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Email blasts are a great way to drive traffic and sales online and in stores and every year there are lots of events that you can use to reach out to your customers. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Back to School, and if those don’t work for your business, you can even make up a special month to feature your product!

We all have a lot to do every day and it is easy to get lost in the whirlwind of the day to day tasks of running a business so we recommend that all customers create an annual promotion planning calendar to maximize their opportunities around the events. Each event starts with the day of the event and lets merchants work back to allow time for getting the creative elements together and getting the messages out in time for customers to shop and receive their orders before the event.

The general concept applies to any event you are doing with of course a longer run up to Christmas.

1) Timing: Earlier is better.  With a late newsletter you run the risk of people having already made their purchases for this years event. Merchants should send the first alert early so that they are part of the initial gift decision.

2) Create a Series: No one opens every retailer email so send several with different calls to action and subject lines. Send less in the newsletter (1 or 2 messages) but send more newsletters (starting earlier!) each with a benefit for the user. There are more benefits than just a deep discount or sale. One benefit is that you are making sure they get a gift in time for the event! Using Mother’s Day as an example, here is a draft plan for an email campaign

  1. Event Day alert! Send this 3 weeks before the event. This makes sure you are in the decision list for the early shoppers and gives shoppers the ability to order online using less expensive standard shipping.
  2. Top Gifts: 3 ideas at three price points. Limited time to make a purchase
  3. Order by Tomorrow for surface shipping. Free shipping on orders over X$
  4. Express order Deadline tomorrow.
  5. Last minute gifts available in store/ eGift Certificate / Store Gift Card / Shop online, pickup in store.

3) Urgency: If items are on sale, include the sale end date to create a sense of urgency and give people a reason to click. “Shop now for best selection!” also works if you are not promoting a sale or “Lot’s more ideas online and in store!” can drive traffic and reminds shoppers that even if none of the ideas you sent them are really exciting, something great is only a click away. Shipping deadlines are key motivators as well.

4) Scheduling: Experiment with time of day for your messages and monitor open and click through rates at different times of day. If you send your newsletters at the same time every time, they tend to be opened by people that have the same habits, and ignored by other people who have different habits.

5) Beyond the Sale: You aren’t going to convert everyone with every email so use the newsletter and your customers attention to encourage people to follow you on social media. “Follow us on facebook to find out about in-store specials and new arrivals!” (and don’t forget to follow through on that promise!). Also, use it to remind people about product knowledge or other services. You can promote trust builders like guarantees, easy returns, or glowing reviews.

6) Social Reinforcement: Make sure your message is everywhere your shoppers are because not everyone who follows you on social media is opening your newsletters. Use your promotions calendar to follow a series and trickle out the ideas on social media too. These posts can all be scheduled in advance. You can use your FB header image to promote an event too. You can also go for engagement posts around an event like Mother’s Day with pictures of staff who are mom’s, or ask questions like “What do you like most about your mom?” “What is the best thing about being a mom?” Or even “We wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day.”

7) Website: Make sure you update your images and create easy gift guides for an event. Gift shoppers have different habits than people shopping for personal use items so make it easy by providing “Top GIfts” or “Great Gifts Under $50!”

It is easy for new eCommerce merchants to get overwhelmed and reading over this post I recognize that it is a heck of a lot to do however as I tell all my customers, you don’t have to do it all at once and for every special occasion. Create a calendar for the year, choose your best opportunities, and pay attention to the data you get (opens, clicks, conversions, engagements, shares) and above all learn from each and every opportunity.

If you don't have the team to manage all of this in house, consider hiring a web marketing team like ours to help ensure you make the most of every opportunity

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