If you’re like most retail marketers, in the month or two leading up to the holiday shopping season, you’re heads down getting ready for the busiest — and most profitable — time of the year.
From planning to executing your holiday marketing campaigns, there’s a lot that needs to get done in order to make the most of a season when consumers are primed to make purchases. So what can you do along the way to optimize the performance of your email marketing and beyond this holiday season?
1) Tease upcoming promotions
Nearly every retailer runs holiday marketing promotions, so how can you make sure yours stands out and catches the attention of your target audience? Try teasing it out with emails (and even messages across channels like Facebook) that let customers know something is coming.
For example, you might use fun, mysterious subject lines and send emails that tell customers to keep an eye out for something special in their inbox tomorrow.
This type of teaser builds anticipation, primes customers to look for another email from you and makes customers feel special since you’re “letting them in on a secret.”
2) Highlight your social responsibility
What better time to highlight your brand’s social responsibility than during the season of giving? Instead of just touting different holiday promotions, try mixing in some charity opportunities too.
This social responsibility will go a long way with Millennials, in particular, who are willing to spend more on products from socially responsible companies and have been known to switch brand loyalties to those with a cause.
You can even combine this social responsibility with other offers and/or in-store promotions. For example, CB2 recently ran one such campaign by asking customers to bring at least five canned goods into their local store for the opportunity to receive 20% off. Other ideas include donating a percentage of all profits from a certain timeframe to charity or even running a charity-only campaign — no discounts or sales attached.
3) Push loyalty for seasonal shoppers
First-time buyers typically count for anywhere from 50-80% of holiday shoppers, meaning most retailers have a new — and newly captive — audience during this time of year. In general, even shoppers who aren’t new tend to pay more attention to marketing campaigns from retailers during the holiday season since they’re primed to look for deals and make purchases.
As a result, you should capitalize on that heightened attention by encouraging those new and seasonal shoppers to sign up for emails or join your loyalty program (or by pushing any other initiatives that are important to your marketing goals). The earlier in the season you can make this push, the more you can tout the need to sign up in order to get special holiday deals and be the first to know about promotions. Ideally, this effort should create a stickiness with customers that lasts beyond the holiday season.
4) Share gift guides and collaborate with complementary brands
It might be the season of giving, but most people don’t actually know what gifts they want to buy. That’s where you come in.
According to Experian, searches for gift guides and related terms experience a spike in November and December, indicating that many consumers look for inspiration when trying to find the perfect gifts for friends and family. And what better way to make the shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible for your customers than by creating a gift guide of your own.
While you certainly want to include your own products in the guide, it pays to include products from complementary brands as well. Doing so can help you avoid the appearance of bias that comes from pushing only your products and get you in front of new audiences if the other brands included share the guide with their customers too.
5) Expand your story by going beyond your products
Finally, as we discussed at this year’s Bluecore Summit, marketers now have permission to expand the story. In other words, it doesn’t always have to be about your brand.
Instead of featuring products in every email, trying sharing a few emails with relevant and timely content that your customers care about — even if it isn’t directly tied to what you sell. If you continue to be relevant to your customers and share content they appreciate, you’ll get their attention and build a trusting relationship with them that will ultimately pay off in sales.
For instance, retailers like Earth Brands have done this around the holiday season by sending customers emails featuring seasonal recipes.
Even More Holiday Marketing Inspiration
You’ve got the campaign tips, now it’s time to put them into action. Lucky for you, we’ve covered all the bases.
Check out our new Holiday Lookbook to see how retailers like you have brought their holiday marketing campaigns to life and achieved impressive results through a variety of seasonal emails extending from Thanksgiving to post-holidays.