On Cyber Monday, online shoppers will endure an email deluge as nearly every retailer sends some special offer to its active subscribers. A last minute Cyber Monday email planned Sunday afternoon — the day before — won’t do. If your business is going to be competitive on Cyber Monday, plan your email marketing now.
There is a lot at stake for retailers on Cyber Monday, which falls on November 30 this year. Consider that in 2014, Cyber Monday represented more than $40 billion in ecommerce transactions in the United States alone, according to Marketing Land. Those sales were up 15.4 percent from 2013.
Getting your company’s share of those sales will likely depend on how well you execute your email marketing.
Price is a significant sales driver during the Cyber Monday frenzy — you will need to have some offers planned. For the most part, however, this should already be done. Back in April of this year, I suggested that you start working on Black Friday and Cyber Monday early.
If you took my advice then, you bought some items specifically to offer them up as Cyber Monday sacrifices. Here is what I wrote in April.
Imagine an online retailer that sells men’s watches. It inventories a watch called the X1 that it pays $50 for wholesale and retails for $100. The distributor who sells to this online retailer might make a special offer on the X1 watch, say 10 percent below the usual wholesale price, if the retailer buys 1,000 units in July rather than waiting until October. The special offer means that the retailer is now paying $45 for the X1 watch and could offer it on Cyber Monday at $50 and still make a small profit, while offering a low sale price that at least some competitors will not be able to match.
Now is the time to start finalizing those plans. Write the copy. Decide how to build urgency.
Build a Cyber Monday List
If can also be a good idea to bolster your email list ahead of the holiday rush. Consider having a Cyber-Monday-specific email subscription field.
Target, as an example, does a good job with this. If you visit the Target Cyber Monday page now, you will find a link and an invitation to “get the scoop” about the company’s Cyber Week offers.
Best Buy has a similar email invitation on its Cyber Monday landing page, along with information about its current deals.
You might even consider putting your Cyber Monday sign up right on your site’s home page.
Identify Holiday Shoppers
In its “Be an Email Ninja This Holiday Season” guide, Windsor Circle, a retention-marketing firm, recommends “re-activating” holiday buyers from last year.
Create a special segment in your email list. These should be shoppers who made a purchase during the holiday season. For these folks, you may be able to start your Cyber Monday email campaign early.
Consider inviting them to a deal preview or letting them reserve Cyber Monday items.
Segment Your Email List
Cyber Monday sales are too important for a blast and pray approach to email marketing. Unless you offer a very narrow line of products, it is unlikely that you will send every email message to every person on your email list.
Instead segment your list and send segment-specific offers.
Retailers “have an opportunity to showcase specific items of interest to a customer along with personalized offers that may vary from (or be in addition to) a sitewide special,” wrote Forrester vice president Sucharita Mulpuru, who is the research firm’s principal ecommerce analyst.
Have a Holiday Post-purchase Series
Most holiday shoppers have more than one friend or family member on a holiday shopping list. And, it is not uncommon for a shopper to make multiple holiday purchases from the same online retailer.
With this in mind, plan a holiday, post-purchase email series that is aimed at thanking the customer and building a longer lasting relationship.
This series could start with your standard transactional emails, like shipping notifications, but could also include a simple thank you message, an invitation to share the shopping experience, a request for a product review, or a personal recommendation, as follows.
- Transactional messages
- Thank you message
- Share your experience message
- Product review request
- Personal recommendation
- Reorder reminder
Build Your Subject Line
Your customers and prospects are going to be receiving many emails on Cyber Monday. It is unlikely that they will open every single message.
Your best hope of standing out in the inbox is, first, to have a good relationship with your customers and, second, to have an outstanding email subject line.
Here is challenge. Track how long it takes you to create the graphics for your Cyber Monday emails. Count the time you spend writing the copy for your Cyber Monday emails. Add all of that up, and spend that much time writing and testing your subject lines.