Planning for a Successful Holiday Email Marketing Campaign

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A guest post from Brandon Blair and Travis Wetherbee on our Deliverability Team

The holidays are the busiest time for email marketers and 2022 is going to be no different. This is the time of the year where volume and frequency are adjusted to try and meet those year end goals. At that same time we need to remember that our subscribers are being inundated with holiday emails as well.

In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss how to develop an effective holiday email marketing strategy using time tested email deliverability management strategies.

holiday deliverability

Email Volume and Frequency

ISP and Mailbox Providers (MBP’s) are on high alert this time of the year because of the increased volume and frequency. Their job is to protect users’ inboxes from unwanted and unsolicited email as well as to protect against malicious spam and phishing attacks. So whether you plan on increasing volume and/or frequency it is imperative that you be prepared for the increased scrutiny on the receiver side. 

How are your campaigns performing now?

One exercise we advise – set up your baselines in the offseason (non-holiday times) so you can review how your holiday emails compare with your regular communications. This will allow you to set accurate and achievable goals come the holiday season.

  1. What are your delivery, open, click, hard bounce, soft bounces rates etc. 
  2. Understanding users’ inboxes are busier – what’s the best, most efficient time to send your email?

If you work with our Email Deliverability Team, the holidays are a perfect time to complete a review or audit of your email marketing tactics to get a sense of where you stand and how you can improve. 

Staying Relevant and Meeting Expectations

Engagement is king and nothing gets you bounced out of the king’s court (your users inboxes) faster than irrelevant emails. Holiday time is busy, for everyone. You’ll want to avoid wasting subscribers’ time with emails that don’t interest them or aren’t inline with what they originally signed on for. Relevancy is key but never more than during the holiday season.

Another thing to keep in mind is what frequency the subscriber signed up for. If you send a weekly email and then during the holidays start sending daily, you will drive list attrition at a much higher rate. 

A good recommendation is to have an email communication preference center that allows users to adjust communication preferences like frequency as well as topics. Having a preference center in place will help avoid reputation detractors such as subscriber complaints. Having the preference center allows them to opt-down instead of opting out completely or worse yet, clicking the “this is spam” button. 

Segmentation and Data Hygiene

Data hygiene and keeping a clean list is always the best practice to avoid hitting un-mailable addresses, spam traps, and overall poor email deliverability and reputation. This is especially important during the Holiday season. As you increase your sending volume and expand your audience (which might include inactive addresses), you should ensure that bounce rules are in place before you send any holiday emails. To help reduce the number of bounces before your first Holiday send, we recommend using a service like Webbula or Neverbounce to help identify any inactive email addresses, spam traps or possible threats in your lists. We have both of these services at Act-On that run through our deliverability team. If you are interested, please contact your AM or CSM for more information!

Segmenting your audience and targeting small groups will help when mailing less engaged users. You can segment your audience by different demographics and behaviors to help you identify what users are engaging with.  

Will you be increasing your sending volume this holiday season? We recommend that you create a plan to start ramping up your sending now. This will help get ISPs familiar with you sending that type of volume and will help reduce some volume-related issues. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t increase your email volume by more than 50% of your previous day’s level or previous week’s highest point.

Plan Ahead for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a busy time for ISPs and blocklist networks. With an influx of mail we commonly see delays in email delivery and sometimes temporary deferrals on senders that raise any flags.  If you’re working with our team of deliverability experts, you should talk with your consultant to develop a plan to send and monitor your holiday emails. If you plan to increase volume, our team can help develop a ramp plan to safely reach your targeted audience. Even if you’re planning to change your sending habits during the holiday season, there’s still a chance that your domain or IP could face issues. We highly recommend that you still always monitor your email performance, before, during and after the holidays.

Deliver the Gift of Joyful Holiday Emails

If you’d like to learn more about how you can develop effective holiday email marketing strategies using marketing automation, please schedule a brief demonstration with one of our experts. Or, if you’re not quite ready to speak with anyone, you can move at your own pace by taking our interactive product tour.

Lastly, click the link below to download your free eBook, “What Is Email Deliverability and Why Should You Care?” It’s full of useful tips and tricks on how to improve your email reputation, inboxing, and engagement!

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