We’re fast approaching the holiday season, which means consumers will be on the lookout for as many deals as possible. It’s the perfect time to maximise your opportunities by re-engaging with inactive subscribers, building brand loyalty, and hitting those sales targets.

Digital Statistics in South Africa 2017 Report reveals that half of active South Africans search for products online, with 45% visiting the site and 28% making a purchase. Email and SMS marketing delivers your offers directly to your subscribers.

  1. Stay fresh to achieve higher deliverability.

Good email list hygiene is one of the ways that you can avoid having deliverability issues. List hygiene is the practice of keeping your email lists clean and making sure that only active subscribers remain on your database. By doing this you will improve your chances of successfully reaching the inbox.

  1. Start with the call to action in mind and be clear on your objectives.

Every campaign begins with a goal in mind and that goal will define what kind of call to action you want to have in your mails. Rather than letting the content guide your CTA, let your CTA define your content.

Second to that is the number of call to actions you place in your email. Keep in mind that too many of them may distract your subscribers from the content of the mailer and cause them to not click on any. Always keep the objective of your email campaign in mind – what are you trying to achieve, what action would you like the subscriber to take?

  1. Tell a story – people love stories.

A story is an entertaining or emotional tale of events with a beginning, middle, and end. Build a campaign around a story that will resonate with your audience with each email forming a part in the series, creating excitement for the next edition.

  1. Create Mobile Responsive Emails.

In 2017, it is estimated that there will be over 16 million active smartphone users in South Africa. ~IT News Africa.

This statistic shows the growth of the mobile market – as it stands currently every 3 out of 10 emails are read on a mobile device and coupled with a recent stat from our 2017 Email Benchmarks report, 28.10% of bulk emails are read on a mobile device in SA. This means that responsive email design should be more than a consideration not only during the holidays but always.

  1. Email content should be shorter.

As mentioned a large percentage of emails are read on mobile devices. People have less time to read so make your messages short and catchy to grab their attention.

  1. Know your audience: Create relatable content.

Your subscribers may seem like a faceless list of names, emails and mobile numbers but they are not. Get a better understanding of your subscribers and view them as individuals with specific needs. This will allow you to tailor your content accordingly.

  1. Move beyond “Dear John” personalisation with dynamic content.

Every piece of information you collect about your subscriber allows you to personalise marketing messages that they receive based on their demographics or online behaviour. This helps to create the perfect holiday email catered to their specific needs and interests.

Econsultancy’s Realities of Online Personalisation Report found that 74%of marketers say targeted personalisation increases customer engagement. According to Statista, the open rate for e-mails with a personalised message was 5.7% higher than those without any personalisation in 2016.

Create personalised catalogues of products and other highly targeted messages which shows your subscribers that you understand and care about their needs.

  1. Remarketing based on interests.

Another way of understanding your subscribers is by analysing your link clicks. This will give you the opportunity to re-target to this list based on their specific interests.

  1. Lighten the load with Email Automation.

Marketing automation helps to lighten the workload of the marketing team by allowing them to set up campaigns, triggers and autoresponders way ahead of time. Automation helps bring your goals to fruition faster, and efficiently.

  1. Include marketing messages as part of your Transactional mails to get a higher open rate.

Transactional emails have a much higher open rate than bulk mails. Use this space for marketing messages, cross-selling or building brand loyalty.

  1. Track, Measure and Optimise

Heat maps allow you to understand how your subscribers are consuming your content and where they are clicking most, this allows you to optimise your future campaigns to drive better results.

  1. Make sure your SMS database is up to date.

A mobile number is a very personal connection to your contacts. Keeping an SMS database updated is no easy feat. Run email campaigns with the option of joining an exclusive SMS list to build a mobile database of interested contacts. Remember to always ask for permission to market to them first.

  1. Segment your database.

A properly segmented database means that you can send interest-specific SMSs to people who really want to receive them. Instead of having your contacts complain about receiving “pointless” or “boring” SMSs, you’ll be sending them information about offers they are interested in.

  1. Identify Yourself.

Do not assume the contact knows who the SMS is coming from, make sure to add your company name into your message.

  1. Create Emails/SMSs that reflect your company persona, while staying open/friendly.

Your business has a persona and your SMSs and emails should match that persona. At the same time, ensure that there is a lightness of tone to each campaign to remind your customers that a business is made up of people and not robots.

  1. Be personal, be relevant and create value.

Personalisation is not only a winner in email but in SMSs too. Understanding your customers’ needs allows you to send them valuable and relevant information which they will be far more likely to engage with.

  1. Don’t be intrusive.

SMS is very personal and can be intrusive, it is therefore important not to abuse it. Here are some ideas:

  • Benefits: we recommend including some sort of benefit like a voucher, a competition or a promotion to make it worth their while.
  • Value: make sure the information you are communicating is valuable – for example how much can they save, when can they expect your delivery
  • Two-way communication: if you want a response ensure you create an easy two-way communication line by a simple reply request.
  1. Keep your SMSs Light, enticing, simple and short.

Less is more with SMS – Light, enticing, simple and short content performs best on SMS messages

Get your message across in as few words as possible.

  1. Timing is everything.

Research says that SMSs have a 98% open rate of which 90% are read within three minutes.

While marketing emails perform better during office hours, SMSs tend to have a better response on Saturday mornings (just not too early). Experiment a little with the day and time that you send your SMSs, and see what your audience responds to best.

  1. Set goals, measure subscriber response and adapt campaigns.

Setting SMART goals will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and optimise where needed to ensure you are reaching your objectives.

  1. SMS to Email allows you to extend your reach.

There may be cases when your customers prefer SMS over an Email or perhaps they do not own an email address, or do not want marketing mailers sent to their email address. SMS to Email sends a link to the mobile number which allows the recipient to open the email on their devices local browser.

  1. Don’t forget your opt out message.

It is important to provide a clear and simple way for your contacts to opt out of future communications. This will avoid causing unnecessary frustration for your customer/subscriber as well as to ensure that you are following the right protocols when it comes to the POPI act.

It is always important to treat every person on your email and SMS database as more than just subscribers but people looking for your particular products or services. Treat them with respect, listen to what they have to say, and provide relevant useful content. Effective digital marketing is that simple.