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How to Leverage Marketing Automation for Holiday Email Marketing

KIM STIGLITZ - SEP 27, 2016

It’s time to start rockin’ around the email tree. With the holidays fast approaching, businesses should start thinking about using marketing automation to get registers ringing.

This year, make the process easier with email marketing and automation. Rather than creating and sending emails during the thick of the holiday season, use marketing automation features to create relevant campaigns that arrive in subscribers’ inboxes at exactly the right time, all season long.

For most businesses, the last two months of sales account for forty percent of the total revenue earned throughout the year. With so much riding on the holiday season, using marketing automation is a decision even the Grinch wouldn’t disagree with.

To help businesses get their marketing automation groove on, we’ll give you a list of holiday emails that you can send and provide tips to get the most out of your marketing automation during this critical time of year.

Light up inboxes with these 4 automated emails

Wondering what emails you can automate this holiday season? Here’s a list of four emails that will light up inboxes:

1. A welcome email or series

Welcome emails are the most common email to automate. When a new contact signs up for your list, it triggers a welcome email to automatically send to that new subscriber.

Typically, a welcome email has a warm greeting, a brief description of the benefits of subscribing, and perhaps a coupon to encourage the subscriber to take action. Online-only sales, limited time offers, and free shipping were the most profitable promotions in 2015 according to the 2016 Retail Holiday Planning Playbook from the NRF. In fact, in 2015, the importance of free shipping to holiday shoppers jumped from 34% to 42%.

2. Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals

According to data from RJ Metrics, the days from Black Friday to Christmas generate 50–100% more revenue than other shopping days throughout the rest of the year and 92% of shoppers will look for discounts online to find the best bargain, and Cyber Monday is the most heavily discounted online shopping day.

You can pre-schedule promotional emails to be delivered on a certain date like 5 days before Black Friday or Cyber Monday. By pre-scheduling your campaign you can save time and be more efficient.

But then, you can tap into the really cool part of marketing automation that lots of people aren’t even aware of. Based on how your subscribers engage with your email (for example, open or click it) you can trigger different follow-up messages to be sent automatically. You can also trigger different messages based on if they don’t open or click your email. Imagine that…you send out a Black Friday offer email and you can automatically trigger another email to be sent to anyone that doesn’t open it and you can include a special offer to entice them to shop. So easy.

PRO TIP: Segment your list

You might be tempted to send the same Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal to everyone on your list, but you can be more effective if you segment your list and tailor your deals to different segments of your list. For instance, send an email to your VIP customers that provides them access to your Black Friday deals two days before everyone else, or offer them a better discount. If you are using Shopify we even provide you some prebuilt segments for this purpose which make it super easy to implement a tactic like this.

3. An inspiring gift guide

There’s always one or two people on your list that “gift stump” you. In other words, you have no idea what to get them. It happens to your customers too.

Help them find the right gifts by showcasing some great ideas from your company. You can create several gift guides for your subscribers, and use marketing automation to schedule and deliver them. You can base this on data you have in your lists about your subscribers like gender, location or other information.

You can consider gift guides like Great Gifts for Guys or Stocking Stuffers Under $10.

Here’s a gift guide example from Rip Curl which highlights gifts for guys and another with gifts for girls.

4. Helpful holiday hints

Your subscribers aren’t just looking for coupons and gift inspiration, they’re looking for some holiday help.

Be a go-to source for your subscribers by creating blog content that offers helpful holiday hints. When you create new content, it can trigger an email that alerts your subscribers about the new article.

The content should have a holiday theme, but it should also connect to your business or brand.

Tips for a merry holiday season using marketing automation

To maximize the impact of marketing automation during the holiday season follow these simple tips:

Keep an eye on email frequency

Considering how easy it is to set up and automate emails, it could be tempting to send a bunch of messages. What’s the perfect number of emails to send your subscribers? It differs for each company. Have a look at your reporting to determine the frequency that’s best for your business based on how engaged your subscribers are with the number of emails you send. Research indicates 61% of consumers want to hear from you at least weekly via email.

If you plan to increase how often you are sending emails, inform your subscribers ahead of time what the benefit is of receiving more email from your company.

Check in on your campaigns

Marketing automation allows businesses to “set it and forget it.” In other words, your emails are sent on a schedule that allows you to kick back and let them work for you. It’s one of the great benefits of automation, but you should still check in on your campaigns from time to time.

Set reminders in your calendar for marketing automation check-ins to make sure your content is still relevant and that your engagement metrics show your subscribers find your messages valuable.

Create a variety of campaigns for a variety of segments

Automation should only enhance the variety of campaigns that you send to your segments. Spend some time before the holidays figuring out which emails make the most sense for your diverse subscriber base.

Which emails will you automate for your VIPs? What about your inactive subscribers? Take a look at each of your segments and create a short list of emails that you’d like to create and automate during the season.

Remember, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue from email marketing, so it’s important to create different emails for different subscribers.

Wrap up

If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, marketing automation has never been easier. We just launched a new automation tool, The Visual Journey Designer, that gives you the power to send emails to subscribers based on a variety of triggers like dates, when a contact signs up for your list, and actions subscribers take or don’t take.

Learn more about our intuitive and powerful marketing automation features.

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