10 Valentine’s Day email marketing tips for retailers

It is the month of l’amour, but it is no time to get all lost in the romance when there are sales to be made. Check out our top email marketing tips for the holiday of love, from Aaron Beach, Senior Data Scientist at SendGrid.

Romance email_191049338With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching the stakes for retailers are at an all-time high. Online customers are becoming increasingly savvy while competition continues to grow, so retailers must work to develop an email marketing strategy that ensures they are making the most of seasonal dates such as Valentine’s Day, by maximising the opportunity to attract new customers and increase sales.

20% of legitimate marketing email does not reach the recipient’s inbox. Therefore businesses need to make sure their email marketing campaigns stand out from the competition, by following some important steps. Below are our top 10 tips for success:

1. Test Valentine’s Day email campaigns
A/B testing is a way to measure the success of your Valentine’s Day email marketing campaign. Try creating two or three different email campaigns, then send them out to segmented groups. Based on click-through rate and engagement, pick the most well received email campaign as the winner for your big Valentine’s Day email blast.

2. Maximize the subject line
A good starting point, which is frequently overlooked, is that the subject line needs to be short and sweet. A recent study by Retention Science, found that subjects of six to 10 words are the most effective, yielding open rates of 21%, while subject lines of 11 to 15 words secured only 14%.

3. Don’t overuse images
Marketers are often tempted to go big on Valentine’s visuals at this time of year, but forget that – they increase the risk of emails being classified as spam. If images are unavoidable, emails should be sensibly balanced with at least two lines of text per picture.

4. Focus on formatting
Today’s email recipients access their accounts via a range of devices, so it’s vital to cater to smartphones, tablets and desktops to avoid being relegated to spam. Include a plain text version in HTML email and make use of responsive design templates.

5. Purge the uninterested
Unsubscribes aren’t always a bad thing. If someone has signed up to your marketing list but changed their mind, it’s important that they have a clear and easy method to unsubscribe. The alternative will see them flagging your email as spam, which is bad for your sending reputation and infringes on your deliverability. If you don’t feel comfortable with making the unsubscribe button more prominent, offer recipients a chance to “down-subscribe” or opt-out of your holiday emails in your preference centre. This removes recipients from the extra emails during the holidays rather than unsubscribing all together.

6. Pay special attention to seasonal subscribes
If a recipient who engages consistently over the Valentine’s Day period makes a purchase, becomes active in a certain group, buys cards (whatever your business model is) make sure you’re interacting with them in response to their activity to keep them engaged in your deals and offers.

7. Get personal
Spread some Valentine’s Day love by tailoring your messages and using your customers’ names. Personalising messages can see an uplift of 20% to email open rates, according to a report by Adestra. Why go to the hard work of asking for a first name and last name during the sign-up process if you don’t go on to use them?

8. Stay consistent
Straying too far from your fundamental brand (from address, logo, etc.) can be a dangerous game. Your recipients need to be able to recognize you during this busy time of year. Don’t lose your brand’s identity for the sake of Valentine-specific designs and ideas.

9. Segment your Valentine’s Day email marketing sending
Remember to think about location and segment your mail accordingly, making sure you are aware of the locations which do and don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. You should also segment your list by age. If an email address has been on your mailing list for more than a year, and there has been no engagement, we recommend you don’t email them.

10. Think beyond Valentine’s Day
The period up to Valentine’s Day marks a huge sales opportunity for businesses, but also gives you a chance to build your database to benefit from throughout the year. Capitalise on the opportunity by creating multiple options for customers to sign up to your mailing list on your website or mobile app. Sign up messages should be short; each time that someone new signs up for marketing email, send a stellar welcome email, which is personalised and makes a good first impression.

Follow these tips and your streamlined email marketing approach will help turn this year’s Valentine’s Day into a springboard for bumper sales.