Jump-start Your 2010 Email Marketing Plans by Retaining Holiday Subscribers
Consumers often sign up for coupon offers via email before the holiday season begins in hopes of scoring exclusive deals. That's great, but now you should look beyond the holidays and figure out how to retain these new subscribers — especially since 30 percent may become inactive by Valentine’s Day, and up to 50 percent may be dormant by the Fourth of July. How can you make sure holiday bargain hunters stick around long enough to contribute to 2010 sales success?
The key to any retention program is data, such as the dates subscribers were added to your database, how many messages were opened, which links were clicked and what purchases were made. This data can give you insights into customers’ priorities and help you craft a strategy to keep them engaged in 2010.
Reaching 'shopped-out' shoppers
Once the holidays have passed and subscribers no longer have deadlines to make purchases, engagement often takes a nosedive.
One tactic that can entice shopped-out subscribers to take action is a goodwill message that's nonpromotional but provides information about your merchandise exchange or return policies. A short survey about customers’ experiences purchasing from your website — with a small reward upon completion — helps extend the warm and fuzzy holiday feelings, while also providing feedback to your web team.
Messages thanking shoppers for purchasing and offering promotions to buy treats now for themselves are effective strategies to drive post-holiday purchases.
Also, if you have a preference center, feature it prominently in your post-holiday messages. Getting information on expressed preferences can be a better strategy than simply analyzing clickthrough or purchase data. Ask which purchases were gifts and which were not, and use that data to send different follow-up messages. For those who purchased products for personal use, ask for product reviews. For gift purchasers, solicit feedback about their overall experiences buying from you.
Social media also plays a role in keeping customers engaged. Ensure content is "share-worthy," and make it easy to share. Leverage community sites like Facebook and MySpace, blogs, and microblogging applications such as Twitter. The more you enable and encourage customers to talk about your brand and products, the more mindshare you'll have with those customers.
Don’t settle for stocking stuffers this holiday season when you could have the gift that keeps on giving. Savvy shoppers and bargain hunters will help fill your coffers during the holidays and long after if you keep in mind some key concepts: segment, nurture and engage. Know your customers, discover their preferences and send targeted, relevant emails. It’s the perfect way to ensure 2010 gets off to a great start, even before the end of 2009.