You might not have the big-time marketing budget of a major retailer—but as the holiday season peaks, don't forget there's a secret weapon in your arsenal.

"Email marketing campaigns are affordable, and can help small retailers to compete with the big boys during this crucial sales period, " says Wendy Lowe in a guest post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog.

To make the most of your holiday home-stretch marketing efforts, Lowe recommends straightforward messages with these critical components:

  • A subject line that describes a relevant offer

  • Short text with a clickable image of the featured product

  • A call to action in the top-right corner

According to Lowe, you shouldn't worry about an expert-approved "right" time to schedule delivery. "There is no universal best time or day to send an email campaign," she affirms. "While historically, marketers have tried to define this ['right' time], the result was merely a greater volume of email sent at the same time, leading consumers to tune out more, and making the marketer's theory completely obsolete."

Instead, send your email when you believe your subscribers will be most receptive to the message—and, even better, when they'll be at their computers.

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