While this holiday season will be different due to the pandemic, there will still be a flurry of promotional emails into your audiences’ inboxes. During this time of increased volume, creating a strategy to achieve the strongest inbox placement is important. The volume coming through in November and December is significantly more than any other time of the year. According to MediaPost, email volume around and after Thanksgiving can be anywhere from 78% to 122% higher on average, depending on the day.  How do you make sure your message rises to the top? 
 
1. Strong Subject Lines with Preheader Text
Make sure to consider the best practices for the length of your subject lines. Typically, it is best to stick to a length of about 3-5 words. Look back at some of your best performing subject lines to help craft ones for the upcoming months. Additionally, support your subject lines with preheader text. The preheader is a strong opportunity to expand upon the subject and to provide a hook for your audience to open and engage further. 
 
2. Sender Names
As always, but even more so during the holiday season, include friendly sender names so that your audience is more likely to open the email promotion. Having a clear understanding of the sender and where the email is coming from will make recipients more inclined to trust and open the email.

3. Volume and the Back-End Side of Email
In addition to considering many of the best practices mentioned above, the tremendous volume of emails during the holiday season needs to be top of mind. It is critical to set up your email campaigns for delivery success, but also to manage expectations that some may deliver slower than usual. Overall, emails are bound to be delivered slower than usual because of all the promotional items being sent. With this higher volume of sending comes stricter spam filtering and higher standards to consistently hit your recipients’ inboxes. To avoid this problem, ensure that your email messaging is free from anything that would be flagged as spam. 

Give yourself some wiggle room on delivery windows. If you have something time sensitive, ensure to send the message a bit more in advance to compensate for potential delivery delays.

4. Avoid Using Older Lists
Many senders tend to use the holidays as an opportunity to stretch into some of their less engaged recipients. However, we would caution against this mode of thinking during this time period. Ensuring that your audience is engaged and active will help get your mail delivered faster and more consistently in the inbox.

5. Know Your Audience
Consider what your audience is looking for during this time period. Is it thought provoking white papers to set them up for a strong 2021? Could you offer them a promotion to excite them? There is also the possibility that they may want to receive fewer communications during this time. This is important to think about because with higher send volumes comes higher opt-out rates as well.  Look back to patterns in emails you have sent in previous holiday seasons, keeping in mind subject lines, open rates, and click-thru-rates. Find ways to provide what the audience is craving.