Features

2020 Holiday Email Marketing Guide

Congratulations! You have made it nearly all the way through 2020, a year like none other! The holidays are now upon us and, you know what that means: turkey, gifts, and overflowing inboxes. As you prepare your year-end marketing, here are some tips on how Direct Mail can help you break through a crowded inbox, boost sales, and grow your customer base.

1. Check out our holiday-themed templates

Direct Mail comes ready to go with a number of holiday-themed templates. They look super-sharp on mobile devices and large screens, and are easy to customize (like all our templates).

You can find these templates in Direct Mail by clicking the “Choose Template” button and searching for Glimmer, Merry Pines, Slopes, or Quattro—or browse the other options available in the template gallery.

2. Stay on top of your holiday calendar

The end of the year is chock full of special occasions and opportunities to celebrate—more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consider theming additional email campaigns around these upcoming holidays in November and December:

  • November 10: Marine Corps Birthday
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • November 11: Remembrance Day 🇬🇧🇨🇦🇦🇺
  • November 11: Singles Day (i.e. World Shopping Day) 🇨🇳
  • November 13: World Kindness Day
  • November 19: International Men’s Day
  • November 19: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
  • November 20: World Children’s Day
  • November 21: National Adoption Day
  • November 26: Thanksgiving
  • November 27: Black Friday
  • November 28: Small Business Saturday
  • November 30: Cyber Monday
  • December 1: Giving Tuesday
  • December 15: Free Shipping Day
  • December 22: First Day of Winter
  • December 24: Christmas Eve
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 26: Boxing Day 🇬🇧🇨🇦🇦🇺
  • December 31: New Years Eve
When should I start my campaigns?

Consider starting your campaigns a week in advance (or earlier, if your customers average time to purchase is longer) with a follow-up scheduled for the day of. You might also consider sending a thank you email post-holiday.

How much is too much?

It is possible to send too much email. Bombarding your subscribers can lead to unsubscribes or even spam complaints. A good rule of thumb is to not increase your typical email frequency by more than 3× during the holidays.

3. Write subject lines that are irresistible

It’s going to be a crowded inbox, so stay away from bland, generic (or spammy) subject lines. Here are some ideas:

Personalize

Adding a personal touch to the subject line almost always improves your open rate. Direct Mail makes this easy. If you want to include your recipient’s first name in the subject, just include the mail-merge tag “[first name]”. Like this:

You’re not limited to first names, of course. It can be any piece of information that you have stored in Direct Mail for a contact (e.g. occupation, city, last purchase, etc.)

Don’t get carried away

Aim for a ten words or less in your subject line, and limit the number of punctuation or special characters so it doesn’t appear spammy. Using an emoji can help, but try and stick to just one. Also, note that some devices can’t display emoji, so it’s best to use emoji as an enhancement, instead of a replacement for words.

Ask a question

Questions are naturally engaging. Consider using a question as the subject line in order to draw your subscribers into the content.

State your offer loud and clear

Featuring your offer prominently in the subject line can be a good way to stand out in a crowded inbox. According to NRF and IPC, online shoppers top considerations are:

  1. Free shipping, or clear shipping charges prior to purchase
  2. Simple, reliable, free returns
  3. Rapid response customer service
Try these on for size…

Here are some subject line examples for your inspiration:

  • Warm up to winter with us this Saturday 🔥
  • Our ultimate winter packing list
  • [first name], spread some cheer with us — open house sale!
  • We’re thankful for our customers: Coupon Inside!
  • Stuff yourself with savings 🍗
  • Early access to Black Friday deals
  • Celebrate Small Biz Sat with us: BOGO sale 🎉
  • See you on Small Business Saturday?
  • Ho Ho Ho (Spend Less Dough)
  • You’re Getting Warmer – Packages from $59
  • Meow-y Christmas! 5 holiday treats safe for your cat
  • We Like You a Latke!
  • Challah for These Chanukkah Deals
  • Let’s start this year right. 10% off throughout January
  • The holidays may be over, but the savings aren’t!
  • …check out more examples here

4. Include a “[Do It] Now” button

The easier you can make it for your subscribers to purchase (or take some kind of action), the better. After all, the holidays are just as busy for them as they are for you. Make your call-to-action prominent and easy to find. Direct Mail’s built-in buttons work great for this, and are available in a number of styles.

Here are some sample calls to action you might consider (and some interesting psychology behind it):

  • Shop now
  • Get it now
  • Act now
  • Subscribe now
  • Sign up now
  • Receive it now
  • Get access now
  • Do it now
  • Get your code now
  • Start spending now
  • Browse now

5. Get inspired!

Struggling to come up with ideas for your email campaigns? Get some inspiration from this gallery and the suggestions below.

  • Cyber Monday sale
  • Free shipping now available!
  • Gift card bonus (e.g. buy $100 in gift cards, get a bonus $25 for free!)
  • Holiday gift guide
  • Special coupon code
  • End-of-year update
  • Year-in-review or celebration of the year’s achievements
  • Holiday hours or holiday schedule update
  • Pre-sale or early-bird discount
  • Thank you for being our customer (and optionally include a referral code)
  • New product or service announcements
  • Share a holiday video
  • Promote a social media contest (e.g. photo contest)
  • Black Friday offers
  • Looking ahead to what’s coming in the new year
  • Last-minute deals or reminders
  • Shipping or ordering deadlines
  • Special gift packages
  • Small Business Saturday (it’s not just for brick and mortar!)
  • Share a story about how you celebrate the holidays
  • Giving Tuesday
  • Post-holiday specials

6. Check out these Direct Mail tech tips

Now that you’re ready to rock your campaigns, it’s time to put Direct Mail to work for you! Here are a couple of how-to articles to level-up your Direct Mail skills:

Sending Your Email Campaign at the Perfect Time. Learn how to schedule your campaigns to send even when your computer (or you!) are asleep, so that they arrive in your recipient’s inbox at the perfect time.

Search and Segment Like a Pro. Learn how to find and segment portions of your mailing list so that you an send targeted campaigns, or perform bulk editing operations.

Sending Your Email Campaign at the Perfect Time

You’ve spent all day perfecting your latest holiday email marketing campaign. The copy is perfect, the subject line irresistible. Now all that’s left is waking up at 4 AM to send it so that your subscribers across the country see it first thing in the morning. Wait, what?

Of course you don’t want to wake up early just to send an email. With Direct Mail, you don’t have to!

Scheduling your campaigns

You can schedule your campaign to send at any date and time, even if Direct Mail is closed or your computer is turned off when that time arrives. Here’s how:

  1. Click the send button in the toolbar
  2. Click the “Schedule” popup menu and select “Schedule for Later”
  3. Choose the date and time you want your campaign sent
  4. Click the Send button

After you click Send, Direct Mail will queue up your campaign to send at the time you specified. If you switch over to the Report tab, you’ll see your campaign waiting to send.

FAQ

What if I change my mind and want to cancel or reschedule?

No problem. In the Reports tab, just click the “Cancel Delivery” or “Reschedule Delivery” buttons.

What if someone subscribes to or unsubscribes from my mailing list before the campaign is sent?

If someone unsubscribes in between the time that you queue up the campaign and the delivery date, Direct Mail will automatically skip them when the campaign is sent.

If someone new subscribes to your list in between the time that you queue up the campaign and the delivery date, they will not receive the campaign (but will still be added to your list for the next campaign). For this reason, it’s best to not schedule campaigns too far in advance, especially if you are expecting a bunch of new subscribers.

Tip: Sharing your project with other users

Putting together an email campaign is often more than just a one-person job. The responsibilities of writing content, creating graphics, editing, analyzing reports, and more may be shared across an entire team of people. In these situations, Direct Mail’s cloud sharing features can really come in handy. In this blog post, we’ll show you how easy it is to share your Direct Mail project with other people.

Step 1 of 1

To share your Direct Mail project with other people, all you need to do is choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

If you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to first move your project into the Direct Mail Cloud. This is a necessary step because project sharing is built on top of Direct Mail’s cloud features.

After you choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar, you’ll see a list of people that are allowed to access your project.

To allow new people to access your project, click the “+” button and enter their email address. After you’ve entered their email address, pick what level of access (i.e. permission) you’d like to give them:

  • View: The person can view, but not edit your project
  • Edit: The person can view and edit your project
  • Edit & Send: The person can view and edit your project, and can send email campaigns from the project
  • Owner: The person can do all of the above, plus edit these sharing settings or remove the project from the cloud. Email campaigns sent from this project are billed to the owner’s Direct Mail pricing plan.

When you’re all done, click OK.

What happens next?

A notification email will be sent to the people that you added to your sharing list. The notification email tells them how they can open the project that you’ve shared with them. If the person doesn’t yet have Direct Mail installed on their Mac, the email will tell them how they can download and set up a free account.

If someone has shared their Direct Mail project with you, you can open it by choosing “File > Open from Cloud…” from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

Live editing

 

As you (or the other people you’ve shared with) make changes to your project, Direct Mail automatically keeps everyone up-to-date. Changes are synced across the Internet in real time. If two people change the same piece of data (e.g. a message, an address, etc.), the most recent change wins.

Change your mind?

You can change who has access to your project at any time. To do so, just choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar again. You can remove people from your project, change permission levels, or add new people. If you remove someone from the list, then Direct Mail will automatically remove your project from their computer.

Just for fun: updating your profile photo

By default, Direct Mail shows a generic “profile photo” next to each person’s name. You can add some fun to Direct Mail by updating your profile photo. Your photo will show up in the sharing window when other people share their Direct Mail projects with you. To update your photo, choose “Direct Mail > Direct Mail Account” from the menu bar at the top of the screen, then click on “Name & Picture”.

Conclusion

Whether it’s authoring content, proofreading, or building a list, email marketing campaigns often require the talents of a whole team working together. Direct Mail’s sharing features can make it easier to work together in real time—without resorting to workarounds like Dropbox or file servers. We hope you take a look at what’s possible, and please let us know what you think.

Pro Tip: Customizing Content Based on Device

Direct Mail’s built-in templates are engineered to look great across a variety of devices and screen sizes. Even better, Direct Mail’s built-in editor ensures that any customizations, changes, or redesigns you make continue to look their best on all devices—with no extra work required on your part. If you’re a power user, though, you might find yourself wanting to customize your subscriber’s email experience even further based on what device they use to read your email. If that’s you, check out today’s pro-tip:

Did you know that you can show different content to your subscribers based on the kind of device they are reading your email on? This can be useful for customizing the layout or design of your newsletter for large or small screens. For example, the “Dive In” template that comes with Direct Mail uses this feature to show a slightly different header when the email is viewed on a mobile device.

Here’s how to do it (you must be using one of our modern templates):

  1. Click on the section that you want to customize
  2. Click on the right arrow at the bottom of the pop-up window
  3. Click on the “Visibility” pop-up menu and choose Desktop and Mobile, Desktop Only, or Mobile Only

You can use the Preview window‘s “Simulate Screen Size” feature to check out the results!

Tip: Previewing Before You Send

Did you know that you can use the Preview window to see what your final email will look like for each recipient? Click the Preview button in the toolbar to show the Preview window, then take a look at these three buttons:

  1. The “Previous/Next Address” buttons step through your mailing list. If you have any mail-merge tags in your email (like “first name”) or dynamic content, the preview will show you exactly how your message will be merged for the selected recipient.
  2. The “Simulate Screen Size” button shows you what your message looks like when it is resized down to different mobile-sized screens (including iPhone, Samsung, and iPad sizes)
  3. The “View on iPhone/iPad” button actually sends a preview directly to the iPhone in your pocket (or iPad on your desk). You’ll need to have the Stamps app installed on your device.

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