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The holiday season represents many things to many people. For retailers and other businesses, it is one of the busiest times of the year, as people shop for more products and services than at any other time. Many businesses’ overall success in a given year is largely determined by their performances during this period.

Email marketing takes on heightened importance in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Effective email marketing campaigns can play a major role in determining how successful the holidays prove for an organization.

Here are three key email campaign management tips for improving marketing up to and during the holidays.

1. Emphasize the holidays and discounts
This may seem an obvious point, but it bears repeating. Email marketers should ensure that their messages, and particularly their subject lines, acknowledge the holiday season. While recipients will likely assume that many of the offers and messages they receive are holiday-related, an explicit acknowledgement can increase opens, as Smart Company contributor Michelle Hammond recently highlighted.

Hammond noted that a recent Experian study found emails with subject lines including the words and phrases “Sale,” “Christmas/New Year” and “% off” were the most commonly opened during the holiday season. A subscriber may not look for a particular gift idea at the moment when reading his or her emails, but an explicit reminder may encourage the individual to pay attention to that particular message.

2. Timing is critical
Timing is another crucial factor. Hammond noted that, perhaps surprisingly, retailers tend to experience significantly higher orders in November than December. Many consumers, she asserted, complete their holiday shopping by early December.

This means that email marketers should not wait too long to begin their holiday-themed campaigns. While beginning too early may be a slight nuisance for some recipients, starting too late can severely diminish the potential returns for these efforts.

3. Email compliance is a must
Considering the importance of this time of year for businesses, many email marketers will increase their output during this period. This may lead some subscribers to decide to opt-out of receiving further messages.

As a result, marketers must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to this rise in requests or risk violating the CAN-SPAM Act.