Do's and don'ts for email marketers this holiday season

Do’s and don’ts for email marketers this holiday season

Competition in the email marketing realm is as stiff as ever this holiday season, especially with the new Gmail layout's separate tab for promotional messages making it harder for marketers to win a prominent place in their contacts' inboxes.

As such, it's important for marketers to keep themselves on-message and on-target for achieving the desired returns on investment this November and December. These six email marketing tips can help you create campaigns that will have your email list engaged and responsive as they make their important purchases.

Don't over-send
Finding the right frequency for email sends can be a long-term challenge. If you're still struggling to optimize the timing of your promotional messages, consider opting for fewer sends rather than overwhelming your customers with too many emails in too short a timespan.

Mobile email marketing firm Elite Email recently affirmed the validity of this principle.

"Over sending emails annoys your audience and causes people to unsubscribe. Don't become spam," the company told marketers.

Write a great subject line
Of course, if you cut down your send volume, you'll need to make sure that your emails grab your contacts' attention and stick out from the crowd. One of the most effective ways to optimize your emails for engagement is to craft perfect subject lines, and there are a few proven techniques you can take advantage of.

Business2Community pointed out the psychological effectiveness of phrasing subject lines as questions. By asking the contacts in your email database whether they've chosen the perfect gift for their loved ones, for instance, you can engage your contacts' individual needs and concerns without knowing very much about them.

However, more forceful subject lines can also be effective, the source noted. Commands – "Don't wait," or "Reserve your spot today," for example – avoid pushiness while still being direct, offering customers some welcome clarity amid the sea of promotions flooding their inboxes.

Don't forget to segment
No two consumers are exactly alike, which is why it's key for marketers to use the richest data available on their contacts and tailor the messages they send to their customers' interests and habits.

Segmentation lists based on demographic and purchase habit data help ensure that your customers will find your promotions relevant and engaging: It's easy to see why a woman who received one too many emails advertising men's products would unsubscribe. Furthermore, Elite Email suggested that marketers take the December shopping season to discover which holidays their contacts celebrate and temporarily segmenting their lists based on that criterion.

Keep it simple
While sophistication is the name of the game in email list segmentation – the more complex data marketers have, the better they can target consumers – simplicity is vital when it comes to the written copy and visual layout of your emails. Especially given the sheer volume of competition your emails are facing, it needs to be immediately clear to a reader what the promotion is offering.

"Some businesses try to say too much in one email, meanwhile nothing gets the focus. Multiple emails with more focus on individual products to customized lists perform much better," Elite Email noted.

Marketers should also be sure to create streamlined, uncluttered layouts that look good on mobile screens.

Don't be impersonal
CAN Spam compliance isn't the only way marketers can win the trust of their email contact lists. Elite Email suggested that promotional message have a person's name in the subject line, assuming that it will be clear to customers that the sender is a representative of the brand.

Marketers can also make sure they are personalizing content by sending promotions based on products contacts have already expressed interest in – an item saved but not purchased in an online shopping cart, for instance.

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