It's officially November (when did that happen?!); the weather's turning cold and now that Halloween has passed us, lo-and-behold, the Christmas decorations are coming out. The holidays are always a wonderful time of the year to spend time with friends and family, give thanks for all we have, and as marketers, send plenty of emails. Without question, email frequency will increase during the holiday season, with some retail companies ramping up their sending to as much as 10x as often during the week.
People like relying on email to tell them about discounts and promotions - especially during the holiday season. But with the increase in traffic, it becomes even harder than normal to stand out in the inbox. It is critical to make sure you are creating campaigns that are relevant and personalized. Do this by utilizing information about past consumer behavior, offering applicable discounts, and delivering beautiful emails to ensure happy subscribers and holiday success.
Windsor Circle and email service provider, WhatCounts, teamed up to help you out. Together we produced a list of 10 must-try email campaigns just in time for the holidays, kicking off at the end of this month with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you've already scheduled your holiday sends, make sure you hold on to this list for next year.
1. Give Loyal Customers the VIP Treatment
You've got your elite group of spenders - the VIPs of your database. These people are likely reading your emails year-round, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday present the perfect time to give back to them (and encourage them to spend a little more!) by letting the shop the sales early via early access to your inventory. Prior to Black Friday, send out an email leading them to the sneak peek (think gated part of the website where you need a password to enter). You could format this in a series of emails leading up to the preview, or you could make this a one-time email.
If you're not sure who your VIPs are, create a segment of your most brand-loyal purchasers based on the number of purchases and customers who've spent a certain dollar amount.
2. Target Those Known to Burn the Midnight Oil
I'll admit it; I can be a last-minute shopper. I find solace in knowing I'm not the only one hitting up the mall on Christmas Eve. Target the large population of procrastinators by segmenting your audience based on purchase date from last year. Once you have your list of customers, send them an email reminding them to not wait until the last minute this year! Help force their hand by sending them a special discount or offer.
When dealing with last-minute shoppers, always have a back-up plan. Set up a lifecycle campaign to fire off an email right before the closing hours of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to those who did not click through on the first email you sent out. Perhaps you'll catch the attention of someone waiting until the last minute to hop online.
3. Mobile Optimization for Shoppers in Line
Although online shopping is only increasing in popularity, some people will be holding fast to the tradition of waiting in line after Thanksgiving dinner for their Black Friday deals. This is especially true for retailers where the majority of sales happen through in-store purchases. Consider sending a mobile-optimized email with a discount that will hit subscribers' inboxes right as they are waiting in line to begin their shopping extravaganza.
4. Gift for Yourself
While a large number of shoppers use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to score deals on gifts for family and friends, why not give them a reason to get a gift for themselves, as well? Try setting up a campaign that encourages customers to create wish lists of items they see online and like for themselves. Retailers can use this information to target their emails during the season with deals that subscriber is looking for, and also capitalize on this concept after the holidays by sending a buy-what's-left-on-your-wish-list email.
5. Capitalize on the Clock
People tend to be motivated by time sensitive offers, so within the confines of Cyber Monday and Black Friday, why not host a time-sensitive offer? Try testing out a fun flash sale to entice people to buy even more than they planned. Also consider fostering an increase sense of urgency by adding in a countdown clock within the email.
This email, from Ballard Design, showcases a winner by incorporating a few different deals and a short timeframe for purchase, which is all pulled together with an eye-catching design.
6. Discount a Product and Sell Its Accessories
Have a product with low margins? Try using Cyber Monday to get the product off the shelves by creating a bundle with special discounted pricing on one key item and the addition of commonly purchased accessories. Throw in some free shipping and your product is as good as sold.
7. Amplify Your Coupons
Almost every retailer will be using promotions and discounts galore for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so sending a coupon alone is not going to get your email to pop. The way you stand out is by getting weird with it and showcasing your discounts in a unique and engaging way. Why not try incorporating a quiz, game, or surprise element? most people are suckers when it comes to anything that will bring out their competitive spirit or sense of surprise. Having a mystery coupon, as seen to the left by Brookstone, catches the eye.
Brookstone piques my interest by offering me a surprise discount (all options are pretty good, so no real losers here!), and adding a sense of urgency by clearly displaying the end date of the promotion. Brookstone sent this email out with the subject, "Mystery Coupon...up to $50 OFF your $50 purchase."
8. Cyber Monday/Black Friday Series
Build anticipation leading up to Cyber Monday and/or Black Friday with a multi-message campaign. Try setting up a short lifecycle campaign that sends off different emails with unique discounts, promotions, and copy that is dependent on subscribers' interactions with the previous messages. Creating a unique lifecycle process ensures for extra-relevant emails, which means a greater likelihood you'll connect with customers who may not have found your missed emails otherwise.
9. The Cross-Selling/Up-selling Approach
Cross-selling and up-selling to your repeat customers is a sure fire way to success. It is also fairly easy to conduct via a segment in your database of who purchased last year and what they purchased. With that knowledge, you can populate emails with a unique offer that pertains to their purchase history: "You purchased a big screen TV last year, complete your entertainment system with the latest and greatest gaming system."
10. Tie in with Social
Use your email program to bolster campaigns on other mediums, such as social. A lot of brands have had success in the past with social campaigns around the holidays. For example, last year, popular retailer Topshop conducted a wildly successful social campaign. Its holiday campaign, dubbed "Dear Topshop", ran across all the brand's platforms and provided personalized holiday gift guides for every type of recipient via the popular social media site, Pinterest. By making all of its pieces easy to pin and hosting the most popular items on their website everyday, Topshop cultivated a situation that encouraged purchasing.
If you emulate this type of social shopping incentive this year, use an email campaign to let customers know about how to win, offer a Black Friday discount to those who end up buying items that they've talked about on social media, or offer free shipping on Cyber Monday.
Remember, the holidays are a good time to try new things with your email. If you try one of these campaigns and it's not successful, experiment with something different on the list for your next send. The great thing about email marketing is that you're never confined to doing one specific type of email.
Windsor Circle provides retailers the ability to segment customers, personalize emails and powers automated email marketing campaigns for the holiday season and beyond. Retailers interested in retain more customers, increasing revenue and maximizing engagement should speak with a member of our Product Specialist Team.