Email Campaigns for the Holidays that Work!

2012 Holiday Email Marketing Tips for Online Stores

Even though it is still well before Thanksgiving, retail sales are in full holiday swing, and it seems to start earlier and earlier each year. Stores are capitalizing on the not only the last three months of the year for their sales push, but also the first week of January for up-sells to those shoppers who are returning items. In many cases, this time period makes up more than 40% of annual sales!  So what should you be doing in your email campaigns to stand out and compete with all the email blasts featuring “Previews to Black Friday Sales”, “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday”, “The 12 Days of Savings before Christmas”, and “Last Day for Overnight Shipping”?

There are only so many dates in the month between Thanksgiving and New Years, and each store is most likely planning to increase the frequency of their email campaigns during this time period.  The best way to keep people opted in to YOUR email campaign is to be open about the emails you are planning to send. Tell them you are going to send three emails a week, and that these emails will include deals designed for them.  If possible, allow them to opt into the emails they want. You could have a landing page on your site with check boxes that allow your contact list to opt into special email campaigns such as “The 12 Days of Savings”, “The Daily Deal”, or “Weekly Specials”. Some email campaigns can be designed to instill a sense of urgency, such as “Sale ends Cyber Monday! 3 Days Only!” and then send emails every day with the countdown of days left on the coupon code.

Whatever your plans, one thing is certain.  You should measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns now!

Invigorate Existing email Campaigns

Most online stores already have several email marketing campaigns running, including a welcome email series, abandoned shopping cart series for visitors who are registered and abandoned a cart, and emails that upsell after a transaction.  Each of these email campaigns can be tweaked slightly during the holidays to boost holiday sales.

  • Add 10-15% off incentive through December 15
  • Push inventory by emailing “Going Fast” specials
  • Upsell on items that might fit as “stocking stuffers” or compliment the item they just bought
  • Perhaps change the email header or background to include a bit of a holiday theme
  • Perhaps add a new navigation section on your website called “Holiday Specials” or “Gifts for Her” and feature it in an email
  • Explain your Shipping Schedule for the Holidays
  • Provide a promo code for free shipping – so they think they are getting an exclusive offer.

Segment your eMail List

By dividing the email contacts that you have into “budget buyers”, “buyers for her”, “buyers for kids”, and other segments, you can target emails designed to capture the attention of each group, and communicate the new features on your site by adding landing pages and linking to them from your email (like a catalog section for Her, or a gift guide for every budget.)  You can offer these segments special coupons as well.

In addition, you may decide to nurture people who have registered on your site through the sales process.  Consider segmenting and emailing people who opened your email but didn’t click through to the landing page, or those that landed, but didn’t purchase with incentives and deeper discounts.

Another segment to target may be people who bought from you last holiday season.  It might be a good idea to give these people a unique coupon that makes them feel special as a frequent buyer.

Fun Fact about “Two Screeners” – People Read eMail During TV Commercials on their Mobile Devices. So make sure all your emails have big buttons that are easy to navigate on mobile devices!  There is an insightful blog post on The Guardian about the habits of people who watch TV and use a mobile device.   Surveys suggest that 61% of people watching TV check their emails during commercials. 22% look up deals during the shows they are watching.  It might be beneficial to time your email campaigns during primetime shows or specials such as football games.

Standardize Your Email Marketing Campaign Template

What happens if your email is really successful and you start to sell all of a certain type of your inventory? If you have created an email template where all the images of products are the same size, and none of the text is embedded in an image, it is much easier to swap out products and push inventory that you have in stock with discounts.

 

 

AFTER the HOLIDAYS – Still an Opportunity for email Marketing

Make sure you include a clear return policy in all your emails.  It is important to make the return process as simple as possible.  For instance, you can offer free shipping on returns.  If they return something, this should trigger an email to offer them a related item at a discount.

After the holidays a special breed of shoppers – those looking for volume discounts – emerge. They look for deals between Christmas and New Years, and you can help them by sending them emails about your deals during that period of time. It is a great opportunity to position items together with a “Buy This Item and Get That Item at Half Price” special.


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For retail stores, vying for the attention of holiday shoppers is a fierce competition.  We hope you find the tips in this post helpful and timely as you carry out your holiday email marketing strategy!

 

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