Say Goodbye to Holiday Send Anxiety (Buh-Bye, Send-xiety)

Written by
Anna Kotlikov

November 13, 2023

Pushing send is scary. Pushing send during the holidays–when volumes are ramped up and pressure to deliver revenue is heightened–is scariest.  But fear not. We have a plan for prepping yourself and your team so that you can send with total confidence and even be the holiday sending hero. 

Have a really (really) thoughtful strategy.

We won’t rehash too much of the conventional wisdom, but taking obvious measures first just makes sense. Take the time to validate and reactivate un-engaged users–with a slow ramp up–if you’re planning to bring them into the fold. Then avoid bringing your lapsed subscribers in after this point so you can keep your reputation in the clear during this important period. Finetune your notifications for this timeframe, allowing them to be more granular. Share your holiday sending schedule and segmentation with a deliverability pro, who can proactively reach out to Blocklists and ISPs to let them know in advance about any planned changes in volume (yes–a pro with great relationships can do that preemptively!). 

And then be prepared for it to go wrong. 

Creating a fluid contingency plan that includes risk tiers for your audience is just essential for your sanity. And, most important thing, socialize and share it upstream within your organization so that everyone is well aware in advance about what could go wrong and what it could mean. 

Know what great content is for your audience. 

Instead of giving in to the temptation to get gimmicky for just a few days in order to stand out, try testing new subject line and content strategies in advance so that you know what works for your particular audience–and so that you’ve built up brand trust and admiration already. You can even go a step further to make your content easier to find and digest: Test into using BIMI to increase brand recognition. Try using Annotations to add images, deals and expirations dates to the Gmail Promotions tab. 

Don’t have tunnel vision. 

The holiday season is expanding in a post-Covid, post-digital transformation universe and the magic of a single day, like Black Friday, no longer holds as much sway. Some brands even saw so-called Green Monday–the second Monday of December and drop date for many brands to order in time online–have as big of a spike as traditional days. Expand your sends and your expectations. 

Manage up and be your own champion. 

If you’ve done all of the above to future-proof your holiday sends, you’ve got to tell someone. No, you’ve got to tell everyone! Many marketers are tempted to just hope to not have the finger pointed at them, to avoid a disaster, during this time of year. But you’re going to create a leadership-ready overview of your efforts and socialize them. 

This helps bring them along for the journey and empowers you. Give the data in advance which helps you know which calculated risks to take together. Help them understand the high-level stakes, like what having a High reputation with Gmail before the holiday will mean for your business (like inboxing with a deeper level of your base). Don’t be the only person who knows about your hard work, you email champion.

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