Email Marketing Insights
October 19, 2012 | Brittany Landenberger
Here's an article I wrote for Multichannel Merchant:
Recently, I heard a friend say that they’ve already had to use the “Santa’s watching” story to keep their children from misbehaving, and it’s only October.
As we are approach the holiday season, there are some key things to consider in designing your holiday email marketing campaigns, and creating a successful cross-channel holiday experience for your customers this season should be one of them. Are you as prepared as you’d like to be at this point?
Consider these key strategies as you prepare for this holiday season:
Optimize your campaigns across multiple channels
The success of your holiday email campaigns relies heavily on whether they are optimized and properly designed for consumers viewing your messages on multiple devices. StrongMail’s Marketing Services Team recently helped a large crafts retailer undergo a complete email template redesign to get them fully mobile optimized.
The brand wanted to make sure their messages were mobile-friendly, so we helped them reduce the number of offers and resized images accordingly as an initial place to start. We also created content with less prose and more calls to action, and emphasized the brand's most compelling content.
Properly organizing the content made it easier for their customers to engage with their messages on mobile devices. By taking a proactive approach early on, their email campaigns are now fully optimized and ready for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Before launching your own holiday campaigns, take a look at your messages and try to make a purchase from your phone or on a tablet. What are the obstacles you find? Take note that if it's difficult to complete a purchase because customers have to scroll or scan multiple pages, you should consider optimizing your templates.
Don’t forget who’s using multiple channels
Last holiday season, 18% of consumers made a purchase on their mobile devices, and we would only expect this to increase this year. Currently, 68% of shoppers are using mobile sites, and 76% of shoppers are using smartphones. Keep this in mind when targeting consumers this holiday season.
Remember that consumers viewing your email messages on mobile are usually “on the go,” and they can be easily distracted.
Maybe their kids interrupt them while shopping, or they have an early meeting to start and they can’t look at their phone, tablet or laptop. In order to engage mobile customers, you need to make your compelling content/call to action easy to see with next steps clearly defined and easy to implement. Make it easy for them to engage quickly and easily.
Keep in mind that 4 out of 10 people are purchasing from tablets. Tablet users more often have higher purchase rates, and it’s primarily due to the fact that the screen is larger. With tablets, consumers scroll less than they do with their mobile phones. If you're targeting tablet users, remember that most purchases are made while customers are at home in the evenings – often while watching TV.
Understand the crosschannel holiday consumer buying cycle
Consumers often use their smartphones to research products and other deals while in-store. How can you enhance your customer experience to make purchasing with your company more immersive? Why do they want to interact with your email messages? What are the goals you’re looking to achieve with them?
You want to understand and take note of the consumer buying cycle. The funnel is still the same, but the way consumers go about researching and purchasing is changing. Support the shopping activities of customers, who increasingly are looking for access to a retailer when and where it’s convenient for them. Informative and engaging content needs to be present in your holiday campaigns across all channels to facilitate a customer researching and ultimately buying.
Think about the content people may be seeking out about your brand – it’s the holiday season, and consumers are looking for the best sales from brands that are top of mind. Consider sending SMS alerts to keep them updated about new sales events over Thanksgiving weekend. Use mobile location data to target consumers who are at relevant retail locations and email them coupons while they are shopping to use at checkout. Ask yourself “How are my customers buying from these devices, and how are they using them as their mobile wallet?”
With the holiday season fast approaching, remember to “make your list, and check it twice.” With 57% of consumers owning a laptop, 53% owning a smartphone, and 19% owning a tablet, it’s important to make sure that your holiday email campaigns are fully optimized and properly targeting all of these channels.
So remember this year to know what devices your customers use to engage with your campaign and take the time to understand their buying cycles. And don't forget to create engaging, relevant and innovative crosschannel strategies to keep your brand top of mind this holiday season!
Posted by: Brittany Landenberger at 8:44 AM
December 17, 2010 | Ryan Deutsch
It’s holiday season and email subscribers around the world are being bombarded with well wishes, offers and advice all meant to make the holiday season brighter for the subscriber and to help the email marketer maximize holiday sales. Even the brands with fiercely loyal subscribers are dialing up frequency and offer value. Look below at my inbox from early December (click to enlarge) and the emails I received from menswear retailer Jos A. Bank. It looks like they want me in the store.
Now, I am a loyal Jos A. Bank customer. I travel weekly, so I tend to buy suits that, while good quality, are more reasonably priced than stuff you find at Saks or Macy’s. Anyway, look at the cadence that began in December: daily emails (with a much needed break on Sunday) for the last two weeks. This is typical behavior during the holiday season. In fact, the Jos. A. Bank cadence started to increase in October.
So, what do we do as email marketers now that the holidays will soon be behind us? The key is to re-establish a high level of ongoing email engagement. The fact is that many subscribers will have a high level of email fatigue after the holidays. Still others are now conditioned to look at only offers that boast 50% off. Here are some ideas to consider for enhancing email engagement after the holiday season.
“Gone Fishing:” Your subscribers’ need a break. Cadence in general has been overwhelming. Drop them an email after the holiday season is over and let them know your email program has “Gone Fishing.” Not for a month, but for a few days to recharge and put together some really fantastic deals once you’re back in the office. Offer subtle hints as to the valuable content that’s coming in the next communication and try to get the subscriber anticipating your email again.
New Channels: In 2011, email engagement cannot be looked at as channel-specific. Brands need to understand that consumers are opting to consume content in new ways. An “inactive” email subscriber could very well be active and engaging with your brand on Facebook, Twitter or other online communities. The trick here is to make sure that these new channels offer fresh content. Do not repurpose email or web content for Facebook. Customers who engage your brand on the social web should be treated to content that cannot be found elsewhere; this encourages repeat visits and reinforces the value of multichannel engagement. Launch a re-engagement campaign to inactives on your list and direct them to alternate channels and the special content available there.
User-Generated Content: Post Holiday Season consumers are tired of hearing from the marketer. Discount messages and offers carry less weight than they did in December. This is a great time to let your customers advocate on your behalf. Consider bringing Twitter and Facebook conversations into the email marketing program. Most brands have a great deal more than ratings and reviews available from their customers. Scour online communities for stories, trends and topics that will resonate with your consumer and leverage them to facilitate a dialogue triggered by your email marketing program. We expect to see a number of new email communication built around user-generated content in 2011 - get started now!
Kill the Launch Button: Sophisticated email marketers are looking to decrease the number of promotional campaigns and increase the use of automated/triggered messaging. Most businesses have a cadence of communication that helps support the ongoing customer relationship. These include purchase confirmations, statements and many other automated email messages. The email engagement levels with these messages have always been much higher than traditional promotional campaigns. Map out each communication sent to a customer and consider how these triggered emails could be leveraged for cross-sell/up-sell purposes. Often adding dynamic elements to these messages is a great way to get subscribers engaged even though they may have ignored a similar offer not embedded in a triggered email.
Regardless of the strategy you implement, change it up after the holidays. Email engagement must be earned month to month and program to program. StrongMail offers a number of strategic program options to help our clients drive email engagement. Give our team a call, and we would be happy to discuss how we can help!