For centuries, Santa Claus has served as a positive role model for people of all ages. He shows us the joys of giving to others and teaches us best practices for spreading good cheer. Just as we try to follow Santa’s good example in our daily lives, we should also follow his lead when it comes to email marketing. Here are five things Santa does that can serve as an example for your email marketing practices:
1. He checks his list twice – Before he delivers toys, Santa takes extra precautions to ensure that everyone on his list is supposed to be there. When it comes to building email subscriber lists, it’s equally important to make sure that none of your subscribers were added by mistake. Low open rates, high bounce rates and spam complaints damage your sender reputation. To maintain a clean and current list and avoid these issues, use the double opt-in method for sign-ups, avoid stale or purchased lists and honor unsubscribes promptly.
2. He sets expectations – Everyone knows that Santa delivers a specific type of content (toys) at a specific time (Christmas Eve). People like to know what to expect. So, when someone signs up for your email list, tell them what they’ll be receiving and how often. Then, stick to what you promised – if someone signs up for a monthly newsletter and you start sending them weekly promotions, they’re likely to mark you as spam. Establish different expectations with each subscriber according to their unique interests by setting up separate lists for different types of content.
3. He keeps content relevant – Tommy likes toy trucks, but his sister Susie might prefer a jigsaw puzzle. It’s important to know your audience: know when they’re sleeping; know when they’re awake; know if they’ve been bad or good. The more you know about your subscribers, the better you can deliver content that’s relevant to them. Use groups, segmentation and dynamic fields to personalize content for different audiences, and use A/B testing to gauge what your audience is most likely to respond to.
4. He looks reputable – Santa has a distinctive look, making him easily recognizable. If he started coming down chimneys without his red suit and beard, he’d probably make homeowners very uncomfortable. It’s important to be deliberate, consistent and professional in how you present your brand, and email campaigns are no exception. Unpolished emails can cause recipients to question your credibility and mark your emails as spam, so show your audience your content and your brand are trustworthy by sending well-designed campaigns.
5. He monitors engagement – If Tommy stops believing in Santa, Tommy stops getting presents. Santa focuses his energy on those who want to have a relationship with him, and you should do the same in your email marketing practices. Sending emails to people who don’t want to hear from you is not only a waste of energy, but it can also affect your deliverability. Spam filtering systems use engagement as a metric to determine which emails get delivered, so monitor subscriber engagement and remove inactive subscribers regularly. Maintaining a clean subscriber list will help ensure your emails make it into inboxes and allow you to better target your most valuable customers.
It takes smarts to figure out how to fly around the world in one night. So take a lesson from Santa Claus and apply these best practices to your email marketing strategy. Perhaps with Santa’s guidance, your campaigns will prove to be as bountiful as Christmas morning.