What immediately comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Maybe it’s a fresh batch of decorated sugar cookies, a breath of holiday classics coming from your car radio, the aroma of cinnamon and pine trees, or the comfort of gathering with friends and family to celebrate the festivities. Aside from these potential thoughts, shopping seems to be the inevitable pastime for most people—the hustle and bustle, the incessant, volumized chatter of mallgoers, and, of course, the sales.
As the greatest retail event of the year draws near, businesses compete for their customers' attention in a crowded market as they search for gifts and deals for their loved ones—and even themselves! How can one differentiate oneself from the crowd, then? Indeed, the holiday shopping season is a great time to attract new customers, but keep in mind the influence your current customer base has. It is less expensive to market to your current customers because they are more likely to make repeat purchases and spend more money with you. In this blog, we will talk about how, as a business owner, you can make the most of holiday promotions from both current and potential customers.
1. Build (or assess) your loyalty program
The loyalty programs that many retailers provide to their enthusiastic customers are what encourage people to take advantage of those holiday sales. In fact, one study found that 81% of shoppers chose certain brands during the 2021 holiday season because they belonged to loyalty programs that offered discounts. Furthermore, according to recent research, half of Americans think loyalty programs are more crucial than ever with rising inflation.
This is the best strategy to use while promoting your loyalty program:
Your customers are rewarded for choosing you over the competition, and you have the chance to market your brand that requires no maintenance. It is clear that both sides will benefit from the extra push in the midst of the busy holiday season.
The breakdown of how it would work is as follows:
Customers enroll in your loyalty program to begin accruing points. Make sure you're gathering email addresses and getting consent to email them at this stage. You add a VIP tier to keep customers interested in coming to your store time and time again by giving them something to aim for in addition to rewards for doing so. This is your chance to create a VIP tier if you don't already have one. Some loyalty programs enable customers to gamify the shopping experience by allowing them to give VIP members additional incentives. They'll be inspired to return and obtain the promotion if the subsequent present they purchase elevates them to VIP level.
Take Sephora’s tiered loyalty program, Beauty Insider, which offers three tiers: Insider, VIB, and Rouge. Every member starts out as an Insider, then once they spend $350 within the year, they become VIP members, and if they spend $1,000 within the year, they graduate to Rouge members. And among the many benefits of being a Rouge member is that they enjoy first access to exclusive discounts and savings. A shopper could be purchasing that rose-colored lipstick their mother-in-law loves while doing some much-needed shopping for themselves, and rank up enough points to become a VIB member in one transaction, motivating them to keep coming again and again.
Additionally, using your loyalty platform, create some promotional emails and send them to your loyalty program members. By doing this, you'll stay in front of customers who have expressed interest in your business.
2. Incentivize shoppers for joining your loyalty program
You won't just be bringing back regular customers over the holiday season; you'll also be welcoming new ones who are looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. You'll have a lot better luck getting them to come back to you after the holidays if you can get them to sign up for your loyalty program. Make sure that when customers sign up, your sales staff are obtaining their email addresses and gaining permission to contact them. By providing new loyalty program members with added rewards, you can encourage them to become frequent customers.
To get them to come back immediately, provide them sufficient points to be eligible for a prize or a discount that may be applied to their subsequent purchase. You could create an automatic sign-up campaign to reduce your workload and that of your employees. Consider increasing the number of points customers earn for signing up as an additional incentive during the holiday season.
3. Stagger your holiday messages
According to one study, 68% of shoppers said they pay closer attention to business emails around the holidays. You should send emails to your customers to inform them of your holiday and Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials if you've been collecting their email addresses through your loyalty program. They aren't simply viewing your emails and SMS messages, though. Because holiday shoppers will unavoidably be flooded with messages from everywhere, you must make sure that yours stands out from the others without being overpowering.
Andrei Vasilescu, CEO and Digital Marketing expert of DontPayFull, argues that an excellent technique when it comes to marketing your loyalty program is to stagger your emails. “Send the first wave of teaser emails with the hints of your upcoming offers to get the attention of your audience. Your second wave of emails will contain your exclusive offers customized for different leads,” says Vasilescu.
Additionally, don't forget to instill a heightened sense of urgency so that when the second email is sent, customers will move quickly. For instance, promoting a discount as a short-term offer will assist draw customers to your business. Offer your VIP customers exclusive deals they might like by using segmented email marketing.
4. Utilize segmentation to maximize the effectiveness of your emails and SMS
It can seem like the most practical choice is to send a standard holiday message. It could, however, also be the least successful. Every customer is unique; thus, their offers would need to reflect this. Even if they are a part of your loyalty program, this is true because what encourages loyalty in one customer may not do so in another.
Segmentation involves breaking up marketing subscribers into smaller groups according to predetermined standards. It's regarded as a fundamental personalization strategy that lets you categorize audiences based on factors like age, gender, location, interests, and more in order to deliver relevant information to your subscribers. In fact, according to one study, segmented and personalized emails contribute to 58% of revenue.
So, why is segmenting emails and SMS beneficial? Let’s explore it more.
Each subscriber is different
A one-size-fits-all strategy won't work because each subscriber has widely different expectations of your brand. When different target groups subscribe to your marketing, they do so with unique objectives in mind, and segmentation enables you to find these objectives. Your segmentation may get more precise as you learn more about your customers. The likelihood that readers will convert increases as you go deeper.
Different phases of the sales cycle
Shoppers will be in various stages of the buying cycle when your message arrives in their inbox, whether it be via email or SMS. To maximize your effect and their experience, you must provide customers with the information they need at each phase of the buying process. You can use segmentation to divide your audience into groups according to where they are in the buyer's journey. For instance, if someone recently joined your marketing list, you should be introducing your brand to them through welcome messages and other content. If they recently made a purchase, you'll need to provide follow-up content to maintain their attention.
You'll get better outcomes when you send segmented marketing thanks to the mentioned advantages. With the right message sent at the right time in the customer's journey, you'll drive sales, sales, and ultimately revenue for your brand.
Customer clicks will increase as your content becomes more relevant. Your marketing reputation will increase as your open rates rise. Sending personalized emails and texts to a segmented database enhances customer engagement. Customers will open and connect with your emails and texts more frequently as they come to anticipate them to be important and interesting.
After discussing the advantages of segmented marketing integration, let's look at some suggestions for customer segmentation for the holiday season.
Customers with high value
The ones who spend the most and shop the most frequently are your high-value customers. These devoted customers appreciate discounts just like everyone else, but they aren't just coming to you for the offers. Invite them to a sneak peek of a new line like a new holiday scent line), a holiday party within the store as a thanks for being a loyal customer, or early access to sale prices.
It comes as no surprise that the holiday season is filled with amazing deals. In light of this, you're probably making a good first impression, but in order to maintain it, make sure to offer these customers their own marketing messages. Sending an automated "thank you" email right away after a customer makes a purchase, followed by another email a few weeks later, is one wonderful approach to stay in touch with new shoppers. However, avoid overwhelming them with messages all the time when trying to reach out to them during the holidays, especially in the days immediately after their visit.
Customers who are at risk and inactive
This category consists of customers who haven't visited your store in at least six to twelve months. To determine whether you can re-engage this audience, offer them your most appealing deals, such as Black Friday discounted prices or Christmas clearance sales, but it’s crucial to remember to not flood them with messages.
5. Craft unique loyalty program promo codes
Given that members of your loyalty program are more likely to be engaged customers, it's likely that they will respond to special holiday promotions more enthusiastically than the general public. Having said that, you want to really think about sending out discount codes created exclusively for your loyalty program members. Utilize these incentives to draw customers back to your shop during the busiest holiday buying times.
To celebrate Free Shipping Day, you could offer them free shipping from your online store, encouraging them to buy the Christmas carousel they've been eyeing to add to their collection of Christmas houses, or a Super Friday discount code valid for one day only, encouraging them to make their last-minute jewelry purchase for their sister-in-law from your store. Looking for that extra boost? Use these exclusive deals to persuade customers to join your loyalty program. Let them know that they receive special rewards in addition to points.
6. Reconnect with customers after the holidays
Shoppers have benefited from your sales by purchasing gifts. Your VIPs have received rewards for their loyalty, new customers have joined your loyalty program, and idle customers have come back through your doors. Make sure to reconnect with people when the holidays are over to reinforce the notion that you're more than just a store for seasonal items and bargains.
If you want to stay on your customers' minds after the holidays, you should send out sales campaigns in January or possibly Valentine's Day emails promoting that delicious heart-shaped dark chocolate bites you’re famous for at your sweet shop. Make sure your time-away campaign is active and possibly configured to last between 60 and 90 days. By doing so, you'll draw in first-timers who missed the opportunity to purchase for the holidays in a timely manner.
Even while a loyalty program and well-timed emails and SMS might improve your holiday performance, doing these things effectively is the only way to do this. Keep your communications relevant and personalized, and add some irresistible incentives for good measure to increase your marketing success this holiday season. Make the most of your message scheduling to ensure that it reaches your subscribers at the ideal time.
Are you prepared to streamline your holiday marketing activities and boost your holiday promotions to attract customers? Loyal-n-Save is the rewards club you’ve been needing to achieve this, helping you with all of your store’s holiday festivities! With the help of our innovative platform, you can increase customer loyalty, encourage new customers to join in the fun, and craft exclusive promotions for your most devoted customers. To discover how to become one of the most popular shopping destinations during this Christmas season, contact one of our specialists today to get you started!
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.