Toy makers and retailers alike are already gearing up for the winter shopping season, and it's only July. Early preparation for the busiest shopping season of the year allows marketers and Santa alike to develop a detailed plan of execution. With digital marketers reporting increased success from early preparation, businesses of all sizes should begin their marketing planning now to bolster sales and ROI.
While it's easy to get carried away in the summer sun, planning for the upcoming shopping season now allows digital marketers to increase engagement and demand ahead of their competitors. Begin holiday preparation now by following these tips to ensure marketing programs see a merry and bright holiday season.
Make a List and Check it Twice: Grow Email Lists Ahead of Time
Just like St. Nicholas, email marketers should start checking their email lists well ahead of Black Friday. In fact, now is the time to be focused on building lists and increasing engagement with subscribers. Rather than focusing on sales, email marketers should spend their time growing their subscriber base so they can market and sell to more consumers during the holiday season.
First, clean all lists by removing inactive and fake subscribers. Ensure subscribers' purchase history and information is up to date from last year's campaign. To encourage new subscriptions from customers, offer exclusive discounts for first-time subscribers. Additionally, spend time developing a re-engagement campaign that can draw back customers from last year's holiday season and provide a better understanding of what types of content will help increase delivery rates. By understanding what content resonates with subscribers, marketers can offer similar content during their summer campaigns and begin building demand by hinting at what is coming in the future. Building excitement for products can turn any Scrooge into a Tiny Tim.
Give the Perfect Gift: Use Personalization to Spark Interest
Marketers' greatest tool this holiday season is personalization. Last year, 40 percent of retailers listed personalization as the most effective way to boost email marketing efforts during the holiday season. As email continues to grow as a medium to connect with consumers, this holiday season will see more email being delivered and greater competition in consumer inboxes.
As subscribers look to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, tailor messages and content to pique their interest. To stand out, take personalization a step past custom greetings and subject lines. Make a personal connection with subscribers by showing you know more than just their names. Consider using generational holiday anecdotes to make an emotional connection with subscribers regardless of their age. Use email content to describe how prior purchases are unique to them and offer suggestions to complementary products. Taking the time to make these suggestions hyper-personalized can help a business stand out as a shining star this season.
Write More Than Letters: Adopt a Multichannel Approach
As new mediums like Instagram and Snapchat become more mainstream, marketers should adopt a multi-channel marketing strategy this holiday season. Children have already taken this approach -- sending their wish lists not just via snail mail, but also via emails to Santa, showing that more communication is increasingly occurring through email for all recipients. Social media integrations and marketing are also becoming more routine for digital marketers. As the digital marketing industry continues to mature, marketers will increasingly use a wide variety of channels to reach their audience.
When taking a multi-channel approach, ensure messages are consistent. Showing consistent messages allows consumers to more easily recognize your brand and will make them more likely to perform calls to action. Additionally, digital marketers are utilizing new methods to extend their voice. Consider integrating landing pages across all channels: thirty-one percent of digital marketers found this to be a top tool that can boost their ROI. As the season approaches, let's all spread Christmas cheer, using multiple channels so the merriment can reach all.
As the largest shopping season fast approaches, marketers must start holiday marketing preparation early to ensure campaigns are well thought out and flawlessly executed. Santa may only visit once a year, but it's important that marketers are regularly monitoring their email marketing lists and continuing to grow them year-round. Marketers may also consider out-of-the-box ways to take personalization a step further, and adopt a multichannel approach to engage consumers even more. By starting planning early, marketers can clear the runway for an impactful shopping season.
About the Author: EJ McGowan, VP and managing director of Campaigner, has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry with expertise in building highly available, scalable SaaS-based solutions.
EJ McGowan, VP of Engineering for Glance Networks and Founder of Carpe Diem Software, is a highly experienced software professional with a career spanning over three decades. With a background in mini-computing and experience building major applications for microcomputers, EJ has a unique perspective on the evolution of technology. He was the architect for one of the first SaaS applications and now focuses on creating scalable and highly available applications for the on-demand marketplace. With a successful track record in building and leading development organizations and sales and marketing teams, EJ is a valuable asset in the software industry.