Hacking the Holidays: 5 Creative Ways of Segmenting Your Festive Email Marketing

Posted by Hannah Stacey 20 Nov 15

Ometria_ebook_HACKING_THE_HOLIDAYS_online_a__1__pdf__page_1_of_30_.jpgThis blog post accompanies our new ebook, ‘Hacking the holidays: 12 tips for boosting customer engagement and revenue this festive season’, which you can download by clicking here.

Cutting through the festive marketing furore to get your key holiday messages in front of prospects is an increasingly tricky task, but important if you want to acquire new customers and gain more revenue from existing ones.

With hundreds of retailers jostling for their attention, sending relevant content to each customer is vital if you are to really capture their interest.

Here are five ways that you can segment your email marketing in order to engage and activate key customer segments (for seven more holiday tips, download our holiday hacking ebook here).

1) Exclusive early access to seasonal sales

Target segments: high AOV customers, elite VIP customers, unhappy customers

This hack uses segmented email blasts to announce your seasonal sales to key groups of customers ahead of everyone else in order to activate them, and up their spend. 

Although it can work for any segment that you’d like to activate, the following are a great place to start:

  • High average order value customers: Giving the ‘big-spender’ segment early access to your sale makes it more likely that they’ll find items they like (and buy them). Target them with emails aimed at whipping up a frenzy around your sale.
  • Elite VIP customers: Singling out your best customers (typically your top 1-5% based on lifetime value) and letting them know about a sale in advance is a great way of ensuring that this valuable segment remains engaged and on-side. Ensure that you tailor the messages you send them to emphasise exclusivity and make them feel valued.
  • Unhappy customers: At the other end of the spectrum, giving customer who have had a bad experience early access to your festive promotions can be a good way of getting them back onside. For example, you may want to target those who have made a complaint or left a bad review in the past 6 months, and who haven’t shopped since.

2) Re-sending key messages to non-openers

Target segment: Those who don’t open key festive messages 12 to 24 hours after you send them

With marketing machines in overdrive around the festive season, grabbing the attention of consumers when they’re being bombarded with messages left, right and centre can be difficult.

As a result, ecommerce marketers have to fight to get their core Christmas offerings read and understood through the noise.

This hack can be applied to key holiday emails (for instance, around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and Boxing day sales), and simply involves re-sending important Christmas emails to those who don’t open your message the first time round in a bid to get them read.

Follow-up emails should:

  • Have a different subject line from the first (but the same content)
  • Be sent 12-24 hours after the initial message
  • Introduce a sense of urgency, particularly if they relate to a flash-sale  (e.g. “You have 4 hours left to get great Cyber Monday deals!”

3) Shipping deadline cues

Target segments: customers in different geographies

Christmas can be a stressful time of the year for even the most organised of present-buyers, and helping consumers by providing useful information that makes their festive season run more smoothly can be a great way of setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Segment your list by geography and work out shipping deadlines for each country that you ship to. Then, ensure that shoppers in each region know exactly when they need to shop by using cues:

  • Dedicate an email or a section of each email that you send over Christmas to reminding the recipient of the deadline for their country.
  • Include a link to enable them to add the deadline to their calendar for an extra cue.
  • Up the urgency by using a visual cue like a countdown timer.

4) Automated activation campaigns for new subscribers

Target segment: those that subscribe during the festive season

Automated, trigger-based campaigns can be a great way of ensuring that key customer segments are activated with the right messages at the right time. This is especially important in the holiday season, when getting key information and dates in front of customers is critical.

This hack involves altering your welcome series during the festive period in order to ensure that your key messages cut through the noise - especially for new subscribers who may have missed previous announcements. This should involve:

  • Key dates for your promotions
  • Important pieces of Christmas content
  • Shipping deadlines, and other important info

Then, after the festive season is over, you can restart your regular welcome series to onboard new subscribers properly with your brand story.

5) Automated activation campaigns for past holiday shoppers

Target segment: those that shopped last year

Re-engaging past holiday shoppers is a big opportunity to boost your revenue at Christmas time. While many retailers make some effort to reactivate this group of customers each year, this hack involves targeting them with content that is likely to spark their interest.

 So segment this list by the category of item they bought around Christmas last year and target them with content - whether that be an email focused on the category they previously purchased from, a related holiday gift guide, or another form of on-topic content.


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy hacking! 

Topics: Ecommerce email marketing

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