Post-Holiday Strategies: 15 Awesome Ideas

Monday, September 26, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

The holidays are practically upon us. And while you could be fine-tuning your holiday strategy and putting the finishing touches on your holiday campaigns, you shouldn’t over look your post-holiday strategy. Without a post-holiday strategy, you’ll lose many of your new subscribers.

In this article, I’ll share five often overlooked ideas, five awesome post-holiday email campaign ideas, and five additional cross-channel ideas you should consider putting into place now.

What to do before the holidays are over
There are several things you can put into place now that will not only help you reach your holiday goals, but will also help you keep new subscribers and customers engaged after the holidays.

Understand Transit Days
One of our favorite tips is to gain a better understanding of your shipping deadlines. This will help you extend your shipping deadlines in areas closest to your warehouses. For example, you can see on the UPS map below how long it will take packages to be delivered from a warehouse in NJ. Understanding transit days will allow you to target customers in the right regions with accurate shipping deadlines and rates.

Understand Abandonment Rates
You must also carefully monitor bounce rates on your site in order to determine if there are changes you can make to reduce abandonments. Many times, you can control factors that will keep shoppers on your site, such as adjusting prices, changing images, adding product recommendations and reviews, etc.

If shoppers do abandon, you want to adjust the timing of your browse abandonment and cart abandonment campaigns during the holidays and don’t wait as long to reach back to customers.

Understand New Subscribers
Email acquisition rates increase about 13% in the fourth quarter, on average. This isn’t by accident – most retailers have a strategy in place to acquire as many subscribers as they can during this time…onsite, in social networks, in-store – everywhere their shoppers are. But it’s not enough to just acquire these new email addresses, you must carefully monitor new subscribers so you know which ones have purchased, which ones haven’t, which ones are engaged, which ones aren’t, etc. This way, you’ll be able to determine where new customers are coming from and you can adjust your messaging to target subscribers appropriately.

Understand Purchase Habits
You must also understand your customers’ purchase habits in order to be able to effectively generate a second sale from new customers. This level of customer data can be difficult to mine, but Listrak offers a Bayes Net Analysis that tracks sales and shows the likelihood of additional purchases being made within specific time frames. As you can see, this analysis from one of our retail clients shows that their customers have a 10% chance of placing a second order within 30 days of the first purchase, while that likelihood drops to 2.6% three months out. But customers that purchased more than five times have a 26% chance of placing another order within 30 days. Knowing when your customers buy will help you fine tune the timing of your post-purchase campaigns so you can reach shoppers at the right time.

What to Send
Now that you have a better understanding of your audience, here are a few post-holiday campaign ideas that will keep shoppers engaged and buying from you in January. These campaigns go beyond the typical holiday sales, allowing you to promote full price merchandise.

Stock Up
Help your customers beat the January blues by stocking up on essentials. These items can be full price or you can offer a sale – the point is; you can engage shoppers by showing them items that can be used year-round. They’ll appreciate a break from all of the holiday-related merchandise.

Spring Preview
After the holiday lights come down, many people are already thinking about spring, warm weather, sunlight and a new wardrobe! Help them prepare by sharing a preview of your spring merchandise.

Gift Card Redemption
An oldie but goodie! 67% of holiday shoppers will buy at least one gift card and it’s up to the retailer to be sure the recipients redeem them, which can be difficult as they don’t always know who the recipient is. Gift cards don’t count as revenue for retailers until the cards are used, and with billions of dollars in unused gift cards floating around, it is in your best interest to capture this lost revenue. According to Gift Card Statistics, 61% of gift card holders spend more than the amount on the gift card and 75% of those overspend by 60%. It is in your best interest to send at least one email to your list that makes it easy for shoppers to redeem their gift cards; however, it shouldn’t be the main message as not everyone on your list will have one. Here are some emails that we love:

Content Related to Activity
2016 was the year of personal product recommendations and customers responded positively to these messages, clicking and buying the recommended merchandise at a high rate. We expect 2017 to be the year of content recommendations based on activity. For example, if you bought an espresso maker, you could receive an email like the one below from Whole Latte Love that shares videos of how to use the machine. Or if you searched for jeans but didn’t buy anything, you could receive an email like the Style Co. example below that talks about the best jean styles for every body type. This is a great way to keep shoppers engaged without just sending another email asking them to buy something. But…we’ve found that customers DO buy from these messages even though few of them even contain a CTA asking them to.

Cross-Channel Campaigns
While there has been a slight decline in emails that offer in-store or online discounts exclusively, this tactic can help you reach specific post-holiday goals, especially when it comes to clearing out holiday merchandise.

What Else Can You Do?
While email remains the most effective channel in which to reach and convert shoppers, you can’t rely on it solely. Here are five ideas for reaching and engaging subscribers in other channels.

Every year, mobile sales have the highest growth rates as more and more customers shop on their phones and tablets. And, chances are, you’re putting a mobile strategy in place so you can reach customers through SMS messages. A great way to acquire more numbers is to let customers sign up for text messages in your opt-down. When email recipients click the unsubscribe button, give them options to either select to receive fewer email messages and/or sign up to receive SMS messages. This will help you grow your lists while reaching customers in their preferred channel.

The average retailer only has email addresses for 30% of site visitors. The rest remain anonymous. Implementing a programmatic ad strategy allows you to re-engage these anonymous shoppers through personalized and highly relevant display ads, driving them back to your site to shop.

Social Ads
Another great way to engage anonymous site shoppers is through your social networks. For example, Facebook Lead Ads is a strategic way to acquire email addresses from anonymous site visitors who showed high purchase intent by retargeting them on their Facebook news feed. You can also show shoppers ads that feature items they browsed or carted on your site, driving them back to your site to complete the purchase.

But you shouldn’t stop there. You can also build Facebook Custom Audiences to help you find new shoppers that look like your best customers.

Listrak can help you accomplish these tactics. Questions? Let us know in the comments section.


iOS 10 updates that impact email marketers

Friday, September 16, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

Apple is currently beta testing the iOS 10 software update that will be rolling out soon to iPhone and iPad, and a few changes have been noted that will have an impact on email marketers and subscribers.

One-Click Unsubscribe

The most noticeable change is an unsubscribe banner that will now appear at the top of marketing emails.

Years ago, Gmail added an unsubscribe link in webmail and people freaked out. It's somewhat of a positive thing, because it provides users the ability to unsub rather than mark as spam, which can happen often. If someone wants to unsub, at least they won't mark it as spam and harm your reputation. This could also help to organically clean your list of non-engaged subscribers.

It's also a bummer because it's placed in the best real estate of the email - the top - which will take away from the available space for the content of your message. The first impression of your email will be important to get your readers' attention. Make sure your subject line and preheader text are engaging and relevant with the content of your message. Remove unnecessary content from the top of your email such as navigation, social, contact information, etc., and get right to the point. Your main message and main call-to-action paired with a relevant subject line and preheader text will provide the best experience for an opener.

Video is back

I didn't add an exclamation point after the title, because while it's cool that video is back, it's still rather unsupported across all inboxes and difficult to set up. The <video> tag used to be available in iOS, but Apple removed it for the past few versions. Now it's back. What do you think? Is this something you'd like to know more about? Let us know.

Remove Apple apps

On the last page of apps on my iPhone you'll find a folder called Junk. I plan on removing Maps, Weather, Tips, Watch, Health and Contacts (because why does this exist in two places!?). Point is, Apple will let you remove unwanted preinstalled Apple apps. It will be possible for users to remove the native Mail app, which may attract users to seek out other mail apps. The Apple Mail app has been known to have good support for responsive design, so it's important that your emails be optimized for mobile to account for the varying support of other third-party mail apps.

Make sure to take a look at the device usage of your subscribers to find out who will be impacted by these changes. iPhone remains the most popular device for opening emails, so consider optimizing your emails for the best experience.


Browse Abandonment Email Boosts Conversions

Thursday, September 15, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

A well-known mobile accessories brand client deploys several Abandonment campaigns, including a three-message Shopping Cart Abandonment campaign and two-message Product Detail Page Browse Abandonment campaign. In addition, being familiar with its target customers’ buying habits, the client takes its abandonment remarketing one step further with a unique Page Browse Abandonment message. 

Knowing that many of its subscribers visit the website because they have recently purchased or plan to purchase a new device, the client uses a clever Page Browse Abandonment email as an opportunity to educate them about its number one selling screen protection product.  

Visitors who land on any page of the client's website and then abandon receive an email a few hours later (if they have not received it within the past few months), which focuses on compelling statistics about screen damage. The email then drives the recipient to the product detail page for the company's industry-leading product. 

The Page Browse Abandonment email accounts for more than 10% of the company's total abandonment campaign revenue, and together the Page and Product Browse Abandonment campaigns generate slightly more revenue than the company's Shopping Cart Abandonment campaign.

The key to the success of the Page Browse Abandonment email is in the sheer number of visitors who receive it. It goes to nearly four times as many subscribers as the Product Browse Abandonment campaign and 40 times as many as the Cart Abandonment campaign.


Gmail is going responsive!

Thursday, September 15, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

Gmail just announced that it will be adding support for responsive email by the end of the month. Email geeks world-wide go nuts! It’s pretty incredible. One minute you’re struggling to get your hybrid fluid email hacks to render, and out of nowhere, Gmail releases this update like no biggie:

“Starting later this month, Gmail and Inbox by Gmail will support emails created with responsive design, meaning their content adapts to fit screens of all sizes.”

There is a ton of buzz about this update. It will certainly be a game changer. So what does it mean?

Media query support
Of course, the huge news is that Gmail will be supporting media query styles in the head stylesheet. Media queries allow you to add styles specific to a device width or screen size, giving you control over the desktop and mobile experience. Having this extra control is crucial in delivering the best experience to readers on any screen.

Inline no more
In the past, Gmail would strip out the css styles found in the head of your email, forcing email developers to add styles inline. Every table, table cell, and image would have redundant styles added inline throughout the email to ensure that it rendered correctly in Gmail. All other major inboxes already support head stylesheets, and with Gmail being the last remaining holdout, inline no more. This will drastically reduce the time to code and edit emails as well as the file size of the email, by reducing redundant code.

CSS support
Gmail has also provided a great resource (the first of it’s kind for an inbox), which gives support and guidelines for development of email. By the looks of it, their hope for the future is to allow a web-based approach to coding emails, free from table layouts. However, tables are still required for Outlook to render correctly, so we can only hope this means email standards will continue to make progress towards a brighter future of email development.

Keep an eye out for more updates about Gmail and training to help make the transition to responsive and non-inlined email development. 


Are You Ready to Begin Composing Your Holiday Email Templates?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

With just a little more than 10 weeks left in the countdown to Cyber Monday, and consumers holiday shopping earlier each year, it’s clearly time to begin thinking about your holiday messages.

In fact, we’ve already begun seeing a few holiday-themed emails hit our inboxes, so it’s time to start creating them.

Before jumping straight to Christmas, however, retailers must remember that it’s a holiday season, or rather, a season of holidays, and many may provide a reason for you to reach out to subscribers with relevant and timely content and promotions.

Our 2016 Holiday Calendar at a Glance gives a handy overview, beginning with Columbus Day on October 10.  

Even with an abundance of holiday email visions dancing in your head, however, we realize that time and resources remain as limited as they are in the less festive months of the year.  That’s where Listrak Composer comes in. 
Responsive Design in No Time

You don’t need to be a developer or even know html to use Listrak Composer. It’s completely self-service with easy-to-use drag and drop functionality. What’s more, you can create responsive messages at the click of a button and you can easily view mobile renderings before sending. With sales on mobile predicted to be at an all-time high this season, the importance of having your emails render correctly no matter what device consumers are shopping on cannot be underestimated. 

You may want to develop a few holiday templates you will use throughout the season. With Composer, you can start from scratch or select a Listrak template. When updates are needed, anyone on your team can make them, rather than having to rely on a developer or designer.

In addition, the code will be tested and kept-up-to-date so you don’t have to worry about it. It’s like an early holiday gift to you! We’ve created a video that shows how easy Composer is to use.

The time that Composer saves you in developing your holiday-themed email templates can then be used to concentrate on the strategies and tactics that will really help you thrive – not just survive – this holiday season. Just a few of them include weekend sends, segmentation and concentration on content rather than promotions.


Top Content Marketing Tips from Content Marketing World

Friday, September 09, 2016 Listrak 0 Comments

My colleague, Megan Ouellet, and I had the privilege of attending Content Marketing World 2016 this week in Cleveland, the hometown of the Content Marketing Institute. Content Marketing is a crucial part of moving customers through the sales funnel for B2C and B2B marketers alike, and the tips and insights that were shared were extremely helpful.

If you were unable to attend, here is a high-level recap of notable, recurring themes:
  • Your Content Strategy must connect the dots between business goals, user needs and brand values. It must help your organization to determine editorial, SEO, social media, website tactics and more.
  • Thought Leadership must be a bridge to something you can sell. If there’s not a link to a product it can be confusing – even irritating - to potential customers.
  • Marketers and salespeople must meet inside the buyer’s mind. They must appeal to how potential customers think and make decisions.
  • Visuals are more effective than words. 
  • Content should serve to build value outside of the product and services you offer. 
  • Your website needs to answer the questions your potential customers are asking. If your site is your mousetrap, your content is the cheese. 
  • There is not a need for more content, but rather more strategic use of content you already have. Marketing is impatient, wanting it all and as fast as possible, but Content Marketing winners actually get there by slowing down and being more deliberate and thoughtful. 
  • Quality rules over quantity. Content marketers should ultimately be thinking about transactions, rather than popularity, making a useful impression rather than simply increasing impressions.
  • Mediocre content will hurt your brand more than doing nothing at all.