Hopefully the air around you is turning crisp and the leaves are falling! The most wonderful time of year is approaching, and I’m here to help you prepare for humongous holiday happiness! Now is the perfect time to organize and segment your email marketing list so you can engage with more shoppers.
Targeted Holiday Email Marketing
You know how movies always show Santa’s workshop at the North Pole filled with adorable elves mass-producing toys? The reason for that is that, unlike Ralphie from A Christmas Story, many kids around the world don’t know what they want for Christmas. So Santa’s elves make a whole bunch of the most popular toys and are then tasked with finding a way to predict which one will be a good fit for each undecided child. To do this, the elves use segmentation to group kids based on certain factors and they make their best guess as to what will appeal to kids with these shared criteria. And, just like elves modeling the behavior of kids receiving toys, you need to predict the behavior of your subscribers to find something that will appeal to them.
So, how can you segment your email list to attain maximum satisfaction this holiday season? I offer these five key criteria to help you achieve optimal email targeting:
Santa wouldn’t deliver a sled to a kid in Florida and, in the same regard, you probably shouldn’t send an email to a recipient on the Gulf Coast depicting a frosty pine tree draped in snow! Segmenting by demographics is the easiest (and therefore most common) form of segmentation. Grouping people by location, gender, or age allows you to target your message better than just simply sending a mass email to all of your subscribers.
But aside from just dictating what type of language or images you use, demographic targeting can also determine what you actually send. For instance, studies show that many women subscribe to email marketing for the sake of receiving promotional offers, whereas most men prefer informational emails over special offers.
While demographic targeting is a great start, it’s certainly not the most effective form of segmentation on its own. Psychographic targeting takes segmentation a step further to group people by much more personal and nuanced details.
In the case of Santa delivering gifts, not every girl is going to be interested in the same gift. So while one girl may really love a new doll, another might prefer a student microscope or a skateboard. In the same way, you should evaluate your subscribers and segment them based on their interests, attitudes, and opinions. You can use information you already have to discern what might interest them — like purchase history, which types of emails they’ve opened, what they’ve clicked on before, where they’ve spent the most time on your site, etc.
If you plan ahead, you can even ask subscribers what they like upfront so that when they come in as a lead, you have a solid picture of how you should market to them. Some companies ask subscribers to select the types of emails they’d like to receive, how often they want to get emails, and which types of products they’re interested in during the sign-up process. If you implement this type of strategy, simplify the sign up process as much as possible as not to discourage people from subscribing.
3. Engagement Level
Throughout the year you should be tracking which of your emails have elicited the highest engagement rates. (I’m sure Santa keeps records about which gifts kids like best… they may be on a parchment scroll, but you know he’s got ‘em!) This way, as the holidays approach, you’ll have a bank of emails that you know have been really successful and you can build off of those. You can learn from these emails what kind of content engages subscribers and segment your list by engagement rates. Recipients that are more active will likely want more frequent communications during the holidays, whereas less active subscribers may want fewer emails. Offering special deals for your most engaged audience is a good way to increase engagement rates.
You can also segment your audience by which types of engagement they lean towards. Some people may be more likely to click-through to a white paper while others are more likely to watch a video or visit your site after receiving a promo code. Just like Santa watching kids year-round to decide if they’ll be on the Naughty List or Nice List, knowing this helps you to segment your list by engagement type. (As an added bonus, tracking engagement metrics also improves your email communications across the board and lets you avoid getting the dreaded “unsubscribe coal” in your email stocking.)
Knowing which subscribers also follow you on social media channels provides yet another option for segmenting by engagement level. Subscribers who sign up for email communications from a company and follow their social channels have a much stronger connection to the company. These subscribers are exactly the audience that you want to go to first with new product arrivals, special sale announcements, and other exclusive content.
4. Relationship Funnel
Santa’s been in the business for a while, so he knows when a child really needs to be wowed with a gift to keep believing (you know, those times when a simple football just won’t cut it anymore). Understanding where your subscribers are in your relationship funnel provides yet another way to segment. New subscribers are probably just looking for whatever was promised to them when they signed up and their expectations for the future aren’t really set yet. However, longtime subscribers have pretty much seen it all at this point – they know which types of content you typically send and what kind of benefits they can hope to reap. Making sure that you don’t let down this more experienced crowd (and finding new ways to engage and delight them) is key to keeping them around for the long term.
5. Acquisition Source
Some children start believing in Santa after watching iconic movies or reading well-crafted storybooks, while others simply saw a mediocre Santa impersonator from afar at a parade or in a shopping mall. These unique starting points create very different expectations of who Santa is and the kind of relationship they’ll have with him as they grow older. Similarly, knowing where a subscriber came from can help you to figure out how to market to them. For instance, a sign-up from a tradeshow will be a very different type of lead than a sign-up from a PPC campaign. Mirroring whatever tactics drew them to your company in the first place not only gives your email marketing a better shot at succeeding with each audience, but it also creates a more consistent brand identity.
Hopefully this post helped give you some awesnowme ideas on how you can segment your list for a more targeted email marketing approach! For a step-by-step tutorial on how to divide up your subscribers into groups, visit our help page on creating a list. And if you’ve missed our previous holiday marketing posts, you can (and should) check them out here: