Written by Ashley Lockridge and Laura Scholke
While Labor Day typically marks the end of summer, for marketers it means the countdown is on for the busy holiday season. Major deals and offers are being finalized, but the work doesn’t stop there. It’s time to prep – and that means revisiting successes and failures from last holiday and outlining a list of opportunities to make the upcoming holiday season a little less stressful this time around.
Here are nine tips to prepare you for success.
- Don’t wait to get started. Cheetah Digital reports that October 23rd was the 10th highest transaction date from the 2016 season. This tells us that customers are likely purchasing higher ticketed items earlier in the season and, as marketers, we need to play on this FOMO mentality. Establish an email series to remind customers of exclusive products and brand features, such as BOPIS (buy online pick-up in store), shipping destinations and return policies.
- Send ‘Friends and Family’ offers: After reviewing transaction rates of several types of promotional messages, we discovered that ‘Friends and Family’ mailings saw transaction rates 57% higher than other promotional emails. To add, the top performing ‘Friends and Family’ emails often offered 25% to 50% off, and the offers were limited to a short timeframe such as one day. If you plan to have a large flash sale for the holidays, consider testing a ‘Friends and Family’ title to see if you too can capitalize on this key phrase.
- Make your list and check it twice. Solicit for preference updates to allow for highly targeted holiday campaigns and review levels of engagement. If you don’t have a reactivation strategy in place, it’s a good time to create one. Purging inactive subscribers will help to ensure optimal deliverability and allow for a true read on engagement metrics.
- Connect with your vendor partners. Review the list of challenges and opportunities facing you and your team. Determine ways your partners can help support holiday efforts, and establish regular meetings with them throughout the holiday season to ensure success. Also, while email is a go-to for a lot of holiday outreach, don’t forget to think across channels for a cohesive holiday experience for customers.
- Create a post-holiday reengagement strategy for newly acquired customers. The average eCommerce business acquires 23.8% of its new customers during the holiday season. These new customers don’t need to be just one-time shoppers. Create a campaign strategy to re-engage them with your brand post-holiday and entice a second purchase to encourage relationship longevity.
- It seems taboo, but be prepared for issues. Regardless of all the effort – we’re still relying on a lot of things to run smoothly for the holidays – including technology and man power. We hate to talk about it, but websites experience downtime and mistakes happen. Ease the stress of these events and be prepared with approved offers, segmentation strategies and campaign content that you can use in case of emergency.
- Think wishful. It’s surprising to see how many companies have wish list functionalities on their site, but fail to engage in conversation with subscribers as items are added, go on sale or have low inventory. Wish-list triggers, like those just mentioned above, saw transaction rates and revenue per email over 20% higher than abandon cart emails sent during last holiday season. Triggers set for wish lists this holiday season will be key to pushing final transactions and reaching new revenue goals.
- Take a fresh look at existing triggers. Many retailers see the majority of new subscribers disengaging within three months of initial subscription. For continued customer engagement, ensure that the messages you send are content driven. Try adding dynamic banners speaking to a customer’s browsing behavior – highlighting wish list items, cart items that have been abandoned or new subscriber discounts. Remember to make these messages as exciting as possible so that you’re not perceived as just berating customers with sales emails.
- Win the sale. Brands sending three abandon cart mailings had 44% higher abandon-cart revenue than those sending a single abandon cart email, so don’t sell yourself short with a one-off abandon cart emails this holiday season. Optimize your abandon cart triggers for the final sale. Get more tips here.
By incorporating these updates to your program, every mailing in your holiday calendar can be transformed from plain to personalized. Enjoy – Happy Holiday planning!