4 Steps to easily plan your email marketing for holiday promotions

Deliverability Podcasts

In episode 12 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, Melissa and I discuss the steps you should take today to start preparing for your holiday promotions:

How to plan your email marketing for holiday promotions in 4 steps

4 steps to plan your email marketing holiday promotions

You might think it's too soon to talk about holiday promotions, but for email marketing, the time is now! The holidays often involve the biggest promotions of the year, so it’s important to plan your strategy well ahead of time.

For many senders, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest days of the year in terms of promotions and sales. But without proper preparation, senders can run into deliverability issues that can derail even the best marketing emails.

In this episode, we talk about common mistakes for holiday promos, how to avoid them, and what you should start doing now to prepare for one of the busiest times of the year.

Plan backwards

Start by defining the results you want for the holidays and then work backwards to determine how you can achieve this outcome. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will the goal be for my holiday emails? (This should be your call-to-action)
  2. Which subscribers will I be sending these emails to?
  3. Are these subscribers engaged?
  4. Have these subscribers heard from me recently and consistently?
  5. What will I do to provide value to my subscribers leading up to the holiday season?
  6. How will I engage subscribers leading up to the holiday season?
  7. On which days will I send emails during the holiday season and how often will I send them?
  8. Will I send the same content to my entire list, or will I create targeted emails based on my subscribers’ unique interests and preferences?

Now is the time to start running re-engagement campaigns for subscribers who haven't opened your emails in the last 90 days. If subscribers don't re-engage, remove them from your list. Starting now will give you a high-quality, engaged list of subscribers during your holiday promotions, decreasing the risk of deliverability issues.

Consistency is key

One of the biggest mistakes senders make around the holiday season is suddenly increasing their email volume. Sudden spikes in volume are a quick way to have your emails rejected or sent to the spam folder. Mailbox providers love consistency and incremental changes!

Make sure you’re sending emails to your list throughout the year and not just when you’re trying to sell something. Slowly ramp up your sending so that by the time you reach Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your email volume looks like a nice consistent incline instead of a sudden leap in volume.

Build up engagement

The most successful creators are the ones with an engaged list. Work on engaging your existing subscribers and adding new subscribers.

Between now and the holidays, try to think of creative ways to build a loyal, engaged audience. This will lead to more success in your holiday promotions!

Here are some ideas for building up your audience engagement:

  • Encourage subscribers to reply to your emails and, if you can, reply back to some of them! You can also highlight subscriber replies in your next email, showing your audience how much you value their communication.
  • Get to know your audience by asking them questions. This will help you better understand how to serve each individual subscriber and give them content that’s most relevant to them.
    For example, if you provide homeschooling resources, asking your subscribers to click on the age range of their child will help you tag them accordingly and only send them resources that apply to them. The more relevant and targeted your emails, the higher your chance of conversions.
  • Remain authentic and transparent. Build a relationship with your subscribers by remaining authentic in your emails, even when you’re making a sale! Too often, creators will build an audience through authentic, transparent content, but then send emails that sound like “Limited time offer, buy now!”. Keep your voice consistent and authentic throughout all of your emails for better engagement.

Keep up best practices

Don't throw best practices out the window in pursuit of a sale. The push for sales can make it tempting to email any subscriber you can find. However, this can cause your holiday emails to get lost in the spam folder, which can significantly impact your business. Spam filtering algorithms are the same no matter what day it is, so be sure that you still follow these best practices for a healthy sender reputation:

  • Only email subscribers who have opted-in to receive your emails
  • Clean unengaged subscribers from your list
  • Don’t send too frequently. Typically more than one email/day is too much and leads to unengaged subscribers
  • Don’t email subscribers who haven’t heard from you in the last 6 months

“Don’t throw best practices out the window in pursuit of a sale. Because if you do that, when you’re trying to make that big sale, there’s a good chance it’s going to go to the spam folder.” ~ Alyssa Dulin


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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