Now that Halloween is over and November is underway, it's time to reassess and adjust your holiday e-mail marketing plans.
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Ecommerce-Guide.com spoke with Luc Vezina, Campaigner's marketing chief, to find out what Web shop owners should be doing between now and Dec. 1 to optimize their holiday e-mail marketing efforts.
Tips for November E-Mail CampaigningIn October the focus was on segmenting your list and testing subject lines. Vezina said that by November, hopefully merchants have done these administrative tasks and have looked through results of their own A/B (split testing) marketing tests. This month, Vezina suggests merchants really cater to online shoppers, and reward their list members, not only to create a bond but to also continue growing their list in the last weeks leading up to the shopping frenzy. Here are five tips to employ this month.
- Create a Community for Consumer Feedback: Now, more than ever, shoppers are online and we're seeing user-driven content boost sales. Make sure you offer a way for customers to review products, and provide testimonials. Not only will this content humanize your Web site, but you can also include reviews from loyal customers in your newsletters. Here you can offer discounts on your top-rated products or simply include testimonials in your campaign to boost consumers' confidence.
- Blog and E-mail: Something Vezina said that e-tailors often do not take advantage of is blogging. With a blog you can have fun and highlight top selling products in different categories. Every retailer has a hot product, and your blog can easily mirror your e-mail list messages and serve as an archive. When using your blog proactively in your e-mail campaigns, you can also offer daily or frequent promotions unique to your blog, and bring that promotion to your subscriber list. Blog and e-mail go hand-in hand, and your blog will also encourage new subscribers to opt-in to your mailing list.
- Capture Names: Since consumers are now in shopping mode, it's time to aggressively capture names of those who are spending time browsing your online store, but not necessarily buying yet. To capture an e-mail address, you can offer new list subscribers a discount or an exclusive e-coupon good for their first purchase when they join your VIP mailing list. This is especially important to online vendors who do not have huge brand recognition in the marketplace. People might not remember you, so it is vital that you get potential customers coming from general search engine traffic on your mailing list now before your more aggressive holiday marketing starts.
- Plan Your Subject Lines: As the holiday frenzy approaches, your e-mail subject lines become more important. Subject lines will directly influence your open rate, and while your message is sitting in a subscriber's inbox, this single line is what differentiates you from the competitors.
All e-tailers are sending out more mail, so you need to use more than the name of simple "promotions" in the subject. Now is the time to test different subject lines. Send, for example, 500 messages with one subject line and 500 with another and compare open rates to see which have the best results with your subscriber base. This is key in determining what subject lines to use during the holiday rush next month.
- Put it Together With a Theme: Merchants who have multiple, separate lists may want to start combining them in early November. Next, decide on a theme to present to subscribers throughout November and December and start running those campaigns now. You want to get these ideas and creatives introduced to your subscribers, at the latest by, Cyber Monday (the first Monday following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday). You can then continue them through to your last December promotion, which is usually the day of or day before your last guaranteed day for shipping in time for Christmas.
Also, remember the countdown you started back in October? Now is a good time to step this up with additional reminders of the number of shopping days left for your subscribers. Still, it's not quite time to include this in every mailing you send out in November.
Don't forget to look back at ECommerce-Guide's October tips for guidance, as you can still gain some insight before it's too late, and we'll have more strategies for you the first week in December. Until then you can always read Campaigner's "100 Days to Grow Your Business" free e-mail tips to help you successfully market your business and products this holiday season.
Luc Vezina, Campaigner's head of marketing, is an advocate of permission-based e-mail marketing and a supporter of relevant, one-to-one mass communications. He is responsible for driving the direction of Campaigner's products, which let marketers carry out relevant, personalized dialogues with their customers. technology, ensuring that the Campaigner products maintain a value to marketers unrivaled in the industry.Vangie Beal is a seasoned online marketplace seller, frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com and avid online bargain hunter. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com.
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