5 Ways to Make Holiday Email More Productive

If your email inbox is anything like mine, the recent influx of messages is overwhelming. Not only are you hearing from your direct contacts, you’re also getting a lot more partner emails and yes, spammers. Below are five productivity improvements for your own email campaigns.

If your email inbox is anything like mine, the recent influx of messages is overwhelming. Not only are you hearing from your direct contacts, but you’re also getting a lot more partner emails and yes, spammers. Below are five productivity improvements for your own email campaigns.

Opts Outs Will Increase — Here’s How to Lessen Them

As every company increases its email output during the holidays, many of us start to cull the companies we receive emails from. We opt out. Do we really need two emails a day from XYZ company? You search for the “Unsubscribe” link hidden at the bottom of most emails and click it.

The smart companies use an email preference center. An email preference center is simply a landing page that gives the subscriber options. They can update their email address, choose which type of emails they want or opt out forever. Take advantage of this page by asking subscribers about the frequency of emails, especially if you have multiple product lines or email lists; ask what products they want emails about.

When emails are pouring into our inboxes this holiday season, you can reduce your opt-out rates by giving recipients control over what you send and how often. Fifty-four percent of subscribers leave because you sent too many emails, while 47 percent say they need to decrease the number of companies they get emails from.

If you want to dig deep and improve your email preference center, HubSpot has an info-rich blog post, “28 Quick Tips for Customizing Your Email Preference Center”, that is well worth the read.

Think Mobile First

These stats from 2015 prove this point best: 76 percent of Black Friday emails and 63 percent of Cyber Monday emails were opened on a mobile device. Additionally, 56 percent of searches during the holiday season were conducted on a mobile device, according to Movable Ink. The same stats for 2016 will be even more impressive.

Remember, your recipients are weeding through emails on their smartphones and saving interesting emails to read later on their desktop computer. Design your emails for mobile (they’ll look fine on a PC), keep them short and put the most important content toward the top. Subject lines on mobile emails become even more important — make them short enough to fit in the preview of a smartphone. It’s wise to test this on multiple devices.

Target Cart Abandoners

Studies show the average shopping cart abandonment rate is approximately 73.9 percent. The good news is that 72 percent who do make the purchase after abandoning their carts do so within 24 hours. But others can take as long as two weeks.

fultzpic1Many potential online buyers purposely abandon their shopping carts. They’re looking to collect coupons or to wait for offers that are sent to try to close the sale.

To target cart abandoners, you’ll need to consider your email schedule, images of the abandoned items, offers/discounts to bring them back and lastly, adding or emphasizing a guarantee. These prospects are low-hanging fruit just waiting to be picked.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Urgency is a powerful psychological motivator — this is Direct Response 101. Deadlines work. They compel your customers to take the next step.

“One-Day Sale” or “Only Available to the First 100 Buyers” or “Sale Ends December 24 at 5:00 p.m.” all can prompt more conversions. Long-time mailers know this too well. We’ve used urgency and deadlines to great effect long before email even existed. Email marketers can learn a lot from reviewing snail mail packages from today and yesterday.

Test Your Code

Assuming your segmenting is good, your creative and offers should resonate with shoppers. Testing your code for the most popular inboxes and devices is then the last — and the most important — step. Use an email preview application like Email On Acid, Litmus and PreviewMyEmail to send your email through test accounts to see how different email applications, browsers and computer platforms present your email to recipients. If you are using an ESP (email service provider) like MailChimp, Emma or Vertical Response, you can use their pretested templates. But be aware, if you play with their code, you could easily “break” them.

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Email On Acid previewing of code in multiple browsers and platforms

The Bottom Line

With emails, the phrase “test, test, test” is particularly pertinent. Not only do you need to test your segmentation, offers, subject lines and preheaders, you need to design for mobile, test your code and be prepared for opt-outs and cart abandoners. But do not fear — there are many people and tools to help you.

Happy Holidays!

Creative Cage Match: Lindy Bop vs IKEA

For this round of the Creative Cage Match, let’s see how a UK-based, vintage-inspired clothing e-tailer stacks up against the the world’s largest furniture retailer when it comes to holiday-inspired email messaging.

There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.

So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.

The holiday season is upon us, whether you like it or not. Bring on the shopping anxiety, the 24/7 holiday music, the office parties, the family functions, the gift wrapping, and did I mention shopping anxiety?

Let’s see how a UK-based, vintage-inspired clothing e-tailer stacks up against the the world’s largest furniture retailer when it comes to holiday-inspired email messaging.

In this corner we have Lindy Bop, a relatively young — at four years — e-tailer based in the UK specializing in retro women’s fashion. This player makes its mark in the vintage/pin-up/rockabilly world by offering affordable prices and high quality goods (I should know, I own five fantastic Lindy Bop dresses).

Across the ring, we have Sweden-based IKEA, with more than 370 stores in 47 counties as of August 2015. While the company does have an online component, most consumers know IKEA for its massive yellow and blue stores, full of everything you could possibly need for your home (including Swedish meatballs … I should know, I have a bag of them in my freezer right now).

Email vs. Email
In late November, the following email from Lindy Bop hit my inbox with the subject line: “Find Your Perfect Party Dress At Lindy Bop.

All right, pretty tame in the way of subject lines, but the e-tailer comes back strong with this preheader: “Glam & gorgeous party dresses from just $45.99.”

I like party dresses, I like getting glammed up during the holidays, and I especially like the $45.99 price point.

Lindy Bop Holiday email

The overall look and feel of the email is clean. I’m not overwhelmed; instead there is a linear progression through the message as you scroll. First, the holiday dresses; next, a sale of 30 percent off select items; then, some suggestions for items to complete your look, ranging from petticoats to gloves; and finally, a banner with all of Lindy Bop’s social sites. Clean and to the point, while also offering a handful of product images to catch my eye.