Q4 is officially here – a season chock-full of opportunities to attract new customers, rekindle relationships with customers you’ve lost, and deepen engagements with existing customers. Despite recent market downturns, Deloitte predicts this year’s holiday e-commerce sales could surpass the 2021 holiday season by more than 14%, so there’s plenty of revenue to be earned.
That is, so long as you make the right decisions.
We’ve explored a few strategies to win-over prospects, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also remind you of a few mistakes you should avoid. Because the last thing you want is to slip up and inadvertently kill your customer engagement.
To ensure you don’t commit any blunders, here are six common and dangerous email marketing mistakes to beware of during your holiday email marketing prep.
Not Considering Your Audiences’ Needs, Challenges, and Habits
Buyers want and expect brands to understand them, anticipate their needs, and help solve their pain points. Going full-steam ahead with a campaign without first considering your audience’s habits and desires can make a brand look inconsiderate and out-of-touch.
Of course, unless you have a crystal ball or telepathic powers, you will need assistance ensuring you get it right.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by leveraging data to learn buyers’ online behaviors, purchasing habits, demographics, and geographic location, like those available through Email Intelligence. Then, use those insights to tailor your campaigns.
For example, consider the climate in each of your geographic segments. A customer for a national automotive retailer who lives in Phoenix, AZ, likely won’t be interested in a sale on snow tires but may benefit from custom-sized sunshades.
Or, if you know an area will be affected by shipping delays and supply chain issues, remind that segment of your audience to make their purchases well in advance of the holiday or offer discounts on expedited shipping.
For shoppers who always seem to wait until the last minute, or those engaging with a product that’s out-of-stock online, remind them about e-gift cards and in-store pick-up options.
Not Staying Up-to-Date on Trends and World Events
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s critical you take time to consider how various events could impact your audience and campaigns’ performance. Marketers who don’t are at risk of making some cringe-worthy errors.
Exercise empathy and beware of certain events, like conflicts, revolutions, natural disasters, or the death of a monarch. Sending marketing emails to people affected by these kinds of events can make your brand appear insensitive. Also, when a significant event dominates the headlines, your messages may get lost in the shuffle. In either case, it may be best to pause your campaign.
Not Taking Advantage of Third-Party Data
No matter the size of your brand, one-on-one relationships matter. And if you lose sight of this, your customers will be able to sense it.
For example, consider how small, local businesses rely on familiarity to keep their customers returning. A small town shopkeeper might comment on their shared connections with a customer, ask about friends and family, or recall details about previous purchases.
This is decidedly much more difficult in the e-commerce world, where brands have thousands or even millions of contacts in their database. Yet customers still yearn for that personal touch.
How can you possibly replicate those kinds of one-on-one interactions in digital form?
Third-party data is at the root of every successful, personalized email campaign. This type of data helps you learn more about your customers and connect with them on a personal level at scale. Failing to leverage the right data makes it much harder to establish a human connection, making messages feel cold and impersonal. On the flip side, investing in high-quality data can help you compete in a crowded marketplace, stand out from the competition, and meet your goals.
Not Following a Deployment Checklist
From pesky typos and malfunctioning CTAs to underperforming subject lines and personalized messages sent to the wrong recipients, some mistakes can make a brand look unprofessional or careless. Fortunately, you can mitigate your risk by using a deployment checklist.
Here are a few items to include on your checklist:
- Are you sending your messages to the correct list?
- Is your list clean and current?
- Has everyone on the list consented to receiving your emails?
- Is your subject line captivating?
- Is your copy free of grammatical and spelling errors?
- Is your messaging concise and personalized?
- Do your CTAs link to the right place?
- Have you set up tracking correctly?
- Is your CTA compelling enough to drive clicks?
- Have you tested your email across all browsers and devices to ensure it’s rendering correctly?
- Is your email responsive and accessible?
- Have you A/B tested all elements (including your subject line and CTA?)
Failing to Boost Acquisition Ahead of The Holidays
When was the last time you reviewed and refreshed your acquisition strategy? If it’s been longer than six months, you could be missing ideal opportunities to increase the contacts in your database.
Make sure you’re offering customers an opportunity to opt into emails during in-person and online checkout. Additionally, consider offering special benefits for new sign-ups, like a one-time coupon code or early access to a holiday sales event. Tiered seasonal discounts and loyalty program reward opportunities for new sign-ups can also increase your email lists ahead of the year’s biggest shopping season.
Failing to Clean Your List
Going into the holidays without de-cluttering your database is like flushing a significant portion of your hard-won marketing budget down the toilet.
Before you send a single holiday email, be sure you set aside time to clean your list. This way, you can avoid missing prospects and customers who may have made a typo when entering their email address or accidentally falling into spam traps created from abandoned emails. By making this part of your annual holiday email marketing prep, you can ensure metrics accurately reflect your contacts’ behavior (instead of a messy list dragging down your numbers).
By staying aware of these mistakes, you can make sure you avoid them and maximize your success this holiday shopping season.
Discover how Email Intelligence can help improve your campaign results in Q4 and beyond. Contact us today!