Planning Your Holiday Email Marketing Approach

Anshul Sharma
Email Marketing

The holidays are often the busiest time of year for marketers, as companies look to make their end-of-the-year drive toward their target goals and revenue. Likewise, the holidays are often the busiest time of year for your customers’ inboxes, as they receive an influx of messages to their mailbox. 

Holiday Email Marketing

In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss how to develop an effective holiday email marketing strategy using proven email deliverability and reputation methods.

Email Volume and Frequency

Due to the sheer volume and frequency of emails being sent and received during the holidays, ISPs and spam trap networks are on high alert to protect their users by flagging the onslaught of spammers and suspicious activities. Whether you’re planning on sending more promotional emails to B2C inboxes (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo accounts) or staying consistent with your typical sending cadence, being fully prepared for your holiday email marketing efforts can make a big difference in your email deliverability. From reaching the inbox (or not) to being blacklisted (or not).  

Understanding Your Current Email Deliverability Metrics

Email marketers must be aware of their current email deliverability metrics. Understanding your current rates will determine if you’re in a good position to increase your sending rates and diminish the risk of unsubscribes, spam, and high bounce rates.

Key questions to ask include:

  • What are my delivery rates? (Are my messages being delivered successfully?)
  • Is my audience engaging with my emails?
  • Have I been facing increased bounce rates or blocks?

If you work with an 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.

Specific review items include:

  • The technical setup of your program
  • Mailing frequency
  • Mailing consistency
  • The overall health of your email marketing lists

Most importantly, always follow email deliverability best practices — especially during the holidays, when ISPs typically tighten their filters.

Meeting Email Recipient Expectations

As consumers receive more and more emails, marketers must set expectations and deliver on their promises in order to secure consistent inboxing and avoid email fatigue. For example, if your audience expects to hear from you on a monthly basis, bombarding their inbox with daily promotions will likely increase the likelihood that they’ll ignore your message. Worse yet, they might mark your emails as spam or even unsubscribe from your communications altogether.

What Is Email Deliverability and Why Should You Care?

If you’re planning on increasing the number of email sends, you should use a preference center or a preemptive message to give users a heads up. This way, you can let them know how to adjust their frequency settings, allowing you to properly maintain user expectations and avoid causing email fatigue.

Segmentation and Data Hygiene

As you increase your sending volume and/or expand your audience (which might include inactive addresses), you should ensure that bounce rules are in place before you send any holiday emails. Targeting split audiences and segmenting your recipients based on demographics and behaviors can help when mailing less engaged users. A/B testing subject lines, email copy, CTAs, and images not only helps you identify what’s working and what’s not, but it’s also useful for troubleshooting potential issues and pinpointing the root cause of the problems. Follow data hygiene best practices and clean your lists regularly to avoid hitting un-mailable addresses, spam traps, and overall poor email deliverability and reputation. 

Expecting higher-than-usual email sending volume during the holiday? Gradually ramping up your send now can help establish new volume standards with ISPs. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t increase your email volume my more than 50% of your previous day’s level or previous week’s highest point. This will help you alleviate volume-related pushback. 

Contingency Planning for Holiday Email Marketing

Always monitor send performance, especially before, during, and after the holidays. Even if you don’t expect to alter your send behavior during the holidays, ISPs and blacklist networks are on high alert, so track and measure your progress to avoid or mitigate potential issues. Regardless of your preparedness, there’s a chance your domain or IP will face issues preventing timely sending. And if you’re working with a team of deliverability experts, you should communicate your holiday email plans with them so they can help you develop customized strategies and monitoring tactics that suit your specific needs. 

Plan, Execute, and Deliver Jolly 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 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!

What Is Email Deliverability and Why Should You Care?