:: Amy McNeil, Yesmail ::
With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, many email marketers fall into thinking the year is over. Although most of Q4 has passed, the final weeks of December remain valuable for brands. Between 20-40 percent of retailers' annual revenue is generated during these final three months, and email marketers have to think beyond the season's most popular sales events.
In order to end up on shoppers' "nice" list this Q4, marketers have to implement email campaigns that nurture long-term relationships with subscribers and prepare them for hard sells in late December. As past years demonstrate, by incorporating personalized and relevant content and creative strategies, email marketers can improve engagement and deliverability as 2015 comes to a close.
Build Suspense With A Countdown Timer
Leading up to the end of Q4, brands can use countdown timers in the header or footer of their emails to pique subscribers' interest. Rather than sending out email blasts with urgent subject lines, marketers can use countdown timers to communicate urgency and keep shoppers informed of brand promotions.
This strategy offers brands a number of benefits. First, email marketers can create urgency through visuals rather than copy. Not only are shoppers more easily engaged with visuals, but the countdown timer plays to the sense of time the holidays are already filled with (advent calendars, New Year's ball drop, vacation countdowns, etc.).
And even after the holidays are over, a countdown timer can help marketers sustain consumers' enthusiasm for seasonal shopping. Many subscribers will have gift cards to use or exchanges to make, and the right email - with clear content and purpose - can lead shoppers to the right product. Although subscribers might be tired of hearing from brands by the end of December, thoughtful deals combined with exciting content can keep engagement and open rates up.
Remain on Shoppers' Minds with Daily Gift Ideas
With all of the holiday noise that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, brands have to find ways to stay on subscribers' radars as the end of December approaches. In order to do so, marketers can send shoppers daily gift ideas, which are a less overwhelming alternative to traditional email campaigns.
During Q4, consumers are always looking for the next great gift. As such, they will be receptive to daily gift ideas or guides that can aid their research process. Consumers are starting their holiday research earlier and earlier each year, and brands can earn loyalty by facilitating this process from the start. What's more, as brands get better at leveraging mobile growth and are deploying campaigns that create a consistent omnichannel experience, these daily gift ideas can be the true first step toward purchase.
While shoppers are often looking for the same products, brands should find ways to personalize these daily gift ideas. Marketers are beginning to gather more subscriber information, but more need to incorporate valuable consumer insights to send emails based on preferences and behavior. Something as simple as a subscriber's name or the mention of a past purchase can strengthen the connection between the shopper and the brand.
Tantalize with Exclusive Previews
As a final approach to winning more end-of-year shoppers, marketers can convert subscribers with email-specific preview deals and promotions. Intrigue is a great way to boost engagement, and - when coupled with a valid offer - can lead more shoppers to conversion.
Like countdown timers and daily gift deals, marketers can maximize email reach and engagement by ensuring that campaigns are relevant at the individual subscriber level. During the busy holiday season, shoppers will react positively to emails that include their name or feature promotions and products tailored to their own interests or informed by past behavior. Marketers should also focus on context. Holiday trends will change from year-to-year, and marketers need to echo what's currently popular in their email content. For example, if a certain color or style is trending around Christmas, reference it in a sneak peek is a smart way to entice subscribers to open.
The holidays are far from over, and marketers should focus on keeping their subscribers engaged with creative content. Luckily, the holidays lend themselves to fun, creative email narratives and campaigns.
While some brands may have to rethink their strategies and look beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, all retailers can contribute to their yearly revenue with the right holiday email campaign. With countdown timers, daily gift ideas and sneak peaks, marketers can increase the ROI of their email campaigns as Q4 rounds out.
Amy McNeil is a senior account manager for Yesmail, where she is the main point of contact for a number of major clients.