Oct 03, 2019

Prepare Your Email Marketing for the 2019 Holiday Season

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools available to today’s ecommerce companies, especially during the holiday season. Are you ready to grab a slice of this year’s ecommerce holiday pie? A few simple tips can make that happen. Let’s get cookin’!

What is email marketing?

Glad you asked! Email marketing is, simply put, the use of email to sell or promote products or services, promote your brand, tell a story, engage your current customers, reach new customers… you get the point. Email marketing is a lot of work, so let's make it work for you!

Why email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of digital marketing today. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $32! (Nielsen DMA Rankings, 2018). That is awesome!!

The people who you are sending emails to WANT to get information about your brand, products or services. They have opted-in through a form on your website, a lead generation form on social media, a signup form at an event you were at, a signup process at your physical location, etc. So give the people what they want!

Top 3 (realistic) email marketing implementations to do this week before the holiday season hits hard

1. The Minimum

If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve got the basic email flows set up:

Welcome Email Series - We typically recommend setting up three staggered emails to start going out automatically when someone signs up to be put on your email list. Typically you want all these emails to go out within ten days of the signup so that your brand stays in front of the customer while they are making a purchasing decision.

Abandoned Cart Series - They’ve made it to the cart! These people were very close to converting but didn’t. Don’t let them slip away! Make sure you have an abandoned cart email set up, or better yet a series! Take this opportunity to remind the customer that they left the cart—maybe they got distracted. Set yourself apart from the competition. What’s the value-add? Do you offer free returns? Do you have a price match guarantee? Do you offer free shipping on orders over a certain threshold? Educate your customers!

Customers have been conditioned to expect these emails so make sure your brand isn’t missing out on this opportunity for sales and engaging customers

2. Segment, Segment, Segment

Gone are the days of email blasts to your entire list. In fact, if you are sending email blasts to your entire list, get rid of them now. I’ll wait.

Great! Now that you’ve done that, do some data digging. No matter what email or website platform you use, there is data out there for you to use. Get to know your audience. Who is opening your emails? What devices are people using to access your site? Where are they located? Maine? California? What social platforms are they using?

Get creative with your segments and test what messaging and imagery resonates with which segments. Something as simple as sending your male subscribers an email with male models and your female subscribers an email with female models will go a long way toward increasing the effectiveness of your emails.

You can divide your audience into granular segments, but to start, quality over quantity is key. It’s better to have one segment with a built outflow that works and speaks to your customers on their level than have ten segments with lackluster content.

3. Value Add Rather Over-Discounting

Avoid including a discount code in every email or running a sale every day. This will condition your email list to expect a sale at any given time and they will be less likely to ever pay full price for your products.

On a personal note, I love the brands that I follow that do this. I save money no matter what time of year, even if I would pay full price for a product. The flip side is that I never feel the urgency to hop on a sale that they are running because I have been conditioned to know that when this sale ends, another one will begin.

Instead, test out different “value-add” strategies. Some might include:

Product focused:

  • New colors, styles, sizes, flavors, scents, sizes, patterns, etc.
  • Products that are now back in stock

Highlight what sets you apart from the competition

  • Is your return policy awesome? Tell your audience how awesome it is!
  • Does your brand give back in any way? Tell them how many trees you’ve saved thanks to them, how many life-saving vaccines you’ve supplied to communities in need, how many school supplies you’ve provided, etc.

Ask for feedback

  • What new products, flavors, styles, scents, etc. would they like to see?
  • What do they like about the products? What do they hate?

That being said, we’ve all had them: customers who are just looking for a discount. Well, now that you’ve segmented your customers let’s put some statistics to use to make sure we are hitting the right customers with the right discounts.

  • People under the age of 35 are more likely to respond to a % off coupon
  • People over the age of 46 are more likely to respond to free shipping coupon
  • Males and millennials are 54% more likely to pay for expedited shipping
    (Abby Gettys, Growing your Revenue Intentionally: When and How to Use Coupons, 2019)
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