Holiday and Social Media Spirit in Email Marketing
The holiday season is fast approaching. For retailers — both online and brick-and-mortar — the goal is to receive the gift of increased sales and profits instead of a lump of coal. None of you want to experience a "Bah Humbug" holiday sales season this year. At the very least, sales and promotions should be penciled in your calendar and a seasonal email marketing template should already be in the works.
So, what’s a business have to do to score high sales this season, particularly under today’s belt-tightening conditions? Email offers a practical, cost-effective and results-driven solution. It’s all part of the purchase cycle; be there when people are ready to shop. Fortunately, you can be right beside them with a well-timed email marketing program. To make an even bigger impact this year, consider adding all the tinsel early into your plans with social media.
Here are five holiday email marketing tips to start you out on the right foot this season, in addition to several ideas on how to incorporate social media into your email marketing program.
1. Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle. Build an email marketing plan for the holidays. Look at the calendar from your customers’ perspective. Map out holiday promotions, topics and campaigns that will help you reach out to your customers at the right time with the right information. Plan around key holiday triggers or events such as Black Friday, Hanukkah and the last day for shipping.
You know your customers better than anyone else, so roughing out a flexible plan for the holiday season shouldn't take long. Investing time up front will dramatically improve the performance of your holiday email marketing campaigns. Your customers will also appreciate receiving relevant emails when they want them.
2. Spread the holiday cheer. If you don’t have one already, create a fan page for your business on Facebook. Repackage what’s already been sent out in your emails on this page. Share your Facebook link with your email subscribers and suggest they share it with their friends. Maybe even motivate them with a discount if they promote your updates on their pages. The result: you have a new audience to read your news and potentially add their names to your email contact list to receive additional information, promotions and incentives.
3. Keep your fans joyful and merry. When you create your Facebook fan page, be sure to include a sign-up form that hooks into your email marketing program. Use the data collected to segment your email list. Keep engagement going by sending personalized emails that may be more social in nature or have ties to relevant conversations on your fan page. You can also segment the list by date of sign-up to resurrect email campaigns that have already been sent to other segmented lists earlier in the holiday season.
4. Be jolly this season and analyze your success. A good email marketing program includes the ability to analyze the success (or failure) of your campaigns, and review how recipients are interacting with your messages. Are they using a hyperlink for a discount promotion code? If it's a big draw, use it again in a future email. If it works with some recipients, use a filter to collect the email campaign activity and send a similar promotion to the same group. For those who prefer a hyperlink to a product, segment them into a different list so you can send emails that better suit their preferences.
5. Deck the halls with fun content. Both Facebook and Twitter offer a fresh channel to republish e-newsletter content and promotions. The catch is that you only have 140 characters for each tweet you publish. The upside? It provides a direct way to interact with consumers who may not yet be aware of what you’re selling.
Retailers can tweet sales and promotions, adding incremental revenue during the period of that sale. Twitter is a great place for recommendations on best-selling gifts this year. With a bit of added effort, you can even track the holiday keywords and chime in with your specials of the day. Just make sure you include an easy way to link to the reference and opt in to receive your emails.
Use this holiday-infused plan to keep up with the competition. Remember, profitability will reflect excellence in execution. This is your chance to get creative and social with your customers during one of the most important seasons of the year.
Related story: 6 Best Practices for Holiday Email Campaign Success