Email Marketing: 3 Top Email Tactics From Holiday 2010
Social media plays a much smaller role in driving traffic to retail websites than email marketing and search during the holiday season, according to ForeSee Results. Having watched in recent years as video calls to action disappear every November, I'm not surprised. Consumers are just too busy to participate in time-intensive social media campaigns, just like they're too busy to watch video content. However, social media does have a role to play in email messaging during the holiday season. Here are three trends from this past holiday season that will likely point the way for 2011:
1. Holiday Previews and Sweepstakes
Trying to build your Facebook or Twitter base? When listing the benefits of becoming part of your community, consider providing a preview of your Black Friday deals. Sportsman's Guide and TigerDirect were among the retailers that promised sneak previews of their Black Friday deals to subscribers if they "liked" them on Facebook.
A simple fan/follower sweepstakes is also a low-threshold action that might entice subscribers. Both NFL Shop and ShopNBC, for example, ran Facebook fan sweepstakes to convert subscribers into fans. However, a key difference between the two is that ShopNBC's allowed customers to win shopping credits that they could use during the holiday season, which seems like a stronger draw.
2. Check-Ins on Black Friday
A new element to Black Friday email messages in 2010 was the promotion and rewarding of check-ins via Foursquare, Yelp and Facebook Places. Toys"R"Us, for example, enticed shoppers to check in via any of those services with the promise of a special offer. Sports Authority brought the viral crowd behavior into its store by entering people into a sweepstakes once they checked in. And on a day that's the embodiment of consumerism, cross-channel retailer REI appealed to its shoppers' philanthropic senses by donating a dollar for every check-in. The breadth of tactics used for this fairly new channel was impressive. There's definitely room here for retailers to innovate and differentiate themselves from competitors.
3. Gifts via Facebook
Facebook's move into e-commerce has been discussed for a while now, but this past holiday season was the first time it manifested itself in retailers' emails. In December, GameStop promoted its Facebook store in the header of its emails. Sears offered to send e-gift cards to folks on Facebook. This is surely a nascent trend that we'll see much more of.
Good luck with your 2010 holiday season post-mortems and 2011 holiday season planning.
Chad S. White is the author of "Email Marketing Rules" and research director at Litmus, which provides email teams with powerful tools for email creation, testing, analytics, and collaboration. He has written more than 3,000 posts and articles about email marketing trends and best practices. A former journalist, Chad previously served as lead email marketing researcher at Salesforce.com, ExactTarget, Responsys, and the Direct Marketing Association.