Year over year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to make Thanksgiving one of the biggest shopping events of the year, with 55% of Americans shopping on Black Friday in 2014 according to Fundivo.
But the tides are changing — more and more Black Friday shoppers are moving from brick and mortar to online. Time reports that in 2015 shoppers spent $10.4 billion in stores, down from $11.6 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, Fortune reports that “Black Friday brought in $2.72 billion in ecommerce sales, up 14% from 2014. Thanksgiving Day saw a higher jump in online spending, with $1.73 billion in sales, up 25% from the previous year.”
‘Tis the season for retail sales — and that means it’s time to prep your holiday sales campaigns. Compelling email campaigns are key to driving sales and building awareness for your holidays sales, both online and in store. So, what can you do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your holiday marketing efforts? We’ve consulted some experts and compiled their advice into 10 tips for sending effective sales emails for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.
1. Segment Users
Your customers are not all the same — and your email campaigns should reflect that. Targeting emails by demographics, location, and previous purchases increases the effectiveness of your sales emails. Web app automation company Zapier states, “Segmenting your email list helps you speak more intelligently and directly with your customers, giving them information that they want at the opportune time.”
With Shopify, you can set up a customer registration form to help you gain extra information to help with segmentation.
Segmenting your email lists increases open rates by more than 14% and lowers your unsubscribe rates by over 10%, according to a MailChimp report on the effects of list segmentation.
Not sure how to categorize your subscribers in a way that works for your business? Read our guide on How to Segment Your Mailing List for Better Engagement.
Image Credit: Zapier
2. Personalize It
After you’ve segmented your lists into a way that makes sense for your business, you can take it one step further and add a personal touch to catch subscribers’ attention. Ever receive an email with your name in the subject line or email copy? Some email marketing tools allow you to use what are called “merge tags” to populate a field with an subscriber’s name. So, instead of an email opening with “Happy Holidays,” it can read “Happy Holidays, Jane.”
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Personalizing emails for individual events and readers can make a noteworthy difference and help clinch more sales. Including customer names promotes a real relationship with your reader and MarketingLand states that, “personalized emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them.”
Other ways to personalize your holiday sales emails include geography (offering promotions and product suggestions to customers in a specific region) and past purchases (suggesting a complementary product based on an item they bought recently).
Using holiday-themed graphics, language, and imagery around this time of year also helps you connect with your customers and shows that you’ve gone the extra mile to celebrate the holidays — and pass some savings on to them.
3. Offer Desirable Discounts (And Differentiate)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about big discounts and massive sales. Customers are looking for something they can’t ignore — so make sure you’re offering them something tempting. If you’re taking the time to send sales emails this time of year, ensure that you’re able to compete with the other promotions waiting in their inbox. Essentially, you need to offer something to rise above the noise.
If you plan to offer multiple promotions to multiple groups, try creating a discount calendar. Map out all your promos for the upcoming holiday season, including those for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
If you’re not able to offer door-crashing sales or don’t want to participate in Black Friday, you can always do something else to stand out from the crowd. Host a Thanksgiving event, organize something for charity, engage customers with a giveaway or contest, or just send a cheerful email to wish your valued customers a happy holiday.
Need a little inspiration for your campaign? Here are 8 Black Friday email campaign ideas you can steal.
4. Build Urgency
The holidays are a crazy busy, chaotic time of year for most. Creating a sense of urgency is a great way to ensure that you stay front of mind for consumers. Many retailers use one-day sales or countdown clocks in their sales emails to increase the chances that readers click through immediately and don’t archive the email to look at later.
Another effective way to drive urgency is to highlight low-stock, popular products that are back in stock or limited quantities for hot items directly in the email or on your retail site. Keeping customers informed with inventory updates can be the extra push they need to convert over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Amazon’s Gold Box offer limited-time deals that change every day.
5. Write Engaging Copy
Great email campaigns need compelling copy. The first barrier to entry for any sales email is a subject line that encourages readers to open the email. Effective subject lines can ask a question, entice with a tempting deal, offer help, or call out the reader’s name.
The best way to find a subject line and email copy that works for your campaign is to A/B test different versions of the email and use that information to create the most effective copy. Tracking successes and failures over time helps you identify what’s working and what needs work in the long term as well. This can also help you build a brand voice that really connects with your audience as you move forward.
Need a little help? Tools like Phrasee help you get started by using AI to make language suggestions for all your marketing content.
6. Design your Campaign
Whether you choose to send a holiday-themed email or not, it needs to be well designed and provide a good experience for your customers. You can use an email template that you find online, hire a designer, or build it yourself with the right software. And if you need some inspiration to get started, HubSpot curated 13 of the Best Examples of Beautiful Email Design.
7. Keep it Simple
If you’re offering some killer deals this holidays, it might seem like a great idea to let your readers know about every product that’s marked down. But remember that your subscribers are getting more emails than any other time of year.
Keep your message clear, to the point, and engaging to help cut through the other noise.
If you can tailor the deals and products to specific lists and users, that’s even better. If you sell a variety of products across different categories and you can send deals to customers that have made similar purchases in the past, then you can drive customers where you want them go. And offering complementary products provides your customers with promotions that actually serve their needs.
8. Reward Loyalty
Aside from promoting your holidays deals, sales emails are a great time to offer something extra to your best customers. This could include offering free shipping over a certain amount, offering extra reward points for long-time customers, giving away a bonus gift, or providing a promotion code for additional savings.
However you choose to do so, take the opportunity to compensate your VIP customers by giving something back.
9. Use the Right Tools
Need a little help putting together your marketing emails or tracking analytics and reporting? There are tons of great tools to help you craft the best email campaigns, including MailChimp and HubSpot. MailChimp also provides a helpful list of tips for all your holiday marketing.
Additionally, you can connect your MailChimp account and Shopify store with the free MailChimp app so you can create email campaigns based on your buyers’ behaviors, segment based on previous purchases, and send customized product recommendations.
Alternatively, you can always build an in-house email marketing team of your own, or contract an agency to help with all the nitty gritty — from design to copy, analytics and building subscribers.
10. Make it Mobile Friendly
You never know how or where your readers will open your email, so it’s important to cover all your bases.
There’s nothing worse for user experience than not being able to open an email.
Ensure that any email you send is mobile friendly, especially considering that Litmus found that 53% of emails are opened on a mobile device. With that many consumers using their mobile devices to receive email, don’t forget that when they click through to make a purchase your site or app should also facilitate sales from on-the-go shoppers.
If you need a way to double check that your email will work for all your users, Litmus allows you to test and optimize your code for different devices.
A Final Word
Let us know what’s worked for your holidays campaigns in the past, what you’re trying out this season, or any questions you may have about sending effective sales emails in the comments section.