This is the first in a series of posts aimed at preparing you for Q4.

The holiday season is fast approaching

Black Friday is only 140 days away. If you’re a small online retailer you may think that 140 days is an eternity. That being said, most established online retailers are already planning their Black Friday promotions.

You want to know why? Because email marketing drove 20% of online retailers’ 2015 holiday revenue.

You need to start planning your holiday email campaigns in July.

Given how effective email is at driving conversions, most online retailer’s email volume spikes during the holiday season. And this, the increase in email volume, is bad news for everyone…

You’ll spend more time producing emails and your subscribers will get bombarded by every online retailer that has access to their email address.

As a marketer, you need to do everything in your power to make sure your subscribers remain engaged with the emails you’re sending — even as you increase your volume. This is an art as much as it is a science.

In the next few paragraphs we’ll tackle the most prevalent challenge you’ll face during the holidays: subscriber fatigue.

Fear the f-word: Fatigue

The MailCharts data suggests that marketers will send anywhere from 10% to 20% more emails as the holidays roll around. As you increase your email volume, you need to keep subscriber fatigue in mind.

An increase in subscriber fatigue leads to lower open rates, lower click rates, and, ultimately, lower conversions. This essentially means your email list becomes less valuable.

Remember: Not only will you increase your email volume, so will other companies. Given the importance of avoiding subscriber fatigue, let’s see what you can do to prevent this from happening.

Optimize your subject line

As you know, the subject line plays a key role in driving high (or low) open rates. Don’t use the same exact subject line twice, this will lead to a decrease in email performance.

Nobody likes reading the same thing twice.

Studies show that short subject lines are best. But, more important than short subject lines, is to make sure you don’t sound like a broken record. This is specially important with remailers and promotional follow ups (e.g. “last chance to get our Black Friday deals”, “only 12 hours left”, etc.).

If using the same subject line twice is so bad, then why do companies do it? Well, that’s because they’re too busy (lazy?) to come up with something new.

If you’re a MailCharts subscriber you can spend just a few seconds to find subject lines under 35 characters to keep things fresh, but still punchy with examples from thousands of the top online retailers.

Not a subscriber? Sign up now.

Clicks drive conversions

If you want subscribers to convert, you’ll need them to take action on your email (aka: click!). The best way to drive clicks while preventing fatigue is to keeps your creative fresh with new imagery, new messaging, and perhaps even a new layout.

Remember what we said earlier about planning your holiday campaigns in July? This is why: Creating new email templates takes time. Devising an A/B test plan for the holidays takes time. Shooting new product images takes time.

There is, however, one shortcut you can take to speed up your email planning process: find examples of emails you love and share these with your team. As the saying goes imitation is the best form of flattery. It also happens to be the best way to save time.

Whether you’re a MailCharts customer or not, you can view curated email examples to inspire your next campaign.

Need to dive deeper? Use your MailCharts account to find emails containing animated GIFs sent during the holidays last year. You can also modify this search to find just about any email you want.

Want to learn more?

Interesting in taking your email knowledge one step above? Check out our best-selling book Email Marketing Fundamentals on Amazon.