Tink Taylor of dotMailer has compiled a checklist of 12 tips for 'Effective Email Marketing this Xmas' - all of which look like good things to think about at any point in the year.
We list them after the jump...
1. Plan your campaign
Spend some time thinking about what you want to achieve from your email campaign. If you want to drive sales, look at your customer's buying habits and use them to inform your campaign. Put a timeplan in place with a strategy to nurture those organised shoppers who will be buying gifts early, as well as the last-minute panic.
Christmas gives you the opportunity to be really creative with your design so that your email stands out and supports the point of the email, rather than getting in the way of your message. Be careful with html design – it looks good, but use the wrong code in your template and it will get caught in spam filters, resulting in the email not being delivered. Always make sure your design works! If in doubt, seek help from a professional that specialises in designing email templates.
An email that fails to render makes a brand look amateurish and inexperienced, so test your email design in different email clients. Some email marketing providers allow you generate an 'inbox preview' which can give you a quick and easy snapshot of how the email will look across a range of inboxes.
4. Target your emails
'Tis the season to invest in targeting. Jupiter Research published findings earlier this year showing that targeted email can produce a 500% increase in revenue, so get the most out of your Christmas campaign by segmenting customers into groups and tailoring email content to suit.
5. Seasonal offers
Everyone loves a bargain, so try offering discounts like '10% off orders over £60' or free delivery between certain dates - make the offers appropriate to the season and bear this in mind when planning the timing of the campaign.
6. Do some split testing
Send variations of your email to different customer groups and compare the results - try sending different gift ideas to male and female customers. The information you build up will prove valuable for future campaigns, allowing you to identify what content garnered the best results and from which groups of customers. Experiment with every email you send so positive results increase with each email sent throughout the Christmas season.
7. Subject line
Keep it short and sweet, and ensure it stands out so that your customers will be dying to open the email and find out more. Aid deliverability by avoiding the use of CAPS, exclamation marks or words like 'free', 'enormous' and 'exclusive'. Include a call to action. Try a selection and see what works best for your customers.
8. Call to action
This is one of the key elements of every email you send. Make it as easy as you can for the customer to know what the message is and what you want them to do - if you want them to buy something, display relevant information, images and pricing for the product with links to a page where they can purchase it. Always drive customers to your website as this is where they will spend their money.
If you're planning a particular seasonal campaign focus, consider building a microsite for the additional level of integration that it offers. A microsite allows you to complement the seasonal design of the email without changing the style of your main website. The seasonal messaging of your campaign can be the focus of the microsite, whilst your regular website runs alongside it.
Believe it or not, the main obstacle you will face is getting your email into your customer's inbox. Industry figures show that 96% of emails sent
in October were spam, and ISPs delete billions of emails each day, so make sure you choose an Email Service Provider with good deliverability rates.
11. Go viral
There is no greater marketing tool than word of mouth. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pass information on by adding a forward to a friend option that allows them to contact several friends in one go. And, of course, make sure there's something in the email that's worth shouting about!
12. Is your website ready?
Driving customers to a website is pointless if they can't fulfil the promises in the email. The landing page must be relevant to the offer or call to action in the email and should complement the design of the email to reinforce brand identity - if you've gone for a dancing Father Christmas and holly leaves in your email then your landing page needs to match!