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6 Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaigns for Q4 2016

Posted on Sep 30, 2016

Practical Ecommerce, Armando Roggio

Powerful retail holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — dominate the fourth quarter and should be the focus of ecommerce email marketing.

Email volume increases significantly in the last quarter of the year. Ecommerce success can hinge on how well your email marketing performs. What follows are six email marketing campaign ideas, to spark your business’s creativity.

1. Christmas Gift Guides

Christmas-related sales dominate the fourth quarter for many, if not most, retailers. It makes sense that ecommerce email marketing should focus on this extremely important holiday. While you will certainly want to feature products, offers, or sales, you may also want to use email marketing in conjunction with content.

Whether your visitors are shopping for a close relative or their cat who likes to hang out under the Christmas tree, a gift guide can be a useful bit of content they will thank you for even as they buy your products. <em>Source: The359, Flickr.</em>

Whether your visitors are shopping for a close relative or their cat who likes to hang out under the Christmas tree, a gift guide can be a useful bit of content they will thank you for even as they buy your products. Source: The359, Flickr.

For Christmas 2016, consider a series of emails starting in October and running through the holiday season that are meant to drive visitors to content on your Christmas gift guide. The content could also take the form of a product category page, an article, or even a video published on your site or on YouTube.

Your email will encourage visitors to engage with your content, which could offer helpful and insightful suggestions.

2. Halloween Content

Halloween is the fourth quarter’s other retail gem. To celebrate the holiday, shoppers will buy costumes, decorations, music, movies, and the components for do-it-yourself projects. Retail businesses in almost any segment will find opportunities to market for Halloween.

Shoppers buy all sorts of products around Halloween. <em>Source: Mike McCune, Flickr.</em>

Shoppers buy all sorts of products around Halloween. Source: Mike McCune, Flickr.

For email campaigns, consider a series of three or four messages.

  • On or around Columbus Day, October 10, send your first Halloween product mention. This will give plenty of time for online orders to reach their destinations.
  • On about October 18, send a similar Halloween message to recipients who either did not open the Columbus Day email or who opened it but did not buy, depending on how aggressive you want to market.
  • For brick-and-click retailers, consider an email message for local shoppers on aboutOctober 22 — yes, Saturday emails work — and invite them to visit your physical stores.
  • On October 24, send a last-chance-for-online-orders email.

In all cases, try to use list segmentation and email personalization.

3. Thanksgiving Series

Thanksgiving Day, a holiday featuring food, family, and football, has become an important milestone in holiday shopping. According to trend tracking firm comScore, U.S. ecommerce sales were more than $1 billion on Thanksgiving Day last year.

Consider a Thanksgiving email series that starts buy promoting Thanksgiving and then moves on to making holiday shopping suggestions.

  • Around November 10, send an email promoting Thanksgiving-related products or featuring Thanksgiving offers.
  • On November 17, send a follow-up message, mentioning that it is a week until Thanksgiving and the last chance to place orders for Thanksgiving if buyers want to use ground shipping.
  • On November 23, send a Thanksgiving Day sales event message. Feature the products you want folks to buy when the turkey is in the oven or after the Thanksgiving meal.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, send a happy Thanksgiving message, linking to interesting Thanksgiving content. Not a lot of folks read emails on Thanksgiving Day, but give the ones who do something worthwhile.

4. Black Friday and Cyber Monday Promotions

Shoppers are expecting significant discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If your business model can sustain deep discounts, there are certainly sales to be made.

Plan to make your best offers of the Christmas season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Don’t be shy about telling the world via email. In fact, if there is any day when it might make sense to send multiple emails, it would be Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

One possible word of caution about email frequency: Consider giving your best customers a break and send them just one email. Give them your best offer and trust that they are familiar with your store.

For everyone else on the list, keep your message at the top of the inbox.

5. Holiday Shipping Series

Holiday ecommerce orders need to be delivered before Christmas Day. Given that the holiday falls on a Sunday in 2016, have orders delivered before Christmas Eve.

Consider a shipping-themed email marketing series, reminding shoppers of important shipping days, like the last day for free ground shipping or the last day for two-day delivery, in time for Christmas.

Regionalize this series so email recipients get the appropriate dates relative to their distance from your warehouse.

6. After Christmas Clearance Sale

Don’t forget your after-Christmas clearance. Not all of the inventory that your business stocked up on for the Christmas holiday will sell. There will likely be some items you need to turn into cash, even at very low margins.

To do it, start your after-Christmas sales right after Christmas.

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