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It may be summer, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how to make the most of your holiday messaging. So get a headstart on your holiday marketing with these five smart ways that brands can prep effectively during the dog days.

It’s 80 degrees out and sunny. You’re on the beach, sipping a mojito. And the absolute last thing you want to be thinking about right now is the holidays.

But the truth is, it’s never too early to start thinking about how to make the most of your holiday messaging. After all, it’s the busiest time of the year in the marketing world—and you want to be ready to make your customer engagement efforts all that they can be.

So get a headstart on your holiday marketing with these five smart ways that brands can prep effectively during the dog days of summer:

1. Start testing: You want to bring your A-game in December. So start really digging into the data now and use testing to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Why are people not opening emails? Where are they dropping off in the customer journey? Know the answers to these questions intimately. Then you can be ready to deliver personalized, relevant emails around the holidays.

2. Build up a new domain now: You’re going to be sending a lot of emails during the holidays—and you don’t want to get sent to the spam folder. So why not create a new domain now, build up its reputation for the next few months, and then have it ready to use throughout the holiday season without worrying about spam folder exile?

3. Try out a re-permissioning campaign: Sometimes customers no longer want to receive email campaigns from you. But that doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with that customer. For customers who have unsubscribed from your email list but are still showing engagement with other parts of your digital presence—opening push notifications, for instance, or regularly visiting your wesbite—a re-permissioning campaign can be a smart way to reach out and encourages them to re-engage with your brand’s emails. By starting this now, you can have more customers willing to receive your marketing emails come holiday season.

4. Start experimenting: It might sound obvious, but it’s what the best teams are doing. Take this opportunity—when the stakes are a bit lower—to try new tactics, embrace new technologies, and test different messages. Failing right now is okay. Done thoughtfully, taking some risks during the summer will actually leave you more prepared and more informed as you take on that crucial fourth quarter.

5. Build trust with customers: Now’s the time to strengthen customer relationships. To do this, send emails that emphasize quality over quantity. Don’t inundate customers with irrelevant campaigns. And try to slowly ramp up your frequency of email correspondence—instead of just suddenly doubling your frequency during the holidays.

Anything Else?

See this moment as an opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for future success. Because the more you plan today, the more prepared you’ll be to take on the chaotic holiday season with complete confidence.

Want to dig deeper into summertime holiday prep? Check out our look at prepping your email program during the hot months for wintertime glory.