It’s go-time, retailers. With temperatures dropping, prices decline, too – and shoppers have to be in the know to take advantage of your holiday sales. The problem is, inboxes soon will be swimming in promotional emails. So, how can you bolster your email marketing strategy to stand out?
This year, approximately 43% of B2C eCommerce marketers plan to prioritize email campaigns as their top marketing channel for holiday sales (Zaius). Last year, 38% of all shoppers were informed of a holiday sale from an email, first and foremost (eMarketer). Segmentation, social channels, fluctuating inventory levels, and data – oh my! Here are email marketing tips to stay on top this season:
Leverage Your Data and Create Custom Segments
It’s true, last year’s holiday season seems far away – but the data points you collected are now your best friend. Look at the behaviors and conversions throughout your subscribers – see what campaigns worked and why some flopped. For example:
- How many people opened your emails?
- Which links got the most clicks?
- What is your optimal send time for individuals to open emails?
- How many people purchase your products?
- How much revenue is generated per campaign?
- Average revenue per subscriber?
All of these points can help you determine how to segment your users. During the holidays, a catchy subject line alone won’t sell business – you have to hit them where it counts, meaning, send something a buyer has been proven to click and convert on. For example, if you typically publish a holiday gift guide (most retailers do), you can easily tailor your campaign to subcategories (e.g., gifts for mom, gifts for grandchild, etc.). Look closely at last years’ conversions, relative open rates, click rates, read rates, time on emails, demographics, which shoppers added giftwrapping to their carts, and more, to determine what your shoppers are looking for, and what they could be tempted to purchase.
So, for instance, you identified a segment of buyers that purchased giftwrapping. Why not offer it free of charge this year?
Segmenting takes time, but can add a much larger return to your business and deliver a more personalized experience for your shoppers. More people buy through your channel during the holidays. Why wouldn’t you collect and leverage as much data as possible?
Everyone likes a good contest or giveaway, and it’s easy for retailers to generate buzz on social channels. In fact, over 65% of retailers used this marketing tactic to build their email subscriber lists last holiday season, and the trend is expected to continue this year (Clutch, eMarketer). Subscribers acquired through social contests and giveaways can have higher attrition rates, so be sure to segment and monitor them after the post-contest glow has subsided. Keep in mind to use a cohesive creative asset on all digital channels – this includes images, messaging, video, and all digital content. You never want to silo your marketing channels and create a disjointed experience.
Avoid Out-Of-Stock Errors
Make sure you have a contingency plan if (and when) items go out of stock. Bonus points if you can get your product catalog integrated with your email platform. This will give you visibility into what inventory is running low, and enable email marketers to flex messaging. The last thing you want to do is promote a product that can’t be purchased.
You need to be able to switch out product images, links, names, and Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) from an email quickly – which can take 30+ minutes manually. Consider 3rd party augmentations that enhance your emails with real-time image optimization, countdown timers, and other features. This allows you to respond to inventory issues in near-real time, often after an email has been deployed. When mistakes happen, this gives you a way out of sending the “oops” email.
These three tips are – well, just the tip of the iceberg. Use of video, interactive email, even introducing gamification in email campaigns are trends sellers are testing today. Why? Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to entice buyers to purchase during the holiday season. The trick is to make it personal and social, and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.