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This year, the holiday shopping season will expand beyond Gray November into October, resulting in an early and prolonged period that merely includes a few tentpole periods, like Black Friday week, instead of relying on them.
With our mission to cut through the typical holiday B.S., we’ll provide you exactly what you need to know to plan your email holiday campaigns for a successful season.
When Should I Start Sending My Holiday Email Campaigns?
Year after year, one week at a time, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have expanded to a month-long holiday shopping season, also known as Gray November. This year, however, expect Gray November to shift even earlier into October.
While it’s not necessary to directly compete with Amazon’s Prime Day, which is October 13th and 14th, you should consider this the unofficial start to the holiday season. Use October dates to begin introducing holiday sales and increasing your email send cadence.
With that being said, as the calendar turns to Gray November, the first days of the month can be one of your cornerstone periods of your promotional season, where you begin to ratchet up marketing messages and holiday promotions. If you choose to wait until November to begin promoting holiday sales, you can use October email and SMS sends to create anticipation for your upcoming Gray November sales.
Two weeks before Black Friday can serve as another promotional cornerstone. At this time, you can expect a steep promotional ramp-up by other retailers who are fighting for the same customers. Don’t let them steal your customers. Prepare more proactive campaigns for these days, for example, by sending email promotions every day and reinforcing them with SMSs. Consider it perfectly OK to begin your Black Friday deals at this point.
Pay attention to the Cyber Ten. This year, the Cyber Ten starts on Nov. 22, the Sunday before Black Friday, and ends on Dec 1st, a.k.a. Cyber Tuesday. This is when, if you haven’t already, you should start your Black Friday deals. This period should be armed with heavy artillery: the best deals, free shipping, and aggressive email and SMS communication. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday will again set daily records, just don’t wait until those days to begin your promotions.
How Often Should I Send Holiday Campaigns?
Even if you normally send emails once per week, switching to daily emails during this busy period is totally fine—and likely expected. Most retailers will do the same. If you’re worried about the increase in sends, use October and early November to begin increasing your weekly send. At this point, the only thing you need to plan is what to say in all those messages.
On your cornerstone days, such as Black Friday, you should consider sending three or more messages per day: all emails, or a combination of emails and SMS. Integrating text messages to offset email fatigue might be one of the smartest things you can do this year. SMSs demonstrated a high performance last year and they are even more desirable this year.
The perfect scenarios to employ SMS into your campaigns are the following:
- Time-sensitive promotions, such as flash sales
- Last chance reminders
- Targeting email non-openers, etc.
More about quick and effective SMS integration into best holiday email campaigns can be read in our recent article 5 Ways to Use SMS with Your Holiday Promotions.
Another thing to bear in mind, weekends tend to see lower sending volume. But many people read emails and go shopping during the weekends. Use these days to your advantage.
Finally, if you consider using remailing to non-openers, do it only for important emails – those that you really want your customers to see. During this time of year it often makes more sense to resend the message to everyone, not just non-openers. Campaign Booster (the remailing tool at Omnisend) is a powerful tool that can increase your campaign performance — just don’t overuse it.
To Whom Should I Send To My Campaigns?
Planning daily sends and creating segments on top might be a challenge. However, active sending to all subscribers could have a negative impact on your sender’s reputation.
To avoid that and better target your customers, we suggest, when possible, you differentiate your campaigns according to customer behavior. Here are three things what you can do when sending your holiday campaigns:
- The primary email campaign recipients should be active and loyal customers. These customers are engaged with your brand and can generate the most significant revenue.
- Exclude un-engaged customers from daily sends. While some may be seasonal shoppers, send them only the best offers they won’t be able to resist opening. This way, you will do less harm to your deliverability and sender reputation.
- If you send daily, exclude your recent purchasers for a day or two. Having just made a purchase they will probably ignore your emails for a short period anyway, which will decrease your campaign engagement. Instead, rely on your optimized transactional messages to do the engagement work.
This is how your audience for daily email campaigns can look on Omnisend:
The Main Takeaway
During this holiday season, it will rain emails and ecommerce promotions like never before. To get your piece of the holiday sales pie send early, send often, and provide the deals consumers expect. This doesn’t mean you need to give away the farm, but find deals that will help protect your margins while remaining compelling for the shopper.