Tweak your e-mail marketing to include segmented holiday campaigns

We know that people often make purchasing decisions based on emotion, and Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day provide retailers two great opportunities to tap into their customers’ emotional side. However, marketers need to make decisions based on data.

The National Retail Federation predicted that although spending on Valentine’s Day gifts to “significant others” will be lower this year than in 2009, people will buy more gifts for family, friends, co-workers and even pets in 2010. Traditionally, men outspend women by a good margin on both holidays. It’s human nature that, regardless of the occasion, we tend to wait until the last minute to purchase gifts.

In addition to the usual marketing activities — like creating e-mails that contain plenty of lifestyle imagery and emotionally compelling copy — retailers should take additional steps to drive sales via e-mail.

Try launching a holiday lifecycle campaign. Instead of sending a series of one-off offer e-mails, create a mini lifecycle campaign of four Valentine’s or Mother’s Day e-mails. Start with the initial offer, followed by a reminder, an urgent final day message and end with a combined thank-you and cross-sell offer.

It’s also wise to segment by gender and past purchase. Create offers specifically targeted to the men in your subscriber database. Or better yet, send a targeted e-mail offer to the men who purchased from you at this time last year.

Then, tie e-mail marketing to social media campaigns. Many retailers responded to the recession by using e-mail to promote coupons and deep discounts. As we enter recovery, we need to promote different types of value through the e-mail channel. One way to achieve this is to develop social media campaigns that add value and promote customer engagement. E-mail drives exposure to the campaigns up front, and it also works further into the sales funnel to convert a fan to a customer. Retailers can use their social media initiatives to acquire new e-mail subscribers, too. Tying e-mail to social campaigns is an effective way to cut through inbox clutter during a holiday season, or any time of the year.
This article originally ran as part of the February 15, 2010 Technique, “Pump up e-commerce beyond Christmas.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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