This is it folks! Thanksgiving is just four weeks away, and with it comes the bust-down-the-doors rush of holiday shopping that thrills us and works us to death at the same time. It’s awesome!
In order to maximize your holiday season for the year, you simply HAVE to get your email marketing act together, and I’m here to help. Email marketing is still the mac-daddy king of eCommerce promotion opportunities. That’s because where advertising and search engine marketing (SEO / SEM) work well, your email list – coupled with your social media – access your current customers and followers. You know, the folks who ALREADY like your stuff and need gifts.
We KNOW that you are pressed for time, so we’ll keep this blog post short and sweet.
Now is not the time to be timid. Dive in and get your email marketing together and shine like a Christmas star. And to help, I have included some sample Black Friday / Cyber Monday marketing message ideas to inapire you and that you can even use in your emails if you want to. And those ideas can also be EASILY re-purposed in your social media campaigns to jump off the screen and get some attention.
(By the way ... all of the sample message images were gathered from the image and photo services mentioned in our recent blog post that you should really read because it's awesome.)
Don’t Believe the Holiday Calendar Mythology
Black Friday is, of course, the huge first “official” day of the holiday shopping season. It occurs each year on the day after Thanksgiving and the conventional wisdom says that Black Friday is when everyone shops at stores in person, and then Cyber Monday is when everyone starts their online shopping.
Don’t Believe it! It’s a trap!
That’s the kind of old-school thinking that will cost you serious money. Let everyone else who has an online store plan on Cyber Monday. You get out there and compete before AND after to beat them to the punch.
I guarantee you that in between college football games and turkey-infused tryptophan naps, your customers are going to be on their smartphones. They will be cruising social media, checking their emails, and thinking about their holiday gift-giving. That means you need to break out of the artificial structured thinking that the calendar foists upon you. If you want to capture the biggest share of the online dollar-spend this year, treat Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a week-long bacchanalia of online binge-shopping, because that's exactly what it can be.
Create a special Pre-Black Friday email and send it out Wednesday morning. Include special “today only” promos. Then send another “Thanksgiving Day” email with a special offer – and make it your top-selling, most in-demand sales item. Make that deal ONLY apply to that item when purchased on Thanksgiving Day. Send it out Thanksgiving morning early. Then blast a Black Friday special offer on Friday AND a Cyber Monday special offer on Monday.
That’s four emails over six days. Importantly, make sure that each offer is unique because it adds credibility and urgency to your campaigns. If you use social media for marketing and/or as a sales channel, post identical offers on your social media platforms as well. And since the marginal cost of sending one more mail is almost zero, even consider creating a “Cyber-TUESDAY” promo too. I guarantee you that someone is going to do that and get some extra sales while their competition isn’t looking.
Don’t believe the mythical holiday eCommerce calendar or “conventional wisdom.” The rest of the year, people can get frustrated by too many emails. But this week is different. This special week, EVERYONE is looking for great deals and the first/best deals that generate the most attention will get the sales.
Get Creative for the Holidays
I’m sure that you’ve noticed this too.
Major brands that normally stick to rigid styles and formats most of the year break out of their artistic shells during the holidays. They use bolder typefaces, brighter colors, traditional icon and symbols, and more playful messages. This is definitely the time of the year to be more flexible and creative in your marketing presentations.
Of course, it’s important to ALWAYS remember your audience (it’s never, NEVER really about “you”). You don’t want to bust your brand or image. But you can let your creative hair down a bit and have some fun. Most of your customers want you to because they are getting in the holiday mood themselves.
When Holiday Stressed, Humor Sells
If you’re not funny, don’t try it. But if you have a bit of a sense of humor, this is the time to let it fly. From Black Friday through Cyber Monday you are going to be competing for attention with a bazillion other retailers. You can get more customer attention with great deals, great images, and a gentle poke in the funny bone.
But … remember the rules. Stay away from politics, religion, race, and any other controversial subjects. Remember that no matter how “right” you are about any topic you can think of, I would bet serious cash money that some of your customers disagree with you. The season is about fun and solving customer’s shopping problems while having a bit of fun doing it.
And you don’t need to make them laugh out loud. Just get them to smile a little and you have their attention. Dip into holiday clichés and puns and reference a bit of pop culture. Rule of thumb: if it makes you smile without thinking negative thoughts about anyone or any group, you are probably on target.
Focus Your Holiday eCommerce Emails – One or Two Products at a Time
A lot of eCommerce stores try to cram too many offers into their emails, especially in this all-important week. If every email you send has every deal and special offer in it, people will get annoyed. Better to let each email you send feature one or two special products at a time. That way each email the customer opens reveals something new and interesting.
You can link them to a landing page with a ton of offers and specials, or you can remarket those other items to them later. But the first point of conversion is to get them to see every single email you send and look forward to the next one. This will get you fewer unsubscribes and more click-through action to your website, which is where the real selling gets done.
Stay focused, stay clever, get clicks.
Remember to Measure ... Everything
Now that you will be trying out some new things, remember to keep track of which emails went out along with the open and click-through rates for each one. It is natural for email campaign open and click rates to decline a tad over time as a campaign rolls out. But aside from the slight trend, spikes up and down will tell you what kinds of emails worked – and which didn’t – with your particular audience. Maximize the value of your email marketing effort this year by learning what works for next time.
Use Email Marketing Now to Supercharge Your eCommerce Sales in Shopify and Beyond
There are so many more little tricks and tips, but I promised to keep this email short. If you are fairly new to email marketing for the holiday eCommerce sales, this should be enough to get you started. If you are an experienced eCommerce marketing pro, I hope that you still found a few nuggets of value here as well.
There’s no time to waste. Let’s make 2017 our best eCommerce selling season ever. As always, let us know if you need any help and share this post with other entrepreneurs and store owners, because, well ... it's just a nice thing to do at the holidays.
Thanks for reading.
And if you are just thinking about getting started with Shopify for your new eCommerce store, use this special link to get started on the right foot. Let us know if you need help.