If you think the holidays are still a ways off, you may run the risk of missing out on the perfect time to get your reindeer in a row and gear up for the biggest sales period of the year. Because in reality, precious weeks remain before shoppers around the world start getting online and checking off their naughty and nice lists.
With gifts to buy, not enough time, and a growing ecommerce market, more and more consumers are turning to their smartphones to find those perfect items. And with millions of people ready to hit the (web)stores, it would be marketing folly to not try and get in on the demand. And with phones in hand, email marketing is a strategy proven to work, especially for ecommerce businesses like yours.
With a little planning, you’ll cash in on the most profitable time of year, while saving time by bolstering your automated marketing strategies. It’s all about smart email marketing, at your fingertips with these tips from our Guide to Holiday Email Marketing.
Tips for holiday email marketing success:
Here are a few great tips, but remember to always consider ways in which you can delight* your customers and win raving fans along the way. Emails should be low on the spammy index, while high on the funny, beautiful, or inspiring.
Though we prefer, “There’s always time for presents,” a truer statement may be, “There’s no time like the present.” So start your holiday email marketing efforts now, before it’s too late in the game. It’s a booming market out there, and your business deserves a slice of the Christmas cake.
Forecast your most profitable marketing days, and make a plan.
Coming up with a plan is a worthy task. Don’t rely on cobbling together campaign ideas at the last minute. Instead, save time by creating a solid plan you won’t have to change later.
Ask yourself a few important questions:
- What are my most profitable days likely to be?
- What products will be the most popular this season?
- Do I have enough in stock?
- What’s the last day I can guarantee that orders will arrive on time?
- What are my unique selling points, and what makes my business better than my competition this season?
- Is my website streamlined for the Customer Journey?
- What can I offer customers?
And if you have last year’s data, review it and use that data to help your upcoming campaign. Ask yourself:
- What worked well last year, and what didn’t?
- What were the most popular items, and what weren’t?
- How can I incorporate those data points into this year’s sale?
Set up thoughtful automated email campaigns for the whole season.
Once you’ve asked yourself the important questions and reviewed any previous campaign data you have, it’s time to set up automated email campaigns. Email campaigns can be in many forms, like one-offs or as a series.
Here are some automated email campaign examples:
Happy Holiday Single Email:
Click Frenzy: Our Gift to You — Get 20% Off!
Happy Holidays Email Series:
- Happy Holidays Series: 5 Reasons Santa Shops With Us
- Happy Holidays Series: Click Frenzy: 40% Off Ugly Sweaters For All!
- Happy Holidays Series: You Made the Nice List! Treat Yourself to 15% Off
- Happy Holidays Series: Holiday Discount Offer Extended
- Happy Holidays Series: The Sleigh is Taking Off! (Discount follow-up a day before it expires)
- Happy Holidays Series: Join us on social media with our #bestgiftever competition
Successful automated emails perfect three key elements:
- Delight: Accomplish this with beautiful designs, mesmerising photos, moving or funny captions, and great copywriting.
- A clear call to action: What are you trying to get your customer to do? Purchase something. That pivotal step needs to be simple and straightforward. “Submit your order to Santa, here!”
- Punctuality: Emails need to arrive in a customer’s inbox at the right time. We guarantee you’ll have less success through automated Christmas shopping emails that are sent out in February.
Need help crafting engaging and effective holiday campaigns that set your brand apart?
Targeted product recommendations using smart tech.
Sending out random products willy-nilly won’t get you far. Besides being catchy and appealing, emails should also always be relevant. Just like customers hate robocalls, they also hate spammy, uninteresting emails that don’t serve a purpose to them, and customers are much more likely to unsubscribe from your emails. Instead, send products they’re actually interested in.
- Follow up on categories they bought this time last year. Based on those purchases, what do you think they might like next?
- Retarget those customers with your Google Shopping and other Google Ads.
- Use Facebook product sets to suggest similar items they may be more interested in than that random sweater no one’s buying.
Not sure how to effectively target your holiday product recommendations?
Incorporate Abandoned Cart features at every opportunity.
Abandoned Cart features are godsends to ecommerce stores, as only a small portion of customers that add products to their cart actually finalise a purchase. If you’re not already utilising this feature, it’s like ignoring a tentative knock at your door. There’s a reason a customer placed an item in their cart, and there’s a reason they left it sitting there. Maybe they forgot about it, or their boss wandered into their office while they were online Christmas shopping. Whatever the reason, using this feature helps customers come back to your website, and gives them the nudge they may need. Help them along by making sure to send email reminders about items left in abandoned carts.
An Abandoned Cart holiday email series might be a one-off, “Hey, look what awesome Christmas gift you forgot in your cart!” or a series:
Abandoned Cart Series:
- Abandoned Cart Email: “You forgot a package in Santa’s Sleigh!!”
- Abandoned cart Email: Special ho-ho-holiday offer
- Abandoned Cart Email: Our tiny elves deliver, for free!
Need help setting up an abandoned cart series that works for your business?
Track your growth and plan for next year.
Your resources are precious, and if you’re spending time and money on something new to help your business, you want to know it’s worth it. By tracking growth and change, you get to see the real-world benefits of putting automated email marketing into practice, and you can refine your process for years to come.
- Check the conversion rate for each channel, and for each marketing platform so you know what gives the highest return on ad spend (ROAS).
- Use the idea of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), and find out where your customers are dropping off. Make sure that your funnel is fully optimised.
- Don’t forget to consider the all-important but often neglected experience within the Customer Journey, and how you can streamline the journey for future sales.
Plan ahead and keep your customers engaged all year long, a major key to long-term success. Because after all, you need to engage customers every season, not just during the holidays. Creating these connections will boost your Christmas sales periods, grow repeat customers, and bring in new leads.
Consider sending “Thank You” emails, product and category follow-ups with how-tos, recommended items based on previous purchases, product review email requests, and feedback requests. Birthday email offers are a great addition, and anything else you can think of to create engagement and to delight your customers!
Happy Holidays, With More Down-Time.
Enjoy more time with family while automated email marketing strategies jingle in the background! And don’t forget that if you have a Maropost Commerce Cloud store, Mailchimp For Maropost Commerce Cloud unlocks all the features you need for your complete email marketing.
Need a few more great pointers? Check out our free Ultimate Guide to Using Email to Win Raving Fans and Repeat Customers.
*Delighting customers is a core MC4N value!