Last year, Cyber Monday broke records with $1.25 billion in sales and that record is likely to tumble this year too. Retailers are hot on the heels of the trend: in 2011, email marketing increased 32 percent on Cyber Monday and 23 percent for the rest of the week.
It’s good and bad news for retailers and e-tailers. Even though more people are shopping online, the competition for customers’ attention is fierce, especially in email inboxes.
We asked our in-house email conversion expert Judy Gern how email marketers can stand out this Cyber Monday. Here’s what she told us.
1. ‘Free’ can miss the mark
A great Cyber Monday email marketing campaign starts with the subject line.
Though it’s true that using “free” results in more clicks, it doesn’t always turn those clicks into paying customers. Using “free” can actually hurt a marketing campaign.
“It may sound counter-intuitive but if you are offering something for free (free trial, free gift with purchase, etc.), don’t assume you should use it in your marketing efforts,” Judy says.
2. Tease the deal
One of the best parts about gifts is the expectation of what’s inside. The same goes for emails.
“You don’t have to give away your offer in the subject line to get people to open your email,” Judy says. “Having a bit of a teaser instead can lead to bigger open rates.”
Use a subject line like, “Special savings on SoundsNice stereos just for you!” When you tease the deal, customers want to know what they’ll be missing if they don’t open it.
Check out the 10 most clicked-on subject line keywords from Portent.
3. Send a reminder
Don’t worry about bugging people. A follow-up email jogs memories and improves response rates.
“Your customers want to hear from you, but their inboxes are crowded and they’re busy,” Judy says. “People appreciate reminders about things that are valuable and useful to them.”
(A recent study shows that 40 percent of consumers enjoy getting a large amount of marketing emails from their preferred brands.)
Reminders are especially helpful for offers with an expiration date like Cyber Monday deals. Send a reminder the day before and on the day itself.
4. Syndicate the best content
When it comes to email marketing, it’s not one and done.
Monitor emails to determine their open and conversion rates. Do one or two stand out? Resend them. The first email could have become lost in a full inbox. Besides, most customers and prospects won’t recognize that it’s a duplicate, Judy says.
5. Cross-promote with social media
Increasing the reach of email marketing is good, but beefing the list up with users already interested in the brand is better.
Why not try turning Facebook fans into email subscribers? Before Cyber Monday gets any closer, add an email sign-up form to your Facebook page.
Bonus tip: Stand out from the crowd
A strong subject line gets customers to open emails, but good content and a holiday look will keep their interest.
Our email marketing service iContact has different templates, many holiday-themed, that email marketers can use. In addition to being pretty, the template layouts match the content being sent. For example, an email with information about special promotions, industry news, shopping tips, and other information should use a two-column format.