Email Best Practices That Fall on the Naughty—and Nice—List

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A new survey reveals sales and discounts are the belles of the ball this year.

Everything goes out the window when it comes to holiday shopping. Apparently, that includes email best practices, too.

According to the annual holiday marketing survey from Strongview and Selligent, the lion's share of the nearly 300 email marketers surveyed plan to focus, primarily, on promotional messaging and basic tactics and eschew core programs such as cart abandonment during this winter holiday season.

“Marketers are falling into the trap of shouting to their customers to be heard over the noise of the frenzied holiday season,” said Andre Lejeune, CEO of Selligent. "They are missing the opportunity to use the holidays to build relationships with customers by being more relevant than their competitors. Marketers that align their holiday email activities with their longer term strategic goals will get the most bang for their buck.”

Sixty-three percent of marketers selected promotion of sales and discounts as their top program for the holidays, while 80% listed these markdowns as one of their top three programs. In addition, both cross-sell and product recommendations earned second and third places in a landslide, with fewer than 10% selecting either as a primary focus. 

In addition, only a fraction of marketers listed cart abandonment (23%) and post purchase (26%) as one of their top three areas of focus this holiday season.

However, advertisers do plan to use some targeting to beef up their promotional messaging. About two out of five (39%) marketers listed segmentation and targeting as their top tactic for the holidays, while more than half (56%) listed it in their top three. Conversely, more advanced tactics like open-time personalization (21%), offer testing (21%), and video in email (11%) failed to capture the masses.

When it comes to growth, however, email remains strong. Half of marketers say they increased their email marketing budget for the 2016 holiday season compared to only 1.5% that are decreasing it, with the rest planned to stay the same.

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