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6 Last-Minute Tips to Spam-Proof Your Holiday Campaigns

 During our virtual Activate Live conference in June, one of our customers, Jade Kolber, Senior Marketing Manager at 99designs, shared the lessons she’s learned about email deliverability during the commercially-critical time that is the holiday season. 

With the festivities just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to discuss holiday email marketing. And with over ten years of digital marketing experience, Jade is an expert at surviving and thriving during the busiest time of the year.

This year, consumers plan to spend less due to the coronavirus, as safety, health, and financial well-being are their top priorities. Given the circumstances, 67% of shoppers plan to shop online for gifts, whereas 3% of shoppers plan to shop in-store

And with the pandemic lingering for the foreseeable future, email marketers must communicate with customers more frequently and with greater transparency.

If you’re curious about Jade’s tips on holiday deliverability (and want to know how you can spam-proof your email marketing), then read on!

About 99designs

99designs is a global creative platform that connects businesses with designers. It has over 90 design categories—from logos and websites to wine labels and tattoos (and much more). 

Before a new project begins, businesses can either launch a design contest or hire a designer directly for 1:1 collaboration. 

The advantage of working at 99designs? As an email marketing manager, Jade can access an extensive network of talented designers who can create compelling campaigns for her email marketing team.

99designs Cyber Monday email

Click the image to view this Cyber Monday email in all its animated glory! Source: 99designs

Now let’s jump in to share Jade’s six tips to spam-proof your campaigns so you can avoid any last-minute email marketing mistakes and maximize deliverability this holiday season.

Six Tips to Spam-Proof Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns

1. Don’t delay your list hygiene

The health of your subscriber list can make or break your email campaigns. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of getting blocklisted and missing out on opportunities for revenue during premier holiday shopping events. 

Start by going through your email list. Identify any soft-bouncing email addresses and remove them, as holding onto them can affect your email performance and damage your sender reputation.

Another way to gauge your list hygiene is to analyze low-performing signup sources. Is your newsletter signup email simple and easy to navigate? Is the CTA action-oriented or value-driven? Take stock of the elements that require fine-tuning and make changes accordingly.

Additionally, you can consider double opt-in (DOI) to filter out inactive subscribers. But here’s a caveat: Adding another step in confirmation emails reduces subscription confirmations by nearly 40%, so invest in email deliverability services before committing to any drastic actions to keep your list both healthy and profitable. 

2. Audit subscribe forms and add reCAPTCHA

Bots can easily sign up using fake email addresses and compromise the integrity of your list. To protect your business from these bots, add visible or invisible reCAPTCHA in your subscribe forms.

Visible reCAPTCHA is considered the easiest to integrate for an added layer of security. Your user simply marks the ‘I’m not a robot’ checkbox to verify they’re not a malicious bot. 

On the other hand, invisible reCAPTCHA takes place via a JavaScript API, making it even easier for your user to sign up for your list.

3. Choose list quality over quantity

Amassing thousands and even millions of subscribers looks great on the surface. 

However, focusing on list size without the context of growth or engagement only gives you the illusion of success because a large list in and of itself doesn’t necessarily translate into conversions. 

In fact, according to the “True Fans” ideology, it only takes 1,000—or even 100—diehard loyal customers who will buy anything you sell and shout your praises from the highest mountaintops for your business to achieve massive success. A smaller but more engaged audience can bring you closer to your marketing goals. 

4. Don’t take it personally

It’s hard not to take things personally when you run into deliverability challenges, especially if you inherited the list without the responsibility of growing it. 

The truth is, email faux pas happen all the time. Sometimes things beyond your control wreak havoc on your campaigns. 

What’s more important is that you learn from the experience and practice proactive quality control—rather than damage control—on your list. 

5. Form a good relationship with your providers

If you haven’t done so already, start building rapport with your email service provider. Email deliverability issues are highly nuanced, and resolution times can vary depending on its complexity. 

A strong relationship with your customer success team can accelerate the resolution time and help you meet your goals. 

6. Trust in your subscriber community and make them your priority

When you’re caught up in the campaign building process, you may forget that there’s a person behind every email address on your list. 

But remember: your subscribers are your bread and butter. 

If things go south, break away from the transactional mindset and communicate with them openly and honestly. Humanize your campaign as much as possible. 

People can detect empathy and authenticity in your messages, and when you demonstrate those characteristics, they’re more likely to remain loyal to your brand. 

The Spam-Proof Is in the Holiday Pudding

Despite its name, “spam-proof” doesn’t mean fool-proof, and email mishaps can—and do—happen even to the best marketing teams. But you can mitigate them during this prime holiday shopping season by following these six tips from Jade Kolber at 99designs, before launching a major promotional campaign. 

In doing so, you’re delivering more than just amazing Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals in people’s inboxes; you’re also keeping your reputation (and ROI) intact. 

Have even more holiday deliverability questions? Read the recap of our recent AMA in the Iterable Community or contact our Deliverability Services team of experts.

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