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The George Santayana quote “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” applies to email marketers as much as to anyone else. That’s one reason Chad White, research director at Smith-Harmon, a division of Responsys, put together the “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2010,” a white paper that reviews last year’s email marketing campaigns to help marketers with their efforts this year. Based on last year’s trends, White has made five predictions regarding email marketing for this coming holiday season: 1) There will be more activity on Thanksgiving. Last year Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) was the busiest day for retail email in terms of volume, with 71% of the retailers tracked by White sending at least one promotional email. Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) was close behind, with 69% sending messages on that day. “Last year there was a substantial uptick in the number of people on Sunday rather than [Cyber] Monday, to get a jump-start” and stand out from the Cyber Monday inbox glut, White says. For the same reason, he’s predicting that more retailers will try to get a lead on Black Friday by sending email on Thanksgiving. Online-only one-day sales will dominate inboxes the day before Thanksgiving and early Thanksgiving Day, but by Thanksgiving afternoon they’ll give way to “early bird” promotions of Black Friday sales. Which leads to the question: If the overwhelming majority of retailers are going to be sending promotional emails on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, might you be better off not bothering trying to contact people on those days? As with everything else related to email marketing, the answer is “It depends.” “There’s definitely a degree of ‘you have to be in it to win it,’” White says. “If you have a great deal to pitch, you’ve got to be there, but if you don’t, don’t bother getting into the fray.”
Read the other four predisctions here.
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