Yeah, we know -- you’re barely over the Christmas season and now you have to get ready for the spring holiday cycle.
And quite a cycle it is. April is the best month for email engagement, with many opportunities between Easter, April Fool’s Day, Earth Day and the end of the tax season. (Need we say it, the season is preceded by Valentine’s Day and President’s Day).
So get ready. And here to help you are some tips from SendGrid:
The most popular day for engagement is Sunday — This can vary during long holiday weekends, when people are more likely to engage on Monday.
Timing your messages is challenging over long holiday weekends — so email early. Early bird brands that sent messages two days before Valentine’s Day faced 80% less competition in the inbox, SendGrid reports.
Avoid spam complaints by re-engaging — Don’t launch your holiday campaigns before taking stock of both engaged and unengaged recipients. Brands email more during holidays — you don’t want to end up with spam complaints.
Don’t assume that unengaged subscribers will be open the same volume of email as engaged ones. Send a re-engagement email to see who is still interested.
One tactic is to send a slow, constant drip of re-engagement emails long before the holiday — that could tell you the appropriate frequency and volume. In addition, create segments based on the age of the last engagement.
Keep your list well-segmented and up to date — You shouldn’t overreach during holidays — the key is to send engaging content, and live up to your recipient’s mailing expectations.
Create an unsubscribe preference center that allows consumers to decide if they want to opt out completely, or only decrease the frequency or subscribe to specific content.
SendGrid urges you to “have confidence in what you know about your recipients and your content.”
Timing is key — The best practice is to send your holiday emails ahead of the event, SendGrid advises. But most holiday emails are sent on the actual day — for instance, most Labor Day emails went out on Labor Day last year, and it was the same with Cyber Monday.
In fact, SendGrid sent a record 2.9 billion emails on Cyber Monday 2018.
So when should you send? It doesn’t pay to go out too early in the morning, when your email may get buried under other messages. Sending in the evening increases your opening time to almost eight hours. That said, emails with time-sensitive deals should hit before the peak engagement time of 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Don’t overstate the obvious — Emails with “Cyber Monday” or “Black Friday” in the subject line performed drastically worse than those without, SendGrid found.
Test more creative lines — like ones that leverage segment-specific interests and purchase behavior — or deliver a compelling value proposition.
Skip the heart emojis on Valentine’s Day — SendGrid says the “holiday is cheesy enough as it is!” Emojis in the subject line depressed engagement around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you really must have them, do an A/B test.
Also, remember that emojis do not render the same on every device — on some, they may not render at all. That will make the message look spammy, as will symbols such as %, # and !.
Here are a few more well-timed tips:
Stop telling your customers what to do — that means avoiding words like “NOW” and “!!!!”s in your holiday campaigns.
Test more calls-to-action, using multiple CTAs in one email instead of putting them into separate messages.
Two to three will usually grab the attention of late-minute shoppers.
Hey, it’s a holiday — make your emails feel like a gift, not a burden.
Okay. You’ve put in late nights and weekends getting ready for April, but you’re not done. The second-biggest-spending holiday is right around the corner: Mother’s Day. In general, the same best practices apply.
But remember: Use of discounts in subject lines fell to 6% last year, compared to 15% in 2017. That probably reflects lower engagement.
Subject lines should be four words or less. If you need to say more, use the preview text.