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How to generate short-term holiday revenue with email marketing

Written by Spencer Durrant on November 6, 2015 in

email typewriterWith the passing of Halloween, consumers are beginning to research and buy products in earnest. This means your marketing efforts should be in full swing, and leads and sales should be rolling in, right?

Well, sometimes your best-laid plans don't always work out, and that includes your holiday marketing strategy. If you're marketing efforts are struggling, what can you do to achieve a short-term boost in holiday revenue while you tinker with your overall high-level strategy? 

In this blog post, we'll focus on how email marketing can help you achieve this goal. 

Consumers subscribe to email lists for deals

In a study conducted by Nielsen, it was discovered that 27% of U.S. online shoppers will subscribe to a company's mailing list in order to save money. This means they're expecting exclusive deals and offers. If you're not delivering on that expectation, you're missing out on a huge opportunity, especially during the holiday season. 

What deals should you be sending in order to drive short-term revenue to your store? Let's take a look at a few ideas:

  • Flash Sales: Flash sales are one of the most effective ways to drive short-term revenue. Black Friday itself is essentially one huge flash sale. But you can leverage this technique by emailing out one-day deals on products in your store throughout the entire holiday season - it doesn't just have to be on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Offer a deal so good customers can't refuse it (and maybe even throw in discounted or free shipping) and you'll see the revenue roll in. This also helps to give your store top-of-mind awareness when customers start shopping for other products - it inspires repeat customers, which is incredibly valuable. 
  • Free shipping codes: Customers LOVE free shipping. If you want to see a quick spike in traffic, offer a 24-hour period of free shipping. However, make sure that you set a threshold for the free shipping limit - otherwise, you're going to lose money. 
  • Any kind of time-specific coupon. This could be as simple as a buy-one-get-half-off coupon or 15% off in a particular category. No matter what you choose to go with, make sure to make the offer time sensitive, again creating that sense of urgency that will urge buyers to spend money in your store. 

Segment lists and market directly to specific categories

One of email marketing's biggest advantages is the ability to really target a very specific audience. You can hone in on customers based on an infinite amount of data to make sure you're delivering the right message to the right person, at the right time. You can use this data to drive short-term revenue by sending targeted deals. 

For example, say that you run an online store that sells general outdoor gear - everything from apparel to tents to hunting equipment. 

If you wanted to run a flash sale on tents, you could generate a list of every customer who has bought a tent, tent stakes, tarps, rain flys, or tent poles from you in the past, and email out to them the great, time-sensitive deal. The deal can be any of the above we've discussed - discounted pricing, coupons, or free shipping. But by segmenting your list and sending to a strategically defined group of customers, you're increasing your chances of seeing a boost in short-term revenue. 

You also want to consider using this tactic for abandoned carts. Gather the email addresses of customers who have abandoned their carts and offer them 5% off their order. Something that simple can do wonders to help drive a lot of short-term revenue, especially if you're experiencing a high volume of abandoned carts. 

Obviously, you can use this tactic for any of your store's categories. You'll be surprised by just how effective it can be. 

Create a short-term highlight campaign

Aside from sending out one-day deals and alerts about flash sales, you can also look to play a slightly longer game with your email marketing. By slightly longer, think in terms of 7-10 days. 

Hubspot has some of the best insight available on how to run a successful email campaign, and a lot of their advice involves lead nurturing.

In the above mentioned article, it's stated that at any given time, only 25% of your leads are ready to buy from you. So what can you do to convince those leads to buy from you, and to do it quickly?

You can put together an email campaign that lasts 7-10 days that highlights your store's deals, connects you with customers, and offers content that's helpful - things like gift guides or featured products. 

Specifically, Hubspot recommends an emphasis on personal emails. Make sure that your emails highlighting your store will connect on a personal level with your customers and encourage them to buy from you. 

You can send the short-term email campaign to your entire contact list, or segment it however you choose. In order to generate the short-term revenue you're looking for out of this campaign, consider inserting discount codes intermittently throughout the email series, and especially at the end. 

Driving short-term revenue during the holiday season is tough, but it's doable if you can target your emails to the right groups of customers. 

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