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Recovering from holiday email mishaps

You’re in the thick of the holiday shopping season. Your email campaigns are queued up, and everything seems to be running smoothly. All of a sudden, smack in the middle of the holiday rush, you get blocked by a major internet service provider (ISP). None of your emails are getting through. Email marketing fail!

This scenario can be devastating for a retailer, especially the busiest time of the year. So how can you recover from a holiday email mishap? Here are three tips to get back on the right track.

Focus on your active population –If you find yourself blocked by an ISP, take a step back and focus only on your active population. The definition of an active user is going to vary from retailer to retailer. Best practices are typically defined as a user who as opened or clicked on an email in the last 12 months, but depending on your brand and customer lifecycle, this may be different. Depending on how severe your block is by the ISP, start sending to active users from the last 3-6 months, or in the worst case, only users who have been active in the last three months. Focusing on your most active users will help build your reputation back up and increase deliverability.

Listen to what your customers want - Retailers are notorious for sending more emails during the holiday season, but not all of your customers want to receive two or more emails from you every day. Giving users the ability to opt-down rather than opt-out entirely allows you to keep them as a customer and continue communicating, instead of spending money to go out and acquire another new customer. Preference centers or subscription management pages allow users to choose how frequently existing customers receive messages from you. This way, they can customize their experience with you and choose to get emails on a weekly or monthly basis instead of unsubscribing entirely.

Focus on the New Year – Once the holiday rush has settled down, consider participating in a deliverability audit in the New Year. Experian Data Quality has in-house deliverability experts that can sit down with you and understand your email marketing program from A to Z. The deliverability audit helps highlight areas you might be run into short-term problems and points out things to change in order to avoid long-term challenges. This knowledge will help your brand get ready for the next big selling season and avoid email mishaps in 2015.

Holiday email mishaps are a harsh reality for retailers today. Being prepared and understanding how to handle them when they occur is critical. If you find yourself blocked during the holiday rush, focus on your most active population and allow users to change the frequency in which they receive messages from you. Additionally, consider a deliverability audit early in 2015 to get the New Year started off on the right foot.