Ask the Experts: Optimal Sending Frequency for Holiday Emails

Beth Perry, Content Marketing Editor

We hope our must-have holiday marketing campaigns helped get the ball rolling on your holiday marketing plan. It’s never too early to start getting organized for “the most wonderful (and profitable) time of the year!”

Once you’ve determined what types of campaigns you’d like to feature, you’ll need to consider how to time those promotions to avoid overmailing your subscribers while still staying top of mind throughout the busy shopping season.

In this second installment of our Ask the Experts series, the team offers some insight into holiday sending frequency. What is the right number of messages to send during the holiday season? How often should you send?

Greg Zakowicz Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst: It all depends. If you traditionally send one time each week, then sending daily will likely irritate your subscribers. This is something that should have been monitored and tested in years past. Customers expect an increase in email during the holiday season, so you should take advantage of this. However, you should actively monitor your sends, and closely watch your unsubscribe and complaint rate alongside revenue per email sent. Ideally, you know the general cost of an unsubscribe for your email program. If you do and you see the lost value is outpacing your revenue numbers, it is time to dial back a bit.

David TaitelbaumDavid Taitelbaum, Marketing Strategist: I would base this heavily on a review of your campaigns from last year. Look for both strong-performing emails and those that had high unsubscribe or complaint rates. This is your best starting point for determining which messages you should and should not send, as well as the cadence for your messaging. If you’re a brand new ecommerce site or don’t have reliable data from last year, stick close to your current cadence, while adding in the five must-have campaigns I suggested in the previous post.

Anna PfeifferAnna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist: During the holidays, most retailers start sending daily. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as most subscribers expect it. Some retailers even start sending multiple times per day, which can make sense when done as a remail to non-openers. But I think the “right” number depends on the content. If you have relevant information for a lot of messages, go for it. If you’re stretching for content just to have something to send, hold off until you have something valuable to share with your subscribers.

Tami UrbanTami Urban, Marketing Strategist: The numbers of sends during the holiday season should be determined by your current sending cadence and the campaigns you want to highlight. Map out your holiday calendar, and remember to allow for pre-holiday sending, remailing and extended sales, which will also increase the overall sending volume. If you plan to up your sending cadence, it’s good practice to notify your subscribers and prepare them for seeing your messages more frequently this time of year.

You might send your subscribers a simple email, and you may even consider linking to a manage preferences form that allows them to temporarily opt down if they don’t want to hear from you as frequently. This can help reduce the number of unsubscribes, as well as spam complaints, you receive due to the increased cadence. Though this Zappos example is a couple of years old, it’s still a great example of how to set expectations for your additional sending capacity.

ZapposSage Products also lays out a preview of their holiday promotions ahead of time, which allows subscribers to mark their calendars with the sales that are best for them.

SAGEFind more valuable tips for holiday planning at Bronto’s Holiday Marketing Academy. And look for our next installment of Ask the Experts, as we review the metrics you should expect from your fabulous holiday campaigns throughout the busy shopping season.