You've worked hard all year to get to this most important of seasons, but don't stop now. While your marketing plans for Q4 are likely great and necessary, I'm also betting you can make a few quick adjustments to avoid missed opportunities and win holiday business you weren't expecting.
Ask yourself these three questions, and you’ll stay on shoppers’ nice lists — and off their naughty ones:
1) Am I nurturing my current customers?
Your active customers are the low-hanging fruit of your business. Because they’ve already bought into your messaging, services and/or products, they require less convincing. That means they don’t take a huge bite out of your marketing budget. What it doesn’t mean is that today's shoppers don’t expect you to be smart. According to CMO Council research, "54 percent of consumers would consider ending their relationship with a retailer if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers." If you don’t take advantage of the data you've collected on current customers, you not only risk losing their business, you might also be alienating them.
SmartPak Equine, an online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements, is just one great example of how a company uses automated emails for smart behavioral marketing. It creates and sends more than 40 lifecycle-marketing emails automatically to customers according to their behaviors. SmartPak sends millions of these behavior-triggered emails every month, with astounding results. When customers abandon their carts, for example, SmartPak sends two follow-up emails as reminders. Those customers who do make a purchase receive an email prior to shipping reminding them that purchases over $40 ship free. That email includes a large "change or add to your order" button. With 36 percent open rates and 18 percent conversion rates, SmartPak’s save-on-shipping reminder emails are unbelievable revenue generators.
2) Do I know with statistical certainty what makes my customers respond to my messaging?
In today’s marketplace, attitudes and habits change quickly. Fortunately, technology now makes it easier to test assumptions about subject line formats, landing pages, email image types and so on — with statistical certainty.
No two customers are the same. You might think you know everything about the attitudes and preferences of yours — what sorts of subject lines and images cause them to quickly respond. But it's likely that what you think you know isn’t the whole picture. Your strategy can be tweaked with little effort and produce fantastic results.
Marketers at Peter Glenn Ski & Sports discovered just that when they tested different email images using technology from 8Seconds, a Silverpop partner. Though they sent only one email to an entire control group, some recipients saw a product-focused image. Meanwhile, others saw a lifestyle-focused image. More than 2,700 readers opened the email, helping the sports company determine that its lifestyle image had a whopping 63 percent better click rate than the product image. Needless to say, all who hadn’t opened the email yet were automatically served the better-performing image. Talk about improving results on the fly!
3) Am I taking advantage of all my platforms and assets, including my much-loved holiday catalog?
Buyers are stressed during the holidays, so make sure they have a positive experience with your brand at all times and on all channels, including social media. A little creativity can go a long way toward charming your holiday shoppers, especially when you incorporate multiple platforms in one rousing campaign.
Iconic U.K. clothing retailer T.M. Lewin engaged and inspired shoppers with a five-question, multiple-choice quiz. It first announced the quiz via email, then sent teaser emails telling recipients where to find clues hidden across a variety of T.M. Lewin assets, including its print catalog. Customers jumped on board, responding collectively more than 20,000 times, and sharing the quiz on social media platforms. The company saw a 4 percent increase in Twitter activity, a 45 percent increase in Facebook “likes,” and a rise in the average Facebook engagement rate from 3 percent to a massive 37 percent during the time the quiz was open.
Keeping your customers happy, getting shipments out on time, and making your holiday numbers all make for a stressful Q4. But it’s not too late to seize big revenue opportunities and decrease your customers’ anxiety at the same time by following the tips above.
Let me know how your season is going; send me a tweet @TMcCormick2011. For even more ideas, read one our most popular ebooks, “Print Money Today! 7 Emails Marketers Should Automate to Drive Massive ROI.”
More Holiday Marketing Resources:
1) “5 Holiday Acquisition Tactics to Grow Your Database”
2) “Holiday Marketing Quick Tip: Leverage Facebook to Drive Email Opt-Ins”
3) “Creative Ways to Boost Holiday Sales with Agile Email Marketing”