Practical Ecommerce

5 Email Marketing Errors to Avoid This Holiday Season

Email marketing is crucial for most ecommerce retailers during the all-important holiday shopping season. But misuse of email can irritate subscribers. It can spur unsubscribes and greatly reduce the overall return of your email efforts.

Here are five email marketing mistakes to avoid this holiday season.

1. Using a Haphazard Frequency

After Halloween I notice an increase in the volume of emails I receive. This is to be expected as holiday marketing is ramping up. I receive emails from brands that I have not heard from in some time. I also receive more emails from brands that I do hear from regularly.

However, a merchant’s holiday email frequency should not be haphazard. It should, instead, mimic the merchant’s sales cycle. If November and December are your largest revenue months, they should also be your highest volume months for email marketing.

There are, however, two instances to be careful about. First, avoid sending multiple emails on the same day to the same person. Sending multiple marketing emails — versus transactional emails — in one day can backfire and create unsubscribes.

Second, if the holidays are not your busiest season, don’t increase your frequency just because other brands are. Keep your loyal subscribers from unsubscribing.

2. Too Much Segmentation

Segmentation is a powerful tool for email marketing. It allows you to group like-minded subscribers together and send relevant messaging based on a common characteristic. Effective segmentation can lead to higher open rates, click rates, and conversions.

But over-segmenting can cause problems. Depending on your process, individuals may fall into multiple segments, leading to subscribers receiving multiple emails during the same deployment.

This happened to me recently as I received two emails on the same day from Harry & David, the seller of gourmet foods.

Harry & David mistakenly included a subscriber in two segments of the same email deployment.

Harry & David mistakenly included a subscriber in two segments of the same email deployment.

Harry & David apparently did not de-duplicate email addresses between the two segments. If you are using email segmentation, make sure that the groups are unique, with email addresses appearing in just one segment.

You can prevent a single subscriber receiving multiple messages in a short time by applying a universal frequency setting — say one email every 12 hours — across your entire database. Many email delivery platforms have this feature.

3. Being Too Cautious

Compelling offers, attractive products, and stellar customer service will help your business this holiday season. Getting email subscribers to open, click, and purchase can be a hurdle, however.

Competition in the email inbox is fierce. If your customers are loyal, which most are, sometimes it takes trying new approaches to get their attention. Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Emojis can attract the attention of subscribers by highlighting an email in their inbox.
  • Pre-header text can extend your subject line message with a creative and enticing offer.
  • Changing the “From” line can break up the monotony, especially if it’s been the same for years. Consider a variation of your brand, a change in punctuation, or a new name entirely.
  • Clever messaging can help brands that typically use serious and professional messaging. Adding some humor and fun can get your subscribers’ attention.
Return Path, an email optimization firm, used music emojis in this email subject line. The pre-header — "You gotta let us know" — was catchy, too.

Return Path, an email optimization firm, used music emojis in this email subject line. The pre-header — “You gotta let us know” — was catchy, too.

4. Overlooking Shipping Deadlines

Many shoppers procrastinate, waiting until last minute, seemingly, to take action. Help shoppers overcome procrastination by reminding them via email of shipping deadlines. These reminders can go out on the same day of the deadline, with hours left to order.

This email from The Wall Street Journal Wine Club reminds recipients of the deadline: "Order by 5pm ET for Thanksgiving Delivery."

This email from The Wall Street Journal Wine Club reminds recipients of the deadline: “Order by 5pm ET for Thanksgiving Delivery.”

5. Ignoring Lapsed Customers

Because an customer has not ordered in a year or two does not mean she will never order again. Do not overlook the potential of lapsed customers. Include them in your email communications this holiday season.

For example, I haven’t ordered from Creative Irish Gifts in over three years. But the company still includes me in its holiday email promotions. It’s a smart strategy. The company realizes that I may order a gift again, but it does not bombard me with emails during other times of the year.

In short, include lapsed customers in holiday emails, but limit their frequency during the year.

Creative Irish Gifts sends this holiday-themed email to lapsed customers. But it does not email those customers during the rest of the year, which makes sense given the infrequency of their purchases.

Creative Irish Gifts sends this holiday-themed email to lapsed customers. But it does not email those customers during the rest of the year, which makes sense given the infrequency of their purchases.

 

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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  1. Edgar@garagegymplanner November 25, 2016 Reply

    Great Read Carolyn! I do the third mistake often. This article will help me to overcome that. :)