Tips to Get Your Email List Holiday Ready
Long before the first jack-o’-lantern was carved, retail marketers were busy preparing for the holiday season. While it's always the busiest shopping season of the year, 2019 is gearing up to be the biggest yet, with holiday spending projected to surpass $1 trillion, according to eMarketer.
With so many dollars up for grabs, stakes are at an all-time high for email marketers hoping to secure their share of revenue. To maximize the opportunity, email marketers should already be well within in the midst of planning, optimizing and priming their campaigns. Though you’ll be working against the clock, it's not too late to get started. However, you’ll need to begin working as soon as possible to ensure your emails reach as many quality targets as they can.
Here are four things to consider as you think about priming your holiday emails:
1. Keep data quality top of mind.
High-quality results require high-quality data, period. Marketers must make sure to follow data collection best practices and only use data from trusted sources. Verify old or outdated email addresses via an email verification or validation service before adding them into your holiday campaign cadence. This will help you identify which addresses are just too risky to send to, and allow for some last-minute list hygiene. The holidays aren't a time to attempt winning back or re-engaging unengaged subscribers. Instead, reach out to recipients who have made it clear via positive engagement signals that they want your email. These simple steps go a long way toward achieving high deliverability while avoiding bounces, trap hits and spam complaints.
2. Authenticate to make a good impression.
Grinches don’t stop at package theft. Higher email volume and frequency creates a greater opportunity for fraudulent messages, making it easier for crooks to steal from customers online via phishing and spoofing. This will seriously hurt your brand. Plus, consumers’ increased intention to spend during the holidays makes attacks more lucrative, with shoppers more open to interpreting fake shipping notices, invoices and the like as real. This is why strict email authentication standards, including DKIM, SPF, TLS and DMARC, are a can’t-skip tactic to better protect your customers and brand from cyberattacks during this time of year. As an incentive, by having a DMARC policy at enforcement, brands can unlock a new way to amplify their marketing impressions and user experience via brand indicators for message identification (BIMI).
3. Scale slowly.
With $1 trillion on the line, you may be tempted to run an all-out blitz, sending a much higher volume of email than you typically send throughout the rest of the year. Unfortunately, this unusual behavior quickly overloads your sending IPs and raises red flags to mailbox providers, putting your sender reputation and inbox rates in jeopardy. Instead, prepare for higher volumes in advance by carefully and responsibly sending additional emails on a more consistent basis. Though you’re still on a short time frame if you’re just starting now, over the next few days you can still build up your volume. Therefore, when it comes time to send your larger holiday campaign emails, you’ll raise less eyebrows because this behavior is seen as normal. Also, avoid scheduling your emails for high-traffic times to keep your messages from getting lost, like the tops and bottoms of business hours.
4. Leverage segmentation and personalization.
Use key insights and engagement metrics to segment your customers for better deliverability and reputation. Sending relevant and personalized offers is the key to standing out in a customer’s cluttered inbox. Sending generic offers they aren’t interested will fail to capture their attention and result in a missed opportunity during a highly competitive time of year.
Try to stick relatively close to your usual sending cadence and avoid firing off too many emails too frequently. Tease upcoming offers in advance to help set expectations of planned holiday doorbuster deals and additional daily mailings outside the norm. Your recipients have likely developed expectations for your messaging, so a sudden or out-of-character surge in emails may decrease engagement or, worse yet, result in an unsubscribe or spam complaint. Finally, don’t abandon suppression lists and let greed supersede your better judgment. The worst thing that can happen during this pivotal shopping season is bringing your programs to a grinding halt with risky decisions that can do more harm than good.
If not done carefully, ramping up the volume or intensity of your emails can result in deliverability issues and damage to your organization through negative indicators such as an influx of malicious messaging using your brand, which erode customer trust and reputation. However, by following these proven recommendations, your holiday email campaigns will improve your entire program year-round.
Anthony Chiulli is director of product marketing at 250ok, a SaaS platform bringing marketers advanced insights into email deliverability, design, sender reputation, fraud protection, and consumer engagement — the ultimate email intelligence add-on to any ESP.
Anthony Chiulli is director of product marketing at 250ok, a SaaS platform bringing marketers advanced insights into email deliverability, design, sender reputation, fraud protection, and consumer engagement—the ultimate email intelligence add-on to any ESP.
With more than a decade of email experience, Anthony Chiulli embraces educating and advising email marketers on the latest trends and insights within the email industry. In his work as Director of Product Marketing at 250ok, Anthony oversees launching new products and services through participating and influencing go-to-market strategies, supporting collateral, and brand evangelism. Before joining 250ok, Anthony served in a number of leadership roles at Salesforce, including Deliverability Practice lead and Associate Principal of Deliverability Services.