Essential Email Autoresponders for the Holidays

Man at laptop in front of wall of gift wrapped presents to represent Holiday email autoresponders

As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, you may be asking yourself what – if anything – you need to consider when it comes to your email automation. The autoresponders you have running year-round should get the job done, right?

Are there any “essential” email autoresponders –– or flows, as we call them at Klaviyo – for the holidays?

While planning out targeted content for campaign sending ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is mission critical, there are several key things to consider when it comes to getting your automated email flows ready for the holiday season.

In this post, we’re going to cover simple ways you can improve or expand your email automation ahead of the holidays to get the most out of this lucrative time of year.

Holiday Automation Tip #1: Transform your Welcome Series to maximize engagement and conversions

Great marketing is all about building meaningful connections with your audience. Welcoming new subscribers with emails that shine a light on what makes your brand special is a great way to make good first impression. New subscriber welcome emails also convert at a higher rate than almost any other type of marketing email.

If you have a growing subscriber list, and you don’t yet have a Welcome Series to automatically welcome new signups, you should probably stop reading and get this key autoresponder sending ASAP.

Over the holiday period, a Welcome Series is doing double-duty like no other time of year. Holiday shoppers are unique. Their motivation to buy is stronger, and their window to convert is tighter.

Starting in October, consider making the following strategic adjustments to your standard Welcome Series:

    • New to your business or just new to your list?
      Use a Conditional Split at the start of a Welcome Series based on whether a new subscriber has bought from you before. Consider offering a larger incentive for would-be first time buyers to convert them quickly — holiday shoppers are on a mission, and have less time to get to know you, so give them a reason to act fast!
    • Content is king.
      If you want to really hook new subscribers, go beyond discounting and curate your first welcome email with seasonal content that readers won’t be able to resist clicking. Think: a Holiday Party Guide with shoppable imagery like the William Sonoma example below.
    • If someone hasn’t bought after a week, double down.
      New subscribers that haven’t bought after week likely need an extra push. Use a Conditional Split to send these hold-outs down a special path full of social proof and maybe a special offer. Holidays aside, this is a Welcome Series best practice!

If you simply want to refresh your template style for the holiday season, consider these additional pointers:

  • Keep your products in focus. With holiday subscribers, you have less time to onboard them to your brand. Let your products shine!
  • Exclusivity + incentive = clicks. Let your subject line & preheader text do the talking, and ensure recipients find what they’re looking for above the fold as soon as they open.
  • No offer? No problem. Double down on branding and visual imagery, but at the top of your email make sure you have a clear CTA to start shopping!

Use the slider below to see how William Sonoma transformed their subscriber welcome email from a summer theme to a holiday theme:

Holiday Automation Tip #2: Channel the stress of gift giving with targeted site and cart abandonment sequences

Who doesn’t start to feel the stress of gift giving as summer becomes a distant memory and your inbox starts to fill up with talk of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

For ecommerce marketers, this is the perfect time to capitalize on anxious shoppers that are looking for convincing reasons to click “buy now”.

In November or even early December, consider the following strategies for abandonment sequences:

        • Go all in with Abandoned Carts.
          Break through the indecision by creating a sense of urgency in your cart abandonment emails, along with shiny offers your recipients can’t refuse.
        • Paradox of choice.
          Site and cart abandonment during the holidays means, more than ever, presenting the right content to encourage conversions. Show recipients what they’ve left behind, but also feature best sellers!
        • Add a few extra well-timed follow ups.
          Try extending your abandonment flows to capitalize on the fact that holiday shopping is often a marathon, not a sprint. Only sending 2 emails now? Expand to 4-6 emails where you re-iterate offers and most importantly, keep your products top of mind.

    Just looking for some content inspiration? Here are a few ideas:

        • Scarcity creates urgency, so try using language that evokes this sentiment: “Is your item gone? Check availability…”
        • If someone viewed a lot of pages, appeal to their indecision — if you offer gift cards, consider positioning this option for a Browse Abandonment email: “How about a last minute gift card?”
        • Consider building a handful of focused flows for top categories, and make targeted recommendations: “Still looking for foundation? Try a sample set…”

Holiday Automation Tip #3: Go all in with your “bounce back” post-purchase strategy

A bounce back offer is an offer given to customers immediately upon purchase designed to bring them back to your store at a future date. “Bounce-backs work because they play off of recency…the more recently a customer has purchased from you, the more likely she is to buy again,” says Drew Sanoki of Karmaloop.

Around the holidays you should try to bounce back everyone. Focus on what may bring someone back to buy again during this unique time of year — consider cross-sell opportunities, but also holiday specific offers and gift-giving incentives. In an order confirmation email, consider presenting two buttons asking, “Was this purchase for yourself, or someone else?” and then use that data to Split the rest of your series. Here are a few key ways you can create high impact bounce back emails regardless of your business model:

      • Create a sense of urgency.
        Encourage someone to “hurry back” and, for a limited time, add additional items to their order at a discounted price. Impulse buys and low cost items make for the best bounce back offers.
      • Upsell your subscription or loyalty program.
        Aim to turn holiday shoppers into lifetime customers by giving them a special incentive to join your VIP program or start a subscription that will lock them into continued engagement.
      • Someone left on your list?
        There are always more presents to buy! Give the gift of a good suggestion by sending a gifting guide 7 days post-purchase during the holiday period.
      • Try a bounce-back email with an extra incentive.
        Holiday shoppers are often looking for brands that offer a one-stop-shop for multiple people on their list. They also love personal kickbacks. Give customers a reason to keep spending with you: “You’re almost there, spend $200 more and get a free gift!”

Checkout this gallery of Bounce Back emails that demonstrate a range of the ideas above:

Happy sending!

In this post, we covered several key ways you can inject some holiday spirit into your automated email flows, whether you’re looking to add new triggers or simply refresh your content.

As you think about how you can ramp up your email marketing this holiday season, make sure you remember these three highlighted tips when it comes to your automation strategy:

Holiday Automation Tip #1: Transform your Welcome Series for the holidays to maximize engagement and conversions

Holiday Automation Tip #2: Channel the stress of gift giving with targeted site and cart abandonment sequences

Holiday Automation Tip #3: Go all in with your “bounce back” post-purchase strategy

Questions? Let us know in the comments!

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