The holiday season is the prime time for retailers to ramp up their social media marketing. Email, however, is just as crucial both for maintaining customer loyalty and for promotional purposes. As consumers, we are inundated with dozens of marketing emails during this packed time of year. How much is too much? And how, as marketers, can we successfully send out mobile marketing emails without “spamming” the consumer?

Back in September, I listened to a Silverpop webinar titled “Email Marketing Tactics to Maximize 2014 Holiday Revenue.” Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations at Silverpop, discussed current holiday marketing trends and tactics with Meredith Gertz, the Email Marketing Manager of

Many of the valuable tactics shared in this webinar directly address how to make emails more mobile friendly. According to McDonald, this consists of three fundamentals:

  1. Screen size
    • This is a challenge of optimizing your website for mobile, as there are so many different devices and screen sizes.
    • Side note: This Content Marketing Institute article specifically addresses how to optimize email content for any screen size.
  2. Touch-friendly emails
    • For mobile phones, almost every single device is now touch-based. McDonald notes that probably the single biggest mistake marketers make is not optimizing emails, such as not spacing the links properly. Design your website for the finger, not the cursor!
  3. Focus on more than just “design”—think “context”
    • It’s useful to know where consumers are when they’re browsing and shopping—whether it’s aboard a train, in line at a Starbucks, or waiting at an airport. While in a public space, the consumer might not have time (or it may just not be the appropriate time) to complete a purchase.
    • Read this Retail Online Integration article for more information on context in marketing. The writer tells us, “Context is gained through location, proximity, weather, and likes and dislikes.”

Later in the webinar, Meredith Gertz shared’s excellent marketing tips for this holiday season. 65% of email subscribers are reading on smartphones, but most of their conversions are actually happening on the desktop.

“We’re seeing a huge bounce rate from email to conversion. So our focus is in creative to give users the very best email and tablet visual experience we can give them to move them to that conversion on the desktop,” Gertz says.

  • An example of improving the visual experience? Amazon, who owns, narrows the appearance of the email for mobile. took a similar approach.

Gertz also discussed targeting and cadence strategies. Last year, the CEO of sent a “Thanks to you” email on Thanksgiving Day, which generated a great deal of positive feedback. Initially, Gertz was overwhelmed by the huge number of email responses in her inbox, but “It was just customers saying we’re thankful for you, too, and thank you for not pounding us with offers and deals and letting us know you value us as customers,” Gertz says.

  • Though Thanksgiving is over, this still speaks to the general importance of engaging your customers and letting them know they’re valued. An email with no call to action, just letting customers know you appreciate their loyalty can be quite meaningful.
  • Another holiday tactic uses is the 12 Days of December/12 Deals (12/14-12/25) of December, in which they offer a special discount on their most popular products each day. When popular items are targeted for promotion or discounts are steep on a particular day, this can be especially effective.

These are just a few of McDonald’s key points and Gertz’s valuable tactics. You can check out the webinar slideshow here and listen to the webinar here.