Sending segmented emails for your holiday campaigns

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Curating content is a basic principle of succeeding in engaging with your customer. Just as a great DJ will skip Madonna’s middle years, and a thoughtful pharmacy will put chocolate bars in the tampons section, curation is all about providing valuable content for your viewers - and skipping the rest.

When it comes to writing holiday emails, you should keep this in mind. Around the holiday season, people tend to be looking for gifts for their friends, family, coworkers (and themselves) that are unique, convenient and don’t send them into debt. Delivering curated emails to their inbox can make their lives easier, and your sales go up.

This post is about using the power of segmentation to divide up your email subscriber lists, then creating curated holiday campaigns that resonate with those segments.

Basic Email Segmentation and Examples

Segmentation means pulling up a list of people to email based on characteristics and behaviour you set. You can segment using MailChimp for things like:

  • Ecommerce behaviour (Did they buy something specific that is relevant to gifts? Did they buy around this time of year last year? Did they spend over or under a certain amount?)
  • Location (Where their shipping or billing address is)
  • Other information you may have collected through your checkout process or loyalty programs, such as age, gender, or interests

P.S. Never made a segment before? Here’s how.

Segmentation One: Active vs. Inactive

Your active subscribers are the ones who have opened an email recently. If a subscriber has not opened any emails from you in a while, and you keep sending them emails, you risk being blacklisted as spam. Re-engaging your inactive subscribers can mean separating them out and writing subject lines that talk about coming back. For example “We missed you” or “See what you’ve been missing” wouldn’t be that useful for someone who was on your site three days ago, but might resonate more with someone who hasn’t checked an email in a while.

For your active subscribers, you can instead focus your subject lines and intro paragraphs on what’s happening here and now, and keeping them in the loop.

Segmentation Two: Recency and Open Rates

Similar to the active/inactive divide, you can re-email those who have not opened specific email campaigns yet. If you have a special holiday offer sent to all of your active subscribers, and 15% of them open that email, don’t spam those ones with a repeat of the same thing. For the rest, send them another email at least a day later with a different subject line.

Segmentation Three: Customer type

Send different emails depending on what kind of customer they are.

  • Potential customers have yet to make a purchase. Focus your email content on emotional targeting and building trust in your brand
  • New customers have just made their first purchase. Get them excited about the product they just bought, and give them suggestions about ways to use it and gift it. 
  • Loyal customers are ones who have bought multiple times. Thank them for their business, tell them about the awesome stuff your company has been up to in the last year, and tell them about your latest collections
  • Big spenders are often overlapped with loyal customers, but these are the ones who have made large purchases in the past. Show off product bundles, your high-end collections and emphasise the quality of your products. 

Segmentation Four: Customer Interests

The more you know about what your customers like, the more relevant you can make your emails. Collecting data on this kind of information takes some time, and usually happens from purchase history, loyalty program information, Facebook pixels and information from sales channels. For example, you can make an educated guess that someone who found your company through Instagram is a bit younger and probably likes the visual content you put on that platform - whereas you know very little about someone if they came to you through Amazon.

Start with product history. Because you have connected your MailChimp with your Shopify account, you can create a segment based on purchase history, allowing you to send emails about specific kinds of collections (like menswear or organic products), or product bundles that include a specific purchase.

If you have more information on your customers, such as age, you can tailor the images and wording you use to be relevant to popular culture those groups are likely to relate to (ie are you putting a gif of Bing Crosby in White Christmas, or the Mean Girls Jinglebell Rock dance?). If you know your customer is a student or younger, you should focus on your best deals and gifts for friends. If they are a bit older, perhaps focus on family-related content.

Segmentation Five: Geolocation

You can use customer addresses to target emails based on location. This can be anything from adjusting shipping information to talking about relevant holiday-related events that happen in those places. If a customer feels like they are your neighbour, it’s a win.

Pro Tip: Small group tests

For time-sensitive email campaigns, it’s important to know what makes people open up their email. Segment your subscribers into smaller groups of similar people, send an email with two different subject lines to two groups, and see what the open rate is for each. Whichever one gets a higher open rate should be sent to the rest of your email subscriber list.

Pro Tip: Use pre-built segments with MailChimp

You can use MailChimp’s pre-built segments to guess a customer’s demographic information. Try it out here.

Some Holiday Cheer

It’s That Time of the Year...For Shipping Frenzies

Logistics and shipping companies have their hands full this time of year, because everyone is trying to make sure their last-minute gifts get into their hands before holiday parties and family get-togethers. Remember to put loud and clear in your emails when the last day to order is to ensure a package gets in before Christmas. You can even put the countdown directly in your subject line, or in an eye-popping icon within the email itself.

Santa’s on the phone

If you’re not already caught up to speed, most online shoppers use their mobile devices for at least a part of the shopping process - whether it’s browsing for gifts, sharing ideas or actually making a purchase. You should make sure your email campaigns are fully mobile-friendly.

Rudolph came ‘round twice

Multi-level email segmentation has its risks - mainly that you are either going too narrow, or overlapping multiple emails to the same person and overloading them unintentionally. Developing a strategy and sticking to a calendar will help you reduce these risks.

See some great examples of holiday campaigns here.

Want help coming up with a banging holiday marketing campaign?

We’ve got you. Come chat with us at Elkfox for help with marketing, business development and all things Shopify.