As summer winds down to an end and temperatures drop as Fall rolls in, you can expect the holiday crunch to begin heating up. The busiest shopping season of the year starts in just a few short weeks, and email marketing campaigns are going to be vital to your brand’s success.
The holiday shopping season only takes place over a few short weeks, but it accounts for around 20% of retailers’ annual sales. This holiday season, there’s a six billion dollar pie sitting at the table, and a good holiday email marketing campaign is going to help you get a bigger slice of it.
What makes a good holiday email marketing campaign?
Well, there are many different aspects that you need to take into consideration. Every element of your email strategy needs to be golden. We’ll go over the most critical aspects of email marketing that you need to refine for the holiday season.
Planning for the Holidays
Segmenting Email Lists
Email segmentation is an important strategy year-round, but it can be especially useful during the holiday season. Segmentation involves grouping your customer base into smaller subsets based on their demographics and interests and sending those groups emails that are specifically tailored to them.
Segmentation can be based on many different criteria, ranging from consumer behaviors and preferences to geographic location and their level of engagement with your emails and website.
Utilizing segmentation is essential during the holiday season because each demographic may be looking for different holiday items, sales, or events. For example, customers located in a state like Wisconsin that gets frigid winters and lots of snow are going to be interested in different sales and events than someone living in California. If you’re an outdoor brand, offering sales on thermal coats and boots to residents of Wisconsin will perform better than if you offered those same sales to residents of San Diego. In the same vein, the warm winter temperatures of California allow brands like Salt Life can get offer deals on restored Baja hoodies, but those deals would fall flat in the Chicago suburbs.
Gauging the types of interactions customers have with your website is also a helpful tool in the segmentation process, as customers who linger on specific items or revisit them are more likely to be interested in receiving emails offering them sales related to those items.
Tailor Your Campaign To Specific Holidays
Deciding which holidays to utilize in email marketing is an important aspect of your holiday email marketing strategy. Holidays like Halloween, don’t draw much pop and circumstance from retailers. However, niche holidays are a great way to send unique emails that grab recipients’ attention. Additionally, celebrating specific, lesser-known holidays gives your brand personality and is reflective of company values.
If you’re a smaller business, promoting Small Business Saturday instead of Black Friday will help you communicate the type of business you run, and it will attract a completely different type of consumer (especially as consumers continue to grow tired of the huge crowds and begin to #OptOut of the shopping frenzy).
Plan your holiday strategy ahead of time so you can create a holiday email marketing campaign that resonates with your target market.
Use Engaging Subject and Preview Lines
You only have a matter of seconds to grab someone’s attention as they scroll through their inbox. Engaging, alluring, or attention-grabbing headers are a surefire way to ensure that your email marketing campaign is effective and successful.
Personalization is an easy way to grab someone’s attention. There are several different levels of personalization that you can add to your holiday email marketing campaigns. The most basic is addressing them by name in the header or announcing sales on different products based on where they fall in your segmentation lists. A little bit of personalization can go a long way. Some marketers found that sales increased by 20% when they implemented personalization into their strategy.
Another tactic you can implement to make your emails stand out in the inbox is adding a sense of urgency. We’ve all experienced the same sense of dread when we missed out on a purchase because a sale ended or the item sold out. Reminding your customers that time is of the essence will fuel their desire to shop now instead of waiting.
Another way to implement this is to remind subscribers how many days they have left before a specific holiday is celebrated or the deadline for placing an order and receiving it in time for the holiday.
Holiday Gift Guides
When composing and planning the subject matter of your email marketing campaign for the holidays, holiday gift guides are the perfect addition to promote and advertise your products. With a holiday gift guide, you can highlight certain product types or collections in a way that appeals to their holiday needs and showcases all the deals they can take advantage of.
A gift guide is highly customizable and can be tailored to your business as well as any market segments you may have. For instance, a jewelry company should try to capture the attention of people wanting to make a romantic gesture to their significant other during the holidays. Likewise, a niche lifestyle brand can showcase any special releases they have planned for the holidays.
When we were discussing the importance of inserting urgency into your holiday email marketing campaigns earlier, we mentioned the horror that we all feel when we realize a gift won’t arrive in time for the holidays. In order to help your customers combat this issue and ensure that they receive their gifts on time, plan to email your customers and remind them that they can avoid this embarrassing blunder by ordering early.
These reminders also create opportunities for you to offer discounted or free shipping. This can be a great way to add value to your audience because not only are they going to get their gifts on time this year, but they can save on high shipping costs.
Retailers and consumers alike have been grappling with supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Issues arising from manufacturing slowdowns and meandering global shipping times have put everyone in a tricky spot. While it does seem that the supply chain is returning to its pre-pandemic capacity, there are still concerns that the 2022 holiday season could be negatively impacted.
Intense heat waves in China and historically high supply chain pressures are two reasons not to be too optimistic about the supply chain running seamlessly through the holidays.
Supply chain issues can mean disaster for retailers. If you can’t keep goods on the shelves, then you can’t make any sales. Thankfully there’s one surefire way to combat this glaring issue: starting early. Over the past couple of years, many retailers started offering their sales early in lieu of waiting till Black Friday. This gives consumers a chance to order their holiday gifts before the supply chain gets too hectic. Starting midway through October or the beginning of November will give you the extra flexibility to maximize your holiday sales.
Holidays To Plan For This Year
Black Friday / Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping holidays of the year. Retailers collectively spend billions of dollars each year promoting their biggest sales day. While Black Friday has traditionally been dominated by in-person shopping, online retailers are getting a larger piece of the pie, and it’s essential that you strategize to maximize the ROI from your holiday email marketing campaign.
Being the most prominent holiday sales event can also be a double-edged sword. Most consumers are mindlessly scrolling Google or their email inbox looking for random deals on various products. Instead, consumers are doing their research weeks in advance, creating a curated list of products that they want deals on, and taking the best deal they can find when Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around.
If you want to be successful on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you need to get into consumers’ heads weeks in advance. Let them know what sales you’re running early. Create solid email campaigns and drip content consistently in the weeks leading up to the shopping holiday.
Typically, Black Friday is the best time to pick up Christmas gifts, but the holiday shopping season doesn’t stop there. Sales get missed, shopping lists lay incomplete, and consumers are scrambling to get everything they need to prepare for the holiday.
You have thirty days from Black Friday to Christmas that you can use to help consumers get the gifts they need. Even if you take ten days out to account for potential shipping delays, you have just about three weeks. That’s plenty of time for you to send out “stocking stuffer gift guides,” offer BOGO deals, and maximize your holiday revenue.
Also, consider that American shoppers are also highly likely to wait until the last minute to get their shopping done. Even if a gift isn’t going to arrive by the time the holiday rolls around, last-minute shoppers have no qualms about putting a picture of the gift in a card and handing it to the recipient. So you can theoretically run online Christmas sales until Christmas Eve. That being said, you should encourage your subscribers to buy early.
New Years (After Christmas Shopping)
Remember how we said many consumers are waiting until the last minute? Some of these professional procrastinators take this to an entirely different level by putting off their gift shopping until after Christmas. After-Christmas shopping is a trend that has been rapidly growing in popularity, and if you haven’t been taking advantage of it, you should be.
There’s a variety of ways you can implement New Year’s Eve sales into your holiday email marketing campaign. If you run subscription boxes, you can offer a New Year’s Eve discount for new members. Or if you’re a clothing store, New Years’ sales offer you an excellent opportunity to sell excess stock that’s hogging valuable real estate in your warehouses.
New Year’s Eve is also often a glitzy occasion where people dress to the nines and celebrate the new year with family, friends, or other socialites. New Year’s Eve parties often involve a specific dress code, which is excellent for companies that sell formal wear and dazzling jewelry. There isn’t much time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so you’ll have to plan accordingly and get your subscribers to act fast.
Halloween is becoming increasingly important for retailers across all industries. While it’s probably a stretch to say it’s a major shopping holiday—when compared to the likes of Black Friday and Christmas—it is quickly becoming one as Millenials continue to take up a larger share of the market. If your target audience is primarily made up of Millenials, then you need to plan a holiday email marketing campaign for Halloween since it’s their favorite holiday.
Small Business Saturday
Another great holiday to include in your holiday email marketing plan is Small Business Saturday which falls on Saturday, November 26th. Small Business Saturday is a holiday dedicated to celebrating and promoting small, locally owned businesses. This is a great time to engage customers by grabbing their attention with unique sales that will bolster their local economy.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Saturday generates $19.8 billion for small and locally owned businesses, and 97% of customers believe in the positive impact shopping small has on their communities.
For those not in the know, Small Business Saturday was initially created by American Express in 2010 to encourage shoppers to shop locally as small businesses struggled in the wake of the Great Recession. While that sentiment is certainly still there, the holiday has evolved, and Small Business Saturday now serves as a holiday for those fed up with the chaos of Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales.
So if you’re a small business, this is a great holiday to capitalize on as more and more consumers reject the idea of fighting others over TVs and Playstations just hours after they expressed their gratitude for one another around the table at Thanksgiving dinner.
Start Optimizing Your Holiday Email Marketing Campaign Today
Planning a holiday email marketing campaign is a big task, and if you’re unfamiliar with writing copy, graphic design, or SEO it can become a monumental task. If you do it wrong, your emails can turn customers away before they even open them. Even worse, you can wind up marked as spam which will harm all your attempts at email marketing in the future.
Working with a skilled team of marketing professionals can help you create a highly effective email marketing campaign that generates revenue for your business. If you’re ready to work with an experienced team that knows how to create successful holiday strategies, contact us today to learn how Fidelitas can help.