October 3, 2019

It’s time to get on the Holiday [Email] Express!

Do you hear that? It sounds like bells ringing and cash registers opening, which means it’s…The Holiday Express! At least, that’s what I imagine it sounds for retail marketers preparing to tackle the busiest season of the year. When I say “busy,” I really mean it, too. According to eMarketer, holiday spending is estimated to surpass the staggering amount of $1 trillion this year.

This definitely isn’t a low-stakes time for email marketers.

To ensure you’re maximizing your opportunities and seeing more black than red (financially speaking), email marketing managers need to start planning, optimizing, and priming their campaigns yesterday, or today, if you’re in a jam. To get you chugging along toward holiday joy, here’s a few things to keep in mind as you think about your strategy during this critical time.

Quality of data and email lists

You’re not going to get high quality results without high quality data. I’m not necessarily talking about fancy insights or trendline analyses, but instead, simply confirming your data collection practices are in tip-top shape and from trustworthy sources. If you’re not taking steps to verify and validate an email address, it’s time to put that into practice. You’ll have data better indicating a valid email address is entered into your system, and that the recipient has expressed true interest in receiving your messages. This alone is better protection against the potential for bounces, trap hits, and spam complaints.

How to protect and serve (impressions)

Thieves don’t stop at physical packages. Make sure your email authentication standards are up to snuff, including DKIM, SPF, TLS, and DMARC, to help avoid phishing and spoofing attempts. Plus, if you’re using a strict DMARC policy, you can opt-in to another way to serve brand impressions via Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI).

Wisely scaling volume

You’re likely tempted (or even directed) to send much more mail than you typically would on any other time of the year. While this is possible, you need to prepare right now so as to not overload your IPs and send up big red flags to mailbox providers. Carefully start to send more mail responsibly, and over time, you’ll safely build up your volume to where it needs to be without jeopardizing your sender reputation and inbox rates. As an extra tip, I’d encourage you to avoid scheduling email deployments at common, high-traffic times, like the tops and bottoms of business hours.

Who should get these emails

If you’re not segmenting your customers using key insights and engagement metrics, you’re in for a rough season. It’s not too late to start, though, so make sure you’re only sending to people who are indicating they want your email by opening and clicking, and lean on personalization to send relevant offers and stand out in the highly competitive inbox. This is not the time to try out a three-times-daily sending cadence to your entire list. Make sure your suppression lists are up to date, and you’re listening to your recipients preferences and engagement signals. This will go a long way.

If you follow these best practices, any ramp up in volume or intensity of your holiday emails should hopefully not break your whole program. Whether or not you’re sending email fire to rake in the cash is entirely up to you, but we think you can do it.If you want a little more help, we can help you there, too. Start with this webinar, and hit us up if you’ve got any questions!

Author: Anthony Chiulli

With more than a decade of email experience, Anthony embraces educating and advising email marketers on the latest trends and insights within the email industry as director of product marketing. Before joining 250ok, Anthony's prior roles included Marketing Practice Lead, Deliverability Services at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Senior Account Manager at Return Path.

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