6 Best Practices for Holiday Email Campaign SuccessSeptember 2, 2010 By Melissa Campanelli
August may be the busiest month of the year for email marketers because it's usually when they begin planning their holiday email campaigns. How much should they increase their email volume? Which days should they send their holiday messages? How can they stand out in their customers’ inboxes?
To help email marketers with these decisions, San Bruno, Calif.-based email marketing agency Responsys recently published its Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2010, which tracked 5,250 emails from 100 top online retailers during the fourth quarter of 2009 via the Retail Email Blog.
The following are six best practices outlined in the report, designed to help retailers and other B-to-C email marketers have a successful holiday season this year:
1. Review last year's holiday campaigns. In preparing for the holiday email season to come, thoroughly examine what happened during your 2009 holiday email season. Ask yourself the following:
- Which of my email campaigns generated the highest conversions? On what days were they sent? What were the emails about and what were the subject lines?
- Which campaigns generated the lowest conversions? On what days were they sent? What were the emails about and what were the subject lines?
- Which segmentation tactics were most successful?
- Which campaigns were forwarded and shared the most? What about those campaigns made them so viral?
- Which campaigns generated the highest unsubscribe rates? The highest spam complaints? Why was that?
- Did you have to send any apology emails? If so, why? Have steps been taken to fix the problems?
“This is important because when it comes to email campaigns, most marketers look to turn outward first — checking out what the competition has to offer — as opposed to looking inward at their own data to learn what it's telling them about their campaigns," says Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the report.
2. Start Christmas campaigns early. On average, retailers began their 2009 holiday campaigns 67 days before Christmas (Oct. 19), according to the report. This is on par with the 2008 holiday season, but it's nine days earlier than the 2007 holiday season. Last year's soft economy and the precedent set in the 2008 holiday season was likely behind the earlier start. With a slowly recovering economy, retailers may begin their holiday campaigns a bit later this year, the report says.