It’s that time of year again. Are you ready for the holiday madness? Savvy online retailers are busy getting their ducks in a row to make the most from the lucrative holiday trading period. Email is a vital part of the marketing mix in the run up to Christmas. The right content reaching your audience at the critical points in the calendar can make a massive difference in your sales.
Preparing for the holiday activity onslaught
To make sure you’re ready for the holiday season, tick off these five steps:
1. Make sure your email lists are up to date
You don’t want to miss out on sales opportunities because your list isn’t squeaky clean. So weed out any records that haven’t opened your emails for a while, or consider a re-engagement campaign to see if you can wake them up.
2. Try to increase your mobile opt-in rates
Not only should your list cleansing be up to scratch, but you need to maximize acquisition too. Make sure your subscription forms work seamlessly on phones and tablets to capture new subscribers while they’re browsing for gift ideas.
3. Plan your content
Make sure your content fits with customer expectations for each of the important holiday dates. Also start creating product recommendation emails now (if you haven’t done so already) ready to launch.
4. Embrace email innovation to stand out: A countdown timer helped The Diamond Store make an impact on Black Friday
The Diamond Store wanted an email campaign that would stand out during the intensely competitive Black Friday trading period. The content focused on a 24-hour sale using a countdown clock to create a sense of urgency. Compared to the performance of past sale campaigns, the company achieved a 400 percent increase in conversions.
5. Do your testing now!
You have a new strategy for subject lines or email content, but you’re not sure if it will bring good results? Test different variants on small segments of your audience now to help you choose the best mix for your season strategy.
Key dates for 2016
There are four key dates in the lead up to Christmas where consumer activity peaks. It’s important to make sure you’re well prepared for these spikes with the right communications, stock levels and manpower.
This date is the first shopping day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and traditionally signals the official start of the Christmas shopping season. It’s fiercely competitive and shoppers are hungry for bargains.
Cyber Monday was created for online shoppers to people who want to avoid busy stores and crowds. The deals on Cyber Monday are online-only and are generally offered by smaller companies that cannot compete with the massive Black Friday hype offered by big retailers.
Manic Monday is the day by which most Christmas shoppers aim to finish their shopping to avoid the last minute rush. Research done by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) showed that in 2015, Manic Monday was a day when bargain hunters were looking to take advantage of the second round of online discounts. U.K. shoppers spent an additional £440 million on Manic Monday last year.
Green Monday has nothing to do with saving the planet; the green is all about cold, hard cash. It’s the day when retailers offer their best deals to the last-minute Christmas shopper. It’s also a good time to capture shoppers who don’t want to attend parties and social gatherings over the holiday season empty handed.
In 2015, fashion vendor Celtic & Co carried out a ‘Christmas Cheer’ campaign to its entire database to hit the Black Friday and Cyber Monday trading peaks. Its content used cosy, winter imagery with just a subtle use of Christmas decorations and focused on the benefits of its products rather than being too ‘salesy’. Because the campaign helped put its customers in a Christmassy mood, the company reported a total of £27k conversion value.