Developing your holiday list strategy? One of the great holiday marketing mistakes a store can make is to treat your entire subscriber list in the same way, ignoring the signals that can help define which subscribers are ready to buy which products.
Behavior-based segmentation yields dramatic increases in returns by reaching subscribers with the kinds of messaging that they’re most likely to respond to. Defining exactly what those audiences are – and what message will engage them – can be very challenging.
We’re going to look at audiences you should develop, and a content strategy to help you get results from each one.
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Show window shoppers the best offer
The non-purchasing subscriber audience always represents a large slice of your main mailing list. They’ve subscribed, they’ve been interacting with your content, viewing products on the site, but they haven’t taken the big step of actually buying something.
Window shopper criteria example:
- Has viewed 3+ products
- Has no placed orders
- Has viewed product in the last 30 days
- Has viewed products 90+ days ago
Strategies for window shoppers
Be explicit. The content that will drive this segment to purchase should be explicit. You’ve already established the basis for a relationship and interest in your products. To drive purchasing behavior, apply time pressure and emphasize a discount or other offer that will pull people over the line.
One CTA. It also helps to be really clear about what you want the reader to do. Make sure there’s a single clear call to action, so that you can get an accurate read on the response to this offer. When you find an audience that hasn’t converted on the offer you put in front of them, it can be tempting to start trying a variety of different offers at the same time and see what will work But it’s more likely to create a visually overwhelming email that drives people to close rather click.
This example from Pact Clothing demonstrates how simple an email and CTA you can create for this group and achieve high returns.
Advise holiday givers with shopping tips
Some of your holiday shoppers will be people who are just that – people who subscribed as part of buying a gift for a friend or loved one, which is often centered around a holiday or another important event. They might be in your direct audience, or someone who’d buy for themselves. The good news is that the chance of them wanting to buy again is high if you can remind them of that existing relationship.
You can identify these people in your marketing list by looking for people who bought during the past holiday season and not since then, or immediately before another major holiday that suits your audience (Think Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.)
Holiday givers criteria example:
- Member of master newsletter list
- Signed up and bought during past holiday season
- 0 purchases since last holiday season
- Any email open/click activity in the last 180 days
You might also be able to use other data that fits your needs, like if they used “wrap as a gift” functionality at checkout, purchased a gift card, or other data that helps indicate this was a gift purchase.
Strategies for holiday givers
Gift guides. Because these people are less familiar with your brand and may not be in your target audience, the best thing you can offer them is a little help. Create a gift guide for your site, and use it to help position the best products for your audience is a compelling way, which could help an uninformed shopper make the right choice for their recipient. You can position this gift guide in both your email and website content, to help buyers who know they’re looking at the right brand but aren’t sure of the right product.
Encourage your early enthusiasts
For subscribers who have just come over the line as a new customer, it’s a prime time to drive new participation with them.
Early Enthusiasts criteria example
- Member of your master newsletter list
- 1-2 purchases in the last 30 days
- 5+ email opens (assuming 2+ messages/month)
- 2+ email opens more than 60 days ago
Strategies for early enthusiasts
Reviews, referrals, and rewards. Identify how you could drive more participation from this audience by asking them to do something on your behalf in return for something. For example, this is a prime moment to ask them to leave a review, refer a friend, or take another action.
This can be a key moment in making your relationship with them feel less transactional and more like a relationship is developing. Don’t send them another discount just yet, but instead see if you can make a small ask and which of them will respond to it. This can help you build towards a reward or other incentive program that helps them grow more.
Digital Ocean uses this as a key moment to collect information in a regularly quarterly survey, which helps them identify the trends that their customers are most interested in, which can drive their own product development based on actual demand and make sure they’re staying close to trends in the market based on direct customer response.
Identify and develop potential VIPs
Finally, you’ll have your core shoppers – the VIPs who have already purchased from you multiple times and will likely continue to do so. This is a super-valuable audience to develop! A healthy VIP segment can often account for just 5% of your customer base, but 20% or more of your sales.
You can identify these folks by a high volume of orders, or lifetime spending that is several times your average order value.
Potential VIP criteria example:
- 4+ placed orders
- $250+ lifetime spend
Strategies for potential VIPs
Exclusive offers. Try targeting them with an exclusive offer, something you couldn’t offer to your whole list – such as a concierge service or consultation. Or a first look at high-demand products you expect to sell-through quickly, where they’re not eligible for sales or discounting but they get guaranteed access.
Additional offers for low-engagement VIPs.You can also specifically target low-engagement VIPs who might be at risk of churning. The churn risk could be a VIP customers who haven’t placed an order in 2x your normal order interval days for a VIP customer. If this is a substantial audience for you, it would be worth driving additional offers that recognize your relationship with them isn’t in the best shape.
Get ready to segment
The best way to stand out in the deluge of holiday emails and offers hitting your customers is to make your emails personal and relevant. Use your customers’ behaviors and the signals they’re already sending you to make that happen. By creating these holiday email marketing segments and working through a content strategy for each one, you’ll drive more of the right behavior from your customers and seed positive customer relationships for the rest of the year.
Originally published September 25, 2018.