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Christmas in July? Start Planning for Holidays Now

Christmas in July? Start Planning for Holidays Now
Credit: Cunningham/Shutterstock

Even though summer is just technically starting, it's never too early for businesses to start planning for the holidays.

Companies that want to cash in on the growing mobile commerce market this winter should start working on their email marketing strategies now, so they are ready to go when needed most, said Campaigner, the email marketing brand of j2 Global, Inc.

A new study from Campaigner found that promotional emails incite purchases made on mobile devices. The data revealed a 22 percent increase last year in mobile device purchases as a result of email marketing.

While more than half of the consumers surveyed purchased items last year from a mobile device, only 28 percent did so as the result of a promotional email. Researchers said this signifies that marketers have the ability to nearly double the number of shoppers enticed by an email to make a purchase, potentially driving a substantial increase in mobile sales

EJ McGowan, general manager for Campaigner, said retailers have a significant opportunity to embrace the growing market for mobile shoppers this holiday season.

"The results from our 2014 Mobile Trends Survey indicated that while consumers are more interactive with mobile content and purchasing, marketers are still providing a lackluster mobile experience," McGowan said. "In particular, the survey revealed that some consumers feel content is not personalized, underscoring the importance of relevant content to increase sales and effectively engage with consumers."

In order to fine-tune mobile email-marketing strategies to better engage with customers, Campaigner has developed several tips for businesses to kick-start their pre-holiday planning this summer:

  • Schedule summer strategy sessions: The summer months are the perfect time to create and test various messages, subject lines, mobile designs and more. The 2014 Campaigner Mobile Trends Survey found that 56 percent of participants read promotional emails while relaxing or watching TV, and 28 percent do so at work. Given how different these two environments are, marketers should take the time to develop multiple messages to appeal to all segments of a given audience, especially before the busy holiday season.
  • Launch responsive design 2.0: Marketers should take the summer to review their responsive design strategies and analytics around the success of mobile open rates. If opens are low on mobile, it's time to review your history. If you've previously sent non-responsive emails, your customers are likely waiting to open them on their home or desktop computers. Encourage mobile interaction by using engaging subject lines to compel your audience to interact while on the go. Let your consumers know you have upgraded your style and  that your content is now mobile friendly. This will increase mobile activity and is incredibly important to establish prior to the holiday season.
  • Streamline content: When developing content, it's always key to consider your audience. In this case, mobile users will expect streamlined, easily accessed content within promotional emails. No one wants to read pages of text on a small screen, so shorten and simplify your message. Use a responsive design template that allows for easy placement of key messages, calls to action and links to social channels. Leverage collected data and analytics to help improve personalization to target various segments of your audience, which will improve mobile open rates and interactions.
  • Conduct A/B split testing: Once you've crafted new content, subject lines and various other experiments, test them. Create an A/B split test on multiple subject lines, and then watch in real time as variations go head-to-head; this will allow you to quickly see which email campaign performs the best. Use A/B testing to validate new design, calls-to-action, limited time offers, etc. in order to provide more-meaningful metrics, optimize reader communication and improve conversion rates.
  • Focus on key customers: Identify customers who are not responding to your communications and dial your messages back. This tactic is especially important since Internet service providers determine whether or not your emails are delivered. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind: Don't waste your time or alienate the 80 percent who do not drive revenue for your company, but rather focus on the 20 percent who do drive revenue, and encourage a continued relationship by providing rewards, loyalty programs and great deals.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.