3 Types of Triggered Email Campaigns You Can Personalize with User- Generated Content

Friday, September 22, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

Triggered email campaigns can help you reach potential customers at opportune times with relevant content. Furthermore, after the initial set up, triggered emails can save marketers a ton of time and work while maintaining high levels of customer attentiveness. While adding personalized visual content to even the most specific triggered email campaigns can greatly impact their effectiveness, until recently, it’s often been considered too tedious a task to undertake.

Today, we are excited to announce a strategic partnership between Pixlee and Listrak, which will allow our joint customers to easily display curated user-generated content visuals in their triggered email campaigns, delivering a more customer-centric email experience.

This integration enhances the ability of marketers to publish relevant, real-time content that contextualizes products and optimizes the impact of their triggered emails by delivering higher click-through rates and increased top line revenue.

With Pixlee and Listrak’s partnership, marketers can feature real customer photos and videos in various types of triggered email campaigns, such as: 

Abandoned Cart Emails
Marketers project almost visceral reactions when talking about shopping cart abandonment. They are aware that it’s a big problem yet at the same time a lucrative opportunity. Approximately $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year and about 60% of that revenue is potentially recoverable [Business Insider].

Displaying product-specific customer photos and videos in abandoned cart emails can help to contextualize products for shoppers who are still in the early stages of the purchase funnel. It also adds a layer of social proof and peer validation to help shoppers, who may not be able to touch and feel a product as they would in a store, to make a purchase with confidence.
Browse Recovery Emails
While product page browsers may not have as high of intent to purchase as those who leave items in abandoned online carts, these browsers have still indicated some interest. By only emailing subscribers who have abandoned items in cart, marketers are missing the opportunity to re-engage with a huge percentage of other shoppers.

One way to display user-generated content in browse recovery emails is to highlight similar products to re-engage these browsers. It can help the browser to discover relevant products offered by your brand that peers are using and that he or she might be interested in.

Lifecycle Emails
Finally, lifecycle email campaigns (such as Welcome emails, Order Confirmation emails, or Shipping Confirmation emails) can play important roles in your customer loyalty and retention.

While the primary message of these emails is transactional, displaying user-generated content to upsell and cross-sell can help to personalize these email campaigns. Furthermore, incorporating shoppable photos and videos from real customers into lifecycle emails can also help you to highlight your greater brand story through email touchpoints.

Triggered emails are a powerful way to personalize brand messaging and to recover revenue. To improve your triggered email campaign engagement and increase click-through rate, consider your visual content. Does it contextualize your products in an authentic way? Does it help your subscriber to discover similar or complementary products? If the answer is no, consider using real customer photos and videos to enhance your email engagement and encourage website revisits.

For more information, please visit Pixlee.com

Miriam Tremelling
Content Marketing Lead at Pixlee


Digital Marketing – Risks to Avoid

Thursday, September 07, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

The new rules of digital marketing predicate the need to take risks. Brands must be innovative. They must move quickly. They must be the early adopters of new technology. They must be first.

While there are risks associated with that it’s far riskier to remain status quo. If you aren’t implementing new, more personalized ways to reach your audience, you can bet your competitors are.

When it’s time to upgrade to a new digital marketing platform there are many factors to consider. We’ve outlined several considerations below to help you mitigate the risks.

What’s the cost of “free”?
There are many low cost or even free digital marketing services available. But buyer beware – you get what you pay for. Going with the cheapest solution often ends up costing brands more as the hidden costs for integration, implementation, customer service and support add up quickly. More importantly, companies have to consider the downtime and lost revenue being caused when solutions aren’t implemented in a timely manner, when all acquisition touchpoints aren’t firing correctly, when third party software breaks or when they simply have a support question but can’t reach a representative in a timely manner.

Low cost providers typically focus on customer acquisition, not customer service. Low cost providers “innovate” by offering new solutions from third parties rather than developing the technology themselves, which is the only way to fully ensure integration is accurate and easy to implement and giving you a single point of contact. And because low cost providers solely focus on their – and their investor’s - bottom lines, they aren’t focused on the ROI of their customers. Performance and metrics are secondary.

Free or low cost solutions come with a huge risk that rarely pays off as they end up costing much, much more in the long run – in the form of hidden fees, poor integration and service, and lost business.

At Listrak, our clients average $50 of ROI for every dollar spent. That’s 16.3 percent higher than industry averages of $43 as reported by the DMA. Our guiding philosophy and hallmark of our business is “customers come first in all we do”. We develop technology and many of the best practices in our industry in order to help our clients drive customer acquisition, retention and loyalty, resulting in higher revenue and customer lifetime value. Our client services team earned a world-class Net Promoter Score of 80, which is 60% higher than Disney’s score of 50. According to Net Promoter Score, any score above 50 is excellent while 70 or above is deemed world-class. A score of 80 is unparalleled in our industry.

Acquisition is risky business
It is rare for a technology company to grow organically without taking outside funds from venture capitalist firms or other investors. Similarly, many companies look at acquisition as a model for growth and innovation. Listrak is one of the exceptions. 

From Business Insider, “And yet history shows that, in at least half of all cases, after the deal closes, acquisitions sour. (There are dozens of studies and papers, and estimates of how many M&A deals fail to meet financial expectations run from 50 percent to as high as 90 percent.) The good news is that entrepreneurs, option-holders and investors cash out, but the bad news is that the employees find themselves in an oxygen-starved bureaucracy and customers end up confused or even orphaned.” 

Whether you’re looking for a new service provider or even if you’ve worked with a company for several years, you must remain aware of mergers and acquisitions in the industry in order to protect your organization. Remember – many times the customers of acquired companies end up confused or even orphaned. They’re left behind – shuffled among account representatives who may or may not understand the customer’s business or even know the new technology or corporate culture they are now a part of.

Customers of acquired companies end up confused or even orphaned, dealing with new account representatives who may or may not understand the customer’s business or even know the new technology or corporate culture they are now a part of. Working with organizations that are going through an acquisition – especially if it isn’t the first time – isn’t a risk you can’t afford to take.

The success of your business is paramount to our success here at Listrak, which is why we consider all clients a partner. Our client services, strategy services, technical project managers, learning and development, creative services, deliverability, support and other teams mean you have 350+ people on your side whose main purpose is ensuring your digital marketing solutions are optimized to maximize returns. We answer to our customers, not outside investors or shareholders or even to a parent company that focuses on goals that aren’t aligned with our core values and objectives.

What risks do pay off?
In the immortal words of Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals – “no risk it no biscuit”. While you definitely don’t want to choose a risky organization to work with, there are some risks you’ll want to consider with your digital marketing solutions that will pay off big time.
  • Implementing new technology – Being the first to test new solutions puts you ahead of your competitors. Whether you’re implementing AI technology that can analyze customer data to predict what action they’ll take next or testing SMS to see if your audience responds to messaging in a new channel, don’t wait to see how other businesses do. Test the technology yourself. Being the first to market provides invaluable opportunities to engage consumers in exciting new ways. 
  • Testing new campaigns – Be the trendsetter. Take the “next practices” and find out how to make them your industry’s best practices. Even small and simple enhancements, like adding a third or fourth message to a cart abandonment series, can lead to big returns. Listrak’s resource center is full of strategies and tactics that are easy to implement. 
  • Segmenting audiences in new ways – If you are still just segmenting on simple preferences – or worse, not segmenting at all – it’s time to use your data more effectively. Try sending offers only to former customers who haven’t purchased in over 90 days to win them back. Or send back in stock or price drop alerts to people who browsed those particular product pages but didn’t buy anything. These messages are highly targeted and can even be automated. They’ll outperform many of your other campaigns. 

Was there a time you took a big risk with your digital marketing initiative that paid off? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Megan Ouellet
Director, Content Marketing


How to Communicate Effectively with Your Email Designers

Friday, August 25, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

One of the biggest hurdles of working with others on a project is getting another person to understand your vision. Sure, it’s an exciting 4K cinematic glory playing in your head. You hear angels singing as a magnificent work of art is revealed in your mind (and yes, smoke machines are probably involved). But now, you need to make someone else see, understand, and create that dream in a concrete marketing piece. You need them to take photographs, fonts, and shapes into the amorphous abyss of computer design software to ultimately create what you envisioned.

To get to that final marketing piece, there is a lot of information filtering back and forth between those working on the project. A strong communication flow between team members will increase the quality and effectiveness of your email marketing to meet your goals.

So…how do you do it?

It seems like such an easy concept: an exchange of ideas from one person to another. But to explain something as nebulous as an idea is difficult. Buzz phrases like “think outside of the box” and “make it pop” don’t express the tiny details of what you truly want.

Through the years, I’ve picked up some helpful tips to make the communication on a project go a bit smoother.

Have a conversation

Before a design is even started, everyone should already be on the same page about what is expected. A design vision is multi-faceted, so trying to describe it with a two-sentence email or text message won’t get the full idea across. Instead, there should be a two-way, detailed conversation between both parties. This could be done through Slack, email, a phone call, or even face-to-face. During this time, nail down the specifics: Are there certain colors to use? Is a specific image or font needed? Do you have similar examples to reference?

Remember you are on the same team

When communicating about something as personal as a creative vision, the process can quickly turn sour if one or both sides of the conversation become defensive, argumentative, or unresponsive. If there is a difference of opinion, try to calmly come to terms. Each person should lay out their opinions and knowledge so the full picture can be seen. With the restrictions of email inboxes, some aesthetics aren’t possible. Other ideas might not be on-brand. Perhaps an idea is against your best practices. Working through these issues can be frustrating, but butting heads will just make the situation more stressful and emotional.

Provide assets and examples

It’s not a secret that designers are visual people. If you have an idea of what you want your final product to look like, send the designer specific examples or even try sketching it out for them! If nothing else, a simple grouping of rectangles can help give the designer a visual structure to start with.

This is a page from one of my notebooks on variations of an email design. They aren’t pretty. They aren’t fancy. But they tell a clear story of where the designs should go.

In addition to examples, remember to supply all the photos and graphics you want to be used in the design. Not sure what image you want? Supply a range of options or a robust image library to the designer and give an explanation of what type of images to use. Do you want images of the products? Do you want happy people? Would you like to see a natural landscape? Any direction is useful. Believe it or not, one of the hardest things to design is “Do whatever you want.” Without guidance, a designer may find a magical rabbit hole far away from the intended vision.

Advice for designers

One of my favorite quotes from a college professor is that “Artists create for themselves. Designers create for others.” While designers have that creative juice (or maybe it’s just coffee) running through their veins, each piece created is then left to the scrutiny of others: your boss, your coworkers, your customers, other designers. You’re likely proud of your creation. However, it also needs to be approved by all parties involved in the process. Their opinions matter too! And it doesn’t stop there. It also needs to perform. You need a measurable return.

And sometimes that can get painful. Sometimes your masterpiece is torn to shreds. As creatives, we get emotionally attached to our creations. Having someone change your creation is painful. The initial reaction can be anger or sadness. You may not be able to control that emotional response, but you can control how you deal with the situation.
  • Take a few minutes to calm down. A heated response will only make the situation worse for all parties involved. Go to the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee, or step outside and take a big, deep breath. Just a few minutes removed from the moment can make a world of difference. 
  • Start a dialogue to find out the reasons behind the change. There may be a legitimate reason – for example, following branding guidelines. Some requested changes might not be possible due to functionality or SPAM regulations, and that might need a discussion to explain. By creating a conversation, you open both parties to seeing the full picture and reduce confusion. 
  • Find your happy place. We all have something we love so much that we can’t help but smile at. I love my family. It’s a little unconventional: a husband and cats. But it’s mine. And those cats: they’re cute and fluffy. They have little lawn mower engines inside of them that turn on when you cuddle. As much as I wish I could have one plopped in my lap all day at work, I make do with about 3 million pics of them on my phone (and a few hung around my desk for good measure). In the heat of the moment, when I have more work than I can imagine getting done in a single day and I’m stressed beyond belief: I stop for just a moment and look at a little furball.
Seriously, who could be upset looking at this picture of Wedge?

Ultimately, to have the most effective communication during the creative process, you need to listen and remain open to each other’s ideas and needs. As long as you work together instead of against each other, you will create amazing things.

What communication methods do you use with your designers? Do you have any advice yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Lobach
Graphic Designer


5 Ways You Can Leverage Social Media in Your Email Marketing

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s time to start using it to your advantage by aligning your social media and email marketing! It’s definitely worthwhile: by spending a few hours promoting their company on social media every week, 91% of marketers claimed these efforts greatly increased their exposure. That exposure could lead to more website traffic, better SEO, and improved conversion rates. Sign us up!

Social media has become a part of our daily lives. 76% of Facebook users log in to their accounts every day. This is the reason why two million businessesare using Facebook as a marketing channel.

On the other hand, Instagram earns $595 million in mobile ad revenue per year, with 51% of users saying they check the platform daily (and 35% saying they check it several times a day!).

And finally for Snapchat: over 400 million snaps are shared every day, and Snapchat ads are being viewed anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million times daily!

If your customers follow you on social media, you can continue to nurture that relationship outside the inbox. Establish a presence everyday news-feed prowl with reminders that you exist and are there for them. With “likes,” “retweets,” and more, your customers are further engaging with you and building a positive relationship with your brand.

Take a look at our 5 favorite social strategies to help you get started.

1: Encourage engagement with a hashtag

Instagram posts that use at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. Crazy, right? So why not encourage that engagement with a brand-specific hashtag?

At the very moment that we’re writing this, #TeeFury has 61,373 posts on Instagram. If your brand has that many people wanting to share their nerdy t-shirts, you’d better utilize that! And they do – at the bottom of every marketing email, TeeFury encourages their readers to share their photos using #TeeFury. Below this headline, the brand showcases some user generated content and even links each picture to the featured tee. This is an awesome tactic to not only encourage engagement, but also a purchase!


Crate & Barrel does an excellent job using brand-specific hashtags as well. Users are encouraged to show “a little Insta love” using #CrateStyle. The resulting UGC aren’t photos staged in a state-of-the-art studio with perfect lighting and a professional photographer; the results are real people in real situations showing off their Crate & Barrel products. Not only does this show brand loyalty, but it’s also inspiring for potential customers to discover what they can do with their #CrateStyle!

2: Create an Instagram contest

People love contests, and they love winning them even more! A well-run contest can be a highly effective tactic to gain new followers.

Anthropologie utilizes this tactic well with their #SummerInASnap contest. Users can enter to win a $250 gift card – all they have to do is post a photo of themselves with an Anthropologie product and include the hashtags #SummerInASnap and #AnthroContest.

Easy, right? We think this simple strategy is totally worth it – after all, Instagram accounts that hold contests grow their followers 70% faster over three months than accounts that don’t. You’ll also love reining in those likes: Instagram contests get 3.5 times more likes and 64 times more comments on average than regular posts!

3. Call out what’s trending

For those busy readers, just call out the highlights! Using gorgeous large images and informational captions, BHLDN features what’s trending on their social pages in this example.

First, they showcase the most-liked pic on Instagram accompanied by the most-shared post on Facebook beneath it. By doing this, BHLDN is making sure their readers stay in-the-know on what their fellow shoppers are engaging with on social. You’ll notice this brand also shows off the top-pinned image on Pinterest. By doing this, they’re actually encouraging a purchase! A recent study showed that 93% of active pinners use Pinterest to plan for purchases, and 87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.

Here’s to pinning some gorgeous dresses to our “Dream Wedding” boards!

4: Encourage users to share exciting sales

It’s a no-brainer that you’d want to get sale exposure everywhere you can. This is where your readers come in! Here, Francesca’s advertises a huge sale in a broadcast email and then encourages their readers to share the exciting news.

The large 60% off sales offer really catches the reader’s eye; the purple in the offer also matches the color of the Twitter icon, leading your eye from one important element to the next. With the large call-to-action button, the brand makes it simple to click and spread the news!

If you’re thinking of doing this for your brand, make sure your tweet includes an image. Tweets with images receive 18% more click-throughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets!

5: Don’t forget about Snapchat!

In this example, Old Navy does an excellent job of capturing attention with bold, bright colors and the use of the word “free.” They also made a custom Snapchat filter. How cool is that? This brand is trying to capture their reader’s attention with the free denim tattoos, but they also quickly drop the hint that they’re on Snapchat.

Snapchat is the second most powerful platform in the US (it has more users than Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn!), so filters are a great marketing tool to garner more brand awareness. By using a branded Snapchat filter, you’ll get your logo seen by not only the person taking the Snapchat, but all of the user’s friends who view it! You can design your own filter online (or upload a design) for only $5.

Are you convinced yet? Let us know how you plan to incorporate social into your future messages!
And if you’re already doing this, way to go! Comment to tell us your favorite strategies.

Elsie Compton
Graphic Designer

Alicia Morrissey


A Total Eclipse of The Inbox: Using a Natural Phenomenon in Your Email Marketing

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

Did you see the amazing total solar eclipse? Here in PA we only got a partial eclipse, but it was still absolutely stunning. This was the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 and will be one of history’s most widely document eclipses. And get this: in order to chase the eclipse across the nation, you would’ve had to travel roughly 2,400 mph!

Scientists don’t expect to see another total solar eclipse for another seven years – but you can definitely expect to see deals in your inbox until then.

Some companies decided to use the excitement from this awesome phenomenon as a theme in their emails. Let’s take a look at how email marketers were capitalizing on this rare spectacle!

A sweet solar sweepstakes

Casper and Outdoor Voices wanted to get you to a prime viewing location in Wyoming, so the two companies teamed up to create a sweepstakes! This was a great tactic – not only does it increase brand awareness for both parties, but it also shows how the customer can use their products together.

These two companies both have a similar design style too, which made bringing them together harmonious. Both have very clean lines and tend to use illustrations rather than lifestyle imagery. They also both use neutral colors and focus on one big, bold call-to-action button to get you to enter that sweepstakes.

Recommended products to help you prepare 

With recommended products, Backcountry encouraged their customers to enjoy the eclipse no matter where they were. If you’re at a camp site, here’s a blanket and a wine cup set for you. Venturing out a bit further on your own? Make sure you bring this hammock and some food. And if you’re stuck at the office… that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the eclipse! Grab this camp chair and speaker and make it a work party. And P.S. don’t forget the viewing glasses! This adds a nice personal touch to show they genuinely care that their customers are going to enjoy this amazing phenomenon comfortably and safely.

Take note at the very bottom of this message – there’s a survey on how you’ll be experiencing the solar eclipse. This is an interesting tactic to gather information on their customers, and I’ll definitely be watching their future campaigns to see how they’ll be using it!

Reverse psychology to make you do a double take

I opened this email and it told me to GO AWAY.


As I kept reading a little further, I found that Sierra Designs was encouraging you to “go away” and “chase the eclipse.” They show off some of their gear you’ll need for the road trip and take you straight to the sale section (it’s like they know me!). To wrap it all up, they offer free shipping – because who wants to worry about shipping fees when you’re about to witness a total solar eclipse for the first time since 1979?

Keep up the reverse psychology – it’s clever and it’s working! 

Clever puns to share with your pals

When it comes to great copy, Spirit Airlines is a personal favorite of mine to read. Their copy is so laidback and fun – it feels like they’re having a casual conversation with me as a friend, and not just me as a customer. Plus, I love a good pun, which they do an excellent job of utilizing in this email!

“This deal won’t be eclipsed” is a clever way to reference the marvel that has everyone buzzing, while also noting they have the best deals around and won’t be overshadowed. That’s a pretty bold statement, but when you look at the low numbers that pop out at you, you have to agree!

Not only do these guys play off the word “eclipse,” but they also play off the rarity of the event. By saying this deal is “literally the most savings thing to happen in a hundred years,” they’re drawing on that urgency to book and get the deal of the century.

Fashion (and safety) musts

Francesca’s got festive for the eclipse by having their models sporting not just gorgeous styles, but eclipse glasses as well! This is a great way to encourage watching the eclipse safely… but looking cute while you do it! Francesca’s also took this opportunity to drive traffic to their website for their “total eclipse of the site” sale. With the fun hero image and featured categories, Francesca’s gives you ideas on what to wear on the big day!

Get dark (just like the skies)

Instead of focusing on the sun, Nike honed in on the darkness of the eclipse by featuring almost all black shoes and clothing. While they didn’t offer any special discounts, the email in and of itself felt exclusive because they showcased their “top picks for the solar eclipse on Aug 21.” I don’t see many retailers picking out their favorite trending products for just one day too often!

A sale hidden in an eclipse GIF

Earlier I said I love puns, but I think I love GIFs even more! Here, J. Crew Factory played off the excitement and created a GIF of the eclipse with a special offer inside. The cool part of this GIF is that the offer is essentially hidden until the big moment: when the moon totally covers the sun! Then the yellow text shines brightly on the blue background and you see that they’re having a flash sale. To get you to their site, J. Crew Factory includes a call-to-action that says “Shop now, bright eyes,” giving a nod to the karaoke favorite, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Did you get any awesome eclipse emails in your inbox? Let us know in the comments! Also, if you have any personal total eclipse stories, we’d love to hear them!

Elsie Compton
Graphic Designer


5 Data-Driven Strategies to Personalize Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Friday, August 11, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

This holiday season, it is imperative not to get lost in the shuffle with the massive amount of emails flooding your subscribers’ inboxes. To take your efforts to the next level, retailers should focus on tailoring experiences for each subscriber. You’ll want to use best practices and next practices to break through the clutter, and a great way to do this is by using your customer data.

This isn’t as complicated and time-consuming as you might think. Using tactics, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics, you can automate data-driven campaigns while building personalized messages that increase the likelihood of a sale.

Let’s start by defining some of these terms:
  • Artificial Intelligence: Any device that perceives its environment, takes actions to reason through data and carries out tasks on its own to succeed at some goal.
  • Machine Learning: The ability for a computer program to learn from past experiences without being explicitly programmed. 
  • Predictive Analytics: Advanced analytics which are used to make predictions about unknown future events. It uses many techniques from data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze current data to make predictions about the future. 
  • Predictive Content: Powered by machine learning and predictive analytics, timely and relevant content recommendations are automatically delivered to your target audience, boosting engagement and aiding in the purchase decision. 

This data-driven approach eliminates the time-consuming and manual process previously needed to mine data for customer insights and determines what consumers are likely to buy next. By looking at historical data and anticipating consumers' intent, you can significantly improve the likelihood of converting visitors into purchasers while individualizing every interaction and focusing on the big picture.

Here are 5 data-driven campaign ideas to test this holiday season that will take your personalization to an entirely new level.

The first data-driven step towards a personal experience is segmentation. Segmentation targets a like-minded group of customers and tailors messages to their specific interests. By using your customer data, you can easily find these groups and segment your list accordingly. From there, you can determine who your customers are and what they want to see to understand what makes them tick.

In addition to standard demographics, consider analyzing your customers’ behavioral patterns and psychographics. This gives you the power to use browse behavior, purchase history and preferences.

Lookalike Lead Ads
Now that you’ve discovered your best and most loyal customers, you can let the data do the work with the second data-driven tactic. By uploading your segmented lists to Facebook, you will be able to find potential customers with similar interests to your existing subscribers. This approach allows you to expand your reach to new, prospective customers while presenting personal, relevant ads that are likely to spark their interest. It is an easy way to optimize the value of your email subscriber list while saving time and resources with automation.

Product Recommendations
The third data-driven tactic to try this holiday season would be personalized product recommendations based on each consumer’s behavioral data. Because product recommendations are determined through predictive analytics, each message is targeted to specific customers, helping them find the prefect present and creating a truly customized experience. This is a beneficial tactic that can be used in every email you send, not just your triggered messages.

In fact, your broadcast messages can have that same level of personalization without you having to do any of the work. By simply creating a template, you can send daily, weekly or monthly messages that are automatically populated with product recommendations based on purchase and browse behavior.

Programmatic Display Advertising
The fourth tactic, programmatic display advertising, allows you to expand your marketing reach to consumers after they leave your site—regardless of acquiring their email addresses. With the use of consumer browse and purchase data, you can automate dynamic display ads that are personalized to customers’ online behavior. This delivers efficient and relevant ads, while saving time and effort by automating the process.

Additionally, programmatic advertising is a great way to retarget consumers who visited your site, added something to their carts (but didn’t check out), or demonstrated some other interest. Through this, each visitor will see products related to their specific interactions instead of a generic one-size-fits-all ad. Reminding customers of their browse or purchase history with display advertising can help to reach potential customers at the peak of their holiday shopping and deliver tailored messaging at the right time to help re-engage consumers.

Predictive Content
Similar to product recommendations, our final tactic to test out this holiday season is predictive content. While product recommendations suggest different products based on their past purchases and behaviors, predictive content sends relevant content designed to engage and inform consumers to build long term relationships. It takes all your content like videos, tutorials, blog posts, articles, recipes and guides and delivers them – automatically – to the right consumer at the right time to aid in the purchase decision.

Moreover, today’s consumers – especially millennials - are looking to build relationships with brands. It’s no longer just about the lowest price, it’s about providing value and building trust. While using an incentive such as a discount can drive significant revenue, offering customized content suited to an individual’s interests drives engagement and revenue just as well – or better. Personalized content on its own makes the message relevant and delivers visible value. This type of content makes you a subject matter expert and helps you stand apart from your competition, especially from big companies such as Amazon or Walmart.

From emails with predictive content and product recommendations to personalized programmatic display ads, to triggered messages based on segmentation, your ads emails and all other messages can be individualized and tailored to specific customers like never before with the use of your customer data.


Holiday Email Design: How to Stay Festive Without Losing Your Brand

Saturday, July 29, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

As heat rolls across the country in waves, there’s obviously one thing on every email marketer’s mind: the winter holidays! Grab your sunglasses and a glass of lemonade, sit back, and start thinking about bundling up and tossing some snowballs while jolly ol’ Saint Nick squeezes down your chimney.

There is a freedom to your email designs during the last few months of the year; you can easily use non-brand colors and imagery because it’s accepted as a norm by consumers. But be sure you don’t lose sight of your brand in the midst of all this festive cheer.

Your first instinct may be to take your regular marketing messages and just sprinkle some holly leaves on a bigger discount. Sure, you’ll get conversions, but could you get even more people clicking with a more brand-specific approach?

If you stay loyal to your branding while adding a festive flair, your customers will respond to the consistent message of your brand throughout the holidays and into the new year.

Cookie cutters may be great for Santa, but not for conversions!

Your customers are special, so a cookie-cutter design style or promotional concept may not be very effective on them. Make sure you’re creating a holiday campaign that speaks to your customers, not someone else’s.

Before planning your campaign, take some time to check out your analytics from the past year. While it’s important to look at the performance of your previous holiday campaigns, it’s even more important to see what kept your customers engaged throughout the whole year.

Ask yourself: What makes my customers act? Do they respond to beautiful lifestyle imagery? Do they love your catchy subject lines? Maybe it’s the big discounts that really hit home. Whatever it is, make sure you incorporate those favorite elements into your holiday campaign. These needs combined with the holiday aesthetic will connect with your customers and help lift conversions.

Updating your automated campaigns takes time and valuable resources.

Thinking of adding snowflakes to all your transactional messages? While this is a sweet ode to the season, keep in mind that you are spending valuable resources on these campaigns that could otherwise be allocated to your holiday marketing messages.

Every minute you spend adjusting the creative of your current automated messages, is time you could be investing in your holiday marketing campaigns. It’s best to treat your automated campaigns as “set it and forget it” while you focus on revenue-driving holiday marketing messages.

Plan ahead

As T. Boone Pickens said, “A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.” You’re already a smart cookie, so why not take that masterful marketing mind and capitalize with a strategic holiday marketing plan?

A handful of emails across November and December offering 50% off with a picture of Santa in the corner isn’t going to cut it. Begin your campaign with subtlety by featuring your top products and a gift guide. Slowly amp it up by giving small incentives here and there, and then release the big guns when your customers are most open to purchase.

Again, be sure you’re checking your analytics and incorporating your customer’s favorite discounts, and sending at a time you know your customers are more apt to open. If you’re unsure where to start, check out our Holiday Survival Guide.

Choose festive colors that compliment your brand palette

While you may have the leeway to use non-brand colors at the holidays, don’t forget to coordinate that holiday color palette with your existing brand colors. Pure or saturated red and green are great for the holidays, but will they clash with your logo? Try to find colors that evoke that holiday spirit but also mix well with your colors.

For example, here is a Christmas motif in the typical Christmas color scheme:

The vibrant red and green are quite festive! But your brand colors are less saturated. Let’s say you have four brand colors: orange-red, navy, black, and light grey. Christmas red and green just aren’t going to fit naturally.

By using the brand orange-red, you already have half the equation. If you use a bluer and more subdued green, you have the same festive message that’s perfectly on brand.

Christmas doesn’t need to be your primary focusWhile Christmas is the big hitter in the holiday season, it doesn’t need to dominate every message you send. For some messages, why not keep it simple and focus on winter itself? Find a nice lifestyle image of a puppy playing in the snow, or a create a GIF of a cozy, crackling fireplace. You can also celebrate other winter holidays like Hanukkah or Kwanza. Heck, have some fun and celebrate Festivus!

Mixing things up will help keep things fresh for your customers in the never-ending sea of red-and-green emails filling their screens. By playing to the beauty and coziness of winter and recognizing multiple holidays throughout the season, you’re standing out in the inbox while also creating an emotional bond with more of your customers.

Don’t forget to recommend additional products!

As much as every designer and marketer would love all customers to be engaged with every single message, the reality is far more ominous: there will be people who do not engage with your main promo, or at any point in the message at all.

There are a ton of reasons a customer may not connect with an offer or product, so be sure you give them something else to click. Whether they be dynamic or static, add three to four products at the bottom of the email. Even if they already scrolled past your lovely hero image, additional products give your customers another opportunity to get onsite and shopping for the perfect gift.

Are you feeling the holiday spirit yet? Start planning your holiday campaign now, and don’t forget to check out our Holiday Survival Guide!


Mobile Holiday Strategies for Considersation

Friday, July 14, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

The holiday season brings an abundance of advertising noise to consumers, and for retailers, it is difficult to stand out. The question is --- how do you distinguish yourself and convince consumers to shop with YOU, rather than competitors?

We live in the era of instant gratification. When a consumer wants something, they want it NOW, and if you don’t capture their interest right away, you’ve lost them. With mobile spending growing 44% in 2016 and looking to grow even more this holiday season, what better way to reach your customers than through mobile promotions. By leveraging a mobile strategy, retailers can better interact with consumers on an individual level, reaching out when relevant, providing a better experience, and ultimately generating a higher return on marketing efforts.

To help you make the most of your mobile presence throughout the shopping season, here’s a handy checklist that will help you to increase engagement even in the middle of holiday shopping madness.

Create Urgency with SMS:
As we quickly approach the holiday season, retailers are beginning to put the final touches on their themed campaigns. If SMS isn’t part of your marketing mix, then maybe you should think again. SMS is quickly becoming one of the best ways to reach and engage customers and you don’t want to miss out. However, there are some tips we encourage you to remember. While emails can go out daily – or even multiple times per day – SMS should be used sparingly. SMS should be saved for your best offers or discounts and should include a feeling of exclusivity as well as a sense of urgency.

The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday SMS promotions create a sense of urgency that motivate the customer to take advantage of the offer. Without some kind of deadline there isn’t any real incentive for them to click through. 

Abercrombie and Fitch is a great example. With action words like, “Jump start, while supplies last, and ends tonight,” they are sure to grab the reader’s attention! 

Get Personal with SMS:
The holidays are the perfect time to build an emotional bond with your customers. The positive feelings and gratitude are already at the forefront of the season and your marketing campaigns can piggyback on those emotions. An effective way to personalize SMS messages is through segmentation. Segmenting your customer list will allow you to customize your messages for each group of people, giving them relevant messages each time you send out a campaign. To get the most out of your SMS marketing, you can create specialized content for each group of customers tailored just for them based on demographic data or preferences.

Last holiday season, Starbucks launched a holiday themed SMS opt in promotion. Customers were encouraged to text the keyword JOY to 20757 in order to receive weekly holiday offers. After consumers texted in the keywords, they were sent back a message welcoming them to Starbucks’ holiday SMS promotion. By asking questions like, “What’s your favorite drink,” Starbucks was able to create custom messages for customers, creating a personal campaign.

Be Timely with Push Notifications:
While consumers are currently enjoying the peak of summer, the holiday season will sneak up soon enough. As retailers are starting to come up with strategies this time of year to stand out during the mad rush of shopping, the importance towards relevancy and timeliness continue to be emphasized to ensure a successful push notification strategy. Our advice is to find the optimal time to send. Time your push notifications to sync when your audience is thinking most about shopping, including all the special holiday shopping days as well as after the holidays. This is the time when there are incentives that encourage your audience to go back to the physical store or site for additional shopping. Sending push notifications at these times about upcoming specials can encourage them to spend more.

An example of an optimal time to send would be the second and third Thursdays before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday before Cyber Monday. According to a study by Urban Airship, these days are crucial for online retailers during the holidays. This is when shoppers start to engage in researching their wish lists and making last minute purchase decisions. Sending push notifications during or right before these days could be critical for increased conversions.

Take Advantage of Location:
Even when consumers are on the go, they expect to receive relevant messages that meet their specific needs, whether it’s on their phone, tablet, or wearable device. The good news is that technological advances are giving marketers the ability to effectively target their customers more accurately. Leading the charge in this innovation race is the ability to utilize geolocation for targeted mobile marketing efforts. There are many ways to take advantage of geo-location capability by providing specific deals and promotions when your customers are close to your store to influence their buying decisions. The use of geo-fencing -- and better yet beacons -- is great for targeting customers while they're in close proximity to a store or even inside it. Hitting them with a coupon or sale at just the right time, while they are in or near the store, can make the difference in terms of whether they make a purchase or not.

Right before the 2014 holiday season, Macy’s rolled out retail’s largest beacon installation at the time. As shoppers entered the store, they were reminded to open their Macy’s apps in order to receive notifications, promotions, deals, and discounts. The beacon-enabled campaign targeted mobile users in stores prior to Black Friday, prompting them to download the app and to keep an eye out for the game on the shopping holiday.

Mobile marketing is a great way to generate tailored messages to promote your holiday campaigns. Because cell phones have become the main hub for how consumers view the web, you should consider including mobile marketing as a strategy. We’ve made our list and checked it twice and we’d love to help you this holiday season. Questions? Let us know in the comments section.


What We Learned from Prime Day - And What You Can Apply to Your Holiday Strategy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

Amazon's 30 hour sale has ended, and while the online retailer doesn't release sales data, it did release a statement saying yesterday was its biggest shopping event in its history, even bigger than 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday results.

By noon yesterday, third-party sellers sold 50% more items than in the same time frame in 2016.

Internet Retailer forecasts stated that U.S. shoppers would spend $1.56 billion at Amazon on Prime Day 2017, up 20% from the estimated sales total for Prime Day 2016 ($1.3 billion).

It's no doubt the event was huge for Amazon. But they weren't the only retailers getting in on the fun.
Many retailers, like Walmart, Forever21, Bloomingdale's and Macy's, competed with their own sales. Walmart promoted free two-day shipping right and featured smart home products on its homepage. With Amazon selling three times as many Echo-family devices yesterday as it did in 2016, Walmart's approach was directly aimed at Prime Day shoppers.

Forever 21 and Macy's took a different approach with "Black Friday in July" promotions:

And Bloomingdale's offered a 25% off online only discount on top of discounted items:

Retailers were really creative with emails yesterday, using everything from "Prime Day to Save" subject lines to this example from 80sTees:

Beginning at 11:00 AM ET, the retailer offered a two-hour only deal of 60% off select items:

At 1:00 ET, the savings went up to 65%

And every two hours, a bigger discount was offered. 3:00 ET:

5:00 ET:

7:00 ET:

9:00 ET:

The items included in each two-hour sale block differed. It's a really creative way to keep customers engaged and shopping all day - and a tactic you can implement for your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. 

By the way, 80sTees has one of the most creative and interactive pop-ups I've seen. You enter your address and spin the wheel to win a discount. Seriously, go check it out at www.80stees.com.

Other retailers, like Tanga, expanded its discounts from a single day to an entire week:

It checked Amazon's prices regularly and dropped its prices even lower

No Discounts? No Problem
Discounting isn't the only way to get in on the Prime Day fun. Many retailers, such as Waterford and Vineyard Vines, offered free shipping as a way to engage and reward shoppers.

Since its inception three years ago, Prime Day has become the online shopping event of the summer, and retailers can take advantage of the hype and excitement it brings. And there are a few lessons to learn. The biggest one is to give your customers options in how and when they shop. 

Amazon offered customers with Echo devices special deals that weren't available online:

It also offered customers mobile alerts of items before they went on sale - and an easy way for shoppers to add them to wishlists.

You can apply many of these tactics to your upcoming holiday strategies. Questions? Let us know in the comments section.

Megan Ouellet
Director of Content Marketing