Three lessons learned from Cyber Monday 2015

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Now that Cyber Monday 2015 has come and gone, digital marketers can borrow strategies that were proven to be successful and implement them in future retail ad campaigns.

Retailers spend months planning for the holidays. Much of this time is dedicated to perfecting a Cyber Monday strategy that cuts through the clutter of the holiday inbox, engages subscribers, and brings in the sales. This involves analyzing performance data from previous years, as well as open, click, and purchase trends from the rest of the year to help determine which promotions to use, when to send messages, and how to measure success. The good news is you can use those lessons learned throughout the entire year.

While many retailers can’t discount as deeply outside of the Q4 holidays, there are ways to take the tactical framework of a Cyber Monday strategy and find success with it during other gifting holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, or even during promotional but non-gifting events, such as Independence Day or Labor Day.

Here are three essential lessons learned from Cyber Monday 2015 that you can use the whole year through:

1. Build a multi-message strategy

The number of retailers relying on one email to bring in the sales on Cyber Monday continued to decline. In fact, the rate of single senders was down year-over-year for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. In 2015, 62 percent of retailers sent more than one email on Cyber Monday.

This isn’t a call for retailers to simply send more messages on a peak day. What lies in the details is a momentum-building, multi-message narrative of a sale’s lifecycle. We see announcements to introduce the sale, messages to reveal new promotions, and then reminders as the offer deadline is approaching. Retailers are now building a day-long arc that guides the shopper through the day, rather than simply sending the same message multiple times.

But plan carefully; if done wrong, this repetitive sending can lead to subscriber frustration, decreased post-holiday engagement, and a potential increase in unsubscribes or spam complaints.

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2. Time your promotions appropriately

The mid-morning hours (6 to 8 a.m. EST) are the busiest time for the holiday inbox. These days, the pre-dawn hours see less traffic as compared to previous years, when early morning door-busters were all the rage. As you build your multi-message holiday narrative, be sure to feature a diverse range of products with a variety of promotional themes throughout the day.

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3. Meet shoppers where they are

When planning your promotion timing for a peak shopping day, you should also consider when your customers will likely open their inbox for the first time and where they’ll be. Holidays that fall on a weekday, when most are at work or school, will have different traffic patterns than those that fall on a weekend or a holiday when shoppers have the day off.

Target the content and tone of your messages to meet the needs, locations, and devices of shoppers as the day progresses. Early morning shoppers may be seeking hot deals with limited inventory, information on early store hours, or details for planning their day shopping in stores. Midday shoppers may be out of their homes and in a store using their phones to find the best deals. After an exhaustive day of shopping and an inbox stuffed with holiday sales, evening shoppers could be ready to buy before deals expire.

The data shows that retailers have consistently used the strategy on Cyber Monday of reaching out to subscribers several times throughout the day with messages to keep them engaged and encourage them to shop.

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Why not try it on other peak shopping days?

In conclusion

As you prepare for the new year, use these three lessons learned to shape your strategy for all of those revenue-driving, non-Q4 holidays. Not only will they help give your messages a boost throughout the year, you’ll also gain rich insights into how to build a record-breaking plan for Cyber Monday 2016, which will be here before you know it!

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