Are you in festive spirit yet? You’re not? Well, your customers certainly are! The holiday season is a time when people are actively searching for better deals online. The best way to get their attention is with email marketing. A well-crafted email campaign will definitely gear you up for a high return on investment out of the season’s festivities. Why would it not? For 89 percent of marketers, email serves as the primary source of lead generation. But what if you’re late in the game? Will I still have an opportunity to build an email marketing framework? You sure can! Here’s how you can get started.

Give your prospects exactly what they want, when they want it! If your audience is expecting customized gift recommendation, it’s your job as a marketer to pitch them with a timely offer, to go along with the value they seek. You can break it down like this for example. Categorize your recommendations of a gift into gift cards, featured gifts, or frequently purchased gifts. The incentive or offer for this can be timed for Black Friday or Cyber Monday or even a week before Christmas if someone is looking for a present at the last minute. You can also provide additional value by offering some form of convenience – whether that is free shipping on orders of a certain amount, a special discount on purchase via credit card, or delivery within next 24 hours.

Next, categorize your contacts or segment your email list. Your email contacts are the most critical part of your email marketing campaign. If you are highly selective to whom you are sending the right offer, you will get better open rates, click-through rates, see an increase in sales, all while reducing bounce rates and spam reports. Segmenting your email lists further gives you the opportunity to personalize the email messages that you are sending. For instance, if you have a contact list of 20,000 buyers and you wish to target just married males over the age of 30, who purchased accessories from you last year. Separate them from the rest of your contact lists. Take notice of the levels of segmentation here. You have cherry-picked a group based on their demographics such as age and gender, marital status, purchase behaviour, and interest. Use this information to your advantage when crafting your next outbound email campaign.

This brings us to personalization of email content. Always use the name of the recipient in the subject line and customize the email body such that it addresses the customer. You can take a step further here by adding personalized offers and a call-to-action. Remember, email content without personalization or value is useless to your audience. Try offering something of value in exchange as an incentive. This will reduce their hesitancy and help them with a purchase decision.

Now comes the design part. Leave white space and extra room between any images you are using and the copy. This way the content has enough space to breathe. White space within the body of the email improves clarity and allows the reader’s attention to focus on the things that matter. It can also improve the click-through rate and the overall aesthetic design of the email. Try using inverted funnels by placing the call-to-action at the end of an inverted pyramid. This approach categorizes information in a hierarchy that leads the reader towards a call-to-action. It’s a rather simple structure but remains very effective. Use centralized text at the beginning, followed by an image, and some more text to explain the offer further. Place a prominent call-to-action at the end. This way the reader can skim through the content at a glance, even on a mobile screen, and click on the offer without having to enlarge the screen.

The next piece of advice might not work for you right away, but you should start thinking about it for your future email campaigns. That is, create an email dispatch calendar in advance of busy periods. Early planning can help your marketing team streamline the execution of your email marketing campaigns. Develop a tentative calendar that aligns email dispatch dates with in-store promotions for Black Friday and online promotions for Cyber Monday. There are all sorts of ways to accomplish this even late in the game, with Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaching. You can even align your email campaigns with your business’s supply chain. If your stock is seasonal, you have a good idea when you can offer discounts, and so on and so forth. With an organized email marketing strategy, you will have more spare time during periods with heavy sales to monitor, analyze, and engage with the prospects who convert into leads and sales.

Before I go, and if you happen to be an e-commerce business, chances are that more people will be visiting your website during the holiday season. This added activity gives you a great opportunity to expand your email contacts. Make the email subscription feature more prominent on your blog or website when you can. Send new subscribers a series of welcome emails and introduce them to your brand, top products and extra value they can get by shopping at your store. Little things such as free shipping and sales return convenience during the holiday season can go a long way.

In a nutshell, making some small amendments to your email marketing can bring great results. Trying these strategies will help you create an edge with your email marketing this holiday season and win more customers. If you still need help, RBL is here to help. Our HubSpot email marketing certified professionals would be happy to give you advice and suggestions, to help you get a higher ROI during the holiday shopping season. Please leave a comment below, or, send us an email.

Happy Holidays!