The most awaited time of the year – aka the holiday season – is almost upon us. Apart from spreading festive cheer among people from all walks of life, the holiday season is vital from a business standpoint too. According to the US National Retail Federation, most businesses generate up to 30% of the sales during this time of the year.
Given the strong ROI of email marketing, leveraging it to capitalize on your customers’ purchase momentum is a strategic move. With email automation, you can create and schedule your campaigns ahead of time and make them stand out in a deluge of holiday messaging.
How Email Marketing Automation Works?
Email automation allows you to create a series of emails as part of a targeted campaign and then send them automatically to the subscribers in your email list. From turning leads into customers and one-time customers into repeat buyers, email automation has been a game-changer for this mode of digital marketing.
Once a campaign has been created, email automation works on autopilot to make your message reach your audience. Thus, allowing you to focus on other aspects of business operations.
Using Email Automation for Holiday Marketing
The holiday season is when customer spending peaks. In 2019, Americans are believed to have spent close to $730 billion during the holidays alone. Given that this season spans over two months, it’s important to know what is the right time to reach out to your audience so that the probability of them acting on your CTA is the highest.
According to Statista, Cyber Monday that follows Thanksgiving sees the highest number of online sales. This is followed by Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Day before Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day. So, starting your email promotions well before your customers go on a spending spree and sustaining it through the holiday season is ideal.
This way, you can capture your customers’ attention before they feel spent and run out of money for making purchases.
Benefits of Email Marketing Automation
Crafting and sending out individual emails in a series-long campaign can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Email automation frees you from this burden, allowing you to focus on other strategic initiatives instead. Some of the key benefits of automating your email marketing campaigns for the holiday season include:
1. Building on Brand Recall Value
According to an Experian report, nine out of 10 businesses are using email marketing to reach out to potential buyers during the holiday season. Your customers expect to hear from you. And nearly 40% of buyers say that their buying decisions are influenced by these emails.
Using automated emails to reach out to your subscribers regularly is a great way to keep your brand fresh in their memory. You can also leverage an automation software to respond to queries by automating follow-ups, which gives them the extra nudge needed to make a purchase.
With sales rising, the holiday season is usually busier than the rest of the year for most businesses. After all, running email marketing campaigns isn’t all that you have to do to keep a business running. Thus, automated emails can help you leverage this effective marketing tool even with limited time at hand. Your emails will reach your subscribers’ inboxes even when you have closed your offices to give your team members some time with their families.
3. Scope to Repurpose Campaigns
Of course, setting up these automated campaigns requires some time and effort. The good news is that these campaigns don’t have to be for one-time use. You can repurpose a Thanksgiving campaign for Valentine’s Day three months down the line or rehash it for the next Thanksgiving.
Top 10 Ways to Leverage Automation for Holiday Email Marketing
Given that most businesses, including your competitors, run automated email campaigns to reach out to prospective buyers, how do you make your holiday messaging standout? Here are 7 brilliant ways to use automation for holiday email marketing effectively:
1. Reconnect with your Customers
Every business owner knows that selling to existing or former buyers is more profitable than acquiring new customers. The holiday season is the perfect time to revive these old ties. Automation platform Omnisend found that customer reactivation shoots past 106% around Black Friday. So, targeting these old customers via automated emails is a great way to fire up sales.
2. Be quick in responding to New Queries
Automation allows you not just to pre-set your promotional emails but also follow-up responses to customer communication. This means when a potential buyer submits a query, the automation software instantly sends a pre-written response. You can set these responses to contain pointed and useful information based on the most common queries you receive. This goes on to show your prospective buyers that you’re never too busy to respond, not even during the holiday season. That helps build upon trust and credibility.
3. Offer special Holiday Promotions
As we have seen, buying peaks during the holiday season. The deals offered by e-commerce as well as brick-and-mortar businesses play an important role in it. To make sure that you get the lion’s share of this lucrative piece, use email automation to make your promotions reach your customers’ inboxes ahead of time. This requires a structured approach:
- Choose what kind of promotion you want to run – a premium high-demand product with a limited offer or an underperforming product at a lucrative price to push sales.
- Build a targeted email campaign around this product. Automate this email series to make sure it reaches your subscribers before and during the promotional period.
- Zero-in on clients who seem most interested in this promotion, follow up with another email asking their consent to hear more. Then, use automation to target them frequently with a separate series of promotional emails.
- Send a promo code to prompt a purchase. If a buyer doesn’t follow through, send reminders to improve your chances of making a sale. Automated drip campaigns can come to your rescue here.
4. Target Your User Base with tailor-made content
Not all your subscribers will react the same way to a promotional email. To create personalized and targeted email for higher engagement, you must segment your email list as per your customers’ buying patterns and interests. For instance, you can segregate subscribers on the basis of categories of previous purchases or most browsed sections.
Or you could divide them as seasonal or year-around shoppers. Identifying seasonal buyers and catering to their needs allows you to convert them into returning customers.
5. Be prepared for the inevitable Last-minute Rush
With so many options between products and brands, coupled with busy schedules and lack of clarity on their own needs, an average customer can take up to 13 days to make a single purchase.
This means a crazy last-minute shopping rush is inevitable. You can leverage this in two ways. One is using sustained communication backed by automation to nudge an on-the-fence buyer to make a purchase and helping them avoid the last-minute rush. Or running last-minute lucrative deals for these buyers that will motivate them to choose your products over your competitors’.
6. Create a Schedule and follow it
You want to reach your buyers before the festive promotions mentally and financially drain them. To do so effectively – and avoid the last-minute rush yourself – you must start planning the holiday marketing campaign well in advance. This ensures that there is enough time to perfect all the elements for running an automated campaign.
Also, understand the right time to launch an email campaign. The ideal way to calculate it is by understanding your buyers’ average purchase time, adding a week for yourself, and working backward from the date of the holiday. For instance, if you are targeting Thanksgiving, and the average purchase time for your buyers is 10 days, launching your campaign between November 7 to 10 would be ideal.
7. Christmas isn’t the end of the season for you
According to Google, 20% of buyers’ traffic in December comes after Christmas. So, if your marketing initiatives go dormant after December 25, you risk losing out on a sizable chunk of revenue. With email automation, your marketing team doesn’t need to spend their holidays at work to make sure the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. You can schedule these emails well in advance to keep up the momentum and nurture leads when they’re most likely to convert.
8. Pep Up the Welcome Emails
Customers today expect businesses to add a personalized touch in their dealings and communication. The holiday season gives you the perfect opportunity to build upon this expectation by adding a little holiday cheer in the welcome emails you send to your subscribers signing up during this time of the year.
Apart from upbeat tone and messaging, give them something to look forward to as well. A special deal, a promo code, limited offers, free shipping – something to incentivize their shopping journey with you. In fact, with an incentive as small as free shipping you can get your holiday season sales to jump by 30%.
9. Show Your Appreciation
The holiday season is also the perfect time to express your gratitude to your subscribers for their continued patronage. Of course, saying so in as many words is great but capping it off with an incentive is even better.
For instance, you could include a special discount customized as per the customers shopping patterns or a time-limited promo code that they can use for their holiday shopping, special credit or extra loyalty points. Anything that makes your customers feel good about their association with your business will boost sales.
10. Decide on Email Frequency
With automation at your disposal, you may be tempted to reach out to your subscribers every single day to capture their attention. But bear in mind that yours isn’t the only business they’re hearing from. Being constantly bombarded with promotional messages can spike email fatigue during the holiday season. According to a survey, 43% subscribers want businesses to email them less frequently.
Besides, sending out daily emails, along with running social media promotions and other forms of marketing, can get exhausting for your team as well. Sure, you may want to scale up your email frequency for these holiday-centric campaigns but make sure you don’t overdo. While the right frequency can vary from business to business, limiting communication to weekly or bi-weekly is recommended.
Automating email campaigns during the holiday season allows you to leverage the most productive time of the year without being hard at work. Once that’s done, the onus of staying connected, nurturing leads, and converting them into loyal customers all-year-round is on you.
At Email Uplers, we provide you with an established ecosystem to help you automate every email campaign – on or off the holiday season. Visit this link to learn more about what’s in store for you!