There is a lot of interesting new research highlighting what a fantastic year 2011 has been for email marketing, with data showing that it has been considerably better than last year. According to Chad White of Responsys, marketers should view this as a sign of an even more lucrative holiday season than 2010. Sure, we’re only approaching back to school time now, but it is never too early to start thinking about how you will take advantage of the biggest shopping season of the year. Besides, advanced planning means you will be prepared for the chaotic rush that typically accompanies the holiday season.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you create a winning email marketing strategy for late 2011:
Get to Planning
Right now is actually the perfect time to start planning your holiday email marketing initiatives. After all, mapping out the themes, offers and promotions you want to incorporate takes time, and the more you give yourself, the better. The exact details of that plan will depend on the specifics of your business, but if you’re selling something, it should definitely account for customer service. Don’t underestimate the importance here because the level of support you provide can make or break you during the holidays. From the budget to the help desk, a considerate and well drawn strategy will be the key to a winning email marketing plan.
Launch Early, but Not Too Early
Many email marketers will start deploying their holiday campaigns in November to cash in on the frenzy of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This is common in many industries, and there is nothing wrong with it, but there is also nothing stopping you from launching your program earlier. In October, you can begin slowly by doing things like teasing holiday offers and giving your audience a preview of what you have in store. By the time you are ready to launch full force, eager subscribers may be ready to deal as well.
What’s a good start without a strong finish? As the holiday season wraps up, you want to make sure you’re on top of responding to inquiries, honoring special offers, fulfilling orders and anything else associated with your campaigns that will define you in the eyes of your customers or subscribers and make them anticipate the year to come. Take this time to give back to your audience by thanking them for their support with personalized holiday greeting cards. The end of the holiday season is usually the most profitable, but whether customers are still spending with you around this time will depend on how you close out your program.
Do It All Over Again
The big shopping season may come to a close after Christmas, but the holiday marketing opportunities never end. In January we’ve got New Year’s Day, which kicks off 12 more months of occasions and events that can be used to build your campaigns around. With the right approach, effective holiday marketing could become a year-round thing for your business.