Summer is in the air. And while it may be difficult to summon images of winter holidays amongst all this sunshine, as retail marketers we must continue our preparations for our strongest holiday promotional campaigns right now. In this post, I’ll identify top data analyses you should conduct now to enhance message strategies throughout the holiday season.
Finding the Perfect Holiday Recipe
In my prior post, I highlighted the importance of the “packaging,” or the creative aspect of your marketing messages – not only to appeal to your recipients, but also to ensure that presentation translates well across devices. Let’s be honest, when it comes to driving customer interest and purchase, the old adage of, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” applies here, too. Remember in my first post of this series when I quoted Dan Ariely’s advice, “It's critical today that marketers think about the context of their customer on the path to purchase … ?” The best way to be contextually relevant is through the examination of your data. What’s the best recipe to follow?
Planning for the Holidays
Part of my family’s holiday tradition is “cookie day,” where we get together in early December to spend the day baking dozens and dozens of cookies to share with loved ones, friends, and neighbors. It’s a laborious day, but we simply can’t imagine the season without our favorite sugar, snowball, and peanut blossom cookies. Each of the three recipes is decidedly different: the sugar cookie recipe uses adorable cookie cutters and hand-crafted cream cheese frosting, the snowballs are little powdered sugar one-bite wonders and the peanut blossoms are topped with warm, gooey Hersey’s Kisses. Over the years, we’ve perfected our methods and narrowed our selection (and ambition) to accommodate the best possible variety and yield to share across our many holiday festivities. To guarantee positive results, we follow heirloom recipes with precision because baking is one of those efforts that demands meticulous adherence and measurement.
Five Ways to Make Sure Santa’s Favorite Cookies are on the Plate
The baked goodies left out and selected by Santa are often hotly debated at my house, with different accounts of what was left on the plate last year and what was gobbled up with no crumbs to be found. Our cookie analysis is a great example of how you can examine your own customer experience from start to finish to help identify opportunities for stronger holiday email strategies resulting in year-over-year improvement. You’ll know your recipe is perfected when you accommodate the best possible variety and yield by conducting the following five analyses for converting customers:
- Examine Last Holiday’s Subject Lines
- What worked and didn’t work to drive opens and the all-important conversions? Why?
- Is there anything you can test now or leading up to Peak that will help guide your holiday messaging efforts?
- Assess traffic driven by both placement and common content elements.
- Which elements of your email template(s) should/will still be intact for 2016?
- What happens between the email click and the possible conversion? Are there any gaps on your website for email traffic? What worked and didn’t work in terms of website content and customer behavior? Perhaps a landing page that was not optimized for mobile or had high bounce rates for email.
- Evaluate email traffic separately from other traffic-driving channels (i.e., paid search, display, and affiliate) as email represents return visitors, and therefore, different behaviors and needs.
- Since you’ll likely increase acquisition spend during the holiday season, understanding the quality and ROI of emails gained from various acquisition sources will help you make smarter decisions around the coming season’s budget allocation.
- Acquiring higher quality email addresses will translate into a healthier overall email database.
- Profiling via 2015 holiday behavior can help to identify groups of people well suited for specifically targeted communications.
- Do you have a large population of early shoppers? Returning gift-givers? Mobile purchasers? If so, how can they be treated differently to address their context and purchase path?
Dust off your 2015 holiday campaign results and align them with goals for Peak 2016. As our analytics guru, Anna Lu, puts it, “During peak and post-holiday recap, marketers tend to focus on topline KPIs – such as YoY comp, revenue forecast versus actual – plus relevant industry stats to understand the macro level picture. Those results are important but they do not offer a complete picture on how to improve for the next year. Now is the time for marketers to turn their attention to deep customer-level behavior analyses and insights for the upcoming season.”
The One Holiday Webinar You Can’t Afford to Miss
Ready to roll up your sleeves? Register for our upcoming webinar, “It’s Never Too Early: Strategies for Planning for a More Effective Holiday Season” on June 28th at 11:30a ET. I’ll share sample recipes for these five analyses and discuss how to put the results into action for a strong 2016 Peak. Register today so you can collect your bag full of holiday goodies.