Monday, December 14, 2009

Increase your email's performance during the holidays

This is the time of year when your users are inundated with emails. Black Friday emails, Thanksgiving discounts, Christmas offers... not to mention the notorious increase in activity from all the spammers sitting around, hoping for a click to make a buck. The question now becomes, how do you have your users look out for your email while sifting through thousands of other offers/promos?

As I had mentioned in my last post, subject lines and building anticipation or including a call to action for your next mailing are some important tools you can use to increase the performance of your email. With all the expenses, preparing for holiday parties, and shopping, your users are more stressed than usual. They don't need the additional stress of going through hundreds of the same offers - buy now, use this coupon and save, etc. You need to come up with a way to better understand your users and differentiate yourself from all the other companies sending emails. Pushing your users over and over or sending the same email with the same promo/offer will get your mailings deleted. You can differentiate yourself by offering informative, effective, non-pushy subject lines - become a friendly voice to your users.

Once you've got the reader's attention, you've already won 90% of the battle. Next you need to monetize on the attention you've got from your readers. One way is to stretch their interest from one email to the next. Here are a few strategies you can try:

- Include an effective call to action, such as, "Look out for a blow out sale happening two days before Black Friday. Stocks are limited." Maybe mention that this promotion isn't for everyone - the users were selected via a randomized process. This will create a sense of exclusivity and increase anticipation for the next mailing to come because you have allowed the reader to believe he/she is the only one privy to this information. It instantly becomes more valuable.

- Send a follow-up campaign to non-opens, or send a special offer to clickers. Historically, this has worked well, but sending test emails before the start of the holiday season is the only way to be sure of what will work for your mailing list.

- Limited Time Offers are another effective way to increase opens, clicks and revenue. Allow your readers a month or 6 weeks to use a promotion, rather than 24 hours or 3 days or something. It's advisable to avoid One Time Offers, because they come across as pushy and forceful - they send a message of urgency, which is the last thing your users need this time of the year.

It's important around the holidays not to push sales too hard. Stress levels are at an all time high and people are looking for that one company to give them a break and not force the sale out of them. This is the time when you make or break user loyalty. Be a friend to them and you will reap the returns.

Co-Author: Courtney Dillsworth & Roopal Sharma

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