The Holiday season is just around the corner, yay! Black Friday and Christmas are coming to town and the winter sales season will kick in right after… It’s peak time for shopping, therefore peak time for your marketing strategy.
You want to make the most of the festive season, so you’re ready to use email marketing to the fullest and ensure you’re reaching everyone… That’s when you hear a little voice inside your head, reminding you about this list you purchased in a previous life (back when you were an accidental spammer – it’s happened to the best of us). So you start thinking about recycling it…. Sure, your list is going to grow by 10 times overnight… but will that really grow your revenues?
The answer is no. And we really don’t want to be a Grinch here, but the Holiday Season is a very special time, when email lists tend to go slightly crazy… Not to mention what happens afterwards, when the risks of observing a peak in bounces and unsubscribe rates are high.
But if you get opt in right, you’ll ensure you get new customers that want to stay with you, both during the festive season and for the rest of your life. Don’t worry, it’s not thaaat difficult.
Once Upon A Time, There Was… The Precious Contact List
Your contact list is the first thing that you need to set up in order to send emails. There are many ways to get contacts; some of them are perfectly legal ? (collecting addresses on your website) while others, not so much ? (purchasing lists from third parties).
People often fear that their lists are too small, so they look for ways to grow them exponentially: recruiting old customers who they haven’t interacted with for years, paying third parties for lead generation, using email IDs collected through social media without using an opt-in widget, etc. Most people think that the bigger the contact list, the more people they’ll drive to their website and the more customers will eventually buy their stuff.
The temptation of adding contacts at any costs is pretty big, we know. But we’re here to ask you something important…
The first reason is that through a proper opt-in process, you are basically making sure that people wish to receive your emails. Which means that people are interested in your brand and what it has to offer. This is precisely the key to ensure that they don’t abandon you right after Christmas, once they’re over their CSD (compulsive shopping disorder, that is). You don’t want to be dumped just after Christmas Eve, right?
And that’s not it. Opt in is good, but what’s even better is to ask them twice through a double opt-in process. If you don’t use the double opt in, some fake email IDs might sneak into your contact base, damaging your email reputation and your overall deliverability. You can also add a CAPTCHA form in the signup process to keep those nasty spambots away.
It’s important to understand what’s at stake here: your credibility as an honest sender. Not using opt in makes you a spammer pretty much all over the world, and once you’re flagged as a bad sender, it’s hard to come back from the dark side. Besides, the overall health of your contact list also depends on how strong your relationship with your customers is: be sure to create a long-lasting bond with them if you really want to grow your revenues. Customers’ loyalty will pay off.
We want you to stay on Santa’s Nice List even after Christmas, so let’s see how to get opt in right.
How To Properly Do Email Opt In
Consider that setting up a new contact is like adopting a puppy: sure, they’re cute when they’re young and fluffy, but you want to bond with them in the long run too..
(OK, maybe not this puppy…)
To ensure that, follow these three simple steps:
- Add subscription widgets pretty much everywhere (but don’t pre-check them, that’s actually a forced opt in and can lead to poor deliverability)
- Once your users subscribe, reach out and ask them to confirm they want to receive your news via email by clicking on your double opt-in link. Even if this is a transactional email, make sure it looks amazing so that people can’t resist clicking the confirmation link, and that your brand identity is immediately recognizable.
- Send your new users a great welcome email (or even better: an automated welcome series), to let them know what they’re going to receive and allow them to set their email preferences.
A good example by Groupon
Ta-da! Now you have a great new companion ready to follow you wherever you go. But just in case they get tired of you (we know you’re awesome and it won’t happen), don’t forget to leave the door open for a potential exit by adding an unsubscribe link at the end of your messages. Better alone than in bad company.
How To Deal With Christmas… And The Aftermath
You’re probably planning on increasing your sending frequency during the Holiday season. That’s fine, but in order to keep your new contacts for life and not just for Christmas, make sure you’re aligned with their expectations and you adjust your sending over time according to their preferences. Some of your contacts might have been very happy to receive your campaigns full of gift ideas and discounts everyday in December, but may not be as happy to see their inbox flooded in January.
Besides, if your contacts just joined your email list to make the most of your festive promotions, you don’t really know what they’ll be interested in once the holidays are over. So why not use a simple survey to ask them how often they want to hear from you, and what type of content they’d prefer to read? Use segmentation to create lists that will target different groups of recipients according to their preferences..
Don’t forget to work on your content in order to provide great added value to the readers and ensure that they’ll keep opening your emails even when your Christmas offers are over. This will keep your users engaged and stop them from clicking on that dreaded unsubscribe link.
Final tip for the road: sometimes, you try really hard to make someone like you, but they’re just not interested. Clean your contact list regularly to get rid of those inactive contacts who haven’t shown any interest in your brand for the last three to six months, to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on your deliverability.
And that’s pretty much it, you’re now ready to make the most of your contact list this holiday season. Remember, adopt your contacts for life, not just for Christmas.
Let us know how you’re recruiting your contacts and how you’re planning to keep them engaged once Christmas is over. Tweet us using the #MailjetDelivers.
Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.