Holiday Planning: Your Holiday Email Strategy
Let holiday planning begin - email style. The next few weeks of episodes are intended to serve as your guide in building an effective and engaging holiday email strategy. What you will need to get started today is:
- A planning sheet & calendar
- Your historical data from previous campaigns & holiday emails
We're focusing today on setting the foundation - clear, attainable goals, KPIs that will guide success, and planning.
If you have any questions after listening, send them my way to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Holiday Planning: Your Holiday Email Strategy
We are ready to roll, focusing on holiday planning. We need to begin if you already haven't. I hope you can use this episode as a guide to keeping you on track as your email plan comes to life. It should be fun and productive. Before we dive in, we've got a great new membership getting ready to launch on October 1st, 2021. This membership is a place for business owners and marketing leaders to come for the latest and greatest education for email marketing.
With our membership, you can expect monthly goal setting and planning workshops, a monthly masterclass with milestones, hands-on activities, and takeaways, access to the masterclass library to re-watch or jump into a topic of interest at any time, monthly virtual meet-ups, live coaching calls, Instagram Live, ongoing support from our E-Society Strategy Squad Networking community via the Facebook group and tons of bonus materials.
In this episode, we are going to focus on Holiday Email Strategy Note. Make sure you are creating some planning and tracking doc for your holiday season. We will start there as a basic. There are three things we are going to go over. First is it all starts with clear, attainable goals. Firstly, you want to start broad and get specific.
Your goals determine the purpose of your campaign or what exactly you want to achieve. Therefore, it's important to be specific as possible when setting them. Think about what the overall aim of your campaign is. For instance, maybe it's to increase your open rate, click-through rate, or promote a special holiday discount. Once you have established an overall purpose, break them down into specific, measurable goals, the more targeted, the better.
Defining your goals is key for determining the overall performance and purpose of your campaign.
If you have precise and measurable goals, it will be much easier to structure your campaign to meet those goals and evaluate your results to understand how successful it was. For example, if your goal is to increase your click-through rate, set a specific percentage to increase a buy. Other goals that you can consider for your campaign could be increasing your open rate by 15%, 30% of subscribers using your holiday discount code, and increasing traffic to a specific page by 50%. No two campaigns are similar to such set goals that are relevant and important to your business.
Remember, besides Black Friday specifically and Cyber Monday, which probably will be revenue generators, those are going to be important to look back as far as two years to see what your email channel contributed. Did it contribute 30% or 15% of the revenue? For those two, you are going to want to come up with a percentage of revenue likely. Putting an entire dollar amount on email can be pretty difficult to narrow in on, so make sure you look for that percentage.
There are so many other days around the holidays that we still want to capitalize on, and doing some increases in open rates can be great because it takes the open rate to get the click-through rate to get the revenue. You can still focus. You don't always have to have the whole holiday season focused specifically on revenue. It's healthy to have some of these other goals, especially the one around subscribers using your discount codes. Think about those and go from there. From there, you will want to identify KPIs and track them closely.
What are your Key Performance Indicators? Pin down the KPIs that are important and relevant to your campaign and follow them closely. For email marketing, the common metrics to follow are open, click-through, unsubscribe and bounce rates. Open rates allow us to know that we are moving from that click-through rate to revenue. Unsubscribe rates are significant because they allow us to see if our message did not work very well or are losing too many people.
Maybe that blast mentality, if we haven't appropriately segmented, is causing the unsubscribe rates. You do want to look at bounce rates because your list is only as good as the quality. If your list has been in there for a while, a lot of these emails could be no longer active, so you want to look at the bounce rate and bring new leads in, especially if you purchase the list. These are some things you want to keep track of. I know I talked about it in our testing episode. It would help if you had a datasheet at this point. You should be able to heat map and understand if there are any dips.
These should continuously be tracked to help you understand how well your message gets across your subscribers and how readers react to your creative. There will probably be additional figures that go beyond the standard email marketing KPIs you want to follow for your holiday campaigns. You might have a holiday sales page on your website or offer a special discount code. In this case, your KPIs to track could be the number of visits to that holiday page section, the number of sales from these visits, and several times the discount code was used for the sale. Please make sure the results of each of your offers are measured closely so you can analyze their performance once your campaign has concluded.
I will say one other thing to note here in the strategy section. If you have a couple of emails in which you are promoting a specific product or product collection, it is important to make a goal to say, “I'm hoping that 50% of the purchases are of this product.” You can then go and look at the conversions and say, “Out of this email, only 10% bought the product that I was pushing.” That's another way of thinking about this. Once you have set your attainable goals, the most important part, you need to start reviewing the past. First, you will want to learn from your testing log.
Hopefully, you have been testing for a while now. At a minimum, you should have your best send times and the best day of the week, and perhaps some winning subject line formulas and template designs. Take those and get them into the stock so that you have them ahead of creating your content. They are going to be part of your plan. Once you understand your send times, you will send on a specific timer on a certain range. Don't go against that just because it's Black Friday, and you know everybody is getting their emails out at 12:00 AM or 6:00 AM.
If your best send time is 6:00 PM, also follow your subject line formulas. You will want to look at your top performers to your least performing subject line formulas and start to understand which ones make sense for certain days. Which ones might you use for a resend? Learning from your testing log is important and carrying those winners over to your planning doc is also key. The other learning from the past is that you want to learn from your Christmas or holiday past results.
For example, when we use analytics tools inside of our ESP, they give us an overview of KPIs from your send campaigns and let you compare results and create those benchmarks, especially in that datasheet. Keep the data from your previous campaigns in mind and set new goals to blow old results out of the water.
Defining your goals is key for determining the overall performance and purpose of your campaign, for identifying the KPIs to be tracked, to use for evaluating the outcome, and learning from your results. It's a crucial step in creating a successful email campaign. Be sure to put time and thought into the process. The best part about having an ESP is that you can pull the historical data for whatever reason you have not started your benchmark sheet to date. I recommend you pull the last 90 days of 2021 and go back as far as possible to pull your previous two years of holiday data.
Once that's done, the last step is to mark those calendars. Once you have set your goals and know what has and has not worked from the past, it is time to mark those calendars. Begin to sketch out when you may send certain emails. If you are doing the Twelve Days of Christmas approach, make sure you are sketching out what you will offer if you have a promo and what the promos will be for that day.
If you are working on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday, let's get those slated into the calendar to launch at your best send time and start to think through, A) What will you be offering? B) What is the promo needed, and then C) Do resends make sense here? Are you going to do an extension? These three steps will serve as your blueprint moving forward from here.
Next episode, we are going to tackle getting your database ready for the big day. Make sure to have your leads and customers separated at the very least. If you have any questions as your work through this initial phase, send them my way to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time. Happy emailing, folks.