Digital MarketingEmail Marketing4 tips for making the most of your holiday email marketing strategy

4 tips for making the most of your holiday email marketing strategy

SparkPost’s April Mullen, Director of Brand and Content Marketing, takes a look at four steps brands can take to tackle the holiday season head-on through email marketing.

30-second summary:

Tips for ways brands can keep audiences engaged this holiday season and transacting include:

  • Keeping messaging personal(ized)
  • Making content interactive
  • Having a “Spam Plan”
  • Reflecting on last year

As you know, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Unconventional this year, 2020 is defined by a bigger emphasis on ecommerce and digital marketing, in addition to the season being longer than usual (with many saying Amazon Prime Day on October 13th was the ‘kick off’).

Considering the factors of leaning heavily on digital shopping and more budget-conscious consumers, brands are looking closely at tactics and customer approaches that will be effective and beneficial to both brand and consumer.

SparkPost, one of the leading email delivery and analytics platform, took a look at email marketing analytics (the company’s analytics cover over 90% of the world’s email inbox footprint) to glean important tips for brands this holiday season.

Here are four tips to take to tighten your email marketing strategy:

Keep it personal(ized)

Generic marketing emails will fail. Retailers, especially those who have been leaning on digital marketing more in 2020, would look closely at their data to develop personalized content for their audiences.

Basing information and offers on known interests and products are critical to holiday season success. Coupled with can’t-resist deals, retailers can more successfully turn casual browsers into buyers, especially when 36% of shoppers said retailers need to do more to offer more personalized experiences.

But don’t make the mistake of delivering hyper-personalized outreach only during the holidays. Moving forward, uniquely tailored experiences will be expected throughout the year, as shopping increasingly moves away from in-store and to online. The holiday season will deliver a treasure trove of personalization data that brands should leverage year-round.

Make it interactive

Not only will generic email marketing not work, neither will boring email marketing. Consumers are craving dynamic and engaging digital shopping experiences, but not everyone knows that remarkable impact can be achieved through email.

Since customers can’t see products with their eyes or touch them with their hands, they are looking for ways the digital experience can mirror IRL (in real life) shopping.

Email innovation has made this more possible. Solutions like Google-powered AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for email have propelled email marketing to the next level. AMP for Email gives senders the ability to enhance messages with interactive and data-driven features that have the potential to transform the way recipients interact with messages.

Have a “spam plan”

Speaking of the spam folder, it’s estimated 45% of all emails are spam, costing businesses $20.5 billion annually. This is a very big, obvious threat to retailers that are trying to ensure their holiday campaigns succeed.

Retailers need to be prepared and employ a spam plan that helps them stay out of the spam folder. Having a solid spam trap network provides organizations the ability to monitor and quickly assess which email domains are underperforming and identifying emails that are being flagged as spam, and why.

Avoid mailing to email subscribers who haven’t opened in 90-120 days or more. The new level of granular detail on deliverability tracking and diagnostics allows email senders to see which emails, by subject line, are landing in spam traps so email marketers can pivot quickly to remedy issues.

Monitoring spam performance regularly and staying nimble will help brands pivot when necessary and get the most reach with email marketing. For holiday especially, as campaigns gain frequency and pace, dedicating time to reviewing spam trap data is critical to keeping your email lists clean.

You can also implement new capabilities like BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification). BIMI is an authentication feature that allows recipients to know the messages they receive are legitimate by showing the brand’s logo right within the inbox; brands use BIMI to build consumer trust and better avoid the spam folder.

Look at what worked (and what didn’t) last year

Although most retailers are beyond the holiday planning stage, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stay nimble and make changes when/where necessary.

John Landsman, SparkPost’s research analytics manager, advises brands to “not only look at your own data, but to pay attention to what your competitors did last year that worked or didn’t work. That’s a good way to know you’re not wasting your time on ineffective tactics or strategies.”

Things to pay particular attention: subject lines that garnered better open and click through rates; creative; timing; segment activity. Take some time to scrub your segment lists and prioritize according to which one(s) did the most for your brand in years past. Look at data to uncover what works for whom and build campaigns using that as a foundation.

It’s clear consumers crave the personal attention they’d get with in-store shopping, only now they’re taking that expectation to digital marketing.  They want to know that the brand they’re spending their money with is listening to their interests and preferences, all the while preserving their experience and privacy as much as possible.

To maintain a strong customer relationship, brands need to be trustworthy, offer tangible value, and focus on delivering the type of messages people care about most.

For more actionable tips, Sparkpost developed this downloadable cheat sheet.

April Mullen is a proven digital marketing leader currently focusing on strategy and marketing for SparkPost. Bringing experience from over 13 years on the agency, martech and brand sides of relationship marketing, Mullen understands the complexities and challenges that face marketers in today’s competitive environment.

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