Silverpop - 5 Common Holiday Email Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them
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5 Common Holiday Email Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them

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by: Heather Shore (@heathervshore)
06 December 2012

Happy holidays! It’s that time of the year when email frequency increases — especially in the retail space — in anticipation of driving additional online sales and at the behest of upper management.

Unfortunately, in the rush to increase frequency and sales, oh-so-many companies make holiday email mistakes, costing them revenue and conversions. Here are five common holiday email mistakes marketers make each season – and tips for avoiding them and making the most of the season:

Mistake #1: Sending five additional emails in one week, just because you can.
Quintupling your frequency without warning can lead to increased unsubcribes and spam complaints. To avoid this scenario, we always suggest starting slowly when increasing frequency. Ideally, you’d begin this process a few months in advance – for example, increasing from three emails a week to four in October, then five around Black Friday. If it’s too late for that, you can still nudge up your frequency gradually, adding one or two a week rather than all at once.

Mistake #2: Being inconsistent with send times or messaging.
Being consistent about send time is important during the holiday season. Consider setting up a regular sending schedule or employing a feature such as Silverpop’s Send Time Optimization, which can help keep emails top of mind (and inbox). Your messaging should also be consistent when it comes to CTA, landing page experience, subject lines and value-add statements such as free or expedited shipping.

Mistake #3: Failing to promote expedited or free shipping in your emails.
Speaking of shipping, customers need to understand their options. Expedited shipping is a value-add that should be consistently promoted. This should be played up in subject lines in addition to email copy. (Bonus tip: Include shipping deadlines in your emails.)

Mistake #4: Not having accurate inventory counts on your site.
Nothing makes customers angrier than sending them to landing pages with little or no quantity of the product they had their eyes on. Because you’re promoting your products more through email, you’ll want to coordinate with merchandising on timing of promotional sends. This will ensure adequate quantities are available before hitting “send” on that holiday sale email.

Mistake #5: Doing “Flash Sales” during this time.
These types of sales will dilute your expected revenue from other online sales. Plan your holiday emails more strategically. For example, if you know your best sending day is Friday, position your best offers on Fridays, saving extra emails for Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Consumers aren’t surprised to hear from retailers more often during this time.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to manage unsubscribes, bounces and abuse complaints.
OK, there are six things. Amidst the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to make sure your holiday emails are being received. You don’t want an increase in frequency to have an adverse effect on a clean database and revenue.

In the end, it’s about getting the right balance between revenue and list churn. Here’s to sending more — and more effectively — this holiday season!

More Holiday Marketing Tips:
1) Tip Sheet: “8 New Twists on Holiday Marketing Traditions to Help Drive Revenue
2) Blog: “Holiday Quick Tip: Use Offline Sources to Grow Opt-ins
3) Blog: “Windsor Circle on 3 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Revenue


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