma and her team, and Rachel and your team work with people all the time to implement. It’s an amazing way to circle back and use data that you have on hand that’s super easy to re-engage with people that aren’t active. And they took it a step further, they thanked me. And then they dynamically inserted an image of a thing that I’d already clicked, which is also something you can do in Emma. And it’s just a really powerful mailing, super easy subject line, way to go, Williams-Sonoma. Oh, wait, this is this week, some of them were twice a day. This is not all of the ones that I received about this gravy base.

And so, what I point out here, again, I like to, you know, book end it with praise, this is a great tactic. It starts to lose some of its luster when I get it every single day. You don’t miss me that much. There’s absolutely no way that you miss me that much. And also, at a certain point, now, I’m like, I think I hate this relish. I don’t want this product, you know. I know what you’re doing. And so, it’s almost at a point where the saturation and sending something too much can…now, I’m like keenly aware that they’re dynamically sending me content. It feels a little bit, I don’t even know, trite maybe. It doesn’t feel like it’s about me as much as it’s just something that they set up and forgot and haven’t really been monitoring. So maybe I should buy this gravy base and let’s see what happens…

Michael: Let’s see what happens.

Jamie:…as an experiment. I’m willing to take that. But all that to say is that, you know, the frequency during this time, everyone’s gonna be sending more and more and more, and it’s really important to think about, if you are gonna ramp it up and you’re gonna send more, mix it up a little bit.

Here’s a great example of that, Pottery Barn. I actually think they might be in the same family, retail family. Yeah, clearly they’re talking to each other. Loved to point it out, email on the left, awesome email, reengagement email, they’re sending me chinchilla, monogrammed robes. I’m in that vertical. It’s a video actually, which is pretty cool. Video in email, again, can also increase…just like GIFs, increase clickthroughs by a giant margin, great mobile-friendly email. Obviously, seasonal, awesome, you know, dynamic code for me. What’s on the right here, this is how much they’ve emailed me since the 21st to yesterday. I took this screenshot yesterday afternoon.

Michael: That’s amazing.

Jamie: That’s a lot of email, Pottery Barn. And if you look at that, what’s happening, too, is that and again, I like this brand. I think once I opened this email, I know that this is a strong email marketing, but because they’re sending so frequently both kids and Pottery Barn proper adult, it’s losing a little bit of its luster. Every other day I get, “Hurry, hurry, you’re gonna miss this sale.” That’s not true. They’re the brand the cried sale, you know. Two days later, I get a 50% off when will if I wait an hour, I’m gonna get 70% off one. So being mindful of that if you are gonna have a time box sale, if you are gonna have a call to action that is a little bit more, you know, sensitive that you’re not just sending it to me every minute of the day. Some days I got like seven emails from them.

So, what we’re gonna look at next though are some tactics aside just not sending as often, because you know what, maybe that’s in your plans, maybe you’re in a position in your marketing company to say that you don’t wanna send that often. Well, there’s some stuff you can do strategically to combat some of this inbox fatigue that you’re seeing here.

Oh, wait, sorry. One more example, Pottery Barn, I like to again, give them a compliment. This is a really, really cool email that I received last week. There’s a holiday, Hindu festival of lights called Diwali. They’re doing a special Diwali product line. And I think it’s just a really cool reminder yet again, that there are lots of different things going on the season. This works for their audience. This is relevant, clearly, to a segment in their audience. And these are just beautiful products, and this is a gorgeous email. And it stood out to me and I actually clicked on it, because it wasn’t about a sale. And it wasn’t about monogrammed robes, and they miss me. So they do some things really, really well.

But again, to combat that fatigue, there are some cool things that you can do. This is actually… found this on Twitter today. This is something that someone tweeted out, an email that they received, and it’s Caffe Nero, basically saying, “We’re gonna have these new flavors, they’re gonna launch on November 3rd. They’re fun for Christmas.” It’s this beautiful, I mean, the design of this is just gorgeous. But we see all the way down at the bottom, what we’ve maximized, they’re just giving me an option as the consumer, they’re giving Paul the option to say, “Remind me closer to Christmas.” This is a Christmas offering. I don’t wanna hear about this every single day. And so, they’re actually allowing the recipient to be a part of the conversation and to actually self-select the frequency and the topics that they’re going to be receiving, which is really, really cool.

Michael: That’s great.

Jamie: Another example of that. This brand, retail brand Lulus sends out, this is just a nice sort of seasonal email. But at the very, very bottom, they’re saying, “Hey, if you actually wanna get emails every day, that have these private sales, and early access, and all this value, get on that list.” Because it’s a separate list for us that we’re going to segment you out. And we want you to raise your hand, because we certainly don’t want to alienate you during this crazy busy month. And so, this is a really good tactic. And, again, people are human beings, and we want you know, don’t inundate us with that stuff, if we, you know, if you don’t have to. And so, Michael, I think we have one last example. This is actually a customer of ours that Michael worked with. So he’s gonna talk about it. And then we’re going to take your questions.

Michael: Yeah, this is a great example, too, of the kind of the same concept as the previous one, but just maybe a different approach. And it’s kind of touching on that same concept of maybe creating a conversation with your audience rather than that Pottery Barn, where we’re pointing out, it’s like, it’s almost like, you know, just pushing out excessively, perhaps.

Whereas, you know, Canyon Ranch, they came on board, they wanted to do this big Cyber Monday push, but they also had this concept, they wanted to carve out people that didn’t want to necessarily participate. They wanted to give them that option. They wanted to listen to what their audience had to say back to them. So we really liked that idea. We worked, you know, in conjunction with Emma and her Professional Services team to create a really compelling, you know, content along with a cadence and just kind of come up with this really great opt-out button and say, you know, “You’re gonna be getting a ton of emails, we understand, we know where we sit in this space.”

Canyon Ranch is really high-end spa and resort. So obviously, they wanna promote their products. But at the same time, you know, they’re coming at it from a different angle, like, “We understand what this season is all about. And we’re here to help you relax. So if you don’t want to hear from us here, click here.” And gave them that option.

Jamie: So smart.

Michael: Yeah, it’s really, really cool, and it was really effective. They really did not see that much drop off. It was, like, just highlighting this particular season. So people, you know, we’re still part of their list, you know, come the new year, and so on and so forth. So, it was just a great way to kind of, you know, share that honesty with people. Your audience knows they’re getting sold to, when you can kind of talk to them on that level, they will be highly engaged, you know, in the future, moving forward.

Emma: I think that’s so important to not have that like, tunnel vision during the holidays, because Cyber Monday and Black Friday is so important. But that’s like a lot of one-time purchases and losing people off your list for the entire rest of the year or years, whatever that may be, that’s brand loyalty, and that’s really what the focus should be on. So I think that giving options and being transparent about what people are gonna receive, and letting them know that, you know, we want to send you these great deals, but more importantly, we want you to stick around and want you to stay connected. So I love that they did this.

Michael: Yeah, I think it’s great to always…I always tell customers that I speak to, to always keep like, you know, you always have to keep in mind your own media consumption, your own inbox in this, you know. We’re consumers, we’re also retailers, marketers, you know, we have to be very conscious of that. That send that we wanna push out, but also, you know, our own inboxes, and we know what we get, we know what the season is like. This is what your audience is going through. So it’s just always good to be conscious of that. And the more you can communicate that with folks, they appreciate that understanding.

Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. And I think something to point out too about this, is that this worked. This was last year, correct? And so, they actually didn’t lose any subscribers or not a significant amount, because they did this option, which is really, really cool.

Emma: Email promotion was really successful.

Rachel: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Jamie: Wasn’t it?

Michael: It was extremely successful.

Emma: Like a few million dollars, yeah.

Jamie: Off of one email.

Michael: Off of one email. It was a multi-million dollar email.

Jamie: Guys, money in the bank is what you’re looking.

Emma: It’s exciting.

Jamie: Yeah, it is exciting.

Michael: It works.

Jamie: It does. It turns out email works. Very cool. So we got some good questions. If you thought of anything, hopefully that spurred some fun ideas. Even if you don’t have questions, even if you just wanna let us know kind of what your plans are. Like, what specifically, if you actually have something that you’re cooking up, that you’re proud of? Or that your marketing team has thought of, share it with us, we’d love to discuss it on the call, too. So type them in that chat modal and we’ll chat through it. But we did get some good questions. And I’m gonna ask this one, hop right in. And I think it’s really important to note again, and I think we touched on a little bit, but it’s not just about retailers. Everyone is, we’re all consumers and we’re all working for different brands and different things.

So Stacy wants to know, it’s a question for the group. “I know, this session may focus primarily on retail, but would love some advice on content, subject lines, ideas for nonprofit holiday giving?” And I think, you know, it’s a different form of commerce, you know, but it’s still they’re raising money. So what do you guys think about that?

Michael: Well, I think it’s a great point. I was kind of thinking about this earlier, too. But to kind of just be conscious about where you fit in the space, you know, obviously, you know, as a nonprofit, you’re going to be asking for giving, Giving Tuesday comes up, and you’re going to want to tap into the feeling that people have during the holiday season that, you know, at times, it does get a little excessive, we all kind of feel that and we do will reach out to nonprofits during that time. So it’s nice to tap into that energy. But maybe you do not want to do that on a Black Friday. You know, it’s very good to be conscious of the calendar that retailers are sending on, whether it’s because you want to send on those days, or if you don’t want to send those days, because maybe your message fits in between, if you want.

Jamie: Yeah, well, as far as just design goes, you know, also that would be probably a good time to test maybe mixing some stuff up as far as you know. I’m curious if have you guys chatted with anyone about that like adding Donate buttons or…?

Rachel: I think it’s a time of year when people are just expecting something different in their inboxes at this point. Just like we talked about other parts of the year, people expect things on their birthdays. When it comes to the holiday season, people expect to see messaging that somewhat themed to that. So it gives us an opportunity as marketers to change things up a bit and test things. And I think that can go across all different types of industries or all different types of organizations.

So for nonprofits as well, like theming you’re giving makes sense. You may have plenty of people who, you know, give donations in the name of someone else’s a holiday gift, and that’s a beautiful idea. And so, if that’s something that traditionally works for you guys, or something that you’re pushing, I think trying a different design, kind of switching up the look of that and theming it towards the holidays, even if you’re not necessarily selling for the holidays, I think makes perfect sense. And it’s something that it’s gonna…people are gonna look for, and kind of expect. It may even seem…I’m not saying that every email has to have snowflakes on it, but at the same time, you do wanna stay relevant, right, to what people and the theme of what people are looking into.

Jamie: I agree. Go ahead.

Michael: I wanted to just touch on that, too, because I think it brings up a good point to Emma’s tunnel vision you may have and what Rachel saying about testing. Like, I know that you were asking maybe about, you know, specific subject line, content ideas and stuff like this. I mean, I think we gave some good examples here. And there’s, obviously, no silver bullet that everybody…that we can tell you, it’s going to solve your problems. But kind of approaching the season with multiple goals and kind of things that you want to extract from the season. Obviously, it’s higher donations, more sales, increase revenue, all those good things, but it’s also good to broaden the perspective and go into the season knowing what you want to test. So if you wanna test certain subject lines, you know, you want to be able to use that time to inform next year’s strategy. So, you know, don’t lose sight of that in September, October now, think about, you know, your revenue goals, but also think about the things that you want to test in your marketing campaigns. And so, you can measure those results come January, February.

Rachel: I love that.

Jamie: Baker, you’re killing it, man. See, he was a little nervous. This is his first webinar.

Michael: I wasn’t.

Jamie: He’s confident. All right, so we’ve got, Jill has a question, I actually think we kind of just touched on this. But maybe if you guys could elaborate, “Should we welcome new subscribers during this time? Should we do things differently? Should we still send normal quote unquote, “emails” to other segments, too?” So what are your thoughts on you know, it is the holiday season, to Rachel’s point, not every email needs a snowflake, but should you…what are your thoughts on sort of mixing holiday messaging with maybe “normal emails” or what you normally do, you know.

Emma: My first thought is just again, to, you know, think about the larger picture. And if you have information that you typically send out, that people expect and look forward to, you know, you might be doing them a disservice by just completely cutting that out. And I just love the idea of asking people, like, if we want to send out some coupons, and some discounts and stuff like that, you know, click here and sign up for that. So I would definitely recommend still sending out the regular emails that you’re sending. Again, it’s kind of hard to say those blanket statements, because when you talk to someone you’re like, “Okay, well, that maybe wouldn’t work for you.” But thinking about the cadence, too, so cadence differ than frequency, in that frequency would be just, how many times are you sending them. Cadence would be, who’s getting the emails, what type of content are they receiving, when was the last time they received the email. So looking at the bigger picture, but I do think that, you know, keeping customers loyal to your brand. And if you’re sending out important information, there’s no sense in stopping that.

Michael: And there’s also ways like, I mean, that you can build maybe your cadence around some of those things. Like Emma how you help a lot of our customers maybe create segments or whatever, based on the frequency of which they receive emails. So maybe you want to suppress at a certain time and let things flow out, but you don’t wanna handle people with seven emails in a day like Jamie got.

Jamie: No.

Michael: It’s a great way on a use… you know, on a case-by-case basis instead making a blanket statement, like you guys are great at helping customers figure that out.

Emma: Especially with a welcome email, you know, that’s extremely important to send in the most open and most clicked email you’re ever gonna send. So there are ways, you know, in Emma that you can suppress people who just signed up for your emails in the past few days, and then send to them… I’m just like, totally lost my train of thought. [inaudible 00:38:10] But suppress the people that just signed up for your list so that they’re not getting a welcome email. And, you know, a Buy This Right Now email in the same day, which makes it…

Jamie: That’s a great point.

Emma: It’s so easy to do that. It’s amazing. You know, how many clients we tell that to who are adopting that. So definitely be on the lookout for that and how that would work with your strategy.

Jamie: And I think that sort of ties into a question…another question we got. So what are your thoughts on automating holiday messages during the holiday season? It seems so strategic that, you know, obviously, we talked a lot and preached a lot about segmenting, automating, obviously, something like a birthday email or welcome note, or things like that. Those are automated messages that would immediately deploy based on an action, but when it comes to holiday email, you know, what are your thoughts on…okay, let’s say it’s Black Friday, should things just automatically be pre-scheduled and going out? I feel like we saw some of that with the Madewell email. There is a little bit of…

Rachel: There’s been some planning ahead, which is great. And a GIF when you can really do it. And I think thinking about automation is fantastic. But I think during this time, when you probably have an entire series that you’re gonna build out around Cyber Monday, entire series you’re gonna build out around Black Friday. And if you’re gonna be using automation for that, I think that’s great. And I think that’s a really great time to think about branching based off of behavior.

So with Emma’s platform, when you have an automated series, you can decide what goes out to people depending on what action they took with the previous email. So that allows you to maybe send your second automated email, a different one, maybe to people who didn’t open the previous one. So you can kind of hammer home the original message if you need to, or nurture people more towards a purchase. And also that allows you to automate emails and kind of let people know if they engage with that, that they’re going to receive something else from you, maybe a surprise or a GIF, you know, like, stick with us on this series. You can get really creative with that.

Setting it and forgetting is never a good thing. If you are gonna set up a whole bunch of scheduled emails ahead of time, I think that’s fantastic. But it’s also… take a look at it again, before it’s time to go out for things like that Madewell example that we keep talking about to make sure that it’s still relevant because things change so often. You never wanna end up in a snafu where something happens, you know, and an email goes out. And for whatever reason, it’s no longer relevant or appropriate. So scheduling is great, automation is great, But it doesn’t mean that you don’t pay attention, because it can happen. It really can. Yeah.

Emma: I think link click automation would be really effective during this time, just because the people that you wanna engage with the most are the people who are engaging with your emails. That’s why if you have an active contacts, you’re gonna send to them on a lesser frequency, they’re already telling you that like what you’re doing, or all these emails is not working for me. So continuing to pepper them is gonna be ineffective. But I think what would be extremely effective on the flip side would be if people are engaging with your content, to send them automated emails based on them clicking on certain things, because they’re saying, like, we’re in this with you, like, we wanna get these deals, we wanna purchase from you. So those are the people that you can continue to send to more frequently.

Rachel: And just to clarify, too, so link click automation, just in case anyone out there is not aware, that is automation based on I receive an email, I click a certain picture or link in that email, and then I receive an immediate message that corresponds to that. And typically, it would be something like gravy base, which is exactly…that was link click automation, for sure.

Michael: Yeah, I think that it’s, and this is kind of just a lateral point to what everybody’s saying, but I think it’s a good thing to kind of separate that automation. A lot of times people look at automation, they think of like a calendar and a setting and forgetting, like Rachel’s talking about, and everybody is too, but I think it’s also important to denote the triggered emails. They’re being triggered by an action.

Jamie: An action.

Michael: And those certainly, you do not wanna disrupt those because that’s how you get deeper targeting. You’re actually…you can supply content based on that, that triggered event, whatever it might be. So yes, there’s kind of this date-based automation, we’re coming up to this calendar or the seasonal thing that’s coming, maybe, you know, you don’t wanna get to set it and forget it in that regard, but you do want to set your triggers so that as people go into certain flows, and along their customer journeys, especially if you’re doing any tracking, web tracking, you know, through the event API or anything and you’re doing browse abandonment or anything, you do not want to disrupt those triggered events. So, kind of good to think about on those two buckets.

Jamie: I will say a funny anecdote, though. I almost put it in this presentation. Amazon, and I had this stat in a previous webinar, but it’s significant amount of their revenue is based on product recommendations, people clicking things and they’ve had that algorithm and have that down for a really long time. But Halloween just happened. I bought some stuff on Amazon, it actually didn’t come in time. And so, my product recommendation emails that I’m receiving are hilarious. It’s the first week in November, and they have sent me five emails about tri corner colonial men’s hats, because I helped someone….

Michael: Valuable throughout the year.

Jamie: Right. I helped the man dressed like George Washington, and now I’m still receiving emails about it. So being mindful, you know, maybe turn off that wreath email after Christmas.

Rachel: That’s a really good point. Yeah.

Michael: Very good point.

Jamie: Yes. So I wanna move on to another question. That’s great that we could talk…guys, we could talk about this all day. Jen has a question, kind of bring it back and it’s about frequency as well, sort of, what is that “sweet spot” for email frequency for, let’s say, an entire Black Friday campaign? How many…and I bring this up because I know we just touched on that quite a bit, but what are your thoughts on the emails leading up to the event and the days prior? How many, on the actual day, do you think would be appropriate? How much would you feel is too much? And I feel like again, we always say there’s no silver bullet. You know, every industry is different. But Rachel, actually, you brought up, I think, before we started sort of how Black Friday doesn’t start on Friday anymore?

Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I was talking about my own family on Thanksgiving, how after…we usually do like a late lunch, and then people start watching football. And, you know, you’ve been talking and hanging out for a while, and you’re all still together. But you maybe are starting to look at sales and planning your day, the next day for Black Friday, people are gonna be on their phones, people are gonna be in their inboxes, especially at the end of that day. You have an opportunity, I think, to tease out what’s gonna be happening. And I mean, I’ve already seen…I got an email, I think, yesterday, yeah, yesterday, from Home Depot that said, “Black Friday Starts Now.” And I was like…

Jamie: Does it?

Rachel: I mean, does it? But it was like they’ve started a sale. And they were already starting to tease that out. And I think personally, I thought…

Jamie: You need some rubber.

Rachel: I mean, I’m renovating my kitchen right now. So I was like, “Oh, this is relevant to me.” But otherwise, I was like, “Okay, thanks.” But so, you do have an opportunity, I think, ahead of time to start mentioning it and hinting at it. But I personally think and you guys let me know what you think about this, I think with Cyber Monday, and with the sales that are time box in a way, that the anticipation of that is something that you can lead up to, maybe hinting at what exactly it’s going to be going on, so that you can really…people are gonna be looking for that big splash on Black Friday, you’re on Cyber Monday as well. But I don’t think there’s any harm in teasing up to it. I don’t think there’s any harm in even starting your sale a little bit early, or, you know, sending that email out a little bit early, because people are gonna be making plans before they actually go out into the fray, as it were. And some people will be shopping online on Black Friday, because they don’t want to go out into the world, so me.

Jamie: Me.

Michael: Yeah, when I think that email is a great, I mean, obviously, we’re biased here, but email is a great way to promote those types of things. Anyway, people can engage with it when they want to engage with it. You know, people at your family’s home, Rachel, are sitting around, some people wanna watch football, other people scrolling through their phones, kinda wanna get a jump on what’s gonna happen the next day. Like it’s, you know, given them information that they want to give to.

Jamie: And I think I’ll go back to this one. It sort of reminds me this one saying, “Remind me closer to Christmas.” But it could be cool to send…

Michael: That’s a good idea.

Jamie:…something this week saying, “Remind me closer to Black Friday,” that you’re gonna have this cool sales. So that way, you don’t have to give away the farm or the lumber or the kitchenette or whatever it is up front. But you can build excitement, which is exactly what this is doing. They’re basically making this an invitation to a sale in two months, like that’s crazy. I think it’s syrups that go in a coffee. Like they’re creating so much excitement for that, which is not something that I would have ever even thought.

Rachel: I’m sure some people were excited about it.

Jamie: That’s true.

Rachel: And we got an email yesterday from an online store that I shop at a lot. And they…it was a holiday themed email, and it said, “Too soon?” And I thought that was fantastic. Because it was like, they know that people are gonna groan when things start, you know, and you hear that more maybe in September than you would in November. But it was the first email I got that was holiday themed, they were acknowledging that this was starting, and I thought it was. It made me look forward to it as opposed to being annoyed by it. So again, it’s just a really excellent opportunity to try new stuff. And to be a little bit different in your approach.

Jamie: I think that’s true. I like this one from Xavier. “I noticed that there weren’t that many general holiday cards or greetings in the presentation. Do people still do those? We actually got a couple people that ask a variation of that. Like, do people still send holiday-specific cards via email? What do you feel?

Emma: Yeah. I mean, from our experience, and when we worked with tons of clients who are interested in that, and special invitations and things like that, that we can customize. So we do have our whole design team that can help with, you know, an animated GIF to put in your email if you wanna add that little flair, custom graphics to full campaigns that are designed top to bottom. We can definitely help with that, and create something that’s, you know, on brand, but still holiday themed in whatever way is gonna, you know, promote the message the best.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely.

Rachel: Holiday cards or holiday greetings, like specifically, like, from our business to yours. Like, that’s actually like, not necessarily a sale, but like promoting that. I think those can be fantastic. But I would also say, if it’s gonna be sent via email, do something an email that you can’t just do on a paper card, right? Use that animation. Like use that ability to interact, to engage, to actually jump to your website, because I think that’s a place sometimes where I see people miss the mark, where they’re sending just a general holiday greeting to their customers, but aren’t actually taking full advantage of the inbox as the actual space that they’re sending it. So that would be my advice there.

Jamie: I think that’s really great. And then actually, we probably have time for two more questions, which is cool. So actually, Hannah wanted to know, “Are there any options for interactive or animated holiday greetings?”

Michael: There you go.

Jamie; So I mean, I think absolutely. And that’s something… I think Hannah might be a customer, so, I mean, absolutely, Hannah, reach out to us, we can either build it for you at least show you guys how to implement something that is more interactive and fun. Because there’s so much…

Emma: And that’s something, too, I just have to plug this. Even if you already have a design template that you already use, our design team can do one-off graphics. And they can really make an email look completely different, look so much more professional, and stand out. All the examples that we were looking throughout, I was just saying like, those all came from professional designers. And a lot of times we work with may not have that option. And so, that is available for you if you wanna invest a little bit in an email, and just get a few graphics made that are gonna help your email really stand out in the inbox. That’s definitely something we’d love to chat with you about and see what that would look like.

Michael: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea. I’m kind of a little traditionalist, too. I mean, I think just saying a message. I mean, holidays are traditional, and just wishing somebody a good time and their family and stuff, it’s just a very nice message. I think Rachel’s point of making it unique to an email is an opportunity, you know, to get creative with it and to do a special design. It’s not a large investment, it’s probably less than buying a bunch of cards and sending it out.

Emma: Yeah, totally.

Michael: You know, you could have a really cool design that’s pretty snappy. It’s not trying to sell anything. As people move away from that, you’re going to differentiate yourself by actually getting back to it. So, I think it’s a good idea.

Jamie: I agree. And you know, to that point too you’re seeing brands like last year and they’re doing it again this year like REI, opting out as a brand from participating in Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Rachel: Black Friday, I think, yeah.

Jamie: But I guess, Black Friday. And so, their content that they’re sending now is about you know, how you should spend time with your family, you shouldn’t be shopping at six o’clock in the morning, you should be with your family on Thanksgiving, all that kind of stuff. So I think it’s really interesting, and I think this is kind of a goes back to you when we mentioned the time of day to send as we sort of change and grow with the industry as everyone flocks to sending it one time a day or everyone flocks to sending one day of the year, you’re going to have to change from year-to-year on your strategy. What works one year may not work the next just based on everybody doing it. This space is crowded, so it’s good to just constantly be testing and pay attention.

Emma: I love that REI saying they opted out of that, because in my mind I’m like, “No, they totally opted in.” Like that was the biggest marketing push.

Jamie: It’s so good.

Emma: But I think like they’re probably testing that. Like, they’re probably saying, like, what impact does this have on us? And it’s just so important to be willing to try different things. It’s just email at the end of the day, you know, and that’s just something that people just have to get through their minds. Like, you just have to test or you’ll honestly never know, because what you think isn’t what always is right.

Jamie: I’d be so curious to see how their sales spiked on that Saturday. It’s probably Black Saturday for REI, pretty cool. And they’re a great brand.

So let’s see here. I think we probably have time for, like I said, two more. I think you guys are really concise, which is just not my strength. Oh, Garrett has a question. I think he means specifically about Emma, but just generally, “Are you able to set up your email so that new prospects see a series before seeing the everyday emails?”

Emma: That goes to that like suppression that we were talking about. So if you set up an automated welcome series that went on for say, it went on for two weeks. Every time you go to send your other marketing emails, you would just suppress a segment of your contacts that signed up in the past two weeks, so that you know that if anyone signed up, they’re not gonna start receiving these emails, so after they’ve already gone through the whole series.

Jamie: Yeah, that’s great. And so, Carrie has asked lots of great questions. I think we probably answered some of them. So I wanna single out one, she, Carrie, promotes beach vacations and cruises. She says, “How can I promote those integrated ideas?” Oh, just beautiful pictures.

Emma: I must say, I think that promotes itself. Like just the wording of that, I’m like, “I need to know.”

Jamie: Yeah, I wanna go. Carrie sell us…I need a vacation.

Rachel: Yeah, we saw an example in the presentration about the…

Jamie: Jetsetter.

Rachel:…the Jetsetter one. And if you think about people that are looking at things like just after the holidays, around the holidays, they’re not necessarily buying a trip as a gift unless they’re the nicest person ever. But they’re cold, and there may be a little stressed.

Michael: Cranky.

Rachel: And they’re thinking about a break from things. And so, you’ve got an excellent opportunity to talk about, you know, that message. And I think that you’ve definitely got some angles that you can make a splash with that.

Jamie: Absolutely.

Emma: Even, too, like getting in like before you blow your budget on all the trinkets, like listen up people, here’s what you can get for, you know, a weekend, Hawaii or wherever.

Michael: A little treat yourself for the holidays.

Jamie: I think that’s a great point that Emma just made. I mean, I think that if you were to start promoting that now, not after everyone spend all their money, then it kind of helps me squared away little extra for myself. Like, maybe I won’t buy.

Emma: Mom and dad, no gifts this year.

Jamie: Hey, guys, we’re not doing gifts.

Emma: We’re not doing gifts.

Jamie: And then, I’m in Tahiti. So I hope that was helpful. But yeah, I think, again, that, once you see the recording , too, that jetsetter examples are really good blend of just it doesn’t need to have Holly and you know, snowflakes on it. It’s really the timing of that. And they, again, they brilliantly sent that on Cyber Monday night being like, “You’re exhausted, wouldn’t it feel awesome if you laid in this big fluffy bed that we’re showing you.” So I think that’s a really cool way to engage people.

Also, she said, she’s in the mountains. So the Madewell, email would have worked for her, because she actually is cold. So you haven’t even better, if you guys are cold, you can sell some beach vacays. I believe in you. We can help. So I think this will wrap us up. You guys have been awesome. Thank you, guys, in the room with me.

Michael: Thank you

Rachel: Absolutely, so much fun.

Emma: Thank you, Jamie.

Michael: We appreciate you.

Jamie: And again, we will send the recording out. We will also send some more resources. I think if you have any specific questions about really nitty-gritty planning, and you’re not currently a customer, you can actually just reach out to Michael. He can tell you what you need to know He’ll hook you up.

Michael: Definitely, happy to.

Jamie: Yeah, and then, if you are a customer, you can email or if it’s about, you know, a tech question, that kind of thing. And again, we’ll follow up with you, too, with some fun resources and ideas to hopefully set you up for success. And yeah, we’ll see you later.

Michael: Thank you for your time.

Emma: Bye. Thanks.

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