4 Tips to Make Great First Impressions this Holiday Season

August 31, 2022
By April Paige

As summer ends and Q4 nears, it’s time to ready your holiday campaigns and prepare for what promises to be another record-setting shopping season. According to Insider predictions, US retail spending will rise more than 3% this year, topping $1.26 trillion — with more than $235 billion going to eCommerce. 

By taking time now to iron out a few captivating holiday email marketing campaigns, making efforts to grow your list, and giving your database a good cleaning, you’ll be well-prepared to snag a bigger slice of the trillion-dollar pie.

Today we’re sharing four things you can do to make a great first impression this holiday season and beat your revenue goals.

1. Perform an Audit of Your 2021 Holiday Campaigns

If you haven’t already, now is an excellent time to revisit last year’s campaigns to identify what worked and what didn’t, so you're poised to make an excellent first impression with new subscribers.

Here’s how:

  • Review engagement metrics: Peruse your open rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, email sharing/forwarding rates, and unsubscribe rates to hone in on your best and worst-performing emails. Pay special attention to subject lines, design, imagery, language, and offers to determine what helped or hurt email outcomes.

  • Look for trends: Next, strive to identify trends between high-performing emails so you know what to replicate in 2022. For example, do you notice similarities between the subject lines of emails with the highest open rates, or higher conversion among emails with specific types of images, CTA placement, or discounts.

  • Determine what didn’t work: Examine your lowest-performing emails and diagnose what went wrong so that you can avoid the same mistakes this season. Then, come up with at least three alternate themes or campaign ideas you could launch instead. Always have one primary and two backup themes in case something happens, and your main theme is no longer appropriate.


2. Identify Potential Trends or Obstacles

Like 2020 and 2021, the 2022 holiday season is expected to be slightly different from the norm, and there are a few events on the horizon that could alter consumer habits. Take a moment to pinpoint any upcoming trends or potential obstacles that might affect your audience so you’re prepared to shift courses or alter your strategy.

Here are a few examples of events that might affect buyer behavior this holiday season:

  • Recession: Over the past few months, we’ve all been holding a collective breath while economists make their projections. It’s still unclear how much the shrinking economy, recent increases in inflation, and layoffs will impact consumer spending over the holiday season, but it’s worth keeping an ear to the ground.

  • Important dates: As always, add various religious and national holidays to your marketing calendar so you don’t inadvertently send an email on a day when your offer could come across as disrespectful or simply not drive as much engagement. Be mindful of other important happenings that could impact engagement, like the midterm elections in early November.

  • Supply chain expectations: The holiday season always bogs down shippers and carriers, and after the past two years, it’s a good idea to expect challenges and delays. 

Once you’ve highlighted potential obstacles, consider how you might leverage email messaging to overcome challenges and make a winning first impression. For example, in light of potential supply chain issues, you might consider moving up offer timelines and setting proper expectations for buyers to help avoid backlash over slow shipping.

For example, check out this excellent 2021 email from Levi’s:


3. Perform a Data Cleanse

Don’t wait until the thick of your holiday email marketing to realize your database needs cleaning. To maximize deliverability in Q4, perform email verification and hygiene now.

Here are a few advantages you can expect:

  • Limit lost leads during the holidays: This time of year, it’s crucial you capture and convert every possible lead. By cleaning up your database now, you can ensure you’re able to connect with valuable customers and don’t miss opportunities due to an honest mistake.

  • Correct typos and syntax errors: It’s easy for customers or employees to make mistakes when entering emails — especially if they’re speeding through the checkout process online or grappling with a busy in-store experience. Email verification can fix typos, syntax errors, and other careless mistakes to ensure your emails are delivered to the correct address.

  • Catch potential bounces and spam traps: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use spam traps to identify and blocklist senders who fail to follow email best practices. The problem is that some spam traps are recycled email addresses that were once active but have since been abandoned.

In other words, someone may have legitimately signed up for your offers but stopped using that email, and now ISPs are using it to catch spammers. AtData’s SafeToSend solution helps you catch potential spam traps, so you don’t become blocklisted.

In addition to performing a data cleanse, it’s also a good time to leverage postal appending so you can better personalize physical mailers to enhance your first impressions and ensure your direct mail campaigns hit their target. And you can use our Email Change of Address (ECOA) service to update contacts with current email addresses and protect your email list from churn.


4. Ensure You’re Maximizing Acquisition Opportunities
Finally, take the next few weeks to build your list as much as possible before the busy season. Evaluate your acquisition strategy and identify opportunities for improvement. Ensure your acquisition strategy includes:

  • Places on your website where you can add an opt-in, like landing pages for SEO and SEM campaigns, blog posts, and popular product pages.
  • In-store checkout experiences, including prompts from point-of-sale systems and cashiers.
  • Opportunities for customers to provide emails during calls or chat sessions with customer service associates.
  • Email opt-ins on Instagram campaigns and other social media initiatives.
  • Calls-to-action to sign up for special offers inside transactional emails.

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and the sooner you prepare, the better positioned you’ll be to exceed your revenue targets. By following these best practices for your holiday email marketing, you can get ahead of the competition, set new records, and make excellent first impressions this upcoming quarter.