6 Marketing Automations to Put in Place Before the Holidays

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 8, 2019. It’s been updated to reflect the most current data and insights. 

They’re coming. Soon, you’ll see them. A flurry of emails all competing for your attention. 

Month-long Black Friday specials. Friends and family discounts. Deals on shipping. Holiday gift guides galore. The holiday shopping season will soon be here and consumers will increasingly tune into these messages—whether they feel like they’re ready or not. 

Brands are certainly getting ready, though. Many spend the better part of their year preparing for the shopping Super Bowl of the season. And given the challenges 2020 has presented to retailers around the world, the earlier brands start preparing this year, the better. 

Ecommerce-driven sales are projected to reach $1.1 trillion this year, with Cyber Weekend accounting for $51.1 billion. 

In normal years, there’s so much potential revenue your brand can capture during the holiday shopping season. But heading into the 2020 holidays, that’s even more true as consumers continue to stay home and shop safely online. 

Yes, there’s a lot of revenue out there to capture. But there’s also a lot of work to do to make sure your holiday marketing strategy goes off without a hitch. That’s where marketing automation can help. 

New shoppers find your brand all the time thanks to your marketing strategies, but consider all of the new customers who discovered your brand as a result of having to head online due to COVID-19. 

Would they have found your brand otherwise? Maybe. Maybe not. 

Will they continue to shop with you when they can easily return to in-store shopping? Again, maybe. Maybe not. 

Marketing automation can help you scalably introduce your brand to new shoppers, deliver a personalized experience, and help you begin forming a relationship that sustains long after shoppers are ready to regularly hit the stores again. 

Here’s a look at six specific marketing automations you can put in place now, if you haven’t done so already, to help you effortlessly nurture customers as they’re shopping and ensure your brand gets a share of their wallet this year. 

1 | Welcome series

One of the most impactful marketing automations you can put in place is a welcome series

When someone says, “Yes, I want to hear from your brand” and gives you their email address, that’s a crucial moment when you can start developing deeper relationships with these individuals. 

With a welcome series, you can send a set of predetermined emails to your site visitors immediately after they subscribe. You can use your welcome series to provide them with whatever information you think is most relevant as they begin their journey with your brand. 

Here are some examples of useful information at this stage of your relationship with your subscribers: 

  • Introduce your business. Who are you? What do you stand for? What can they expect from you?
  • Suggest products. What are some of the top products you think they might like? What are some featured products that other customers rate highly?
  • Ask questions about their preferences so you can tailor your future content more effectively. Do they like red shirts or blue shirts better? Do they prefer basketball or football? 

No matter the size of your business, a welcome series is an essential marketing automation that can help you start building relationships with your customers. The average welcome email has a 63 percent higher open rate and an 86 percent higher click rate than a traditional email campaign, so they’re an effective way to engage your subscribers.

Looking for more advice on how to set up a welcome series, what triggers to set for the emails, and how to time them appropriately? 

Check out this guide

2 | Abandoned cart series

If you run an ecommerce store, it’s likely that people place products in their carts but never follow through with a purchase. 

It’s normal. People abandon carts for a whole host of reasons.

Some were likely browsing your site while making dinner, but now the pasta pot’s boiling over. Others were doing price comparisons with your competitors’ products. Some were waiting to see if the items they put in their cart went on sale. Others didn’t have a credit card handy and they simply forgot to come back. The list goes on. 

An abandoned cart automation is a series of emails you send to shoppers after they’ve left your site in order to remind them about the items they left behind and entice them into completing their purchase. 

These emails are proven to help brands capture attention and recover potential lost revenue. 

In just three months of using an abandoned cart email series, approximately 3,000 brands recovered more than $60 million in abandoned cart revenue. Curious about how abandoned cart emails perform across various industries? Explore the data.

Determining what kinds of messages you should send with your abandoned cart messages, though, and how many of them you should send so you don’t annoy shoppers can be tricky. This guide can help

Need help setting up your abandoned cart flow? 

Check out this guide

3 | Browse abandonment series

Browse abandonment emails are similar to abandoned cart emails, but they’re specifically for those identifiable shoppers who’ve visited your site, explored some items, but never added anything to their cart before they left your site. 

These shoppers have shown some interest in your products, even though they didn’t specifically take the action of adding them to their cart. A browse abandonment flow is a helpful way to do the same thing you do with your abandoned cart flow—remind shoppers about the things that caught their eye and entice them into making a purchase. 

Like with any of your other emails, it’s a good idea to A/B test your browse abandonment messages. Here are some tips on what to think about as you design your tests. 

Looking for some ideas on how to reach different audiences with your browse abandonment emails and how to set up your flow? 

Check out this guide

4 | Back in stock automation

Many times, the demand for your products is higher than the inventory you’ve planned to have on hand during the holidays—a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. 

Rather than letting those shoppers who were interested in a product go off to find something similar elsewhere, place a form on your website next to the product so they can sign up to get a notification when your product is available again. 

By giving shoppers the opportunity to opt-in to receive notifications when you restock, you can create a back in stock automation to automatically connect with customers who are interested in your products and recover potentially lost revenue once you restock in-demand items.

Looking to learn how to set up a back in stock flow for your store? 

Check out this guide

5 | Post-purchase 

Once shoppers have made a purchase from your brand, how do you keep them engaged, create brand loyalty, and turn them into repeat shoppers? 

A post-purchase flow can help you do just that. And they’re proven to work. 

Data shows these types of emails see higher open rates, click rates, and revenue per recipient than one-off campaigns you may run. 

Post-purchase flows help you segment your customers so you can automatically send them highly relevant messages that are likely to capture their interest. They can also help you entice people to come back to your website, motivate shoppers to make their next purchase, get feedback from your customers, and create a great experience. 

Looking for tips on how to create a post-purchase flow, what types of content to include in these emails, and how to time them appropriately? 

Here are nine helpful resources

6 | Upsell or cross-sell flows

Once someone’s made a purchase on your site, take the opportunity to recommend additional products they might like that are similar to the ones they just purchased. 

Say someone purchased a blue dress shirt from your site. You could use an upsell or cross-sell flow to automatically recommend that same shirt in another color or a pair of pants or a skirt they could wear with their new blue shirt. 

Upsell or cross-sell flows help you automatically suggest relevant companion products to your customers based on their previous purchase behavior. This helps you to personalize the experience your customers receive from your brand and it can also help you drive repeat purchases, as well. 

Curious how you can create an upsell or cross-sell flow for your business? 

Check out this guide

While the holidays themselves aren’t quite here yet, the holiday marketing season will be starting soon. Cyber Weekend will once again happen late in November, leaving fewer days between the popular shopping weekend and the remaining holiday season, so brands will be ramping up their marketing efforts and offering Cyber Weekend-style discounts even earlier this year—especially considering the shipping challenges that are likely to occur this year with so much extra shopping activity happening online. 

Marketing automations like these help you work smarter, not harder during the busiest time of the year. Use these strategies to drive sales, create more personalized experiences for your customers, and use your resources effectively as part of your holiday marketing strategy. 

Looking for more resources to help you have the best Cyber Weekend and holiday season yet? Explore this guide.

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