Practical Ecommerce

6 Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaigns for Q1 2016

From a January inventory reduction sale to Easter Sunday, there are at least six good opportunities for online sellers to send meaningful and (hopefully) effective marketing emails in the first three months of 2016.

Email marketing is one of the most powerful and potent promotional tools available to ecommerce marketers.

The medium is popular with consumers. By some estimates, nearly three quarters of shoppers prefer receiving marketing messages via email. It is also effective. According to Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly report for Q3 2015, some 10.23 percent of shoppers who visit an ecommerce site after responding to an email-marketing message will add an item to the shopping cart. Email is also among the best marketing tools for sales conversion.

In the first quarter of 2016, consider sending these six email marketing messages.

1. Inventory Reduction (Closeout) Sale

It turns out that snow boots sell best when it is snowing. Umbrellas are hot items when it is raining. Retail shoppers tend to buy items when they need them.

In response, online retailers that sell physical products often stock up on seasonal items like snow boots or potential Christmas gifts ahead of when consumers want those products.

In a perfect world, an online store would sell out of Christmas gift items, as an example, before Christmas Eve. But this doesn’t always work out. In fact, many online sellers will find that they have seasonal merchandise left over from the holidays or even from the fall.

This means a decision has to be made. The items can be held over in inventory for, perhaps, a year or sold at a closeout price. For many retailers, room in the warehouse and cash flow requirements might dictate the sale.

In January, create an email campaign around an inventory reduction, closeout sale. To make it even better, use customer data to choose the products to feature. So, shoppers who had previously looked at a fleece jacket receive an closeout offer featuring that jacket.

The Sports Authority is closing out fleece in January. Although it is still cold enough in much of the United States to wear fleece, the company probably doesn't want to carry these over to next winter.

The Sports Authority is closing out fleece in January. Although it is still cold enough in much of the United States to wear fleece, the company probably doesn’t want to carry these over to next winter.

2. Super Bowl Promotion

On Feb. 7, 2016, about a third of Americans will watch the Super Bowl. In the United States, it is the most watched sporting event of the year. Last year, more than 114 million folks watch it live.

Many fans will host Super Bowl parties, inviting friends and family members over for a meal in front of a very large television. Super Bowl Sunday has become a de facto holiday for many Americans — revered more than nearly any other date except, perhaps, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

There are several ways to use email to promote an ecommerce business in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

  • Develop Super Bowl content and use email to drive traffic. A retailer’s email subscribers are typically more likely to share content.
  • Create promotions for products that shoppers might purchase for a Super Bowl party.
  • Email a Super Bowl survey link to a form that asks five or ten questions about the upcoming Super Bowl. Everyone who responds gets a coupon. The survey results can be published on a blog.

3. Valentine’s Day Content

The lovers’ holiday comes every February 14. Nonetheless, many passionate gift givers will be desperate for Valentine’s Day ideas. Promoting to these shoppers can be as simple as sending an email listing several product suggestions.

This Valentine’s Day email marketing promotion doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. In fact, it can take the same form as email marketing messages for other gift giving holidays, like Christmas.

Recently, email service provider Campaign Monitor featured a Birchbox email-marketing message among a list of successful campaigns. This email simply suggested a gift for men and a gift for women — that simple.

Simply offer gift suggestions in an email, similar to this Birchbox example.

Simply offer gift suggestions in an email, similar to this Birchbox example.

4. Presidents’ Day Sale

In 2016, Monday, February 16, is Presidents’ Day. And Presidents’ Day, in turn, is a traditional sale day for retailers. Sites like Offers.com, DealNews, and Coupons.com track Presidents’ Day offers from Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, and the like.

Ecommerce merchants can ride consumer expectations to additional Monday sales. Create a simple discount offer and send it via email. Personalizing the items shown in the email based on previous customer behavior will help, too.

Presidents' Day is popular with retailers and shoppers.

Presidents’ Day is popular with retailers and shoppers.

5. St. Patrick’s Day Sale

The greenest of holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, will occur on March 17. It is also another popular retail sale day. In fact, for a 2016 St. Patrick’s Day sale, consider extending offers from Monday, March 14 over the holiday (Thursday, March 17) and through Sunday, March 20.

Stores that sell novelty products, like “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirts, will, of course, want to start sooner.

6. Easter Promotion

A final, Q1 2016 holiday-based opportunity for email marketers comes on Sunday, March 27 — Easter.

Like Presidents’ Day and St. Patrick’s Day, Easter is also a traditional day for retail sales. But many online stores will see a boost just promoting Easter items at regular prices.

Some stores will feature colorful spring dresses or suits meant to be worn to an Easter Sunday church service. Other stores might focus on Easter-related crafts for decorations.

While it is certainly not a holiday for every online retailer, there will be marketing opportunities for many. Online retailers that sell Easter clothing or decorations will want to start sending messages a few weeks ahead.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Tanya Wheeler-Berliner January 13, 2016 Reply

    Armando, great blog article! I’d encourage brands to think outside of the box and “own” a lesser known holiday, too, for promotion. Like today, National Rubber Ducky Day (Jan. 13), would be a great promotional day for some brands. :)

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