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How to use email marketing to increase sales this holiday season

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Nov. 12, 2014
The holiday season is upon us. And if you are planning to entice shoppers into your online or bricks-and-mortar store via email, you need to make sure your email marketing campaigns stand out from the hundreds of other holiday email offers.

For loyal customers, "give [them] advance notice on planned promotions," says Nahatis. "Announce your offer two to three weeks in advance, and then send a reminder the week of the offer."

8. Make sure your email is mobile friendly. "A significant number of people use their phone to check their email," says Chris Apaliski, social media director, Magic Logix, an integrated marketing agency. So "if you aren't properly optimizing your emails for mobile, you run the risk of running customers off.

"Make it as easy as possible for them [to interact with you]. So they can open an email from their phone, cruise on to your site and make a purchase without ever leaving the comfort of their surroundings."

9. Target your email. "Segment your lists so that you can send targeted emails to groups of subscribers based on interests, purchase history and/or how often they've engaged with your past emails," says Sung Moyle. "The more targeted the email content and subject line, the more likely your subscribers will open it. For example, if you're a winery, send a holiday promotion for red wines to subscribers who've purchased a red wine in the past."

10. Remember that timing is (almost) everything. "Outbrain found that Americans are more likely to click on holiday content on the weekend," says Lester. So create "an automated email series scheduled to send each Saturday [through] December." Just keep in mind that "overall engagement with holiday emails starts to steadily decline after the second week of December, so focus your holiday email marketing on [earlier in the month], while people are still paying attention."

Another tip, for when you do want to send email during the week: "For B2C email campaigns, sending around lunchtime or after work is best since that's when most people will check their email for leisure," says Mirabella. "For B2B campaigns, send early, before work, or in the early afternoon after lunch."

Remember, "folks are usually busy during the holidays and even more so during the days and evenings," says Sharif Kalil, content manager, Neesh, a digital marketing agency. "If they get your email during their busy hours, they'll quickly close and forget they ever saw it [or outright delete it]," he says. So "sending email during the early morning means you'll have a better chance of grabbing their attention."

11. Create a seamless experience. "Create a seamless experience from the moment people open your email through their website visit," advises Bruce Ernst, vice president of Product Development at Monetate, which provides cloud-based testing, email optimization and in-the-moment personalization software. "Something about your brand's email caused the customer to click." So make sure your messaging and branding is consistent, from your website, to your email marketing campaigns, to your social media and other channels.


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