A retailer’s guide to Christmas campaign success – Part Two Published October 28, 2016 On average retailers take 20% of their total annual sales in just six weeks over Christmas (Centre for Retail Research, 2014). For many, Christmas is their last chance to meet an ambitious annual sales target. This all means there’s extra pressure on the email marketer to turn-on the tap and make sure the sales pour in. And it’s hard not to feel frustrated when people aren’t shopping for Christmas as early as you’d want them to. We all know super-organised individuals who start Christmas shopping in January but it’s useful to remind yourself these people are not the norm. Regular shoppers are still searching around for gifts right up until the doors close on Christmas eve. Seasoned retailers will tell you they don’t often see their sales pick-up significantly until mid-November. In part two of our guide to success in email marketing over the festive period we’re focusing on the sales. We’ve put together some golden rules to follow if you want the cold hard cash to hit your targets. Put-up a good fight in the inbox Major online companies increased their emailing by an average of 47% over the Christmas period (Office for National Statistics, 2014). This means the competition for attention in the inbox just got harder. Pull out all the stops and focus on creating great performing subject lines which tempt the recipients to choose your email above the rest. Capture recipients’ attention with a mixture of offers, free gifts, personalisation, urgency and quirky ways to grab their attention. Internet service providers such as Gmail and Hotmail are particularly active when it comes to blocking or junking emails that the recipient doesn’t engage with. Separate the engaged contacts on your database from the unengaged and make sure you send to your engaged people first. If you don’t, providers such as Gmail may filter the rest of your email marketing into the junk folder based on the poor open and click-through rates. Focus on cyber-days Black Friday isn’t just a U.S. thing anymore and Cyber-Monday is widely acknowledged on the web. They’re the days when online retailers slash their prices and online shoppers scramble to get the best bargains both online and on the high-street. Savvy shoppers often delay their purchases until these days to get the prices. Make sure you live up to the hype and send your emails on these days as early as possible. Maximise the sense of urgency by sending an email to launch your offer and another to alert your customers that it’s expiring. This year Black Friday falls on 25th November 2016 and Cyber-Monday will be on Monday 28th. With both dates only three days apart this year we’re anticipating retailers will launch their most generous offers over the entire period maximising traffic over the weekend and payday period. Make it easy Don’t bombard your customer with lots of content in your emails. Yes, present them with ideas, inspiration and offers but don’t confuse them. Be clear and directive so they can buy things online in a few clicks of a button from their mobile, tablet or laptop. Make it easy for them to find the popular categories of your website, your store locator and your best-sellers. Show them the value in what you’re offering, give them clear offers and promotions that are easy to redeem online and offline. Segment your audience so you’re sending them emails that are relevant to their previous Christmas shopping habits – some of these people will only shop with you once a year so make it easy for them to pick-up where they left off. Remember to build urgency by promoting the expiring of offers, the shopping days left until Christmas and a countdown to your last delivery date. Follow these principles and you’ll be able to drive sales through your email marketing making it the most profitable online channel of the festive period. In part three of the guide we’ll be looking at how to improve your customer service and loyalty during the Christmas period. Until then, don’t forget our team is always happy to provide further tips on improving your performance, or alternatively check out Part One of our guide.