December 10, 2013

Marketing Research Chart: It's not too late to optimize one key element of your holiday marketing

SUMMARY: This late in the season, the shopping cart is locked down, you either do, or do not, have mobile-optimized emails, and you no longer have time to improve your database for more targeted segmentation.

But, there is one element that can still help you hit your numbers this year and also focus your emails on the unique holiday shopper that is the 2013 consumer.

This week, we will take a MarketingSherpa look at email campaign element testing and optimization.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

"Attempting to craft an effective subject line is addicting," a marketing director said in the Benchmark Report survey.

You're busy this time of year, so let's be quick about it. How can you improve your chances of crafting an effective subject line?

In the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked marketers:

Q: Which of the following email campaign elements do you routinely test to optimize performance? Please select all that apply.

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

In the Benchmark Report survey, a marketer responded, "Email is heavily used in today's market, so rising above the noise is very challenging. Good subject lines are definitely key to having your email opened and read."

As you can see, subject lines dominated the responses of elements that marketers are testing, and testing is a key way to help improve your subject lines. In the breakout data, B2C marketers were even slightly more likely to test subject lines, with 87% indicating they did so.

There's still time to test and impact your results

With only weeks left in the holiday marketing season, subject lines are one of the very few elements of your campaigns that:
  • You can change to impact results

  • Can provide valuable customer data

Your shopping cart is locked in place, and if you don't have mobile-optimized campaigns ready to go by now, it won't happen in the next few weeks. But, you can still change subject lines on the fly to increase your email opens, and ultimately, increase sales.

You can change them based on the 2013 holiday shopper — not what you remember worked well in 2012.

You still have time to gain valuable customer intelligence of your customers with A/B testing

It is a tactic employed by the vast majority of marketers, but don't give up on it over the next few weeks just because you're slammed this time of year.

A/B testing can still teach you:
  • Which product features resonate most with customers in the 2013 holiday shopping season

  • How much your product and brand names grab customer attention

  • If customers are interested in clever campaigns this late in the game or just want a straightforward message with clear value

As an email marketing manager said in the Benchmark Report, "Still, to this day, the subject line remains the most important part of our email marketing efforts. If they don't open, then we can't market to them, and our revenue is directly tied to open rate success!"

It's a crowded inbox this time of year. A/B testing subject lines can still help you stick out in that crowd.

Related Resources

Email Testing: How the Obama campaign generated approximately $500 million in donations from email marketing

Marketing Strategy: How you can use emails to test your value proposition

Email Marketing: 236% more revenue from flash sale test

Testing and Optimization: Implementing insights from Email Summit at accounts payable company

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions

Todd /article/chart/email-marketing-holiday-marketing