Avari Blog

Don’t Send Your Holiday Email Campaigns Until You Check This List

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 17, 2014 / by Sandy Hathaway

RetentionGrid is now AVARI. Read more about how we’ve grown in Our Story: From RetentionGrid to AVARI.


This article by Sandy Hathaway first appeared as a guest post on the Bigcommerce blog.

Of all the things that can go right (or wrong) in your email campaigns, the most important and most overlooked aspects are personalization, mobile optimization, and conversion journeys. Perfecting these will ensure you have high-impact campaigns.

Furthermore, a last minute time-saver that often becomes a last minute stressor is your campaign automation. Your holiday sales can go totally kaput if your campaigns silently break down while you are busy with other urgent topics.

To help you do a final, final, final check that your campaigns are ready to rock and roll, here at RetentionGrid we’ve made you a specialized checklist focused on these key areas.


Your customers want to feel like special, valued individuals. They want to be called by name and shown content that is relevant to their interests.

Here are some important details you should triple check:

  • Use the recipient’s name, not an email address, in the to-field
  • Look to see that the names being used are first names
  • Personalize the subject line so that it feels friendly and familiar
  • Include a fallback (e.g. Hey Vaper, Hi Foodie) for when name fields are left blank
  • Check that name fields and tags are properly set up and working
  • Welcome people with an eye-catching and name-personalized hero image
  • Include product recommendations that are specifically picked for each person

Mobile optimization

With 65% of all emails opened on mobile devices, emails must look awesome on any device. Mobile-first designs that are scalable for larger views combined with coding and testing for complete responsiveness is the way to go. If that’s not an option for you, then keep in mind that a more minimalistic email works better than a multi-column layout that skews the view.

Here are a few things to pay attention to so that your emails will look good on any screen:

  • Keep your email width between 320 and 550 pixels
  • Use a single-column template
  • Make sure your links, buttons, and other clickable objects are clear
  • Format button and font sizes, along with line space and whitespace, to make room for big fingertips on touchscreen devices
  • Opt for responsive or scalable coding standards that fit screen any resolution

Conversion journeys

Always review your finalized campaigns from the viewpoint of your customers. An email with broken links, invalid offers, or out-of-stock products can damage trust and hurt your results.

Here are the things you should personally test along every step of the email customer journey:

  • Check every single link to make sure it works and is the most direct route possible
  • Incorporate a link to an online version of the email
  • Make sure that headers and products are clickable
  • Create urgency with live ticking countdown clocks next to CTA buttons
  • Include appropriate content for the lifecycle stage of each customer
  • Conduct dynamic A/B testing that optimizes the content for the winner at the time of email open (subject lines, hero images, CTA buttons)


Automation streamlines a huge amount of your workload and frees you up to focus on other things during the busy holiday season, if everything is running smoothly.

Do these two simple things to make sure you aren’t stuck scrambling to make changes when things get too busy:

  • Make sure your automation is turned on and not in draft mode—it sounds silly but it happens all the time!
  • Add your own email address to the subscriber list, and note in your calendar when your various campaigns are scheduled to be delivered. Each day you can do a three-minute quick check to see if they arrived on time and work as they should.

Don’t worry, be merry!

Are your campaigns ready to go and all the boxes checked? Yes? Awesome! High five. Your emails will rock the inbox this season. And if not, don’t worry. RetentionGrid has you covered. Contact us to find out more.

Topics: Holiday Campaigns

Sandy Hathaway

Written by Sandy Hathaway

Sandy is a Co-Founder and the CMO at AVARI, where she is responsible for overseeing the company’s business strategy, influencer relations, demand generation, product marketing, branding, and buzz. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, slow food, movies, games, and discovering the ever-changing face of Berlin.