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In her autobiography, the esteemed and eccentric British poet Dame Edith Sitwell describes the coldest months of the year with surprising fondness: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
The duality of winter is striking—while cold temperatures good food people off the streets, they can also bring folks closer together indoors. As trees lose their leaves and animals hibernate, fresh fallen snow reminds many of the beauty of nature. The season is associated with a chill in the air and the comfort and celebration of the holidays.
The wintry contrast extends to email marketers: as the temperatures plummet outside, email marketers can expect their business to heat up. Retailers find increased business in December; plus the holiday season gives businesses of all persuasions a great way to reach out and extend special offers to their subscribers. After the holidays, winter can still provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the New Year and introduce fresh campaigns.
But, like a traveler set to brave a blizzard, preparation is key to survival. For the intrepid winter warriors: a heavy coat, gloves, boots, and scarf are essential. For the email marketer, utilizing email marketing software with an effective strategy could be the difference between having a red-hot winter or being left out in the cold. Whether you’re facing the brutal polar vortex of northern regions or simply a slight dip in temperatures across the south, these email marketing tips can help you keep your campaigns from freezing up this season.
1. Take Advantage of Holidays
So much excitement in the winter season stems from the holidays—and why shouldn’t it? Companies give out bonuses, retailers offer deals, and stores give out free hot chocolate. As an email marketer, you should be finding ways to leverage the holidays to boost subscriber engagement and drive action.
While the Christmas holiday and New Year’s looms large over the winter season, don’t neglect the many other holidays in January and February. Here’s a brief look at just some of the days you can utilize in your email marketing strategy:
New Year’s Eve: December 31, 2018
New Year’s Day: January 1, 2019
Epiphany: January 6, 2019
Chinese New Year: February 5, 2019
Valentine’s Day: February 14, 2019
Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras): March 5 2019
2. Adopt a Conversational Tone
Keeping your emails friendly, familiar, and relatable remains significantly important this time of year. If your subject lines or messages come off as aggressively sales-y or too formal, your subscribers will have little interest in engaging. Try to inject some humor or tactfully employ some slang to make your emails feel more personal.
3. Attempt a Text-Only Email
While it’s often recommended to take advantage of customizable email templates to include short and impactful copy with striking design images, there are some moments when it could work better to send a strictly textual email. Such emails can feel more like a personal message than a sales pitch, especially if the message can provide value to the reader.
It’s not for every business, but it might be worth considering this winter to see if it has a positive (or negative) effect on engagement.
4. Segment Your Email Lists
It’s important to be strategic in your email messages. That’s why you won’t always want to send one email to your entire subscriber list. Instead, use your email marketing software to segment your list into different segments based on whatever metrics make sense. Separate based on industry, geographic region, or a variety of other factors.
By segmenting your email lists, you’ll be able to create emails that are more specifically tailored to that specific set of subscribers. You can craft a message that speaks directly to them, forging a more personal connection than an email blast to your entire subscriber list.
5. Watch for Passive Opt-Outs
While email marketing continues to be the best method for marketing success, it also comes with plenty of challenges. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself with plenty of “passive opt-outs”—those who have not engaged with your emails in a long, long time. The competition of standing out in a crowded inbox isn’t easy, but if you can find a way to “flip” these subscribers back into engagement it is worth a try. Shake up your usual messages and see if you can elicit a response—or brainstorm ways to provide value to these wayward souls.
If nothing works and they continue to stay unengaged, you may need to cut them loose. Padding your subscriber list with listless recipients can lead to bounce backs or risk your emails getting marked as spam. Like a snow day in April, they’re causing you more harm than good.