How to Make the Most of Your Cyber Monday-Themed Emails
’Tis the season for holiday-themed email marketing messages.
With the holiday season upon us, brands are working hard to develop their holiday email marketing strategies — and for good reason. A recent Yes Marketing holiday report found that despite getting lower open rates, holiday-themed email messages generated higher conversion rates than business-as-usual (BAU) messages in 2017.
Of all the holiday-themed emails deployed in 2017, the report found that those with a Cyber Monday theme outperformed the rest when it comes to conversions. These emails generated an 8.9 percent average conversion rate, which is nearly double that of BAU emails during the same time (4.8 percent).
While Cyber Monday offers retailers a major opportunity to drive sales during a time of year when consumers are ready to spend more than usual, analysts estimate more modest sales growth for the 2018 holiday season compared to last year. Experts predict total holiday sales in the U.S. to increase by 3.8 percent this year, compared to last year's 5.5 percent growth. That means marketers must go above and beyond to maximize engagement and conversions from Cyber Monday-themed emails this year.
3 Ways to Make Your Themed Email Campaigns Stand Out During Cyber Monday
By applying key learnings from last year’s successful Cyber Monday campaigns, you can implement a more informed strategy to maximize engagement and conversions from your Cyber Monday emails in 2018.
- Don’t overdo it. Don’t overexpose or drag out your Cyber Monday deals. Instead, keep the offers limited to the day of. In 2017, marketers sent a little over half of all Cyber Monday emails on the day of the event (53.2 percent), 19.3 percent on Sunday and the rest evenly throughout the week. Emails deployed on the day of Cyber Monday generated a 12.7 percent conversion rate, which was significantly higher than the conversion rate on any other day. Cyber Monday emails deployed on the Tuesday after typically promoted a one-day extension of the Cyber Monday sale and generated a high 16.2 percent open rate, indicating that they were effective in grabbing subscribers’ attention. However, the subsequent 2.7 percent conversion rate suggests that they failed to meet consumers’ expectations — likely caused by a variety of factors, including loss of urgency, underwhelming discounts, or other barriers to purchase.
- Offer a "% off" discount. Cyber Monday is about once-in-a year savings, so don’t forget to save your biggest "% off" online discounts for your Cyber Monday emails. Last year, messages that offered percentage off discounts generated a low 8.9 percent open rate, but resulted in a conversion rate of 18.1 percent, the highest of all Cyber Monday emails. Additionally, you may find it effective to combine percentage off deals with offers for free shipping. Free shipping offers in the subject line generated the highest open rate among Cyber Monday emails (13.9 percent) last year, and boasted the second highest conversion rate at 12 percent.
- Emphasize scarcity and urgency. Urgency and scarcity help motivate shoppers who may be indecisive about clicking the "buy" button. Last year, subject lines that conveyed urgency or scarcity generated more engagement than those that simply mentioned Cyber Monday. Create a sense of urgency by displaying a countdown timer within the email creative or through a combination of time-sensitive wording and a more specific call to action (CTA). For example, messages could contain a phrase like “Time is running out!” with a CTA that links to specific sale items. Scarcity-focused emails may include low-inventory alerts or browse abandon messages that clearly reveal inventory numbers for specific items viewed.
Cyber Monday boasts the biggest opportunity for marketers to maximize revenue during the holiday season. In a year when consumers are expected to have tighter wallets and thinner budgets, marketers will have to compete even harder to appeal to holiday shoppers. It’s never too late to re-examine and fine-tune your holiday message content, timing and offer to make the most of Cyber Monday.
Gurjit Sandhu is marketing manager at Yes Marketing, a multichannel marketing solutions and services provider.
Related story: Holiday Email Marketing Tips for Retailers