We’re coming up on the holiday season, the biggest email send time of the year. Over 116 million emails are sent on Black Friday alone! There will be another 106 million on Cyber Monday. So to stay top of mind (and get in the inbox), you’re going to want to make sure you’re following email marketing best practices. To help you, we’ve collected five tips to get better delivery during the holiday season.
1. “Warm-up” Your Main Holiday Sale
Before you big holiday send, warm up by sending an “early access” or pre-sale campaign a few days prior and target it to your most engaged audience. Target, for example, loyal guests with more than two or three past stays, people that stayed with you in the last three to six months, or people that opened any email in the last year. This strategy will ensure better delivery of your main sale e-blast as ESPs (Email service providers like Gmail) will note the high engagement on your pre-sale and will let more emails in the inbox vs. SPAM folder.
2. Add These 2 Engagement Filters When Emailing Your Past Database
To eliminate hard bounces and non-engagment which can cause most of your emails to go into SPAM, you want to include these two filters:
- Exclude OTA email domains (for example: 1111guest.booking.com, 2222.expedia.com, etc.)
- Include only your more recent guests, not your entire database (Check-out date in the last 3-4 years)
3. Avoid Targeting People That Haven’t Opened Your Previous Campaigns
Instead, target people that opened but didn’t click your previous campaigns. This strategy will ensure you are not specifically targeting your unengaged users that most likely had their first campaign in SPAM already, but following up with engaged users that just didn’t convert yet.
4. Be Mindful of Peak Holiday Sending Times
It’s all about getting not lost within the inbox. Thinking creatively may give your send an advantage. You can do this by avoiding obvious peak times like midnight or early morning of “Black Friday”. Instead, consider sending at alternative times like 11 am or 1 pm—you should take a look at your database to determine when the best send time is for your database, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
5. Maintain the Quality of Your List
Make sure you are sending to users who are confirmed opt-ins. This will ensure that you’re in compliance with GDPR as well as other similar legislation, like California’s CCPA. Knowing who you’re sending to will greatly reduce the risk of performance-based issues in your sends.
Sample Holiday Campaign Calendar
Now that we’ve covered some of the best practices that will help get your emails in inboxes, we have one more holiday surprise for you. We’ve put together a sample campaign calendar to help you maximize the results of your Black Friday campaigns.
Wednesday, November 27th
- Campaign: “VIP Black Friday Sale – Get 40% Off All Stay with Early Access”
- Segment: Loyal guests (have more than two previous stays), exclude future stays
Friday, November 29th (Black Friday)
- Campaign: “Black Friday Special Sale – 35% Off All Stays in 2020”
- Segment: Check-out data is in the last four years, email domain is not “OTA….” .com, exclude future stays
Monday, December 1st (Cyber Monday)
- Campaign: “Announcing Cyber Monday Sale – 40% Off All Stays”
- Segment: Check-out data is in the last four years, email domain is not “OTA….” .com, exclude future stays.
Tuesday, December 2nd (Cyber Tuesday)
- Campaign: “Cyber Sale Extended – 40% Off All Stays”
- Segment: Check-out data is in the last four years, email domain is not “OTA….” .com, exclude future stay, only include people that opened but didn’t click “Cyber Monday” campaign
By following these best practices, and planning a holiday campaign that goes beyond just Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’ll be setting yourself up for success this holiday season.