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If you’re betting on email to boost sales during the holidays, you’re in the right mindset. Last year, online retail sales grew 11.3% in 2020 to over $218 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. While the ease of pandemic restrictions will draw more people to stores, email remains an effective way to monetize online.
How will you use email to drive holiday sales for your business this year? Now that inflation strikes the highest percentage in 41 yearsyou need to make sure your campaigns have the best chance of landing in the inbox – and converting.
Here are five ways to prepare your email program for the busy shopping season ahead.
1. Increase your sending rhythm
Not all companies send emails all year round. Some only appear in their customers’ inboxes when they run a promotional campaign. If that’s your case, consider ramping up your shipping frequency before the holidays. The number of emails you send and how often you send them can affect your ability to reach the inbox.
Mailbox providers consider sudden spikes in email traffic suspicious, as they may indicate spam. So, before launching your holiday email campaigns, start feeding your list with relevant, educational content. Keep a steady pace and gradually intensify it before Black Friday to avoid ending up in spam.
2. Check the validity of your contacts
The quality of your email list is essential to the deliverability of your email. Several studies show that email databases deteriorate by more than 22% each year. At ZeroBounce, we found that, due to the pandemic, 30% of our email data had gone bad in the past year.
Deleting outdated email addresses, especially for an important campaign, is a must if you want to arrive in the inbox. Ignoring them can do significant damage as bounces and spam complaints can send your emails to spam. One of our customers was even blocked by his email service provider due to a high bounce rate. It wasn’t until our customer validated the company’s email list that the email provider agreed to restore the account.
You don’t want to be blocked from sending emails during the holidays, so make sure your list is current and valid. Your bounce rate should never exceed 2%.
Related: Email Validation: A Critical Success Factor in Email Marketing
3. Use data to determine the best shipping times
An attractive offer that goes out to a healthy email list already gives you an edge over the pack. But to make your campaigns shine, you need to consider past subscriber behavior when scheduling your emails. That way you know when your audience is most likely to open your emails.
So, what are the best days to send emails during the holidays? The top performers are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Sunday and Thanksgiving, Show recent data from Oracle.
Oracle’s marketing research team also suggests sending campaigns on Thursdays to influence weekend spending. The study shows that click-to-open rates are 54% higher than on Friday.
Related: The Best Days and Times to Send Your Email (Infographic)
4. Test your emails on mobile
In 2021, more than 42% of Black Friday e-commerce revenue came from mobile, according to an Adobe study. It is always important to check how your email is displayed on smartphones. But during the holiday season, it can make a dramatic difference in your earnings.
Email testing tools allow you to test different aspects of your campaign and identify potential errors. For example, an email might display correctly in Gmail, but not Outlook, so pay attention to how your campaigns display across different providers.
Also consider running all your emails through a spell check and make sure all your links are functional and relevant to your audience.
5. Collect Valuable Social Proof
If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably going to be sending a lot of emails in the last two months of the year. One way to avoid duplication of your content is to use lots of customer testimonials.
Ahead of your holiday email campaign, prepare by collecting social proof such as great reviews, case studies, quotes, and notable awards. Third-party validation contributes greatly to how people experience your product. Oftentimes, it can seal the deal for an indecisive prospect.
Final tips to make your holiday email campaign a success
Running an email campaign during the holidays can be nerve-wracking. It’s not as simple as scheduling a few emails, so the fear is high for many business owners and marketers.
Consider starting early to relieve some of the tension. Have a clear plan and strategy weeks before you send your first email. Making a checklist also helps. Include everything you and your team need to do, from defining your offers to making sure you have the right tools.
Proper planning will give you peace of mind and confidence so that this holiday season will be a success for your business.