As temperatures rise and summer hours commence, marketers may be concerned that their audiences will have less time to devote to reading marketing messages. However, just because people are on vacation doesn't mean email marketing programs need to suffer. Here are four tips that will help marketers make the most of the summer months.
- Ask about seasonal preferences. Many email subscribers sign up for a list but then never visit the preference center again. Marketers can use the summer as an excuse to ask subscribers to update their preferences. “Give recipients the option to change their preferred contact method and frequency over the summer,” said David Fowler, Act-On Software's chief privacy and deliverability officer. You can also offer them the option of adding an additional email address that they may access more frequently than their work address.
- Push mobile access. As schedules and locations change, mobile devices may play more heavily into the email marketing mix, Fowler said. “Consider casual messaging strategies,” he said. This could include swapping email messaging for text messaging over the summer or providing shorter, pithier messaging that can be read more easily on a mobile device.
- Ask for Facebook email. In November Facebook expanded its Messages offering by adding an @Facebook.com email account for everyone on the social media platform. Ask subscribers to provide this address, or post a link that lets Facebook fans subscribe to your newsletter directly from your Facebook page, Fowler said. “During the summer that may be the right channel to use to boost engagement,” he said.
- Test delivery days. The summer months are a good time to test which delivery days are most effective, Fowler said, especially for marketers that are sending messages on Mondays or Fridays. (Subscribers taking a long weekend would miss those.) Find out when recipients are most likely to be reading their email. “We always talk about engagement, but right now when everyone is fighting for real estate in the inbox, it's very important to figure out how do I best engage with my customers and prospects,” he said. “And it's important to do that before a holiday is looming and your stats are skewed to begin with.”