With so many brands earning a large chunk of their annual revenue on Black Friday and in the build-up to Christmas, it’s no secret that these are the busiest and most important periods for online retail. Customers are actively browsing for presents, creating wish lists and digging deep into their pockets for the perfect purchase. Yet, at the same time, the savvy consumer is also intent on finding a bargain and competition amongst retailers is fierce. Because Black Friday and Christmas are seen as such a lucrative trading time, an effective email marketing strategy is crucial. Here are some key tactics to make sure you stand out to your customer and get ahead of your competitors.
Grow Your Database
Employing pop-up messages inviting users to sign up while they browse, coupled with enticing offers, is a great way to capture email addresses for future campaigning. But to really turbocharge growing your database, encourage existing subscribers to invite their friends and family to subscribe to your list. In return for their support, reward them with exclusive discounts, offers or priority access to new products. As you grow your list, sending out welcome emails is a great way to establish loyalty; introduce your social media channels; promote other services you offer, such as in store click-and-collect; and explain return policies. However, don’t suppress sending new subscribers offer emails, such as exclusive Black Friday offers, just because the customer is only part way through a welcome workflow.
Offer a Preference Centre
Guide the customer to nominate their own preferences via an email preference centre. By giving them control over what messages they receive, you can improve key metrics, such as open rate and CTR, while at the same time learning more about your customers for further database segmentation. Recovery Mode A user’s browsing history will give you numerous clues about their interests, and sets you up for triggering an effective personalised browse recovery campaign if they leave without making a purchase. The information you mine will also help you create new segments, and will lead you to better personalised product recommendations. With so many users actively using a shopping basket as a wish list, cart recovery is another powerful tool in your arsenal for driving and closing sales. There are multiple reasons as to why a customer may have abandoned their shopping. A timely email to a user, reminding them of the items sitting in their basket, will help you recover some of that revenue that otherwise might be lost.
Give Users the Personal Touch
The days of batch-and-blast are over. The Christmas season is highly competitive amongst online retailers so there is huge pressure to use discounting as a tactic for driving sales. However, common promotions have their limits and retailers making the effort to personalise their email messaging are winning. To increase your chances of retaining your existing customers, and improve campaign ROI, there are a few essential steps you need to take. Start by gathering as much relevant information about your customer as you can. This can be secured at the sign-up stage, but only take the information you need to improve your service and enhance their experience. You’ll also want to tweak your user preference forms to ensure existing users are providing valuable information. Finally, make sure email workflows reflect each customer’s preferences and history.
Provide a Seamless Mobile Experience
With so many people now beginning their shopping experience on a mobile device, you can’t afford for your visitors to have a clunky, disconnected experience. It’s’ essential that your messages are mobile responsive and designed for easy smartphone browsing. When it comes to mobile design and content, remember: people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. You typically have around three seconds to engage a user and if you fail, chances are you’ve lost that customer. Keep the messaging to the point, copy short, and focus on just one hero image to grab people’s attention. Make it easy for a shopper to complete the purchase on mobile too. Install prompts along the user’s journey encouraging them to sign up for an online account. This will help remove any purchasing obstacles and provide you with valuable segmentation data. It will also reduce friction during payment process and will remove the need for the customer to enter shipping and billing details, ultimately improving their experience.
Not every customer knows exactly what they’re looking for. There are times when a shopper wants to make a purchase, they just don’t know what. Landing pages and gift centres are a great way to help them, especially around Black Friday and Christmas, when the desire to get a good deal is high. You can help guide them to purchase with some clever editorial. For example, try showcasing your inventory through curated landing pages such as ‘25 gifts under £25’. A page optimised for search will also help increase the authority of your website with search engines.
An Opportunity After the Sale
The transactional email is another great opportunity to boost customer engagement. Transactional emails typically have a much higher open rate than a sales push or newsletter. To get the most out of the transaction email, use recommendations or an exclusive offer to promote new products, upsell or persuade the shopper to return soon. The key thing here is to remember that this is a transactional email and to apply the 80/20 rule - only 20% of the email should be used for promotional messaging.
Think Beyond the Festive Season
Remembering that you’re building a loyalty-based relationship with a shopper will pay dividends in the long term. Encouraging the casual browser to become a subscriber and looking at your engagement strategy is just as important as promoting offers or relying on a price-focused strategy. For example, purchases made at Black Friday may need to be replenished or replaced. If you sell training shoes, you might ask your customer how many miles they run each week to establish when they might be in the market for a new pair. By studying the purchase data you can build up a picture of reengagement opportunities, craft triggered emails based on that data and provide your subscriber with a personalised experience. The peak season comes with many opportunities to reach shoppers and attract your share of consumer spending. Engage your subscribers with relevant, timely and personalised emails that add value to their experience of your brand to make this Christmas season a success.