September 5, 2011
Unlike your last minute Christmas shopping; successful Christmas email marketing campaigns cannot be put off. Whether you work in B2B or B2C, planning for your Christmas email marketing campaigns is something you need to start now! This article provides some tips to maximise the success of your email marketing campaigns during this period.
According to the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index; consumers spent £6.4 billion online over Christmas 2010, up 16% from 2009. In many cases retailers earn more in the 10 weeks prior to Christmas than the other 42 weeks of the year put together.
While your search marketing strategy, online and offline advertising will bring you new customers, email will enable you to drive sales from existing customers and warm prospects.
Your busy period might start in late November and run into December, but your customers will be starting to think about what to buy well before this. They may never have thought of using your site for buying gifts for friends and family so email is a great medium to remind them that they can do this. These early emails may not generate many of your Christmas orders, but they will plant the seed in your customers mind to come back when they are looking to buy.
People can make purchases 365 days a year through online stores, including Christmas Day. Hit-wise, reported a similar level of traffic to retail sites on Christmas Day compared to the lead up to Christmas. This suggests people are making or planning to make purchases on these days making sending timely emails on these days a worthwhile activity to stimulate interest in the post-Christmas sales.
Emails containing targeted content based on customer data are proven to return higher ROI than untargeted, 'blanket' campaigns. This is the busiest time of the year in recipients’ inboxes and you need to focus on the relevancy of your content. Avoid the blanket approach at Christmas and use targeted, data rich, opted-in lists.
If you don't have all the data you need for targeting, it's not too late to collect it. Start running customer surveys or competitions right now, and build in a data collection element. Promote these at all your customer touch points, always including your website.
If you have an online store, it is likely to be getting more visitors per day over Christmas than at any other time of the year. Whilst you might have devised a site with a high conversion rate there will be many shoppers who decide not to buy so think about what incentives there are to register their details with you.
Your customers are usually buying for their own needs but over the Christmas period it is more likely to be for friends and family. This means you will need to alter your email communications to reflect this. Generally this will mean not just tailoring the products offered but also providing new features such as recommendations for specific types of family members.
While not always the case it can be useful to know what someone purchased last Christmas in order to target them with either the same or similar products. The theory will work in many cases that if they previously bought something like a particular CD then they are likely to buy another one this year.
In addition to tailoring content upon what someone purchased last year there are other segmentation options to enhance the response rate of email campaigns including:
What other similar segments of customers purchased last year
What other people in that segment have been buying as gifts so far
Tailoring offers which would appeal to a person’s particular demographic
To ensure your email campaigns hit the right spot we always recommend running tests on different elements such as subject lines, call-to-actions, products featured or anything else you feel is important. Running some simple tests to small samples of your database can enable you to gain significant uplifts in open, click or purchase rates by choosing the best performing version.
To truly gauge how effective your email campaigns are you need to track the sales from these. Some analytics packages will enable you to do this but this usually involves manually adding tracking links on every URL and they usually do not track which customers have bought.Other insights you will be able to glean by using your email service providers tracking include:
All your customers inboxes will be rammed with promotions before Christmas from other retailers including those from your competitors. With all this added clutter you will need to try that bit extra to capture the recipients attention.
When thinking about your email campaigns don’t just think about running a standard newsletter style but think about the other types of emails you can send. For example consider sending everyone who makes a purchase a special email a few days later to try and drive further sales. These people have already made the decision to trust you as a supplier so are more likely to be receptive to your messages.
You may be very successful in generating new customers in the run up to Christmas but what about the following year – how are you going to turn these customers into all year round customers? This planning work should be done before Christmas is over as the few weeks after Christmas are crucial. While your messages before Christmas might be relevant in terms of what their gift buying needs are think about how each of your segments buying needs will change after Christmas. If your new customers start getting irrelevant messages after Christmas they may switch off you for good.One tactic we have seen work quite well for a client is sending a voucher to new customers that they can redeem after Christmas.
Posted by Jenni Malley
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