Don’t use holidays as an excuse to flood your customer’s inbox

Valentine’s Day is a favorite holiday for e-mail marketers. Scheduled reminders are highly effective, targeting is fairly easy and e-commerce is the perfect place for last-minute gifts. However, that doesn’t give us the right — or the need — to bombard subscribers with unrelenting e-mails with deals and offers until they buy.

Use subscriber profile data to customize the offer. Gender and relationship status are obvious targeting criteria, but also consider using Web-browsing activity for the type of gift and offer that the subscriber has expressed interest in. Also, consider launching a separate program around holiday offers, allowing consumers to opt out of just one stream rather than having to opt-out of the entire program during frequent mailings.

You can also create a customized landing page that has the same special feel of your offer, with recommended products that pair well with it.

Use action-oriented subject lines, testing them whenever possible. There will be a lot of Valentine’s Day e-mails in users’ inboxes, so make sure yours stands out among the clutter. Keep an eye on engagement with Valentine’s e-mails over time. If the subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked after three messages, switch up the offer or stop mailing to them if the message isn’t resonating.

Don’t use holidays as an excuse to over-mail your audience. Although the relative cost efficiencies of the channel make it tempting to overuse, consider the high opportunity cost of losing customers forever by barraging them with irrelevant or unwanted holiday offers.

Don’t wait until the last minute to plan holiday programs. Your subscribers will be procrastinating, but you shouldn’t put off scheduling and setting up triggers for campaigns to go out. Think about the next holiday as well as the current one.

Lastly, it’s your relationship with subscribers that matters. Use e-mail to get the message out and help your customers find the gifts they need. However, like any other good e-mail campaign, make sure it is timely, relevant and reflective of the relationship you have with your subscribers.

This article originally ran as part of the February 15, 2010 Technique, “Pump up e-commerce beyond Christmas.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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