[tweetmeme]Summer has ended; the holiday season is here.
For retailers, now is the time to ramp up campaigns for the holiday season. By now, you need to have already formulated your holiday strategy and started to implement them.
Big businesses at this point have already developed their marketing strategies for the holiday season, often using email marketing to reach out to customers and help ensure a profitable retail season.
Smith Harmon released a comprehensive study “Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2010” based on their analysis of more than 5,250 emails from more than 100 top U.S. online retailers during the fourth quarter last year.
Here are their email marketing tips based on the findings of their study:
- Start by reviewing past holiday campaigns. Analyze the campaigns that generated the best conversions, including what days they were sent, what were the subject lines, and what were the emails about. Also look at the emails that received the lowest conversion, highest unsubscribes, highest spam complaints, most shared and forwarded. Look at what segmentation tactics were most successful. In addition, look at what your competitors did (if you never subscribed to their emails last year, now’s the time to do it).
- Start Christmas campaigns early. According to the study, big retailers on average started their holiday campaigns in 2009 about 67 days before Christmas, or October 19. However, there are some retailers such as Hallmark that started their email campaigns this year even earlier, around June 29.
- Initiate pre-holiday campaigns. To ensure that your emails are relevant to your customers, there are a number of campaigns that you can launch prior to your holiday messaging. Some strategies of big businesses include:
- Update preferences campaigns
- Conduct subscriber surveys to know what they want to see more from you
- Do progressive profiling such as a weekly poll designed to better understand your customers and their preferences.
- Request opt-in to your other channels, if any, such as catalogs or direct mails
- Tell customers about site relaunches or new features and functionalities of your website
- Ask for reviews, even providing customers with incentives to review their past purchases
- Provide “Buy Now, Get X later” offers such as what Overstock.com did:
“Overstock.com put their own unique spin on this tactic in an Oct. 16 email that used a progressive coupon scheme. The email offered subscribers a 10% coupon with the promise that if they used that coupon they’d receive a 12% coupon, which if used would earn them a 15% coupon. That final coupon was valid Black Friday through Cyber Monday. So an email campaign sent in mid-October helped generate demand post-Thanksgiving with considerable urgency.
You can read the full report Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2010