Quarter Four (Q4) and the Holiday Season Strategy planning are often stressful for marketers – the number of events and sales targets can get quite overwhelming. However, if you execute your campaigns well, it can be an ideal time to introduce your brand to new audiences and start building long-term relationships. Planning your Q4 campaigns ahead can save you a lot of time and help communicate your brand messaging consistently. We liaised with two of our partners, email provider dotmailer and ecommerce personalisation platform PureClarity, to bring you top tips on how to tackle the Q4 challenges and have a hassle-free holiday.
Keep It Simple
When putting your Q4 plan together, start with the most important things – for both your target audience and your brand. Remember, you don’t have to include every jingle and every bell in your marketing campaigns to bring the spirit of Christmas to your customers. Similarly, Black Friday doesn’t only have to be about discounts. Find out what makes your customers tick and use their favourite channels to guide them to products and services they’re looking for quickly and easily during this busy period.
Protect Your Brand
An important insight from Skip Fidura, dotmailer’s Strategy & Insight Director, is that you should overlay your brand on the top of the Q4 events, and not let the events run through your brand. Skip suggests you should try to make your brand stand out in innovative ways, rather than use festive stock images in your campaigns without a deeper meaning. You have invested time and energy in building your brand for it to get diluted.
Save time during the busy period and plan your campaigns ahead. Find the programs that work for you, automate your campaign flows and accompany your customers through the marketing funnel for them to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Using the right programs for your business, you will be able to set up automated workflows and plan your Holiday Season strategy ahead. Gavin Laugenie, Digital Strategist at dotmailer, suggests setting up a tailored welcome series because Q4 tends to be the time when new customer acquisition peaks.
Treat your subscribers like individuals – because they are. Not everyone visiting your site will look for the same product or service. The more you know about your customers, the more tailored your messaging can become. You can use different ways of finding out about your customers’ preferences and build more meaningful relationships. Based on their on-site and off-site behaviour, you can segment your audience and deliver automated and enriched personalisation. Jo Burman, Marketing Manager at PureClarity, explains that by combining big data collection and artificial intelligence, you are able to serve the right products and content to the right audiences at the right time.
Target & Personalise
Make your customers feel special, especially during the holiday season. This does not necessarily mean sending them huge volumes of emails addressed to their first name. Based on your segmentation, you will be able to target individual customers with tailored messages at the right time, using communication methods they are most responsive to. Creating an omnichannel strategy, using the media your customers use, is paramount to keep your audience engaged. Email automation, use of social media, site personalisation, site search and abandoned basket are just a few strategies that might help you achieve your Q4 business goals.
Give your customers a reason to stay with you. Don’t be overwhelming – let them have a holiday and re-engage at the right time. As most of your holiday communication will be with first-time buyers, introduce your brand at the right time. The likelihood is that they don’t want to be deluged with marketing communications whilst devouring epic quantities of pigs in blankets or negotiating the price of Mayfair during a Monopoly game because they need to build hotels. Wait until after the peak and use omnichannel strategies to create a holistic view of your brand.
Evaluate your campaigns and test them as they are happening. Today’s omnichannel solutions allow you to set up A/B and multivariate testing within the campaign. You can simply choose to send communication A to 10% of your audience, while communication B will be received another 10%. After the test has been run, the remaining 80% will receive the most successful communication of the two. Test different banner messaging on your website. Use a live stock feed in your email communications and site search and merchandising to create a sense of urgency. Serve alternative content once stocks run out to avoid disappointing customer experiences. Above all, give your customers exciting options during the festive season.