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How to use email marketing to boost revenue during the holiday season

By Alexandra Gavril - November 12, 2015

We’re on the final push to the end of the year and most marketers are already deep into their email marketing campaigns, while consumers are crossing gifts off their lists. If you’ve waited until the last minute, we’re here to help you super-charge your email marketing strategy.

With 44% of consumers making at least one purchase based on a promotional email they received and with November and December driving 30% more e-commerce revenue than non-holiday months, you know that you need to take advantage of email this holiday season.

In this post we’ll share heaps of useful tips to help get your holiday email marketing ready. Whether you’re preparing a campaign for Cyber Monday (November 30th), for Christmas or the January sales, here are some things you can do to grow your revenue.

Target your emails

Avoid sending a single email blast to your entire list. Instead, use whatever information you have on your customers such as age, location, interests and purchase history, to create and send custom emails that are more likely to engage and to motivate conversion. It’s no secret that segmentation plays a big role in this process.

So, go over your lists and create different groups based on:

  • Activity or behaviour – active or non-active, opened, clicked, purchased in within some past timeframe
  • Sign up date – your holiday promotion might be relevant for those who signed up recently (a holiday sale for first time users for example) or for old subscribers a holiday campaign that incentivises them to buy from you again.
  • Past purchases and interests.
  • Region, county, city, and other demographic data.

For example, if you’re a winery, send a holiday promotion for red wines to subscribers who have purchased red wine in the past. Leveraging what information you have about subscribers and segmenting your email list accordingly will help you to determine the best offers that will generate the best results for your marketing efforts.

Make the holiday offer your holiday gift to your customers

With promotional emails on the rise over the holiday season, people are going to be hunting for the best deals possible. This is where incentives can give you an extra edge. Make sure to include coupons and special offers along with gift ideas for family members and friends.

Your subscribers will not only appreciate the discount at such an expensive time of the year, but also the fact that you’ve done the hard work for them and have given them some great gift ideas they can use. Just make sure that your offer is one they can’t resist. Whether it’s a huge discount, free shipping or buy one get one free, make the holiday offer your holiday gift to your customers.

Employ limited-time offers

A good strategy is to offer something that has a deadline. Offer a specific deal that has to be redeemed by a specific date. Then send a follow-up email a day or two before the offer expires.

This is the time to use the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to encourage sales. You can do this by pointing out how close they may be to missing out on great deals. For example, you can get buyers to consider making a purchase immediately by letting them know how many days or hours are left in each sale.

Focus on email content that evokes the holiday spirit

Whatever you’re selling, make sure you use imagery and content in a holiday setting or holiday theme. When it comes to the message, this is the perfect time to show appreciation to all the customers who have supported you throughout the year.

Reward them with a special offer, an exclusive discount or delight them with a lovely holiday note. Saying thanks can humanise your business and help build the trust you need to build customer relationships. By sending an appreciation email you also lessen the chance of your email being overlooked.

If you’re not feeling inspired and don’t know what type of content to include in your holiday emails, you can always return to what has worked for you in the past. While every holiday season is different, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start from scratch. Take a closer look at your past holiday campaigns that have done well and repeat them by refining the message, updating the design and so on.

Take advantage of cart abandonment recovery

During big shopping days like Cyber Monday and Christmas, time is of the essence so you’ll likely want to fire off your abandonment emails more quickly than usual. These types of email provide a huge opportunity to increase email marketing return on investment.

You’ll need to set up a trigger campaign to be automatically sent to people who have added products in their carts but never completed their purchases. Cart abandonment emails usually include aggressive incentives to encourage users to return and finalise their order. Taking into account that approximately 60 to 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, the potential income recovery is especially great during the high-volume holiday season.

According to a Forbes article, marketers can recover an estimated 10 to 30% of their abandoned shopping carts by sending follow-up emails to remind users that they still have items left in their carts.

Here are a few examples of emails you can send to users who have abandoned their carts to entice them to finalise the purchase.

Send mobile friendly emails

Year after year, the holiday season has seen a spike in mobile behavior. Users are out and about and mobile keeps them plugged in into the latest offers and reviews. The opportunity cost of not being mobile-friendly grows. For example, according to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, in 2015 21.4% of smartphone users will use their devices to purchase holiday products, while 37.9% will use their smartphones to research products. So if your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, now’s the time to change that.

Integrate social media

You’re already aware that users are constantly searching for product reviews and testimonials on social media. So if you want to make more sales, you need to get your social media campaigns up and running early in the season and ensure that they complement your holiday email marketing offers.

You can be sure that you’ll be facing an extremely crowded inbox on the days leading up to and over Cyber Monday and Christmas. Now is the time to focus more than ever on crafting messages that are personal and relevant.

Is your email marketing ready for Cyber Monday and Christmas? What else are you doing to ensure email marketing success this holiday season?