7 Tips for More Effective Triggered Emails for the Holidays

Let’s talk about your triggered emails. When’s the last time you reviewed them, or gave them a refresh? Triggered emails have a reputation for being “set-it-and-forget-it” programs, but that shouldn’t be the case. In fact, you should review your triggered emails on a regular basis. This couldn’t be more true as we approach the holiday shopping season.

We’re big advocates for planning ahead, and with the last quarter of the year just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your triggered emails and tailor them for the holidays.

First, take inventory of your active triggered email campaigns. Then, keep reading for seven opportunities to make your triggered emails even more effective this holiday season.

1. Speed up your cart abandonment triggers

With the sense of urgency caused by limited-time and limited-assortment sales, the amount of time buyers spend considering a purchase is much shorter during the holiday season—especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as Singles’ Day.

To stay top of mind, your cart abandonment emails should be sent much sooner after abandonment.

There are many discussions on what the best timing is, and in general, faster is better. However, you should analyze the behavior of your own customers and identify the natural rate of return first.

How long does it take for the majority of cart abandoners to return to their cart on their own (without prompting)? However long that is for you, send your cart abandonment email a little after that time, so you’re nudging buyers along but not interrupting their normal buying behavior.

Don’t have that data? Go back and determine the natural rate of return for your customers during Black Friday and other key holiday shopping days last year. Or, if you’re unable to, look at your shoppers’ behavior during your other sales. Use those behaviors to determine your ideal delay for your cart abandonment emails.

2. Highlight seasonal promotions and discounts—everywhere and anywhere

After you get an idea of what your seasonal promotional strategy looks like, think about all the places your current promotions and discounts sit. Perhaps you have an offer in your welcome series or abandoned cart series. How can you optimize them?

Let’s take a welcome series, for example. Can you replace the current discount with the seasonal discount? Or can both discounts be combined to offer an even larger discount and further incentivize your new subscribers?

Next, think about all the places your seasonal promotions and discounts could sit. What triggered emails do you have, that you typically don’t offer savings on? Is there an opportunity to add a seasonal promotion code to your back-in-stock, browse abandonments, product replenishments, and other triggered emails? If not, perhaps you could highlight the seasonal sale instead.

West Elm holiday abandoned card email

Highlighting your seasonal promotions in place of—or in addition to your current promotions—can help you get the most out of your holiday season sales.

3. Refresh your welcome emails with seasonal branding and messaging

With the holiday shopping season, many retailers will see an influx of new, seasonal subscribers. That means, you’ll be making a lot of first impressions! Make the most out of your first impression by curating your welcome email experience and personalizing your emails to the holiday season.

Here are some ways you can implement seasonal branding and messaging to your welcome emails:

  • Use seasonal imagery (or animated GIFs).
  • Link to gift guides and holiday discounts.
  • Share upcoming order-by deadlines.

For example, Peet’s Coffee honed in on the holiday season with a themed hero image in this welcome email:

Peets Coffee holiday welcome email

Or, perhaps instead of a welcome email, you have a welcome series. Consider the following:

  • Update any existing promotional codes to seasonal codes.
  • Add a seasonally focused email into the series that highlights special holiday merchandise or a holiday free shipping offer.

4. Dress up your emails with holiday headers and CTAs

Similar to how retailers decorate their stores for the holidays, you can mimic the same strategy to get your shoppers in the holiday shopping mood. A visual signal—like a holiday-branded version of your logo or header—acts as a subtle reminder to shoppers.

Here is what Food52 did to dress up their header for the holiday:


Blog – Litmus

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