With big shopping days, like Black Friday (Nov. 29th), Small Business Saturday (Nov. 30th), and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2nd) right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning your holiday promotions.

If you’re like the majority of small businesses, email marketing will play an important role in your promotional efforts.

This is good news for businesses who hope to stay in touch with their audience throughout the holidays, but it also means that there will be plenty of competition in the inbox during these busy months.

Don’t let small mistakes keep you from achieving your holiday marketing goals!

Here are 5 missteps to watch out for:

1. Making it difficult for people to recognize you

For 68 percent of consumers, familiarity with the person sending the email is the top reason why they decide to open.

Take the time to double check the “From Name” and “From Email Address” you’re using to send your emails.

  • Your “From Name” should be the name people identify with when they think of your business. For most businesses, this will be a choice between your personal name (Patty Smith) or brand name (Patty Smith’s Bakery).
  • If possible, your “From Email Address” should be a branded address ([email protected]), not a personal address ([email protected]).

2. Overselling in the subject line

If you want your emails to stand out from the noise this holiday season, you need to put some thought into the subject lines you decide to use.

Simply bombarding your customers with salesy messages won’t be enough.

Here are a few examples you may want to consider:

  • The question: Looking for the perfect gift for [insert audience relevant to your business]?
  • The list: 5 gift ideas for your [insert audience relevant to your business].
  • The teaser: A special holiday offer from [insert your business name].
  • News: Announcing our annual [insert name of event/sale/promotion].

3. Ignoring mobile readers

Today, more than 40 percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device. For some comparison, mobile opens were at just 10 percent in 2011 — that’s an incredible 330 percent change.

While you may not have paid much attention to mobile in the past, this year you need to design emails that work on all devices.

The easiest way to find out if your emails are mobile friendly is to send a test, and read your email on your own mobile device.

  • Can you read your content without pinching to zoom in?
  • Are your images displaying effectively?
  • Can you easily click the links inside your emails?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to rethink your email design.

Here are 5 tips to help you do it.

4. Slowing down your readers

Like you, your customers will be busy during the holiday season. As a small business, you want your emails to fit that busy schedule, not slow them down.

Remember to:

  • Focus on making your email content clear, concise, and to the point.
  • Avoid lengthy articles that force your readers to scroll through multiple pages.
  • Make it easy for people to scan your emails to find the content that’s relevant to them.
  • Look for opportunities to link to “Read More,” if you do want to include longer pieces of content (blog posts, event descriptions, product information, etc.).

5. Forgetting to include a clear call to action

Don’t hit send on your holiday promotions without offering a “next step” for your customers.

Do you want them to redeem an offer? Register for an event? Connect on social media?

Are you hoping to drive people into your store or shop online?

It’s important to make sure that your main call to action is clear to your readers. Be careful not to bury your call to action at the bottom of a lengthy email. Instead, place it front and center, and clearly identify why they should take that next step.

Ready to get started?

This fall we are offering a free live webinar, “Holiday Promotions Planning and Design.” Our team of experts will teach you how to plan a successful holiday promotion, and will answer all of your holiday marketing questions.

Find a session that works for you and reserve your spot today!

Grow your business with Email Marketing

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Free, award-winning coaching that’s just a call, email, or online chat away.Templates that ensure your emails are beautiful, professional, and sync with your organization’s colors and logo.

Real business results with a tool that reaches your customers where they are every day: their inbox.
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