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Christmas Email Prep in July: Steps Retailers Should Take Now…

Christmas (Prep) in July: Steps Retailers Should Take Now

Christmas may be months away, but
in the world of retail, that means it’s right around the corner.

The holiday shopping season,
which notoriously begins with Black Friday every November, is a major focus for
most retailers and gives them the opportunity to net a profit for the year if
they aren’t there already. Thus, for these businesses, the holiday retail
season ideally begins months earlier with planning and preparation well ahead
of execution.

However, Campaigner research suggests that up to 38 percent
of internet retailers are unprepared for the holiday shopping season as late
into the year as August.

Below are best practices that
retail marketers should begin implementing now to get a jumpstart on holiday

Part I: Prepare Assets
Given the summer season is a
slower one for many retailers, marketers should take advantage of this period
and use the extra time to create Q3 and Q4 marketing calendars, build and clean
up email subscriber lists, fortify their social media presence and engage in
customer reactivation campaigns.

For these reactivation campaigns,
marketers’ goal should be to remind disengaged customers what they purchased
from their brand in the past and encourage further conversion by offering
promotions on similar or complementary items. This strategy will help ensure
these familiar brands are already top of mind for customers once holiday
shopping begins. When it comes to email specifically, marketers should clean up
contact lists by removing any recipients who don’t respond to these reactivation
campaigns so that the lists are immaculate ahead of the holidays.

Once these unresponsive contacts
have been removed, marketers should replenish lists by ideally adding new,
high-quality contacts. One helpful way to go about this is through social media
integration. All marketing emails should include social media links at the
bottom, so that recipients can easily visit brands’ Facebook, Instagram and
other social media pages. By interacting with companies on social media,
customers can spread the word about their favorite brands among their entire
social networks, creating a ripple effect and helping retailers identify new

In addition to social buttons,
retailers should include direct buy buttons into emails so that contacts can
easily make purchases from their email screen. To optimize this feature for
mobile devices, marketers should implement mobile-responsive design templates
over the summer if they have not already done so.

Part II: Stoke the Customer Base
Once preparations are complete, marketers
should focus on creating a series of campaigns leading up to the actual holiday
promotions themselves. The goal of these campaigns is two-fold: to build
pre-holiday excitement for the brand, and to collect insights into what offers
will resonate most with target audiences for Black Friday and beyond.

In these campaigns, marketers
should remind audiences that the holidays are around the corner, ask them for
their preferences via email survey, and even see if they would like to be part
of a focus group to determine which promotions retailers should use come
November. To be most strategic, marketers should first offer these
opportunities as perks to their most engaged contacts, and ladder them down to
other engagement levels as needed.

Not only will these
pre-engagement campaigns plant brands’ seeds among their contacts before the
holidays hit, but they will also provide marketers with useful data to leverage
once they need to roll holiday promotions.

Part III: Execute with Ease
For marketers who spend the
summer and fall preparing, execution of actual holiday campaigns should come
with ease.

A good rule of thumb for
retailers looking to capitalize on the holiday retail season is to implement
three to five pre-engagement campaigns so that by the time Black Friday nears,
it’s possible to launch informed and efficient holiday campaigns.

By implementing the best
practices above and dedicating effort to the holiday season well ahead of time,
retailers should experience a very merry retail season in Q4.
EJ McGowan
General Manager

For more information on Campaigner, please visit

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