Make e-mail marketing the linchpin of holiday planning

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Ed Henrich, SVP, professional services, Responsys
Ed Henrich, SVP, professional services, Responsys

This year's holiday shopping season will be another tough one for retailers. Marketers have more channels than ever for sending out promotions, but e-mail remains the linchpin of integrated digital marketing programs. Many retailers will see increases in attribution to e-mail, as marketers fine-tune frequency and the most engaged customers get more relevant messages.

More retailers will send daily campaigns. The smart ones will figure out who will respond or else they'll end up making less money due to deliverability problems.

Marketers have to think hard about where and how they spend their budgets. E-mail again is the answer, because it beats other marketing channels for ROI and remains the most popular way for consumers to receive promotions.

Several strategies can help achieve a stronger e-mail program going into the fourth quarter:

Review what you learned from your 2009 holiday campaigns. Refresh your memory about what worked and what did not. Make adjustments to your campaign plans based on those findings and monitor the results to compare each tactic year by year.

Improve your list health with appropriate frequency. Review the activity of your mailing list and come up with an appropriate frequency based on level of engagement. Increase frequency to the engaged customers; decrease or suppress inactive customers; and target based on behavior to get the most out of your list.

Cross-pollinate your e-mail and social networks. Understand that even though many of your e-mail subscribers probably also tune in to your tweets and fan pages, they likely want different things from different channels. The most obvious way to integrate these channels is to post a benefit-driven e-mail invitation on every social network landing page you have, and likewise to link prominently to your social networks in your e-mail messages with either share or join links.

Consider how you can differentiate the experiences. What can someone get from your Facebook page that they can't get in your e-mail?

Savvy marketers are discovering that they can create a strong marketing program when they integrate e-mail with other channels, such as search and social networks, to connect with more prospects and customers and drive higher sales, revenue and engagement.

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