Tis the Season to Start Your Holiday Email Planning

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Joanna Lawson-Matthew, senior account manager at Blue Sky Factory, discusses steps for planning your holiday email campaigns, creative ideas that will make subscribers take notice, and key best practices to keep in mind during this busy season.

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Tis the Season to Start Your Holiday Email Planning

  1. 1. Blue Sky Factory Driving Email Marketing Performance ‘Tis the Season to Start Planning Your Holiday Email Campaigns September 2, 2009 2:00 to 2:45 PM Baltimore, Maryland Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  2. 2. About Blue Sky Factory Blue Sky Factory is both a full & self service ESP. Design, execute, and track your email marketing communications with Publicaster. www.blueskyfactory.com Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  3. 3. The Holidays are Approaching! 90% of major online retailers increase their email volume during the holiday season1 The most popular email days of 2008 came in the weeks before Christmas, with #1 being Cyber Monday1 1 Smith-Harmon “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  4. 4. Our Agenda 1. Plan: Getting Started with your Holiday Campaigns 2. Be Creative: Ideas to Cut Through the Clutter 3. Get Results: Suggestions for Delivering Optimal Results 4. Best Practices: Tips to Remember During the Hustle and Bustle 5. Q & A Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  5. 5. Plan Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  6. 6. A Few Decisions to Make • What will be the main call-to-action of your campaigns? • Will you design the emails in-house or outsource? • What are your goals for this year’s holiday campaigns? • How will you measure success this year? Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  7. 7. Planning Your Creative • Brainstorm creative ideas now • Get suggestions from all departments • Offer a prize for the winning idea • Review other companies’ holiday campaigns from last year for ideas Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  8. 8. Review Last Year’s Campaigns • What worked, what didn’t work • Which campaigns got the highest/lowest: • Open rate, Click through rate • Conversion rate, Forward rate • Unsubscribe/Complaint rate • What day(s) did you send on? Was that successful? • What did your competitors do? Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  9. 9. On average, retailers began their 2008 holiday campaigns 67 days before Christmas, which was nine days earlier than during the 2007 holiday season1 1 Smith-Harmon “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  10. 10. Develop a Schedule • Plan frequency and number of campaigns • Develop a start date, based on internal due dates • Work backwards, leaving time for testing • Review your schedule with other departments’ email schedules so there is not a clash Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  11. 11. Be Creative Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  12. 12. Timing is Everything • Promote early bird specials to encourage subscribers to shop early • Create urgency closer to the holiday • Only X more days until Christmas! • Guaranteed shipping by X date • Create a countdown (e.g. 12 Days of Christmas) Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  13. 13. Timing is Everything - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  14. 14. Retail-Specific Ideas • Give your recipients “insider status”, special deals just for them • Daily/weekly sale item just for email subscribers • Option to forward, encourage others to sign up • Triggered emails for abandoned shopping carts Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  15. 15. Retail-Specific Ideas - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  16. 16. A Little Help for the Holidays • Showcase gift ideas by budget, gender and age • Make their decisions easier by presenting gift items together • Promote the “most popular” gift items • Link them to friends/family wish lists Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  17. 17. A Little Help for the Holidays - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  18. 18. Be a Holiday Resource • Ideas for “holidays on a budget” • Eco-friendly holiday purchases & gift ideas • Relevant holiday tips, how-to guides • Cooking, recipes • How to stay healthy this holiday • Guide to a stress-free holiday • Travel tips • Party planning Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  19. 19. Spread the Love • Make your emails viral, encourage sharing • Forward to a Friend, Share With Your Network • Give a “family & friend” discount, reward for referring a friend • Prompt subscribers to submit their own holiday tips, recipes, money-saving ideas, best traditions • Be interactive by showcasing a game, quiz, survey • Offer free downloads, like wallpaper or a music mix Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  20. 20. Spread the Love - example http://www.g1440.com/holiday08/ Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  21. 21. Spread the Love - example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBntR_5JIoo Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  22. 22. Don’t Forget About Me • 80% of adults shopping for holiday gifts also buy something for themselves1, so incorporate “Don’t forget something for yourself” into your emails • Prompt subscribers to create a wish list and share with family & friends 1 Return Path, “Boost Holiday Email Responses: Give Subscribers What They Want” webinar, 2007 Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  23. 23. Take Time to Say “Thanks” • Not always about the hard sell • Use the holidays to show your appreciation and further build the relationship • Get your subscribers in the holiday mood with caroling, holiday jokes, fun facts Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  24. 24. Take Time to Say “Thanks” - example Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  25. 25. Take Time to Say “Thanks” - example Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  26. 26. Post-Holiday Emails • Don’t forget to follow-up with subscribers after the holidays • Survey buyers about their purchases • Complement their holiday purchases with accessories • Encourage gift card redemption • Spend your holiday cash (gifts for you) Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  27. 27. Post-Holiday Emails – example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  28. 28. Other Creative Ideas • Think outside the box (e.g. horizontal scroll) • Send a series of emails to tell a story, tied together with similar creative • Keep your normal email template, but add a holiday header/footer • Differentiate your brand from the clutter - stand out through design, timing or offers • Use subscriber profile info to personalize emails Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  29. 29. Other Creative Ideas - example 2650 pixels wide Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  30. 30. Other Creative Ideas - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  31. 31. Other Creative Ideas - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  32. 32. Other Creative Ideas - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  33. 33. Other Creative Ideas - example Smith-Harmon, “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  34. 34. A Few Things to Keep in Mind • Speak the language of your subscribers, maintain tone • Keep the economic times in mind • Holiday content must be relevant • Balance between offer and value-added content Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  35. 35. Get Results Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  36. 36. 45.2% of consumers open an email because of the subject line1 1 Return Path's Fourth Annual Holiday Email Consumer Survey, 2008 Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  37. 37. Holiday Subject & From Lines • Your subject line should: • Reflect the email’s content • Break through the clutter • Create urgency • Alternatives to “Free Shipping” in the subject line • Use recognizable brand name in subject line and from name/address Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  38. 38. Ensure Your Lists are Top-Notch • Make sure only true opt-in subscribers are included in your email campaigns • Identify non-responders in your lists and run a re- engagement campaign now • Segment list based on activity/engagement • Holiday specific opt-in list Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  39. 39. In 2008 retailers increased their send volumes on average by 43% during the holiday email season1 1 Retail Email Blog, “Retail Email Index” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  40. 40. Frequency Considerations • Remember the expectations regarding frequency you set up front with your subscribers • Consider setting up a separate opt-in just for the holidays • Use a preference center to set expectations about messaging and frequency, give options • Set up a holiday unsubscribe option Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  41. 41. Timing Considerations Smith-Harmon “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  42. 42. Is Your Reputation Jolly? • Take the time now to make sure your IP reputation is in good standing, work with your ESP • Ensure you are subscribed to all available Feedback Loops • Set up authentication records (Sender ID, SPF, Domain Keys) • For more on authentication, visit our blog: http://blog.blueskyfactory.com/industrytrends/three-ways-to-improve-email-deliverability/ Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  43. 43. Best Practices Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  44. 44. Check Your Email Creative • Take the time now to ensure your email renders well across all email clients • Plan for blocked images, use of preview pane • Ensure your call-to-action is prominent (5 second test) • Offer a mobile version of your email • Add SWYN features to your email creative Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  45. 45. Be Sure to Include… • Snippet text & View in Browser link • Alt tags on all images • Opt-out link, subscriber preferences link • Physical mailing address • Email Design Guidelines: http://www.blueskyfactory.com/resources/BSFEmailDesignGuidelines.pdf Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  46. 46. Final Tips to Succeed this Holiday • Test, test, test • Subject lines • Offers, calls-to-action • Timing, date/time • Landing pages • Creative aspects • Use this holiday to plan for next holiday • Subscribe to your competitors' emails to generate ideas for next year Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  47. 47. Questions? Thank You! Q&A – please submit your questions now Joanna Lawson-Matthew Account Manager, Blue Sky Factory joanna@blueskyfactory.com www.blueskyfactory.com - web blog.blueskyfactory.com – blog @blueskyfactory, @joannalm - twitter Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory
  48. 48. Credits Many of the statistics and images you saw in this presentation were provided to us by Smith-Harmon. Please check out their “The Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season” report, written by Chad White, here: http://www.smith-harmon.com/ Copyright 2009 Blue Sky Factory

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