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Email Checklist: Countdown to the Holidays

 In Checklists and Cheet Sheets, Email Marketing

This holiday season will certainly be much different from other years. Most big store retailers will be closing stores and focusing on online sales only and email marketing is going to be a big part of that so make sure you’re ready! Here are some tips and things you should be doing during this time:

Brainstorming

Put together a list of offers you can provide. Some great ideas for sales are:

  • % off a category of items
  • $ off when they buy $$
  • Tiered sales: $10 off $50, $25 off $100, $50 off $200 etc.
  • Buy One Get X
  • Free item or shipping when you buy over $$
  • Additional discounts for future purchase
  • Adding free product personalization
  • Earn points or discounts depending on purchase amount

Put together a list of things to focus your email on besides just a sale/offer. This is especially helpful if you discount isn’t very high. Here are some email ideas:

  • Last minute gifts
  • “Quick ship” items
  • Products that can be personalized or customized
  • Feature holiday specific products
  • Blog/article about product line/category
  • Pre-holiday campaign (Order before [DATE] to receive in time for [HOLIDAY NAME]

It’s more than just sales:

  • Take this opportunity to update or switch out your pop-ups to collect email addresses and increase your subscription base. “Get updated when our holiday sale is live!” “Get a sneak peak now!”
  • Write or revive a blog – if you donated a portion of sales or did something great in the past, continue doing it and let the world know. Or simple write a blog thanking customers and partners for building your business and taking it to where you are now. Holidays are about being thankful and not just about sales.
  • Equip your customer service team with ways to improve customer experience. Review issues from previous years and brainstorm on how you can prevent that from happening this year.

Make sure to plan out when emails will go out as well! You want to find a balance between “not enough emails” and “too many emails”.

  • Depending on the length of your sale, what you’re offering and the contacts you’re emailing, you may want to consider setting up an automated flow of emails (ie: if they open the email but don’t buy, remind them X days later; if they don’t open the email, send them another email X days later; if they make a purchase don’t send any more emails for X days, etc.)

Create a calendar for your presales, holiday sale dates, and make sure to include the following:

  • Which are the biggest sale dates?
  • What are you offering? Discount? Coupon? Freebie?
  • How can people find out about the sales?
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Paid Ads
  • SMS

Make sure to plan out when emails will go out as well! You want to find a balance between “not enough emails” and “too many emails”.

  • Depending on the length of your sale, what you’re offering and the contacts you’re emailing, you may want to consider setting up an automated flow of emails (ie: if they open the email but don’t buy, remind them X days later; if they don’t open the email, send them another email X days later; if they make a purchase don’t send any more emails for X days, etc.)

Things to keep in mind when setting up your emails:

  • The first thing people will look at is the subject line.
  • Come up with catchy subject lines
  • Include emojis to get readers attentions
  • Tell readers what your best offer is (or keep it mysterious!)
  • Personalize your subject line with their first name or if you collect browse information, tell them that a product they’ve been looking at is on sale.

Preheaders are important! They give insight into what the reader will be opening and gives you extra space to entice the reader to open the email.

Keep your emails short and sweet. Readers don’t have time to scroll through the entire email. Make sure to keep the important stuff on the top 1/3 of the email.

Make sure emails (and your website) are mobile optimized. Many readers will be shopping on their mobile devices and if the email or website is hard to read or navigate, they may just skip over it and move on to the next. When designing for mobile:

  • Choose to hide elements that aren’t important
  • Make the sale and call to action buttons the main focus
  • Direct readers to product or category/sale pages and not just the home page

Add a countdown timer. This creates a sense of urgency and lets people know that there’s not much time left to catch this deal.

Invest in some graphics and photography. A picture is worth a thousand words. Whether you buy stock images or take photos from your phone, or hire a professional, photos and graphics grab the readers attention and increase traffic to your site. Animated gifs work really well too!

Don’t forget about existing automated emails. Emails like your Welcome email, Browse and Cart abandonment, order confirmations, etc. may need to be looked at.

  • Create a separate version for the holidays so that your existing discounts don’t overlap your upcoming sales.
  • Include banners to remind them of holiday sales offers that may be more than, better than or combined with welcome/cart/browse offers. (This will need some thinking and deciding on what you want to offer/include.)
  • Update some visuals to add holiday feels.
  • Make sure to add any notices about holiday shipping may be delays or store hours.