Between the months of November and December--leading up to Black Friday and Christmas--consumer retail spending in the US takes a sharp increase. Businesses leverage these buying habits by targeting their target market through every possible platform: social media, magazine, television, and email. The latter of the group, Email marketing, is one of the most cost effective and easily trackable of all marketing techniques, making it a popular tactic for many marketers this season.
Without an effective strategy, however, your emails will be lost in an inbox full of promotional offers from competing retailers. You'll need to learn how to distinguish yourself from the crowd and deliver an email campaign that will make you stand out this holiday season. Below, we've compiled a list of tips and techniques that will help improve open rates and maximize your ROI.
Tip #1: Start early
Make sure to target those proactive consumers who have their holiday shopping done with weeks to spare. Within the first two weeks of November, your initial promotional emails should be sent out to your customers. According to GoDaddy, open rates during that window are 15% higher than those in the coming holiday weeks.
While your emails should be sent out at the start of November, make sure that your preparation has been done long in advance. Develop contact lists, segment your audience, and design the contents and layout of the email in the preceding months. That way, you'lll have plenty of time to pretest and adjust your campaign to maximize its effectiveness. Email frequency increases by nearly 50% during the winter holidays, and you can easily avoid the hassle of frantically designing last-minute promotional messages by doing it long beforehand.
Tip #2: Unique subject line
Among the dozens of promotional emails filling your target markets inbox, you can safely assume that at a sizable percentage of those will contain similar subject lines. Generic, one-size-fits-all subjects somewhere along the lines of "don't miss out on these holiday deals won't cut it"; they will simply blend into the crowd and wind up unread at the bottom of the page. Personalization and the use of emojis go a long way when running themed campaigns and will lead to improved open rates. If you're looking for speedy conversions, add a sense of urgency to the subject with limited time offers.
Tip #3: Keep it short
You don't want to bore your reader with paragraphs of content. They didn't open your email to learn more about your company's background; they came for the deals. In a battle for the consumers attention, don't lose it by cramming unnecessary and unwanted information into their face. Instead, highlight your promotional offer, guide them to your website, and close the sale from there.
Tip #4: Free shipping
Customers love free stuff. More specifically, free shipping. Research shows that when asked "What incentivizes customers to shop online", free shipping was the #1 response. By including this deal, you are giving your potential customers another reason to choose your brand over the competitors. Adding "free shipping" into your email's subject line will peak the reader's interest, leading to increased open rates.
Tip #5: Limited time offers
This technique is geared towards businesses that are primarily focused on generating immediate sales. If you're considering the "Free Shipping" promotion mentioned above, nudge your customer by letting them know that the offer is only valid if they make the purchase within 24 hours. By creating a sense of urgency, you are pushing the customer to make the immediate decision to purchase your item over the competitors.
Make sure to include the time deadlines in the subject line by using captivating phrases such as "Ends today" or "Last chance". Additionally, the time-sensitive one-liner leads to increases in open rates.
Tip #6: Pay extra attention to mobile
As device usage habits continue to transition to mobile devices, make sure your marketing strategies do the same. According to Forbes, Black Friday's mobile sales revenue reached a record high of $2 billion, accounting for almost a third of the day's total online sales. To capitalize on the changing consumer habits, ensure that your email blasts are mobile-friendly, and allow easy access to the virtual checkout counter.
Tip #7: Develop loyal customers
While the perceived purpose of holiday-based campaigns is to push immediate sales, many businesses miss the opportunity to convert those holiday shoppers into repeat purchasers. Use the holidays to your advantage; not only to promote your stellar deals, but also to introduce and position your brand to the unfamiliar crowd.
One effective technique for hooking these potential customers is to develop a loyalty program. By pairing the program with exclusive, holiday-based incentives such as discounts and coupons, you'll increase the likelihood of turning these otherwise one-time buyers into returning customers.
Tip #8: Retarget
Your emails won't always instantly lead to sales; customers may browse competing offers, research your product further, or may just be saving their shopping for a later date. Add a tracking link to the email so that you can track their browsing and purchase habits. That way, once they've left the site, you can keep your brand fresh in their mind by following up on an array of platforms. From website banners to social media ads, remind the user to complete the purchase without pestering them with follow-up emails.
Tip #9: Increase your frequency
There's no harm in ramping up your marketing efforts during the busiest consumption period of the year. Whether you are focused on pushing promotions for short-term sales or developing loyalty programs to retain those elusive holiday shoppers, you'll want to boost the frequency of your email blasts to make sure your brand makes a memorable impression.
Keep in mind, however, that your competitors have the same idea. Email frequencies skyrocket during the holiday season, which oftentimes overwhelms and deters the customer from checking their overflowing inbox. Make sure that you find a sustainable middle ground that will keep your brand on the buyer's mind but won't push them to redirect your emails to the dreaded Spam folder.
Tip #10: Every day is a Holiday! (Well, almost)
Don't forget that the Holiday season doesn't only apply to Christmas. There are a number of days throughout the year where you can reel in customers with themed promotions. From Halloween to Mothers Day, there are plenty of opportunities to implement holiday-themed campaigns that will give your customers a reason to come back. As a bonus, these festive promotions will differentiate your brand from competitors, who most likely ramp up their holiday efforts during November and December.
The holidays are an excellent opportunity to appeal to many different segments of your target market. Traktek Partners, a full-service digital marketing and website design agency, can provide your business with the right email campaign strategy you need in order to effectively market your company. Don't wait until the holidays to improve your email marketing strategy, please contact us today!