Simone Barratt, managing director at e-Dialog, offers six tips for planning maximising the effectiveness of an email campaign during the festive season and throughout the new year.
A subscriber is not just for Christmas
The Christmas period is not simply about a once year spike in conversions, it is also a fantastic opportunity to significantly grow your subscriber list for the coming year.
On sign-up, collect subscriber preferences for frequency and particular product types. Consider that consumers are going to be on the receiving end of mails from your competitors offering numerous short term offers.
Stand out from the crowd by limiting yourself to one offer per mail that will last into the new year. Also consider offering an incentive such as discount vouchers for those that return and register in January.
The holiday season is a busy time for consumers as well as companies – we should be considering their time constraints and not ours.
Don’t lose your existing subscribers
“It is a fact of life that many existing subscribers will not warm to the increased frequency rates of a Christmas campaign. If no consideration is made for this group, the likely result is that they will simply unsubscribe and the opportunity for long term conversions will be lost forever.
To counter this offer subscribers the option of receiving e-mails less frequently throughout the campaign, even better, ask them if they want e-mails on only certain types of product. Not only will you keep your subscribers but you will have gathered free customer data that can allow you to personalise your offers throughout the year.”
The last minute shopper
For me as with many consumers, last minute Christmas shopping is the rule rather than the exception. Take advantage of this last minute surge by increasing your frequency rates in the second half of December.
However, as you increase frequency ensure that you stay relevant and engage your customers with content you know will interest them. Including details of free delivery and the last time an order can be placed to be received by the 24th can also be a major incentive for immediate purchase.
You should also consider the effectiveness one-day only sales and messaging such as ‘only a few hours left to the end of our 24 hour sale’. If possible, also incorporate other options that can make it easier for the preference of the individual customer such as buy online, collect in store.
The easier you can make it for the consumer, the easier it will be to convert them.
It is essential that your e-mails and other marketing elements are consistent. When a consumer clicks through from one of your mails, the landing page should reflect the product and offers mentioned in the email.
It is too much to expect the consumer to take time to search through your site for this information. If you’re offering it by direct marketing, it must be directly visible on the website.
Keep it short and simple
The most important aspect of a message is the first half of the subject line. Many consumers will not even open a mail if it is not immediately apparent what is being offered.
Make sure that you do not clog up this crucial space with your brand name, ensure that this is plain in the ‘from’ field to ensure that you’ve got enough space in the subject line.
Don’t be drawn into major last minute changes
A common mistake at this time of year is to be drawn into making major last minute technical or procedural changes. Regardless of how creative your Christmas campaign plans might be, November and December do not leave enough time for major alterations.
Now is the time to be ruthless – continual small adjustments are best practice if you haven’t made and tested the major changes by now it’s too late for 2008. Far more brand damage and expense is incurred through over ambition than by realism.
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