It’s September. This means Christmas is a month away!
Wait, what? No, our calendars aren’t warped: we mean the holiday season is only a month away for ecommerce retailers. Columbus Day is on October 13th this year, which traditionally brings along sales and promotions that officially set the holiday shopping season in motion. So yes, if you are an ecommerce merchant, Christmas is literally is a month away. Are your email marketing efforts ready? If not, here are a few tips to get them in shape.
1. Segment your lists
Not all customers are equal. The way to get subscribers to open, click, and convert is to give them the appropriate messaging that will encourage a sale, and that messaging isn’t the same for everyone on your mailing or email list! A few tried-and-true email segments that we’ve seen work for retailers in the space revolve around purchase frequency and proximity to their last purchase date. They include:
- Never purchased (customers who signed up for your communications, but never bought anything, so make sure this deal is extra sweet!)
- 30/60/90 days since last purchase
- “Anniversary” purchase (it’s been a year since we heard from you!)
- Haven’t bought in a while – a customer who had regular purchase history, but suddenly stopped (consider including a short survey with an incentive so you can find out why!)
Of course, the value of your list segmentation is directly related to the value of the data you collect to achieve those segments. That’s why it’s important to collect as much demographic and psychographic information about your customers as possible, so you can create custom content that speaks to them based on interests, location, and wants/needs. The more personalized the content, the higher the conversion rate!
2. Hook ’em above the fold
Your emails need to have a hook. There’s a reason people still remember Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” 20 years later (and it’s not because it was a great lyrical masterpiece). Craft innovative lines that make the subscriber want to open the email – that’s the first barrier, long before they’ll think about making a purchase. In our own internal tests with our email marketing, we’ve actually found that generic subject lines (i.e., “Your Thanksgiving discount is here!”) get opened more frequently than specific subject lines (“Save 20% now through Thanksgiving!”). However, don’t take our word for it – make sure you A/B test this theory weeks in advance of your holiday season to see how your list responds.
When it comes to email design, it’s also important to structure your emails well and put the important details at the beginning or ‘above the fold’. This refers to the area your subscriber can see before scrolling down. If the important part of the message is buried below, then many customers might not even see it – and therefore, won’t take advantage of it. When it’s front and center, you know that whoever opens your mail will see exactly what the campaign/offer is about.
3. Time it out
Timing plays an important role in getting your message across. Research shows that there are certain times of the day when emails are better received. Open rates are generally higher in the early morning during all days of the week. Consumer promotion emails are best sent in the late evening/night, between 7 pm and 10 pm. Holiday-themed promotionals, on the other hand, have a higher open rate when sent between 5 pm and 7 pm. Test out your database for yourself and analyze how your subscribers are responding and time your emails around what works the best.