Now that we’re beyond the volume increase around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, are you suffering from the post-holiday email blues?
After having sent so much volume to drive holiday sales, you may need to get back on track with relevancy in your email campaigns. Try these strategies for engaging your holiday subscribers in 2014.
1. Reward Subscribers That Purchased During Holiday
Say thank you to your subscribers that purchased during holiday. Don’t follow up with an automated post-purchase email; send an authentic, dedicated thank you message that includes a bounce-back offer.
2. Promote Price Drops
Think beyond the typical clearance emails to push winter inventory. Now that prices have dropped on products, send a targeted message with dynamic content to showcase items a subscriber had passed on, to alert them of the new sale price.
3. Target New Subscribers That Didn’t Purchase
Holiday was a time for increased site traffic. This likely resulted in an increase in new email subscribers joining the list. For subscribers that opted in but didn’t purchase, create a campaign to resend the welcome offer. Subscribers were persuaded to opt-in by the offer once, and may just need one more reminder about their “exclusive new subscriber offer” to convert to their first purchase.
4. Grow Your List
Conversely, there is often a group of customers who purchased but did not opt in to receive email messages. This group is already highly engaged and has brand affinity.
Send an email with the benefits of receiving email communications to convert this group of non-subscribers to subscribers. This is a great group to target for list growth.
5. Send Weather-Related Communications
Even though most retailers are stocking the shelves with spring and summer products, the fact is the weather across most of the US is cold. It’s even snowing in Atlanta… again! If you have products or services that are weather-appropriate (boots, rain gear, emergency preparedness tips, ideas for entertaining the kids on their fifth consecutive day out of school, etc.), then set up dynamic messaging based on an API weather feed.
This combined with either ZIP code data on file for your subscribers, or using a technology that renders based on location of open (like MovableInk), allows you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. Sears effectively did this in the following email promoting gear for the snow:
Even if you don’t have time to pull together unique creative based upon a weather event, you can still modify your subject line to be relevant, like in this example from Helzberg Diamonds (disclosure: Helzberg Diamonds is a client where I work, DEG). The subject line for this Valentine’s Day email campaign read, “Snowed In? Get ready for Valentine’s Day early with FREE SHIPPING!”
Express also utilized this idea by using the subject line, “☃ 50% off clearance? Take that, Polar Vortex.” for this campaign below:
6. Promote Spring Break
The Polar Vortex has many subscribers dreaming of warmer weather, and the first big opportunity for this is spring break. Promote your new spring line around the context of vacation to give subscribers a reason to shop for tank tops and t-shirts when it’s only 5 degrees outside.
Groupon took did this in the following email with the subject line, “Need to Warm Up? Beach Getaways up to 50% Off.”
J.Crew also successfully did this in the following email with the subject line, “Dreaming of the beach?”
7. Clean Your List
The beginning of a new year is often a time of re-organizing, cleaning, purging and getting a fresh start. You can take this time to also clean up your email list. Especially coming off of holiday, if subscribers haven’t opened or clicked an email in the last year or more, then it may be time to part ways with those subscribers.
Having a large group of unengaged subscribers can cause deliverability issues due to low engagement metrics. This time of year allows for clever copy to ask subscribers to confirm their desire to stay on the list, or opt-out. Here is an example from Crocs (disclosure: Crocs is another DEG client) where the subject line asked, “Should we make up or break up?”
Following is another example from a local Business Marketing Association chapter asking subscribers to confirm their opt-in request as they migrated to a new email service provider.
8. Use Review Content
After an influx of purchases during holiday also comes an influx of product reviews from customers. Take advantage of this increased content by including it in your emails to showcase these products. Research shows including rating and review content alongside a product increases the likelihood of other customers purchasing.
9. Profile Email Subscribers On Facebook
Select your best email subscribers from holiday and use them to create a Facebook Custom Audience to target new subscribers for email acquisition and Facebook fan acquisition.
Essentially, you are creating somewhat of a model to target your paid advertising on Facebook. You are able to focus on other consumers on Facebook that “look like” your best email subscribers. These subscribers are more likely to purchase, therefore have a higher value and justify the paid advertising to acquire the new email addresses.
10. Analyze Subscriber Behavior
Study the behavior of your email subscribers during holiday. Did they open more often? How did they respond to the increased frequency of sends? Did select customers purchase repeatedly throughout the season or were all transactions unique customers during the time period? What was your best subject line? Worst subject line? How did your AOV compare with the remainder of the year? Did products featured in the emails sell more, or were subscribers simply using email as a way to get to the site and purchase other products?
Take this time during a less-frequent sending period to evaluate the successes and failures of holiday, so you can create a playbook for 2014.
It can be easy to fall back into a mode of sending the same message to everyone after the holiday email season. I hope these ideas and examples for targeting subscribers after holiday inspire you to focus on relevancy through segmentation and dynamic content. Your subscribers will thank you for it!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.