1. Schedule deliveries two weeks earlyIt always feels good to get ahead of the stress of the busiest marketing season. Try scheduling your deliveries in advance, ensuring they will go out as expected and your team won’t experience any surprises. It’s also a good idea to set up your sending throttle. If you’re sending to more than 2,000 contacts, make sure you spread the delivery out over time to increase your deliverability.
2. Do some fall cleaning
Take some time to go through your segments and archive any you won’t be needing for the upcoming season. Delete any you know you’ll never need again. This makes finding the segments you want to use in your deliveries much easier and benefits the performance of the app overall. Go ahead and complete any required list management tasks like list merges, list splits, bulk imports/exports/updates, etc. as soon as you can. This will prevent any headaches when you are ready to schedule your revenue-generating sends.
Avoid the inevitable increased traffic during the peak hours of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by making sure your data imports are complete and working ahead of time. These are peak sending times, and it can take longer to complete tasks such as importing contact data and adding/updating order data so go ahead and complete these tasks ASAP.
3. Test everything
If you don’t already have a testing routine in place for your messages, there’s no better time than now to start. When the busy season arrives, you can focus on other tasks. Send your tests to a variety of email clients and devices and look for any issues before they arise in a live send. Or, use the Previewer App to see how a message renders on multiple devices all at once.
Test your workflows by creating a new list with only your internal testing contacts on it and use a list membership filter in your workflow to ensure only your testers receive them. Create multiple test contacts to simulate different customer scenarios. You can at the plus sign and any letters or numbers after a test Gmail address to have it arrive in the same inbox. For example, a message sent to BrontoSupportTestfirstname.lastname@example.org would arrive in the inbox of BrontoSupportTest@gmail.com. You can easily test your webforms this way.
4. Dial in your deliverability
As tempting as it may be to send your freshly-crafted and tested holiday emails to all possible contacts, this can mean a jump in unsubscribes or complaints if many of those contacts haven’t heard from you in a while — which can cause your messages to land in the junk box. Also, be careful about changing your email sending frequency too drastically as this can be a red flag for ISPs. If your usual sending frequency is one delivery per week and you suddenly escalate your rate to once a day, it can look like junk or spam to some ISPs. Instead, try gradually increasing your sending frequency each week leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Develop a habit of asking for a spot on engaged contacts’ safe sender list/whitelist, so they’ll never miss a deal. Offer contacts a preference centers using a manage preferences webform. Giving your contacts options will reduce the number of spam complaints you receive and bolster your deliverability rate. Automating remailing for important sends and updating frequency caps are impactful changes that you can make now.
Though frequency caps help you prevent contact fatigue and are helpful when running multiple campaigns, leveraging them during peak times – such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday – can slow your performance because they have to be calculated for each contact in real time. We recommend turning off frequency caps during this time. You can always re-enable them after the holidays when your contacts are more likely to have fatigue.
It’s also important to remember that Send Time Optimization and Time Zone Sending are not recommended during this time as they may take longer to be prepared for delivery.
5. See what works well for others
Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration — see what campaigns worked for others by reviewing the latest and greatest email marketing campaigns from last year to find out what did (and didn't) work. The Holiday Lookbook includes:
- Attention-grabbing subject line tactics.
- Promotional strategies from previous years are trending up and down.
- Ways to prepare your emails for a successful 2019 season.
Don't be afraid to reach out to your email service provider's customer service teams.