The holiday season can be tricky. Some consumers don't like being pressed to shop too early, and others like to plan ahead. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, now is better than "too late" to start getting your holiday marketing into full its promotional mode.
Holiday Friendly Subject Lines
More than 28 percent of all emails in the U.S. are sent during the holiday season. This means consumers are going to hear from every company they have ever done business with, and yours needs to stand out as well as get your message across successfully. Choose your subject line carefully, and try to lean towards more of a personal greeting rather than a sales pitch approach. Email recipients make the decision to report emails as Spam or simply delete the email based solely on the subject lines. “A Happy Holidays Message from YourBusinessNameHere” stands a much better chance of delivery than “Great Deals and Discounts through December!”.
When it comes to email, it is easy to ignore the time when you’re sending it to your subscribers. One would think that the recipient will be getting to their in box sooner or later, and the time of delivery is irrelevant. Statistics will indicate that is not the case. While consumer behavior is not uniform across all Internet users, prominent data mining web sites such as Google have gathered enough statistics to paint a picture that provides insight and a road map to a better delivery strategy. For the best insight, when using an email service you can easily look into your own statistics and get clear focus on the times your email campaigns have provided the best results.
Take 10PM to 6AM for example. Recipients may have received the email, however the message itself tends to be ineffective. Perhaps it is getting late and users are finishing up their day, or they’re opening the email at 5AM just barely getting the morning coffee flowing into their system. Your message has been received, but the timing more than likely didn’t catch the recipient in any consumer type of capacity.
6AM to 10AM proves to be the second most active time to make an impact, as users are opening the morning emails and starting their day. Despite the fact that your message is likely floating around with important messages that require the recipient’s immediate attention, most consumers welcome the small distraction from being in work mode. While they may not be in a position to put their morning duties on hold and visit your web site to make a purchase, you have their attention and a good chance at having them follow up when time allows. On a side note, this is a major reason to include actions in your email campaigns such as a quick and easy way to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. Under time constraints the recipient may choose to click on a call to action that they can refer to at a better time.
From 10AM to 3PM people are busy working, taking their lunch breaks and using any free time to monitor news and check in on social media. During this time period email tends to be more of a task than something they’re paying close attention to on a consumer level. If you’re operating a taco truck, this might be a prime time to reach out to your audience. Other products and services not so much.
3PM to 5PM is the last stretch of the workday for most people. Their mind is on work, what they’re doing after work, how to get out of work early or finding another job. Ok maybe not all of that, but this busy time frame of the afternoon shows little opportunity for converting sales through an email campaign.
5PM to 7PM catches consumers in a better state of mind, and if they’re logging in to their email they’re wrapping up last minute business or getting into more personal time. During the holidays this time frame proved to be very effective in the number of opens and click throughs according to a number of online retailers.
7PM to 10PM catches consumers on their own time, and as a result they’re much more likely to take action on an email promotion. Reports from almost every area of online marketing from big retail chains to small businesses indicate this is the best time of day for maximum exposure. You can refer to statistics across multiple areas of focus and find that Internet users are very active during this time period. From Tweeting during their favorite television shows to sharing recipes with friends after dinner, online interactions have become regular evening activities for millions of people around the world.
Don't Bury Your Key Messages
One of the most common mistakes email marketers make is to send out an email campaign that focuses on a gazillion different products and/or services. Bear in mind your recipients have a very short attention span and sending them an entire catalog will just cause them to close or delete your email faster. It is important to fight the desire to promote every product you have and pick just a few select or featured items to showcase, then provide a link to view more products. Grabbing your contacts' attention on a few specific products with a call to action will result in a much better response rate.
We’re all creative practically every day in this industry, and the emails we send during the holidays should show off our talents beyond the barriers of apparel decoration. Holiday emails give you the opportunity to create and customize your own greeting cards, show off your best work and make your emails stand above the rest in your recipients in box.
Provide an Incentive
Doubleclick.com reports that a discount is often the most compelling factor leading to an immediate purchase after opening an email, so try to find value added services like free shipping to spice up your offers. Coupons are also a great way to encourage your recipients to not only take advantage of your offers, but share them with friends and family.
Social Friendly Content
In addition to including all of your business information and links to your web sites, include all of your social media links (Facebook, Twitter etc). Certainly throughout the holiday season you are keeping those accounts active with your promotions, and should your email recipient decide to follow you elsewhere and shop at a later date, you’ve provided them with a one click effort to do so.