Thanksgiving! Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Hanukkah! Christmas! Kwanzaa! New Year’s! And more! The holiday season starts soon, and many email marketers have been planning their email sends for a while now. The emails range from promotions and sales to general “Happy <insert holiday here>” greetings. I have already started to receive a few retail emails with holiday shopping messages. Some of these are from brands that I interact with regularly, some are from brands I have never purchased from and haven’t heard from since the last holiday season.

Over the years, I have seen quite a few companies run into issues as both volume and cadence increase during the holidays. You certainly want to take advantage of the email opportunities presented by the holiday season, but first let’s talk about some pitfalls to avoid.

Increased Spam Complaints = Decreased Inbox Placement

You may have a population of former customers or recipients that have signed up for emails but haven’t interacted lately. You may send to them only for the mandatory service messages or campaigns sent to your entire database. While it’s tempting to send promotional offers to this population, it comes at a risk. Especially when the recipient’s inbox is full of holiday messages from other brands. If a recipient doesn’t remember signing up for your emails because they haven’t gotten one in a while or they feel that the email is not relevant, what do they tend to do? Mark it as spam. If you are a ClickDimensions customer, our service protection will block these recipients from future sends, but the damage is already done. Inbox providers see that their customers don’t want your emails and will act accordingly. You will start to see more of your emails delivered to the junk folder and opens/clicks will decrease.

Spam Trap Addresses = Blacklistings

Spam trap addresses. Those mysterious email addresses lurking in your database, hidden in plain sight, that can wreak havoc on your reputation. When companies send to their entire database without proper segmentation and without regular data hygiene practices, spam trap addresses that normally aren’t included in a campaign make their not-so-happy appearance. Depending on who owns the spam trap, the impact can vary. Either you will see an increase in soft bounces due to blacklistings or reputation issues, or you will see a decrease in inbox placement. Either way, hitting spam trap addresses will make it harder to get your emails delivered to valid and engaged customers. The best way to remove any spam trap addresses already in your database is to remove unengaged subscribers. This blog post walks through the steps on how to do that.

Low Engagement = Increased Filtering

Low engagement, when recipients don’t open or click in your emails, can be both a cause and effect. This can occur because recipients don’t find the email relevant (cause), they are receiving too many emails from the same brand (cause) or low inbox placement from other issues (effect). There is one low engagement pitfall that I wanted to call out: the general holiday greeting email. I get it; you want your customers and recipients to feel appreciated and it’s an opportunity for a warm and fuzzy message. I have seen these greetings done well and not so well. Sending a general message with just the holiday text or perhaps just a seasonal picture certainly gets the message across, but it can have a negative effect on your sending. Why? Because there isn’t anything to click on, and low clicks equal low engagement. To remedy this issue, send images and text and provide a few things to click on. The company logo, a text link back to the company homepage, a link to another relevant page, etc. The email needs to contain the holiday message and a call to action.

Happy Holiday Sending!