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3 Ways to Make Your E-mail Campaigns Holiday Ready

September 5, 2008

The Direct Marketing Association's Email Experience Council recently released an e-mail guide to the upcoming, all-important holiday season. The EEC tracked more than 3,300 e-mails from more than 100 major online retailers during last years' fourth quarter, and released daily reports on strategies, tactics and trends via its Retail Email Blog.

The report, entitled "The Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season," is based on that monitoring, and is designed to help retailers and other business-to-consumer companies better formulate their campaigns this year.

The following are some holiday e-mail tips from the report, which is available in the EEC's Whitepaper Room.

1. Start Christmas campaigns early. Ignoring the "Christmas in July" campaigns, last year's holiday e-mail season truly got started in mid-August, according to the report. The report also points out that e-mail campaigns didn't really get rolling along until the latter half of October with Halloween approaching. "On average, retailers began their holiday campaigns 58 days before Christmas -- on Oct. 28," the report states.

2. Send more e-mail. With consumers in a buying mood and actively looking for ideas, major online retailers ratchet up their e-mail volume significantly during the holiday season. In 2007, for instance, the most popular e-mail days came in the weeks before Christmas, including Cyber Monday and three of the four "Echo Mondays" -- the Mondays that follow Cyber Monday.

As for the types of e-mails to send, the report suggests sending those that remind consumers to take advantage of online or in-store deals, or that offer exclusive e-mail-only deals. The report also warned that dramatic frequency increases can cause list churn, increased spam complaints and higher ignore rates. As a result, marketers should be cognizant of these potential drawbacks to frequency increases and try to avoid squandering significant lifetime value in exchange for a short-term boost in sales, the report advises.

3. Stand out more. As they did last year, retailers will attempt to stand out with big deals and helpful advice and suggestions in their e-mail campaigns this season, the report predicts. They'll also add compelling subject lines and eye-catching graphics to their e-mail messages.

The report also suggests introducing a holiday-themed header or navigation bar this year, as well as using animated GIFs. Using animation in e-mail campaigns allows retailers to stand out among all the static e-mails and grab consumers' attention.


 

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