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

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


Email Design: 9 Apps and Plugins to Streamline Your Design Process

Saturday, July 01, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

When it comes to email design, time is extremely important – especially as you ramp up for the holidays. We want to create gorgeous, user-friendly designs, but we don’t want to take forever doing it. That’s where apps and plugins come in handy!

Here at Listrak, our creative services team spends each day crafting beautiful emails for our clients with the aid of our favorite apps and plugins. Not only do they help us design awesome emails, but they also save us time!

Our team is constantly sharing new apps, plugins, or tips to help each other out – and I’m going to let you in on a few of our favorites.

1. Wordmark
Tool classification: Website
A suggestion from Matt

Similar to a lot of font websites, Wordmark displays how a particular word or phrase looks in different fonts. The key difference here is that instead of displaying different fonts for download, Wordmark shows what your text looks like in the fonts already installed on your computer. Instead of fumbling through a Photoshop menu or scrolling through a font list, you can browse through a simple interface and find that perfect font.

2. CSS Peeper
Tool classification: Chrome extension
A suggestion from Michael 

CSS Peeper is a designer-centric CSS viewer that allows you to easily find styles or elements on a site directly in your browser. No more fussing with “Inspect Element”! Instead, view the site colors in a convenient list, examine styles of specific elements by selecting them, or scroll through the available site assets.

This time-saving extension helps your designs stay consistent to the website as you bounce from design software to code editor.

3. Nimbus screenshot
Tool classification: Chrome extension
A suggestion from Alannah

Most designers know the struggle of trying to capture screenshots of websites right in the browser. Sure, snapping a quick section on the screen isn’t too bad. But what about when you want the entire site from header to footer? Then, when you want to share it with some notes, you need to open a new program.

Enter Nimbus screenshot. This simple tool packs a punch, allowing you to snap, edit, notate, and share right in your browser!

4. Cross Browser Testing
Tool classification: Website 
A suggestion from Jared

CrossBrowserTesting allows you to test sites and designs on many of the browsers and devices used by your audience. Of course the design looks beautiful on the latest version of Chrome, but have you seen what it looks like in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 (where 19% of your site's traffic comes from!).

This site makes testing as easy as logging in and choosing what browsers and devices you want to view. There's no need to create a virtual machine for each platform or stock a room full of phones and tablets! CrossBrowserTesting is there to help make rendering and troubleshooting your designs a breeze.

5. The Stocks
Tool classification: Website 
A suggestion from Michael

Looking for amazing, high-quality stock photography, color palettes, icons, videos, and fonts? The Stocks is a single access point to tons of sites with amazing assets. And it’s all free! The Stocks is perfect for saving time and money without sacrificing beautiful design.

6. Character Entity Reference Chart
Tool classification: Website 
A suggestion from Tanya

In our industry, we often need to use special characters like letter accents or copyright symbols. You pick up a few here and there and memorize the codes, but there are so many that it’s hard to remember them all.

This is where Character Entity Reference Chart comes in handy! This site is an extensive compilation of special symbols and their corresponding HTML code. Now your special characters will simply flow within your HTML, maintaining the same font and styles as the rest of the text.

7. Dropmark
Tool classification: Website
A suggestion from Elsie  

Dropmark is an internal portfolio your team can use to reference past projects in a single, organized environment. Whether you want to reference an email’s code or just need some inspiration, Dropmark is there to save the day. The site’s tagging feature makes it easy for the team to collaborate and inspire each other, and the integration with Slack sends notifications when a team member adds new pieces. There’s even the ability to add text files to store intricate or rare coding snippets for future use!

8. Emmet
Tool Classification: Code editor extension
A suggestion from Marshall

Emmet is a web-developer’s toolkit that can greatly improve your HTML and CSS workflow.

Most text editors out there allow you create snippets of code for reuse. While snippets are great, you have to define the snippet first and you can’t extend them in runtime. Emmet takes the snippets idea to a whole new level: simply type a snippet like “a” and hit tab. Emmet then converts “a” to “<a href=””></a>”. Cool right? Check out Emmet’s cheat sheet to see all the crazy functionality built into this little extension.

Are you ready to have your mind really blown? You can create your own custom snippet library for frequently used common code! The Listrak Creative Services team leverages this to make sure the basics like call-to-action buttons are always perfectly coded for optimal user experience. We keep our library updated with all the new inbox fixes and requirements so we can ensure emails are always rendering well.

9. Libraries in Photoshop CC
A suggestion from… ME!

Now that you’ve heard from the rest of the team, I’ll share one of my favorite tools with you, too! Built into Photoshop CC is the “Libraries” pane. It’s actually kind of like Emmet (above) for Photoshop! You can create a library of common elements to add to any document, with a collaborative option to share with your whole team! You can even add color palettes to help easily keep your designs on brand. No more folders of social icons and post-it notes of color codes everywhere! Everything is right there in Photoshop. Adobe has some great tutorials and information on Photoshop Libraries to help you get off the ground.

Do you have any go-to apps or plugins you love? Share some in the comments!

Melissa Lobach
Graphic Designer


Holiday Email Trends and Tactics: Unwrap Your Potential for Success

Saturday, July 01, 2017 Listrak 0 Comments

The holiday season will be upon us in just a few short months, and it’s no secret that the “most wonderful time of the year” is without a doubt, the biggest sales period around the world. According to the National Retail Federation, last year’s holiday retail sales climbed 4%, which led to $658.3 billion in sales. As sales grow each year, consumers continue to take advantage of these holiday deals. Whether consumers get a head start on their holiday shopping, or wait until the last minute, their ultimate goal is to complete their holiday gift list. The question for you is, how are you taking advantage of the holiday season? If you want your holiday sales to be merry and bright, you’ll need a solid email marketing plan.

Like it or not, all marketers need to dig in to data in order to improve campaigns. By looking at holiday data from the previous year, you can find insights and statistics that can help boost holiday sales and conversions.

Our Research:

In order to find insights on holiday email campaigns, I monitored an inbox that was receiving messages from 500 retailers. Through my research, I focused on emails that were received during the 2016 holiday season (October-December). During this time period, I received 12,597 emails. While monitoring the inbox, I searched for specific keywords that were holiday-related; such as Black Friday, Boxing day, Christmas, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, Green Monday, Hanukkah, Holiday, Kwanzaa, Small Business Saturday, and Super Saturday.

Out of all the emails sent during the holiday season, 39% contained a holiday keyword.

October: Get ahead of the Holidays
With the holiday season kicking off earlier and earlier each year, retailers should start sending out their holiday campaigns in October, especially considering that the NRF found 41% of consumers already started holiday shopping by then. Through my research, I found that in my inbox of 500 retailers, only 31% sent holiday related emails in October. With more and more consumers starting their holiday shopping before October, retailers should focus on finding different ways to start building excitement for November and December.

In my inbox, I found that more than half of the holiday related emails received in October were focused on early holiday shopping.

While some retailers started sending holiday emails October 1, the average retailer sent their first holiday emails on November 7.
Emphasizing the holidays in advance can ease shoppers in and keep your brand at the top of mind. You may ask, how can I do this? A great example would be creating a gift guide. According to the NRF, 49% of early holiday shoppers want to avoid crowds and stress. A gift guide can create an easy, stress-free shopping experience for the typical early bird or give ideas to shoppers looking to purchase closer to the holidays. By promoting your holiday campaign early, you begin attracting potential customer’s and easing them in weeks beforehand so they’ll be ready with cash in hand when it comes time to shop.

November: ‘Tis the Season for Deals

According to NRF, more than half of consumers already start holiday shopping before the Thanksgiving weekend. While some consumers start shopping in October, the majority focus their main shopping in November, and with a 17% increase in spending Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (according to ComScore), there are plenty of opportunities to engage customers.

In my inbox, over half of the emails received on Black Friday included a sale. Likewise, for Cyber Monday. Retailers know the holidays drive immense amounts of revenue, and the volume of email sent out goes through the ceiling, but that doesn’t mean success will be easy for your holiday campaign. This is the time you need to stand out from the crowd and be conscious of major shopping days. There are predictable patterns to when purchases will peak during the holiday season, so keeping the Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday in mind. A tip you could consider would be sending Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns earlier this year. Consumers will be bombarded with emails, so getting on shopper’s minds when they’re planning their holiday shopping strategy is crucial to capture potential customers. According to my research, I found that more than half of Black Friday related emails were sent before Black Friday. On the other hand, Cyber Monday had less than half of Cyber Monday related emails sent before Cyber Monday.

As the shopping season approaches, your customers will begin to get bombarded with emails. However, that’s no reason you can’t make the most of the holiday season. With key dates in mind, you could see some truly magical results for your efforts in November.

December: Last Chance!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over by now, but December is still a huge month for consumers’ holiday spending. Despite the mayhem in November, many retail categories still saw their biggest numbers in the month of December last year. According to the NRF, on December 16, 90% of people were still holiday shopping. This is a huge opportunity for retailers to emphasize action.

With 9 out of 10 consumers still looking to complete their holiday gift lists, you can imagine they could be in panic mode. An idea to ease the minds of stressed shoppers could be to utilize Super Saturday. For those who haven’t finished holiday shopping yet, this is the perfect time to highlight limited time offers, discounts, and fast free shipping. According to my inbox, over 80% of holiday emails sent in December offered free shipping, but only 10% emphasized when the key shipping dates were to get orders in time for the holidays.

While the focus of most holiday email campaigns are before the holidays, consider post-holiday. At the end of December, encourage subscribers to use gift cards they’ve received, purchase accessories that add extra value to gifts they’ve received, or reassure shoppers to get what they really wanted. (Especially when according to NRF, 58% percent of consumers plan to buy for themselves after the holiday season.)

Q4 provides an opportunity for your company to introduce holiday email marketing campaigns to land some big sales. Holiday data from previous years can be used to improve campaigns and can provide more opportunities to boost sales and conversions. By using this data, you can “unwrap” your potential and have a holiday season full of success.

As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, we're here to help. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section.