12 Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays, Part 2
Smart retailers are already planning their email marketing strategies for the holidays, according to Jim Davidson, manager of marketing research at Bronto, who spoke at the email marketing firm's breakfast event in New York City on June 12. At the event, which was part of the multicity Revenue Revolution Tour, Bronto distributed a whitepaper titled The Top 12 Marketing Tips for the 2012 Holiday Season. In part two of this series, tips seven through 12 are provided. To check out tips one through six, click here for part one.
7. Streamline social. There are a few key social strategies to focus on incorporating into your holiday messaging, the whitepaper said. They include the following:
- Clear up call-to-action confusion. Make sure you're clearly distinguishing between “Share This," “Like Us,” “Like This,” “Follow Us,” etc. Making sure the post-click expectation is set will help subscribers decide which actions they want to take.
- Get the “Like." Encourage your subscribers to like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter by communicating a value proposition of featured offers and products posted throughout the holiday season. Plan to post discounted items, products with numerous customer reviews and perhaps a discount code only used in these channels.
- Don’t force the conversion, encourage the conversation. Dialog is a major component of social marketing. Present your promotions and shopping experience in a way that speaks to your social community. Include comments from followers (if you have permission), product ratings and reviews, and let people know where they can get more information.
8. Identify mobile opportunities. You may not have a fully developed mobile program, but here are a few tactics that you should be able to get up and running this holiday season:
- Mobile acquisition: Like email and social acquisition, most brands chose not to dedicate an email or promotion to gaining new mobile subscribers during the 2011 holiday season, the report said. Most sent messages before holiday shopping truly kicked off or waited until early 2012. Sending messages early can help bridge the gap for cross-channel consumers who are shopping online and in-store by providing another way to share information about local store coupons, events and store hours. Post-holiday mobile acquisition efforts can help to build a better data profile for new email subscribers gained during the holidays.
- Mobile apps: Emails dedicated to mobile app downloads were rarely featured during the peak holiday season. Like mobile acquisition programs, app emails bookended the season. Brands sent dedicated emails communicating the benefits of their apps, such as the ability to scan products in-store, enabling social interactions like foursquare check-ins and sharing items on Facebook, and giving consumers the opportunity to play interactive games.
- QR codes: QR codes are easy to create and highly flexible. When scanned with a smartphone, QR codes redirect users to any web page, form or download. Include a QR code near your registers that links to an email sign-up form. Generate store-specific QR codes to track acquisition by location and help send store-specific communications. Try a program such as “Scan this code to get a store coupon on your phone.” Consider using QR codes on your store signage and catalogs. The codes can link to your call center, sign-up forms, expanded product descriptions, reviews and more. Also include coupons delivered via SMS. This an excellent way to increase revenue and grow both your mobile and email programs, the whitepaper said.
9. Solidify your segmentation strategy. Reviewing your segmentation strategy is key and worth repeating, the report said. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a certain number of purchases or order values that make up a core group of your most loyal customers? Introducing special offers for your VIP customers could result in your biggest spenders repeating buying behavior from last year. This is also important when you factor in your holiday remailing strategy. Although you'll most likely need to introduce additional mailings into the mix over the holiday season, planning your remailing strategy to include targeted audiences will combat some of the negatives seen when frequency spikes and holiday inbox clutter sets in.
- Is there a way to leverage product category data to anticipate shopping behavior? If product category data is available for past purchases, leverage that information to feature products that are relevant to your buyers. This may require you to have multiple main product shots, but in general this shouldn't require too much effort to accomplish. Having this familiar information present for your openers can increase engagement and drive repeat purchases.
10. Send a holiday card. Whether you say “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy New Year,” taking the time to thank your subscribers for being part of your program can go a long way in fostering stronger relationships. You can narrow this to purchasers if you wish, but typically these emails see high open rates and, strangely enough, even nonpromotional holiday cards see fairly high conversion rates. After the rush of the holiday season and the barrage of promotional emails, a nonpromotional holiday card can be a welcome reprieve.