Gifts under Christmas tree

Maximize Holiday Momentum with Your Email Marketing Program in the New Year

  |  December 18, 2013   |  Comments

Inevitably, the holiday season will end and the calendar will flip over to January. How do you maintain that engagement and momentum in your email marketing moving forward?

scottcoheninboxgroupBy guest columnist Scott Cohen, Inbox Group

The holiday season is almost over. That's right, I said it.

You're no doubt burning the midnight oil, deciding what final discounts and incentives you can offer, poring over A/B subject line tests, and watching feverishly as your opens and clicks add up to conversions. It's the crazy season, after all.

Yet, inevitably, the season will end and the calendar will flip over to January. Because you've been so successful with your holiday efforts, you'll now have a whole slew of new and actively engaged subscribers and customers on your email marketing list.

How do you maintain that engagement and momentum moving forward?

During the holiday season, discounts and incentives are a way of life for email marketers. And subscribers expect those deals to hit their inbox. But you may not want to sustain that kind of effort throughout the bulk of the year -- frankly, it may not be sustainable outside of the holidays, period. So what can you do with your email marketing program that goes beyond continually sending new discounts?

Teach Your New Customers About Your Products/Services

Rather than simply continuing the onslaught of one discount deal after another, bring your new customers into the fold through education. Think of this approach as "reselling" your customers on what they just purchased, so they may be less likely to experience buyer's remorse.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Features and Benefits Drip Series. Onboard your new customers by automating a series of emails that teaches them the various benefits and features of the product(s) they've purchased. This onboarding process should match the complexity of the product or service purchased. For example, if a gift was a type of software, you could trigger emails that teach the customer the benefits of the various features of that program. Each email could focus on a different benefit/feature and the cycle could be seen as "orientation."
  • Product Updates and Additional Uses. Let your new customers know how to keep their products up to date. In terms of additional uses, some examples may include a series of recipes for a new slow cooker or a new mobile app that helps customers use your product/service better and easier.
  • Testimonials. As part of the reselling approach, use video in email or drive engagement by utilizing feature-specific or overall customer satisfaction testimonials. A refreshing, personal take on how the products or services are helping folks can be an excellent way to deliver information and reassure customers about their purchase.

The best part about these ideas? You can repurpose them to message your prospects, as well.

Sell Complementary Products, Services, or Accessories

Sounds simple, right? Customers who bought the Xbox One or Playstation 4 this holiday season will likely need new games or accessories moving forward. Customers who bought a new laptop will potentially need a laptop bag or sleeve, compatible gadgets, or even a printer (yes, they still exist).

Specifically, you can use your purchase data to create a Next Logical Product program. Review your "Product A" purchase data and determine what products customers are most likely to buy within 90-120 days of said purchase. Once you determine which products convert best in that timeframe, you can use email to market "Product Bs" to Product A purchasers.

There is bound to be a product or two that works perfectly with what they just purchased. You don't necessarily need to offer a discount on these items to promote them to your new customers.

If you aren't leveraging your email list in this way, consider it "low-hanging fruit."

Use Browser History to Re-engage Non-Buyers from the Holiday Season

There are myriad reasons why someone doesn't purchase at any given time. The holidays are no different. Maybe they found the product elsewhere. Maybe it turns out they just simply couldn't afford the product in the context of their full holiday shopping needs.

Whatever the case may be, if your database tracks browser activity, leverage that data into emails that target that behavior and ask your prospects if they're ready to purchase now. See if there are complementary or related products that may interest them more. This added portion of relevance may just be enough to move the needle.

None of this is to suggest you can't simply keep sending discount after discount. If that's your business model, or your email marketing program model, keep at it. If that's not your model, then it's time to think a little differently.

How do you plan to keep the momentum going after the holiday craziness? Share your thoughts or tips in the comments.

Guest columnist Scott Cohen is Vice President of Marketing for Inbox Group, a full-service email marketing agency. He once earned the nickname "Scriptini" because of his ability to produce quality writing on ridiculous deadlines. Branching out from copy writing since then, Scott has been heavily involved in email marketing since 2007. Having both agency and client-side end-user experience, Scott brings a unique perspective that combines best practices with real-world-tested strategy and tactics. When not spending (probably) too much time working or learning, Scott spends his time as a father, husband, sports fanatic, and budding strength-training nut.

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