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Glance Back at 2011 As You Gear Up for Holiday 2012

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 by

A quick trip to the mall this morning revealed that stores are already gearing up for Thanksgiving and—yikes!—Christmas shopping. 10 percent of retailers have already sent a Christmas email to their subscriber list, but don’t feel bad if you haven’t yet. There’s still plenty of time to get your jingle on. Check out what worked and what didn’t during the 2011 holiday season:

What Worked: Sending Emails During the Week of Black Friday

While email opens were average on Black Friday itself, the week leading up to it was a good week for email marketers. Nearly 16 percent of email subscribers made a purchase in response to an email that was sent during the week of Black Friday.

What Didn’t: Relying on Gimmicks to Earn Better Open Rates (like certain words in the subject line)

Popular subject line word choices for 2011 included “free,” “sale,” and “shipping.” Surprisingly, these words did not result in higher open rates. However, the word “coupon” did entice more people to open an email, although it wasn’t used as often.

Take away: Tried and true subject line methods of stating clearly what your email contains, piquing interest, and promising value earn more opens than gimmicks.

What Worked: Sending Emails to Subscribers on Christmas Day

Surprisingly, 6 percent of the emails sent on Christmas Day were opened, despite the many festivities of Christmas morning and dinner with the in-laws. That’s just 3 percent less than average. Also, people spent over 170 percent more on their mobile devices this year than they did on Christmas Day 2010.

What Didn’t: Expecting Better Response Leading Up to Christmas But Ignoring Christmas Day

Actual customer behavior showed that click-throughs increased on Christmas Day, meaning that the savvy marketers who sent a Christmas Day email were rewarded for their efforts with a spike in sales.

Takeaway: People are already looking for sales and after-Christmas deals even before the wrapping paper has made it into the trash can, so give them plenty of shopping options.

What Worked: Using Social Media to Promote Specials and Sales

Promoting sales and specials on Facebook and Twitter creates buzz as your fans share with their friends, giving you a much broader reach than just your subscriber list.

What Didn’t: Failing to Link Social Media Campaigns With Other Marketing Efforts

Of course, Facebook and Twitter can be limiting in their own way, so don’t expect them to do all your marketing for you. People need commonality across marketing venues to keep them oriented.

Takeaway: Coordinate your social media marketing plans with other marketing campaigns to create a unified strategy that reaches as many people as possible.

The 2012 holiday season is upon us. By reflecting on what did and did not drive sales last year, you can create an effective marketing strategy that will keep shoppers merrily clicking away, even when the weather outside is frightful.

Statistics Source: Epsilon 2012 Holiday Trend Report

James Trumbly

Managing Partner of HMG Creative, father of two, runner, ping pong master, P90X extremist, now living in Austin Texas after 11 years in sunny San Diego, CA. Follow him on twitter @HMGCreative

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