The festive period is a retail marketer’s busiest and most competitive. With the average shopper willing to spend £500 more during the holiday season, this means that the number of retailers vying for their attention is at a high, so the amount of emails in their inbox, increases rapidly.
In this frantic period, it can be incredibly difficult to ensure that the interactions are meaningful, personalised and strategy-led. But it is possible.
A sure-fire way to stand out from the batch-and blast attack of your competitors is to advance your automation and personalisation strategies. Using tactics like segmentation and dynamic content you can stand out by creating tailored messages that engage customers fatigued by the onslaught of generic content in their inbox.
Sending emails that appeal to customers on a personal level will not only have short-term gain in helping you hit holiday season targets; you’re also setting the foundation for long-term relationship building and engagement.
The tactics don’t need to be labour intensive but they do need to be prepared ahead of shopping surge. In this blogpost we are going to show you the three non time-consuming essentials for preparing ahead of time to have your christmas strategy securely wrapped up.The checklist for a stress-free festive period
The key to ensuring your festive period is a manageable success comes down to planning. What’s the secret to amazing Christmas marketing that gets customers shopping with you over competitors? We believe the key is in adding these three vital elements to your campaigns:
- Advanced automation
- Newsletter segmentation
- Cross-channel marketing
From cart or browse abandonment to post-purchase campaigns, updating any automated campaigns that you’re running to give you a helping hand during the festive period is an easy quick win, as they’ll be ticking along in the background generating additional revenue and increasing engagement (leaving you to concentrate on the festivities).
1) Give your messaging and imagery a festive twist
We often stress how achieving relevance in your marketing is key - and nothing puts a downer on festive cheer quite like receiving a summer-themed cart abandonment email full of sunshine and beachwear in the hero image.
As consumers become more accustomed to receiving automated messages from retailers, make yours stand out by giving them a festive twist.
Some examples include:
- Updating the copy of your welcome emails: Include important messages about festive promotions (including Black Friday) key delivery dates and other exciting offers. This makes sure that any new subscribers you gain are aware of them if they missed them in any broadcast campaigns you sent.
- Updating the hero image in your abandonment campaigns to make them more festive. If possible, you can design festive-specific hero images for the top-selling products, that dynamically update depending on the item that was abandoned by the shopper.
2) Incorporate product recommendations
Are there any product lines or categories you want to push more than others during the festive period? Do you have products that can also be purchased as a set? Give your automated messages instant relevance by including tailored product recommendations.
3) Tweak the times
As with any good automated campaign, timing is everything, especially with abandonment campaigns. During the Christmas frenzy you might want to consider:
- Shortening your campaign send times: This will increase urgency and encourage your shoppers to make a purchase before the big day.
- Shortening the re-entry conditions: Marketers may wish to put re-entry conditions in place to prevent a shopper from receiving too many automated emails in a certain space of time. By reducing this time period, customers will be reminded of the products they browse and abandoned more frequently.
Newsletters - or broadcast campaigns - are often the bedrock of any Christmas marketing strategy, and retailers often up the frequency of sends around the festive period to ensure the message gets through. Trouble is, your competitors are likely to have the same idea. Increasing the quality and relevance of your emails instead is a great way of cutting through the noise - which is where smart segmentation and personalisation come in.
1) Create segmented tactical newsletters to engage with customers
By creating newsletters ahead of time, and segmenting them based on where in the customer lifecycle the recipient is, you can ensure that you maximise the opportunities to encourage spend, with as high or low effort as you want to put behind the campaigns. Depending on the resources you have available you should consider your three different types of seasonal shopper and the strategies you can use to appeal to each of them:
- People who shop all year round
- People who only shop with you during the festive period
- People who are shopping with you for first time
These are your loyal customers. Regardless of season they make regular purchases with you and you can usually count on them to take advantage of a sale or new products.
The repeat christmas shoppers. Although you don’t see them for most of the year, you can expect them to pop up in the rush up to Christmas.
Newly-acquired Christmas shoppers usually get a lot of attention during the festive period.
So, what tactics can you employ to engage these key Christmas shopper segments? We know that not every retailer has endless resources at their disposal, so below are some tactics - whether you have a small or large amount of resource:
2) Low - medium effort:
Segmenting your key newsletters to be more relevant to key customer groups.
- Use the same template for all three types of customer, making small tweaks to appeal to them dependant on where they are in the customer journey.
- This could include tweaking aspects of the email, such as: copy, subject line and the product recommendations they recieve.
- So for example, for customers who have signed up to receive emails from you but have yet to make a purchase, you can send them emails that highlight offers or products that available for a limited time only to create urgency and encourage them to spend with you. Using the same template, you can change hero images and general design to match the recipient of the email.
3) High effort:
- This involves creating an individual template for the three different types of Christmas shoppers (indeed, you may wish to further segment your audience).
- These templates may incorporate dynamic content to include - specific offers, further segmentation based on the product or category the shopper browses.
- Dynamic content can also be used to make the content relevant to the recipient’s gender, further personalising the messaging.
While email is likely to remain the focal point of festive marketing, retailers can employ cross-channel tactics to ensure their messages are heard (or seen).
1) Retargeted messaging across multiple channels
As you can imagine, shoppers’ inboxes during the festive period are often drowning in emails from retailers, like yourself, who want to encourage them to come and spend their Christmas budget with them. A great way to increase brand awareness and market effectively is to incorporate further channels - such as social or direct mail - into your campaigns.
Social retargeting spend has the potential to skyrocket around the festive season, so being clever with the channels you target customers on can make a huge saving. For example, you may choose to:
- Only retarget those who are not engaging with your emails
- Only retarget lapsed or high-value customers
- Only retarget leads to encourage the first purchase
If you want to target more high value shoppers - that may be VIP shoppers or first-time seasonal shoppers - diversify the channels to not only include social media but customer service calls and direct mail.
Recap and conclusion
The Christmas season is hectic but that doesn’t mean your marketing has to be. If you plan well in advance and segment as broadly or specifically as you want, you can target specific customers without having the added pressure of strategising in the midst of the rush. The key to this is:
- Automation - have everything scheduled and planned well ahead of time with a specific aim. You can also change the frequency of certain campaigns, like abandonment, to encourage spend during the short festive-rush window.
- Strategic newsletters - these can be either low or high effort depending on your aim; by using dynamic content and tweaking messaging you can personalise emails ahead of time.
- Going cross-channel - shoppers inboxes are full to the brim during the festive period, so capture their attention via different channels but ensure to integrate it back to email, have a workflow in place for this that also stops sending retargeting messages once a purchase has been made.
These three essentials leave you with more time to focus on minor tweaks and making note of customer behaviour so you can increase spend, win over new shoppers and create a seamless experience for loyal customers.