12 Days of Christmas: The Art of Giving

Posted by Stephanie Colleton on

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of giving someone a gift that they really love. It really supports the saying “‘tis better to give than to receive.” You got it right. You bought something that you knew the recipient would like based on what you know about them: their interests, their sex or age, their behavior or something they’ve told you. Then there are the signs that you’ve missed the mark: the feigned enthusiasm from the recipient, their furtive search for the gift receipt. Oh well, better luck next year.

How do you get that good feeling from your email program? In a similar way, really. You use what you know about your subscribers to give them something that is relevant to them. Give them something that will help keep them organized this holiday season, help them knock gifts off their list one by one, help host a party, make the season magical for the kids or get those holiday cards out earlier this year. Take stock of what you may already know about your subscribers. Subscriber-level data may include:

Past purchase behavior. Look not just at recent behavior but what they bought at this time last year.
Email activity. Opens, clicks, conversions. A different approach or frequency may work with your more active customers than with those who are less active.
Preferences. What interests have they indicated in your preference center? Are you applying the information you’ve collected there to your program?
Demographics. Cross-reference this with past purchase behavior or website activity. A woman of 35 who has only ever bought women’s clothing from you should be receiving different emails from a woman of 35 who has bought women’s clothing from you and children’s clothing. Did she buy children’s clothing once (a gift giver perhaps) or does she buy significant amounts seasonally (a mom stocking up).
Length of time as a subscriber. This can be cross-referenced with activity to identify the subscribers who are most likely to respond.
Website activity. Look at what products your subscribers are browsing online and send them emails featuring those product categories. With so much shopping going on, people may lose track of where they’ve been looking. Abandoned cart reminder emails typically return very strong conversion rates.

We realize that building a complex segmentation tree for this holiday season may not be realistic for many marketers. However, even some targeting is better than just blasting the same offer to everyone on your list. That wouldn’t work for your family and friends and it won’t work well with your subscribers. The benefit to a highly targeted program is mutual. You help your subscribers find the perfect gift and you get the gift of higher response rate. ‘Tis the season.

Previous posts in our 12 Days of Christmas series:
1. Learning from last year
2. Scrooge Isn’t The Only Complainer At Christmas Time!
3. Don’t Stuff the Inbox with Fruitcake
4. Leverage Your Good Reputation with Certification
5. Holiday Fashion Tips for Your Email

We’ve also created a quick tip sheet of the 12 steps you need to take to be more successful this holiday season.

Later this week: Developing Your Inactive Strategy


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About Stephanie Colleton

Stephanie began her digital marketing career 20 years ago with AOL followed by BMG Columbia House. She has been with Return Path for 11 years working with clients to optimize their email marketing programs by leveraging custom consulting and innovative AI solutions. Stephanie is based in New Jersey.

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