4 Strategies to Boost Your 2020 Holiday Marketing Plan

The way 2020 has gone so far, we can understand why Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen pulled a Times Square prank pretending to end the year early and skip right to 2021. But in the real world, email marketers, like you, are counting on the holiday season more than ever to bring home the revenue in Q4. You can't just copy-and-paste your 2019 holiday playbook, that’s for sure. Consumers have changed their buying habits, and most retail and economic experts predict those changes could last well into 2021, if not permanently. Your business model might have gotten turned upside down and inside out, too. Maybe your budget got slashed to save money, or you lost members on your in-house or agency team. You need a new guide, one that's even more flexible, creative, and efficient to maximize success this year. It's a tall order, especially if you're an email team of one or two now. The news isn't all bad, though. The shift in spend helped digital’s performance as we saw e-commerce soar this year, and it’s currently on track to set worldwide records. These four strategies will help you write a new playbook to claim your share of this growth:

1. Plan for the worst but hope for the best.

That has always been the watchword of any kind of planning, but 2020's "worst" includes some new challenges. Raise your hand if you can't bear to hear someone say "uncertain" or "unprecedented" one more time. But the truth is, you'll have to plan for uncertainty throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021. Your marketing plans must be flexible enough to accommodate everything from a resurgence of COVID-19 and government shutdowns to out-of-stock products resulting from shortages or import restrictions. Lead times, shipping times, consider it all.

Solve for it:

Investigate ways to add dynamic modules you can use to switch in email content that reflects local conditions or last-minute inventory availability. That helps you avoid disappointing customers if stores have to close or your merchandising plans change at the last minute.

2. Unleash your creativity everywhere.

You're probably thinking about the creative content in your emails, or your special holiday themes. But you need to think creatively about every aspect of the customer experience to hang on to your share of the market.

Solve for it:

  • Deliver the goods: Salesforce predicts that demand for doorstep delivery will exceed capacity by 5% this year, but in-store or curbside pickup of digital orders could grow by 90%. If your company offers these services, promote them, along with cash alternatives like contactless payments, in your email campaigns.
  • Go long on loyalty: Your VIPs are a gold mine. Members spend 12% to 18% more and generate rivers of data for personalized campaigns. Try bumping your best customers up a tier or two and see if the extra perks keep them shopping with you instead of bargain-hunting elsewhere.
  • Bundle up for Prime Day: Amazon delayed Prime Day from summer to (possibly) early October, which could pull holiday spending away from November and December. If you can't go head-to-head on price, beat 'em with bundles! Product bundles, that is – two or more complementary products packaged together at an attractive price.
Starbucks got creative as it reopened stores in May. Their friendly email design was both welcoming and reassuring to customers who are concerned about health and safety. The brand found a way to keep the mood light while appropriately addressing the situation. [caption id="attachment_12211" align="aligncenter" width="642"]Starbucks_More_Stores_Open Source: Really Good Emails[/caption] How else could you shake things up, get noticed in the inbox, and help your customers shop successfully?

3. Be mindful of your customers.

Right now, everyone is stressed. People are trying to work, teach, and live from home, and let’s be honest, it’s starting to take its toll. Consumers want to see meaningful messages from brands, and not just be blasted with promotional campaigns.

Solve for it:

Clean up your data and learn about your consumer: Take a deeper dive into your data and segment audiences by engagement and content they’re interested in seeing. Taking the extra step into learning about your customers can go a long way when it comes to converting them into buyers. Airbnb provided relevant messaging via emails to people in specific geographic locations. The brand was mindful that many people are itching to take a little trip after being stuck at home for so long, but Airbnb also realized that its customers may be uncomfortable with air travel. So, they recommended destinations that are closer to home. [caption id="attachment_12212" align="aligncenter" width="522"]Airbnb_Stretch_Your_Imagination Source: Mail Charts[/caption]

4. Smooth out bumps in your workflows.

With so much riding on this next business quarter, your email design, creation, and approval processes should be as fast and error-free as possible to help you manage unexpected changes in direction.

Solve for it:

Use an automated checklist system that optimizes and quality-checks your email campaign from end to end, makes collaboration and approval safe and easy, and speeds up campaign deployment without affecting quality, even on last-minute campaigns. That's the thinking behind Email on Acid's Campaign Precheck. It replaces the time-consuming and error-prone process of manual reviews, giving you more time for strategy and collaboration and less exposure to embarrassing or revenue-wrecking errors.

Remember, we really are all in this together.

We'll be as glad as everyone else to see the last of 2020, but the year had some unexpected bright spots, like brands seeing their customers as people, not just consumers. This new empathy can run like a thread throughout all of your campaign planning to provide a successful holiday season for everyone. What can you do to give your customers the best possible experience with your brand this holiday season? The messages that land in their email inboxes are often much more personal and meaningful than random ads and social media posts. Make sure every email you send gets tested and optimized so you hit the mark and represent your brand in the best way possible.  
Simplify the Email QA Process and Deliver Perfection

What’s the best way to run through your pre-send checklist? With Sinch Email on Acid’s Campaign Precheck, we’ve simplified the process and set everything up for you. Use it to double-check your content, optimize for deliverability, ensure accessibility, and preview how campaigns look on more than 100 of the most popular clients and devices. All before you hit send!

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