10 Tips to Holiday Email Marketing Success - Part Two

Friday, July 19, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
In a previous post, you learned five strategic tips that will help you set up your email campaigns for success this holiday season. Below are five more tips and best practices.
But first, here are some interesting stats from the 2012 holiday season. The numbers below represent online sales and the increase over 2011:
  • Online holiday sales - $42.3B / +14%
  • Thanksgiving - $633M / +32%
  • Black Friday - $1.042B / +28%
  • Cyber Monday - $1.465B / +17%
  • Green Monday - $1.275B / +13%
  • Free Shipping Day - $1.013B / +76%
  • Christmas Day - $288M / +36%
And here are some interesting mobile stats from last year:
  • 33% of eCommerce holiday traffic was from a mobile device / +109%
  • Mobile conversions increased 30% and mobile sales increased 171%
Keep in mind that the NRF is expecting a 4.1% increase in online sales this holiday season, and there are 6 fewer shopping days, which means 6 fewer days to email your customers. You can’t just dust off your campaigns from last year and give them a quick update – your entire strategy will need a reboot. 
Tip 6 – Two words: responsive design
If you implement just one new strategy this holiday season, it should be this one. More than half of all opened emails are currently being opened on a mobile device, and that number is on the rise. If you aren’t using responsive design email templates – don’t wait! Responsive design templates not only scale to fit the screen, but also provide the flexibility to hide, reveal or stack content so the right message is displayed. Your email campaigns will look its best no matter where customers are viewing them. Listrak is releasing a whitepaper on responsive design best practices next week, so stay tuned!
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Tip 7 – If using characters in subject lines, use them correctly
Special characters can really help your message stand out in a crowded inbox. However, only use them if it enhances the message and be strategic about it. Never use more than one symbol in a subject line and don’t use them every time because it can easily become spammy. Special characters work best in the first 20 characters of the subject line to ensure it will be viewed on a mobile device, and work really well if replacing a word or as a design element at the beginning and end of the subject line. It should never be used in place of punctuation.
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Tip 8 – Re-engage before the holidays
This email from Toms was one of my favorites last year. I received it the third week of October and loved the simplicity. “We’ve missed you! Come on back and be the first to shop the Toms 2012 holiday collection. Get new seasonal styles before anyone else!” It was sent earlier enough in the season to make it feel like I really would be one of the first holiday shoppers, and it gave me a reason to re-engage with the brand.
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 Tip 9 – Be unique, but be yourself
There is so much right with this email Uncommon Goods sent last December, it’s crazy! First, it used customer ratings and reviews for each product mentioned in the email, which is one of the greatest things you can do to boost sales. Next, it arranged the products in a fun and clever way that kept recipients engaged and scrolling through (it was quite long but was fun to read). And, at the bottom, it asked recipients to vote on the next best seller – it didn’t ask them to buy anything, it simply let customers vote on which products to include in future email campaigns. What a great way to get customers to visit the site!  
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Tip 10 – Have a contingency plan
The holidays are the busiest time of year for most eCommerce companies and, invariably, something at some point will go wrong. An email will go out with a missing or broken link. A product sells out faster than expected and you don’t have time to stop a pre-scheduled email promoting that product. An email that was meant to go to a small segment accidently goes to your entire list. Mistakes like this are common and forgivable if handled correctly and in a timely fashion.  Having a contingency plan in place will help you out tremendously when you’re facing an emergency. Put together a resolution team and decide what errors will warrant an apology or follow up email, what the tone will be, which errors call for a new discount or sale extension, if you’ll send the follow up email to everyone who received the message or only the people who opened it, etc.  Also, remember that it’s not the end of the world and don’t over-react. Here’s a great example from Chinese Laundry. An email went out last year with a broken link. As soon as it realized the mistake, it resent the email, simply adding “Oops our link is fixed” to the subject line.
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Any questions on these ideas? Let me know – you can contact me here.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some additional email examples from last year so you can see how other retailers interacted with their holiday shoppers.

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