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Now is the time for retailers to blast holiday email campaigns

November 1, 2016 12:25 PM
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If the 2015 holiday shopping season is any indication, retailers would be wise to start their holiday email marketing campaigns if they’re going to get shoppers’ attention this year.

A new report from web hosting and online marketing services vendor GoDaddy Operating Co. LLC analyzed more than 220,000 emails sent by its email marketing clients from Nov.1-Dec. 31 last year and found that emails sent the week after Halloween had the highest open rates, and that was a full two weeks earlier than during the 2014 holiday season.

“With higher sending volume comes lower email open rates,” says Eric Gilbert, director of GoDaddy Email Marketing. “Our advice to our customers is twofold. First, get a head start on your holiday campaigns by sending before the peak shopping days arrive. And second, be sure to write crisp, compelling subject lines to help stand out in the inbox."

GoDaddy did not provide specifics as to how much greater open rates were during peak times compared with the rest of the holiday shopping season. GoDaddy’s data is in line, however, with the results one online retailer saw last holiday season by starting its holiday email marketing campaigns earlier.

Preppy apparel retailer Country Club Prep, No. 836 in the Internet Retailer 2016  Top 1000, began pushing its Cyber Monday deals via email last year on Nov. 10, nine days earlier than in 2014. Founder Matt Watson says doing so yielded significant results. Online sales were up 52% while traffic to its website was up 31% and conversion up 25% on Cyber Monday 2015 compared to Cyber Monday 2014 as a direct result of this push.

Watson told Internet Retailer in a recent interview that the company plans to copy that blueprint this holiday season.

“With the [presidential] election, our plan is to transition almost immediately post-election into getting people pumped for the holidays,” he says. “[It’s all about] finding our best customers, offering things to them early or exclusively, and trying to get those people who are now comfortable spending their money to spend it with us.”

Timing isn’t everything, however.

Last year, during November and December, email marketing drove $17.8 billion in online sales, or 20% of $89.01 billion in online sales during those two months, according to a report from email marketing vendor MailCharts. MailCharts analyzed the email marketing campaigns of all retailers in the 2016 Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000. MailCharts analysis finds:

  • 59% of all online retailers in the Top 1000 mention a promotion in the subject line of an email.
  • December is the most popular month for promotions, with 65% of all emails sent during the month containing some sort of promotion, compared with 63% in November and 56% in October.
  • When it comes to describing promotions, “percent off” is the most popular terminology, followed by “dollars off” and “free shipping.”
 

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