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Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

12 Days of Conversions: Day 4-Holiday E-Mails

By Mariel Bacci
November 28th, 2011

Red Mail Bow With Christmas Colored LettersHoliday Newsletters are a mandatory campaign strategy.  With so many ecommerce sites competing for attention, you need to make sure your customers remember you over the holidays.  When visitors are buying gifts for others, they have different intent, needs and motivations than when buying for themselves.  They may be compulsive in their buying behavior or they may require a lot of reassurance. Understanding you prospect’s buying styles can be difficult, but worth the effort since last minute shopping and trying to find the perfect gift are mindsets that are omnipotent around this time of year.  Make sure your e-mails speak to the holiday mindset by following some of our holiday newsletter strategies.

#1 Timing

If you have not yet sent your first holiday newsletter, you are already too late.  Christmas catalogs are already abound.  Get your first holiday e-mail out as close to Thanksgiving as possible, though starting a week before Black Friday to promote your post Thanksgiving offers would have been ideal.  Send holiday emails more often at this time, so if you usually send a monthly newsletter, perhaps at this time you should send a weekly newsletter. Some online retailers find it fruitful to do a 12 days of Christmas campaign, putting something new on sale every day for 12 days, similar to what daily discount sites do.

#2 Subject Line

Make your holiday e-mails worth opening.  The subject line should be engaging, benefit oriented and talk about the content of your holiday e-mail.  Some examples of engaging e-mails include:

Final Day: Free TWO-DAY DELIVERY + Stocking stuffers they’ll love

20 special gifts under $20

What MEN Really Want + Up to 50% Season SAVINGS

Notice all these titles offer 2 things:  information about  gifts (Stocking stuffers they’ll love, 20 special gifts and what men really want) and incentives to buy those gifts (Free two day delivery, gifts under $20 and 50% season savings).  A good strategy for holiday e-mail subject lines is to offer both information and incentives.

#3  Above The Fold

The most important part of your e-mail is the 4 inches your visitors see when they first open it, before scrolling, clicking through, etc.  Make sure it is easy for your customers to enable images to view the content in this area of your e-mail, and if they do not enable images, make sure your copy could lead them to your site anyway.

Use this space to place your most imporatant call to action and make it persuasive with your holiday incentives.  This is also the part of your e-mail that needs to appeal to your last minute shoppers as well as your customers looking for a perfect gift.  Copy that is influencial in this area will include things like “24 hour sale.” “Last Minute Savings,” “She’ll Love it or Your Money Back,” and “Free Shipping and Exchanges.”

#4 Content, Incentives and Scent Trails

Your e-mails need to a create a strong scent trail from the beginning to the end of your users holiday buying experience. The content of your e-mail should reflect the subject line of your e-mail.  If you promise 40% off cashmere socks in the title of your newsletter there better darn well be an offer for 40% off those socks above the fold of your e-mail.  After your prospect clicks the CTA button in your e-mail, they should be led to a landing page that not only features the offer in your e-mail, but matches the look and feel of your e-mail as well.  If you were to promise a 10% off incentive for the holidays, when your prospect gets to the site, there should either be a pop-up, banners or both on your landing page to let the visitor know their 10% off has been applied.  Show the promotion prominently in the cart by bolding it and making it a striking color so that your customers are reassured that you are delivering on your promise.

#5 Understand the Needs of Gift Giving

There are different methods and copy to use to categorize your merchandise as a gift in your holiday e-mail.  You can feature items as things to prepare for a holiday party, by gender, color, or price.  REI does a good job promoting gifts by price category in their holiday e-mail.  Notice how they also use incentives for people who are compulsive shoppers to make a purchase, by featuring that shoppers only have ‘three days left.’  They also offer a gift center to help you find the perfect gift at any price.REI Gifts to Fit Any Budget + Winter Sale Ends Monday

What are you doing to reach out to your prospects this holiday?  Do you find an e-mail campaign strategy to be helpful?  Do you feel like your e-mails are a waste of effort because they are never opened or do not bring converting customers to your site?  We would love to help you optimize your e-mail campaign to help you increase your ROI, just get in touch with us!

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Comments (6)

  1. Solid information, I learned something new about mailing, and I thought I knew it all, thanks Mariel!

  2. It’s a shame we’re a bit too late to use most of this stuff for 2011.

    But I’m already scheming for next holiday season.

    This is great information, thank you for sharing it.

  3. Great post. I am definitely going to try some of these ideas in my own email marketing campaigns. Thanks for the post!

  4. Thanks for the insight. Providing them with a category or price range of products makes sense and provides the exact value of the offer. My sister’s site has tons of emails from selling on ebay, but not sure how to promote their newer products. Now, I have a neat trick.

  5. Hi Mariel,
    you wrote a very good and detailed article. The newsletter is a valuable communication tool and we can use it to investigate some issues, to introduce new products or services, but I think it is very important being careful not to turn it into an advertising catalog or in a continuously updated list.

  6. Great tips.
    Its also worth to remember before making a newsletter draft to use continually. (what most smaller companies are doing)

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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