It’s that time of year when retailers are gearing up for the holidays. Black Friday is less than a month away, and then the rush to the holidays is on at full blast. Deliverability is always a hot topic during this time of the year. The amount of support tickets and queries we get shoots up every holiday season. It’s like all of a sudden, everybody in the organization decided to study their deliverability metrics at the same time.
The truth is that marketers, who are the most successful during the holidays, don’t just wake up on Nov 23rd and start thinking about Black Friday sales. We know for some retailers these few days can make or break a whole year of effort. No, the examples to learn from don’t start a week before, they start today. Senders who start their email ramp-up 3-4 weeks before the holiday season make complete sense, and it’s one of the best ways to see great results in November and December.
First, let’s set the rules of the road for most receiving ISP’s. In an ideal world, they would like to see you send exactly the same amount of traffic every single day, with the exact same engagement rates on every send. Consistency is one of the most tried and true methods to great inbox placement. That gets tossed out the window when it comes to the holidays.
We see senders who have sent once a week all year long, suddenly decide to send 3, 4, 5 or more messages in a day. The predictable thing usually happens. We start to see throttling on the ISP side as they slow messages down. An executive doesn’t get an email right away, and they start asking questions. What’s wrong with our email? Fix It!
The prepared marketer has started the holiday push already. They have begun gradually increasing the frequency and the relevance of the offers and messaging. A 5% to 10% increase in traffic every couple of days (while closely managing engagement and deliverability metrics along the way), can get you to a point where sending that second or third message on Black Friday won’t be the end of the world. You’ve established a consistency with the ISP’s, and they don’t see a big jump that puts list origin into question. In other words, you can feel confident doing the things you need to get done through email without getting shut out the biggest day of the year.
There are some important technical points to be aware of for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. ISP’s see substantially more traffic on these days than any other time of the year. They do and will see technical issues, backlogs, and have to sometimes throttle traffic. This is the reality of systems, sometimes all the planning in the world underestimates these factors. We see and hear of more deferrals in this short period of time, than the rest of the year combined. Senders who are deferred are just about always ones who have ramped up suddenly, and in big volumes.
Don’t get caught planning for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day. Start ramping now to have the needed consistency to be more aggressive on those most important of shopping days!
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Download Turning 2014's Holiday Trends into 2015 Revenue and see how you can learn from what consumers did last year to help you have the happiest of holidays this year.