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Black Friday Cyber Monday: Going Beyond the Promos

Some of the year's biggest sales are coming, and your customers are already super excited! Brands should be just as excited to take this opportunity to retain customers beyond the holidays with the right email marketing best practices and techniques. Here's how it's done

Modern email marketers know that heavy hitting with deals, offers, and promotions is expected during the holiday season, and competition within your subscriber’s inbox is getting more challenging each year. Some brands will start sending holiday-themed campaigns as early as the end of September (yes, that’s now!) to stand out from the competition.  

But if you haven’t, don’t panic just yet! As an email marketer, not only is it imperative that you start your campaigns early, but consider this: all the data and insights you gain during the shopping season can gear you towards better campaigns throughout the year.  

Take five ways to boost your brand’s overall engagement throughout the holidays and way beyond: 

Update your drip campaigns for the holidays 

When reviewing your customers’ behaviors throughout the year, you might notice that they tend to purchase differently during the holidays. Try picking up on patterns in how your subscribers engage, purchase, abandon pages and carts, etc. throughout this time.  

For instance, more customers are buying for others rather than themselves, and their reasons for abandonment may be less concerned with price comparisons but rather due to the uncertainty of their decision-making.  

With all these changes in behavior during the holidays, you must allow yourself and your drip campaigns the flexibility to be agile to the specific needs of each lifecycle stage during this time of the year. In addition to updating your creatives and messaging to reflect a holiday theme, consider updating your automated campaigns’ timing, cadence, and frequency to increase their performance before migrating back to pre-holiday configurations after the New Year. 

Develop new journeys and streams based on unique segments 

Just like your customers’ behaviors change during the holiday period, most brands probably also have a segment of subscribers who only visit and shop seasonally and some are consistent when they visit your site throughout the year.  

For instance, a friend or family member on their holiday list may love your brand or maybe they trust you for their holiday shopping needs, but not throughout the rest of the year. Perhaps these customers visit and shop seasonally because they’re just not someone who usually purchases online but are simply trying to avoid the holiday in-store rush.  

Regardless of the reason, creating a unique email journey or multi-channel stream for your seasonal customers can help to increase performance – and with the right messaging – can convert your seasonal customers to more loyal, ongoing, year-round customers. 

Focus on the post-purchase experience 

While a simple “Thank you for your purchase” makes sense throughout the year and probably works great, it’s a missed opportunity for even greater things to come during the holiday season. Aside from modifying the seasonality of your design and messaging to reflect the holiday season itself, adding a dynamic countdown timer in your post-purchase message can help specify the number of days left to place an order before holiday shipping cuts off to increase urgency.   

Additionally, suppose the assumption is made that your customer purchased a gift for someone else, the post-purchase message could communicate an offer or push to “Gift yourself something this holiday”.  

Take a fresh look at your “cart and browse abandonment” campaigns 

When re-evaluating drip campaigns and journeys during the holidays, your cart and browse abandonment campaigns are journeys that you should pay specific attention to for seasonal optimization.  

Aside from making sure you’re able to send real-time campaigns shortly after a subscriber abandons a session, making strategic use of the seasonality of when they abandon is key to finding out more about that customer segment and treating it properly.  

Updating messaging by suggesting gift ideas by persona, linking subscribers to a gift center, or cross-selling like-minded gift ideas can all significantly increase conversion and engagement on an already successful campaign. 

Don’t forget to update creatives 

The holidays are a special time of year for most of your customers. Try making small but festive updates to your email template headers and footers, like: 

  • Add elements of seasonality  
  • Provide easy links to gift ideas  
  • Present items grouped by price  
  • Group items by gift recipient persona  
  • Add a shipping countdown  

These updates to your email templates can help create a sense of urgency and increase overall engagement throughout the holidays – without overwhelming inboxes with promotion on top of promotion.  

And remember…  

Without a doubt, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be the center of the stage throughout the next couple of months. Although they are key dates that modern email marketers have marked on their calendars for months – it isn’t too late to start implementing some of these practices into your brand’s email marketing plan for the holiday season and beyond. 

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Dana Shirlen

Dana Shirlen leads Optimove’s internal email marketing agency as Director of Email Marketing. Dana has over 15 years managing the email marketing strategies of many recognizable global B2C and B2B brands. As the Director of Email Marketing, Dana is bridging the gap for Optimove’s customers in providing a data-driven marketing plan and timely implementation grounded in best practices, targeted content and visually engaging design. Prior to her role at Optimove, Dana managed the CRM and email marketing strategies for enterprise clients at Tinuiti. Dana holds a BS from Ohio University, with a major in Advertising Management and concentrations in both marketing and creative writing.