Tips for Holiday Email Success

Download MailCharts' Holiday Email Marketing ReportFor online retailers, the holiday season is a critical time of the year. MailCharts’ 2016 Holiday Email Marketing Report includes analysis of email frequency, promotions, discounts, subject line copy, and much more that can help you plan the most effective campaigns.

The report also includes holiday marketing advice from Litmus, as well as AWeber, Movable Ink, and Return Path. The advice I offered from Litmus included tips about email content planning, managing inactives, and triggered emails—particularly shopping cart abandonment emails.

In addition, the 114-page report contains lots of examples of seasonal email campaigns and subject lines.

>> Download MailCharts’ 2016 Holiday Email Marketing Report

The Last Word on September 2016

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & reports

Update: Gmail Rolls Out Support for Responsive Design, Improved Font Styling + CSS for Accessibility (Litmus)

Subscription Bombing: COI, CAPTCHA, and the Next Generation of Mail Bombs (Spamhaus)

Reports of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated (Venture Beat)

AOL’s new Alto mail client lets you take action from your inbox (TechCrunch)

It’s good to talk? Actually, no, I’ll send you a message, say mobile phone users (The Telegraph)

Email Continues to Deliver Strong ROI and Value for Marketers (eMarketer)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Pier 1 Imports, 9/8 — Christmas cheer starts here!
Sony, 9/23 — Give Moments | Reserve Your Sony Holiday Catalog by 9/27
Southwest, 9/23 — Thanksgiving flights on sale! Book now.
GNC, 9/8 — Get Your Pumpkin Spice On. Without The Guilt.
ModCloth, 9/22 — ‘Ghouls’ just wanna have fun., 9/19 — $1 a day keeps Trump away
Fossil, 9/27 — We Interrupt This Broadcast…
Brooks Brothers, 9/28 — Shop our Made in the USA collection
Moosejaw, 9/6 — FREE $10 Coupon for taking a Survey
Epicurious, 9/7 — KFC’s Secret to Better Fried Chicken
Apple, 9/23 — Apple Watch Series 2 is here.
Under Armour, 9/28 — Every Athlete Needs A Swacket
J.Crew, 9/22 — What is “tomgirl”? (Plus, watch J.Crew Style Hacks.)
Gap, 9/12 — That great feeling when asked “Where’d you get your dress?”
Under Armour, 9/20 — The Weather Doesn’t Matter
J.Crew, 9/20 — Fall starts in 2 days. Get ready with 25% off $150+ & free shipping.
Brooks Brothers, 9/20 — Fall’s almost here. So are 150+ new arrivals.
eBags, 9/22 — First Day Of Fall, Last Day of 20% Off
GapKids, 9/22 — 9/22: AKA first day of Fall, AKA time for outerwear
Scotts, 9/23 — Fall Has Arrived — Seeding Season Is Here!
Walgreens, 9/27 — Get the flu shot that helps a child in need
Gucci, 9/22 — The Women’s Spring Summer 2017 Fashion Show
FansEdge, 9/12 — Get It By Friday. Wear It On Gameday.
Gander Mountain, 9/7 — NRA Weekend at Gander Mountain
Barneys New York, 9/12 — The Handbags Everyone is Carrying at New York Fashion Week
MAC Cosmetics, 9/12 — Chat Live with a Makeup Artist + Get Advice with Photo Upload Now. Plus FREE Sample with Purchase
Neiman Marcus, 9/7 — TOM FORD live runway video starts 8:15 PM CT
Lands’ End, 9/12 — 25% off + even dozing pups are big fans
Express, 9/23 — #FitnessFriday inspo + Clearance is up to 70% off!
Aeropostale, 9/20 — Closing Many Stores! Phenomenal Savings! 50% off Polos

New posts on

Answers to 4 Burning Questions about Gmail Supporting Responsive Design

Webinar: Top Tips to Drive More Conversions from Email

4 Kinds of Email Addresses That Are Damaging Your Deliverability

30 Must-Subscribe Brands

Infographic: Many Email Marketing Mistakes Going Undetected

Why You Shouldn’t Use Opens to Gauge Subject Line Success

Report: 2016 State of Email Design

The (Largely Invisible) Key to Holiday Email Marketing Success

The Deeper Meaning Behind 5 Email Marketing Soundbites

The Last Word on August 2016

Read all of Chad's Marketing Land columnsAs of the wee hours of this morning, Gmail began rolling out support for media queries across its webmail and iOS and Android email apps. This follows their Sept. 14 announcement about the change, which included developer documentation. And that Gmail announcement followed the announcement in August that Microsoft is partnering with Litmus to improve rendering in Outlook.

Gmail supporting responsive design raises four important questions:

  1. Do marketers need to use hybrid email design anymore?
  2. Do marketers need to inline CSS in their emails anymore?
  3. Can marketers now use interactive email elements in Gmail?
  4. What’s driving these changes at the inbox providers?

I answer each of those questions in my latest Marketing Land column.

>> Read my entire column on

Register for the webinarOver 50% of emails today are opened on mobile devices. Savvy email marketers are implementing a mobile first strategy focused on providing a consistent, personalized customer journey that drives both online and offline conversions from email, including calls and in-store visits.

Join me and my fellow panels—Sigstr VP of Customer Success David Duke and Invoca Director of Product Marketing Paul Rudwall—on Oct. 11 at 2pm ET as we discuss the newest and most effective tactics to drive more conversions from email, including:

  • Tactics to create a mobile-first email experience
  • Tales of success from leading email marketers
  • Tools to measure all conversions from email, and get credit for all the calls that your email campaigns are driving
  • Tips to leverage caller data, to provide better email segmentation and a more personalized customer journey

>> Register for the webinar

Read the full article on MarketingProfs.comEmail is a great medium for connecting with leads and customers. But when your list becomes bloated with bad addresses and inactive subscribers, your deliverability can be in serious jeopardy.

Here are four types of offending addresses and how to deal with each of them effectively:

  1. Invalid Email Addresses. These addresses are unmailable, which means they don’t match any existing email accounts.
  2. Spam Traps. All spam traps pose risks to marketers, but the most harmful are pristine spam traps—email addresses created by inbox providers and blacklisting organizations to identify spammers.
  3. Role-based Email Addresses. These include departmental addresses, such as “” or “”
  4. Inactive Subscribers. These fall into two categories: never-actives and chronic inactives. Never-actives are new subscribers who haven’t engaged with any of your emails; chronic inactives have opened and clicked through your messages in the past, but they have since ignored them for several months or longer.

For a detailed discussion of each of these…

>> Read the full article on

30 Must-Subscribe Brands

30 Must-Subscribe BrandsWhich brands do you think have the most inspiring email marketing programs? We asked more than 900 email marketers that question and then shared their top 25 must-subscribe brands in our 2016 State of Email Design report.

We also did video interviews with four speakers from The Email Design Conference, asking them to pick their must-subscribe brands and explain why. They named five more brands—bring our total to 30—and there were some clear themes around these brands doing personalization and interactivity really well.

To watch the video and see the list of must-subscribe brands…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

Many Email Marketing Mistakes Going UndetectedOur 2016 State of Email Production report found that 31.6% of marketers hadn’t halted a single email send in the past 12 months and that 49.4% hadn’t sent a single apology or correction email. At first, we were very impressed by these brands.

However, as we dug into the data, we became increasingly concerned. That’s because the marketers who weren’t halting or sending apologies appear to be significantly less sophisticated and fewer safeguards in place than marketers who were halting sends and sending apologies.

Our conclusion? Most marketers are making apology-worthy mistakes. But only half of them are aware of the mistakes they’re making.

In this infographic, we explore this issue and offer seven tips on how you can improve your visibility of email marketing mistakes.

>> View the infographic on the Litmus blog

Why Measuring Subject Line Success by Opens Is All WrongMarketers understand that subject lines are incredibly important to the success of an email marketing program. However, what many marketers don’t understand is how to determine whether a subject line is successful or not.

You’ve probably heard people say that the goal of subject lines is to get opens; that the goal of an email’s body copy is to get clicks; and that the goal a landing page is to get conversions. That sounds really reasonable, but it’s misleading.

This kind of thinking leads marketers to believe that a higher open rate is better because it means they’ve opened the top of their funnel up wider and more people have seen their email’s message. And if more people enter the top of their funnel, then they have more opportunities to convince those people to take action. So they write subject lines with the aim of attracting as many openers as possible—often using vague, overly familiar, or even misleading subject lines to accomplish that.

But that’s an overly simplified view of how audiences work. It assumes that all opens are equal—and they’re not.

>>Read the entire post on the Litmus blog

Report: 2016 State of Email Design

2016 State of Email DesignDesigning an email isn’t like designing a webpage or print piece. There are both limitations and opportunities around what you can do with email design, and it’s up to email designers and coders to master both of those.

In the inaugural State of Email Design report, which is based on the responses of more than 900 marketers, we take a detailed look at how marketers:

  1. Search for email inspiration
  2. Use brand guidelines
  3. Approach email design
  4. Use various design elements
  5. Use one-off email designs
  6. A/B test their emails
  7. Handle email redesigns
  8. Manage landing page responsibilities

Use the results in this report to benchmark your own email designs and design processes, to identify opportunities where you can improve, and as evidence to argue for the need to try out new email marketing tactics and strategies.

>> Download the free report

Read the full post on the Strands blogMost retailers are in serious planning mode for their holiday season promotional campaigns. We’ll start to see a sprinkling of holiday email marketing campaigns in the weeks ahead—and then holiday messaging will get going in earnest on Halloween and the days following.

In light of the planning that’s currently going on, Vaida Pakulyte of Strands asked me and five other experts for our best advice for retailers starting to create their holiday season campaigns. Here’s my advice:

Retailers that keep their messaging clear and compelling will do very well this holiday season. Simplicity wins when it comes to holiday broadcast messaging.

But increasingly, the biggest winners are determined by which brands have the best triggered emails–especially browse and cart abandonment emails. Targeting subscribers who browse without purchasing and add products to their cart without purchasing, respectively, these emails are incredibly effective at generating conversions.

Going into the holiday season, I highly recommend that you launch even simple versions of these emails, if you don’t currently have them. And if you’re already created these emails, then:

  1. Test them to make sure they still render and function as intended
  2. Look for opportunities to improve them through A/B testing between now and the end of October
  3. Consider adding seasonal imagery and messaging to make them more relevant to holiday shoppers
  4. Consider setting these emails to launch more quickly after abandonment since purchase consideration cycles are much faster during the holiday season

>> Read all the advice on the Strands blog


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