Although the leaves are still changing and we are only a week into fall, many retailers are beginning to think about the holiday season, with many even beginning to run holiday promotions as early as October 1!
It may seem a bit early to be talking about the holiday season but according to the NRF, the holiday season is the largest of the year, accounting for 20%-40% of total revenue.
With so much riding on the holiday season to drive revenue and growth, it’s imperative to establish a strategic framework with rules of engagement for all marketing communications efforts. For the purposes of this blog post we are going to look at five ways retailers can be successful during the holiday season by using email marketing.
1. Reduce inbox overload. It is an oft assumption that the way to drive more conversion in the holiday season is to send out more emails. Although email is very important tactic, it needs to be done in a strategic manner. When brands ‘spam’ customers and prospects during the holiday season, they end up doing more harm than good. For instance, brands that send multiple emails per day, per month have a higher percentage of customers who opting out of email communication. The holiday season represents a major opportunity to acquire and retain customers but when customers opt out, retailers are likely to lose customers forever.
2. Perform subject line testing. A strong subject line is the key to capturing customer’s attention and during the holiday season, it can be the reason why a customer chooses your brand instead of competitors. It is important that the subject lines be clear, memorable, and relate to the content in the email. There should also be room for refinement through A/B subject line testing to see which message resonates with the audience more.
3.Send shopping cart reminders. According to research by IBM, in 2014, retailers saw a 72% cart abandonment rate on Black Friday. With close to three-fourths abandoning their carts, retailers are leaving significant amounts of revenue on the table. By sending out an email reminding customers of the items in their cart, this provides is a small yet meaningful opportunity to help increase revenue by converting transactions that would have otherwise been lost.
4. Continue lifecycle campaigns into holiday season. At Customer Portfolios, we recognize that each customer segment is different and is at different points in their customer journey. As such, we prescribe different lifecycle campaigns to meet the need of each segment. The goal of lifecycle campaigns is to foster customer (and prospect) relations and move engagement to action. During the holiday season, it is important to continue each lifecycle campaign and match the right content to the right individual.
5.Post-holiday follow-up. Holiday season is a great opportunity to foster customer acquisition but once the holiday season is over and done with, the focus should become on customer retention and fostering engagement with customers until they are ready to buy again. An example of this would be an email communication with a brief survey asking users how they liked the product they bought during the holidays. Too often customers lapse after their initial purchase and by engaging in follow-up communication, it provides a non-intrusive way for customers to maintain engagement with the brand.
In conclusion, although email is just a single form of outbound communication, when used strategically during the holiday season, it can be a powerful engagement tool to foster customer engagement and drive retention.