Holiday Email Marketing Strategy for an E-Commerce Brand
Summary / TL;DR
Here's an email marketing strategy for the busy Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday season that we have used successfully for years.
Email marketing is critical for an eCommerce brand as it is one of the most cost-effective ways to engage with customers. It's important to carefully consider your email marketing strategies to respect your customers in how often you send emails and the type of content that is sent.
We have been able to replicate (and improve) our holiday email strategy to increase holiday sales by 300%.
We all know email marketing can be a useful marketing tool. Today, I’ll share with you an email marketing strategy that we have used successfully for years. This strategy focuses on the busy Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday rush. There’s no catch, this is the actual strategy that we implemented for our client. We hope it will encourage you to continue growing your brand using email marketing.
Why Email Marketing?
We are die-hard proponents of the value of email marketing. It is a cost-effective and dependable way to stay in communication with your most active and supportive customers. While digital advertising has grown in importance, costs skyrocket during the holidays, which is why a holiday email marketing strategy is key.
“Ad prices were one component of the spending increase, with Thanksgiving cost-per-click up 26% and Black Friday CPC up 35% compared to the rest of November.”
Our client needed a solid email strategy to help improve sales during the holiday season. Here is some background to set the stage:
Business Type: Direct-to-consumer eCommerce brand
Sale: Biggest discounts of the year, the actual offer varied each year
Prerequisites: Established email list that they have built trust with
Email Platform: MailChimp
Website Capabilities: Coupon codes
These strategies helped our client increase sales by 300% during the holiday season.
Patience & Respect
The single most important piece to the strategy is that we were patient and considerate. Customers were used to receiving informational and product related messages from this client regularly (about once a month). We were extremely conservative with the number of promotional emails the customers received. This allowed us to make a bigger push during the holidays when we knew we would get the best return and see the largest growth in new customers (customers are more willing to buy during the holiday season and more likely order the products to give as gifts).
Customers Opting In
This client does not automatically opt all customers into the regular email marketing list. However, for this once-a-year sale, we did send a single promotional email to all customers who ordered within the last 9 months. No complaints were received as the customers did not feel abused by being automatically added to an entire email marketing campaign. Instead, we saw a significant number of customers appreciate being informed of the sale and respond to the promotion.
Promotion Structure to Increase Average Order Size
We structured the promotion in a way that increase the average order size. This strategy was important for this client because smaller orders had lower margins due to shipping costs.
Here’s an example of how this is done:
Calculate the average order amount for your customers. Let’s use $80/order for this example.
Decide on a discount amount. We’ll choose $15 off of the entire order.
Set a minimum order amount for the discount to be applied. Let’s say $120.
In this example, a customer ordering $120 of product would spend $105 after the discount. This is higher than the average order amount of $80/order, so it incentivizes the customers to purchase more products than a typical order would include.
Sending Repeat Emails Without Feeling Overwhelming
We are not usually a proponent of sending repeat emails. Yet, we know that a large percentage of recipients will miss opening a single email – especially during the busy holiday season. Our strategy was to use the two separate events (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) to make both emails contain relevant messaging, rather than position it as a “reminder” email.
Simple, Straightforward Content
We kept the messaging in both of these emails simple and focused solely on the holiday sale. This was an important strategy to respect the customer’s time as we know customers will receive many advertising emails during these few days.
These emails included only the following items:
Banner image showing products and highlighting the offer
Three sentence description including offer details
Button linking to the product list on the website
Our client sold more in these two days than in some months throughout the rest of the year.
After putting this strategy in place, we were able to increase sales during these holiday months by 300% compared to prior years.
We were able to repeat this strategy (or small variations on it) successfully for 4+ years.
While email marketing has been around for years, it does not get talked about as much as the latest social media trends. The right email marketing strategy can drive huge results for a business. Customers on your email list give you permission to communicate directly with them. This means that you need to be respectful in how you use this marketing channel. When you are respectful and strategic, email marketing is an asset that drives results year after year.
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