Holiday prep begins earlier and earlier every year for email marketers.
That’s because the competition for subscriber eyeballs is fierce. Batch-and-blast emails, last-minute messages, and poor planning will put you at the bottom of the dog pile. We’re talking fewer opens, fewer clicks, and fewer conversions.
Don’t waste your holiday email marketing. This is the most significant money-making time for your brand - no matter your industry. The 2017 holiday season alone garnered $691.9 billion in sales, a 5.5% increase over 2016. And the experts are forecasting that number to increase again this year.
Because it takes a lot of time to plan holiday email marketing, it’s imperative you get organized and get ready as soon as possible. We’re here to help with this checklist for August of must-have items to start you off on the right foot.
August Holiday Checklist
August holiday planning is going to be mainly that - planning. You’re also going to want to do a deep dive into your analytics, metrics and message from last year’s holiday season. You’ll take the information you gather and make an executable plan starting in September.
- Determine: Your goals for the 2018 holiday season.
- Identify: Your high-performing campaigns (high engagement, high conversions), as well as campaigns ripe for optimization (high opens, low click rate).
- If possible, find ways to reuse campaigns that work well to save you some time.
- A/B Test: subject lines, call-to-action buttons, types of offers, and other promotional content. (note: you should continue to test and iterate throughout the season)
- Scrub/Clean: Your list using a service such as BriteVerify or NeverBounce.
- Review: The technologies you have in place. Are there any gaps you need to address?
- Optimize: Your website.
- ID pages that need to be re-optimized (high visits, high bounce rate),
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly.
During the 5-day period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, 63% of smartphone owners used them to make holiday buying decisions and 29% used them to make actual purchases. 
- Review your checkout experience — any barriers to an easy checkout?
- Check with your vendor to ensure you’re all set to handle an influx of visitors without slowing down your site..
- Add a lightbox to your site to start gathering email addresses.
- Pinpoint: your target demographics and start brand awareness ad campaigns.
- Identify: Any staffing needs — sales associates, customer service, etc.
- Create: Your email marketing calendar.
- Plan: Your automated holiday campaigns.
Checking off the boxes for these 10 main areas and their subtasks will ensure you’re ready to tackle your seasonal email marketing. The strategy and execution are only going to move at a faster pace as the holidays draw nearer, so having a foundation of excellent planning in place is key to being successful.
Conclusion: Holiday Planning Help
We hope this checklist helps you start preparing for your holiday email marketing now. You can also download our helpful new 2018 Holiday Guide to get a wider perspective on execution for the rest of the year.
That being said, we know even the best of us can fall behind, get overwhelmed, run into snafus or just plain get stuck.
If you find yourself in any of these situations - pressed for time, energy or ideas - our email marketing experts and full-service agency is here to help. We’ve got years of experience helping big-name clients knock out stellar seasonal campaigns, and we’d be pumped to help you, too. Just reach out.