Jack Wrigley: How to “Sleigh” Your Competitors This Holiday Season
As the holiday spending frenzy approaches, digital marketers should have a multi-point plan to capitalize on the busiest season of the year. If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table. Consumers are the most active and spend the most money during the holidays.
Many businesses rely on strong fourth quarter earnings to keep their business afloat. This is especially true for small to medium-sized companies.
To win the holiday game, marketers should have a plan in place to leverage existing customers and capture new customers.
Let’s talk email marketing since it remains the star channel when it comes to ROI.
Are your emails skating on thin ice?
Effective email marketing starts with a strong foundation — a healthy email list full of active, engaged subscribers.
You can easily improve list quality by doing some pre-holiday cleaning to prep your list before you send out those make-or-break email campaigns.
If your list is shoddy — full of bad, low-quality and inactive subscribers — performance and deliverability will suffer; this is could be a fatal mistake for marketers during the holidays.
There are companies that specialize in improving email list quality who can identify the good and bad email addresses in your list, as well as the risky emails like role and disposable email address that provide little or no value to marketers.
Before you send out important campaigns, be sure you clean your list. This will allow performance and deliverability to reach new heights during the holidays.
Targeted messages are a bullseye for marketers.
Once your list is nice and tidy, look for ways to segment your list. Segmentation is critical during the holidays because it allows you to send targeted messages. Emails sent with targeted messaging result in higher engagement. Period.
Segmenting by gender, age, location are easy wins. It’s not science, it’s logic. As a man, if you send me an email advertising women’s shoes I’m not likely going to open and if I do, I surely won’t click on it.
Rollout the red carpet for your best customers. If you really want to dazzle during the holidays, segment your list based on your “best customers.” Offer them some type of reward to show your appreciation. Everyone likes to feel special, particularly around the holidays. That goes for your customers too.
Hold your customer’s hand through the customer journey. Segment your list based on where your customer is along the path to purchase. If they’ve signed up but haven’t made a purchase, perhaps a discount code would do the trick. Maybe they got confused or have questions; be sure to offer an easy way to contact you. Maybe they are in the research phase; be sure to provide links to helpful tips and guides, testimonials, and use cases. Understanding your customer’s needs based on customer behavior/interactions with your site is key to moving them along the funnel.
Segment inactive subscribers who never open your emails. Do this before you reach peak season. Consider pulling out subscribers who have consistently ignored your emails in the last six months.
Removing inactives from your primary list will increase deliverability and ensure your lists are ready for the holidays.
Now I’m not saying to give up on these subscribers all together, but if you continue to send to them on a regular basis and they are NOT opening your emails, you may be hindering deliverability.
Try sending a re-engagement campaign with targeted messaging to a small portion of inactive subscribers. If they bite, add them back to your primary list(s).
Note: You don’t want to send one campaign to large portions of inactives at once, as it could damage your sender reputation. Test smaller, targeted campaigns gradually over time to avoid raising any red flags. The best time to test inactive segments are in the months leading up to Q4, not in the thick of your busiest season.
The holidays are a marketer’s time to shine.
Everything you send out for the holidays should be optimized for engagement. Don’t stress. That doesn’t mean you have to recreate the wheel and/or construct some elaborate plan. Your best content, ideas and inspiration may be right under your nose.
Re-purpose. Re-share. Re-imagine. If you had an engaging blog post, consider making it into an infographic or webinar. You can even curate a “best of” list and share it with your subscribers.
Squeeze as much juice from your best content as possible. The content resonated with your subscribers the first time, chances are it will resonate with them again.
Respect your customer’s time. Keep in mind, consumers are getting bombarded from brands left and right. Since many marketers increase the number of emails they send during the holidays consumers receive a flurry of emails, more than they can possibly consume. That’s why many go unopened. That said, it’s important you do everything you can to stand out. That starts with the subject line.
Don’t be boring. Ditch the lame subject lines. Everyone is offering free shipping. Get creative. Use emojis, be funny and whimsical — the holidays call for a little whimsy.
Once you get their attention, be sure your messaging is clear and concise, easily digestible and engaging to read. If what you are creating does not inspire, educate, entertain or add value to your customer’s life — don’t waste their time.
The marketer’s that prepare for the holidays, embrace segmentation and targeting and experiment with ways to engage subscribers leading up to the holidays will “sleigh” their competitors.