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Five Holiday Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts

As Stefan Pollard points out in this ClickZ article, the holiday shopping season is less than 2 months away from its official U.S. launch on Black Friday on November 23rd. This time of year can make or break your e-mail marketing program. Tune it up now to avoid mistakes once the season is in full swing.

He offers 5 do's and don'ts to help you avoid some common traps:

1. Consider Your Marketing Program as a Fourth-Quarter Event
Even if your company doesn't do holiday marketing, you're affected by what everyone else in the e-mail-marketing space is doing. Your highly targeted, permission-based, scheduled mailing will be lost in the maelstrom if you don't optimize every aspect of the campaign, from subject line to the message copy to the delivery protocols.

2. Don't Use Greater Frequency to Rescue a Below-Average Quarter or Capitalize on a Good One
Just because one message generates a terrific response doesn't mean sending more of the same will lead to increased returns. You'll burn out your list through over-mailing and tarnish your brand or company name, long after the season is over.

3. Remember Spam Is Any Unrecognized, Unexpected, or Unwanted E-mail, Even Targeted Permission E-mail
Consumers have broadened their definition of spam to the point where it's essentially "any e-mail I don't want." If your message doesn't interest them, it comes too often, or you don't honor an unsubscribe fast enough, you're lumped in with "genuine" spam.

4. Find Creative Ways to Expand Your Reach to Customers and Prospect
Create a holiday-focused list, perhaps a limited-term one geared to last-minute deals and discounts, new merchandise, and other one-off topics, one you can e-mail whenever you have a deal subscribers would like.

5. Monitor Campaigns Closely, Test All Aspects Now
If you increase frequency too much, you'll very likely see more complaints, unsubscribes, spam complaints, and gripes. Jump on problems as they occur to minimize any damage to your sender reputation, which is the number one factor ISPs consider when deciding whether to block, reroute, or deliver your e-mail.

Also, test offers, subject lines, and content now. Correct problems before you and your staff get too busy. Review messages in different browsers and platforms. Clean up bad or broken HTML code. Test all links and e-mail addresses.

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