Retailers should never underestimate the value of personalization and a “thank you” note.
The holiday shopping season will be here before you know it, and it is time to start planning your holiday marketing campaigns to help drive sales during this crucial season. To help ensure that brands create a successful marketing campaign, Experian Marketing Services has identified five key strategies that brands should consider incorporating into their holiday marketing campaigns in order to boost program performance.
According to the Second Quarter 2016 Email Benchmark Report, marketers should consider the quality of subscriber data obtained during acquisition, social media, creative content, email personalization and retention strategy when planning their marketing strategies.
“While the holidays may seem far away, now is the perfect time for marketers to begin preparing for this all-important season,” said Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability for Experian Marketing Services. “By leveraging data from last year’s campaigns, as well as current market trends, brands can create more effective holiday marketing campaigns that increase engagement and improve the customer experience.”
Quality of Subscriber Data Obtained at the Point of Sale (POS)
Marketers need to take the appropriate steps to improve the quality of the data obtained at the POS, as those subscribers often are highly engaged with the brand. In fact, between April 2015 and March 2016, welcome mailings to POS subscribers had a 32% higher click-to-open rate than for subscribers obtained from other sources (23.2% for POS compared with 17.5% from other sources). To ensure data quality, marketers should invest in real-time email validation technology, train store associates for data collection and have customers verify data in real time.
Targeting email subscribers based on their interest in social media can lead to high email engagement for brands. For example, welcome emails sent to subscribers who engaged via Facebook had an 11% higher click-to-open rate than other welcome emails from the same brand (22% for Facebook welcomes compared with 19.9% for other welcome emails).
Fresh creative ideas that add a sense of urgency are an important strategy for holiday campaigns. During the 2015 holiday season, a number of brands leveraged countdown clocks that helped boost engagement performance. Marketing campaigns that included a dynamic countdown clock had a 41% higher click-to-open rate and more than double the transaction rate of other holiday mailings from the same brands.
Personalization can help boost performance of promotional emails. Based on data from April 2015 to March 2016, brands that included personalized subject lines experienced 27% higher unique click rates, 11% higher click-to-open rates and more than double the transaction rate compared with other promotional mailings.
“Nowadays there is an expectation among consumers that brands create personalized mailings that communicate relevant messages,” added Kollas. “While personalizing emails with a first name can be effective, marketers also should consider populating communications with more granular data points, such as purchase or browse behavior. When personalization is done correctly, marketers can create an improved customer journey.”
A proper retention strategy can help brands keep holiday-season customers throughout the rest of the year. Brands that sent “thank you for your purchase” mailings saw twice the open and click rates, as well as five times the transaction rate, compared with promotional mailings. Additionally, promotional campaigns that included “our way of saying thanks” experienced two and a half times the transaction rate of other promotional mailings.
Email Benchmarking Trends
Findings from the Second Quarter 2016 Email Benchmark Report also highlight overall email marketing trends during the quarter. According to the analysis, email volume rose by 17.1% from a year ago. Diving a bit deeper, two-thirds of consumer products and services and 86 percent of media and entertainment brands showed year-over-year gains in email volume.
- Despite the increase in email volume during the quarter, open and transaction rates remained steady from a year ago
- Year-over-year unique click rates declined from 2% to 1.8%, while the actual number of clicks received in the quarter rose by 7%
- Quarter-to-quarter email volume remained the same for the second quarter compared with Q1 2016, but revenue per email rose from six cents to seven cents in the second quarter