Pre-Holiday Power-Up: Building Better Subscriber Profiles

I bet you already have your holiday plan all wrapped up, or you’re at least close enough to have the wrapping paper and tape on stand-by. Most marketers focus early holiday planning on campaign and promotional details because they influence almost every detail in marketing efforts and are essential for driving sales. However, there are other factors that can be easily overlooked that can also help shape the success of the busiest time of the year.

Although late summer and early fall are loaded with “Back to School,” Labor Day and Halloween promotional opportunities, consumers have not yet begun to feel the barrage of holiday marketing messages that will soon be overstuffing their inboxes. Take advantage of this preseason calm-before-the-storm to get subscribers excited about the fun festivities and ask them to complete their shopper profiles.

Keeping your brand top-of-mind is important when a buyer is ready to make a purchase, so hinting about what’s to come will help build momentum and anticipation that will ensure they visit your site first. Who hasn’t tried peeling back the tape of a gift to get a glimpse? But you can’t give away all of the holiday fun that lies ahead, right?

Strike a balance between preseason excitement and a sneak peek reveal by sending an email previewing plans for how you will make the holidays special.

Rather than simply telling them how you will make the festive frenzy less chaotic, show your subscribers how the completion of a shopper profile can improve the customer’s experience.  Like batteries for holiday toys, these concepts – a dedicated email for updating a profile and a dedicated email for upcoming holiday fun, are usually sent separately. Create a larger value proposition for your subscriber by combining these efforts to explain how taking the time to update a profile can lead to more customized offers and sales.

Here are a few ways you can connect profile data requests with holiday promotions that will benefit you and your shopper:

Product Categories

Many retailers will overload holiday messages with tons of products, overwhelming the consumer who has hundreds of unread promotional messages in their inbox before they even take a sip of their morning coffee. Ask subscribers to share the product categories they are most interested in shopping during the holidays. Explain that you will send the best deals in these categories to make their holiday shopping easier. You will need to deliver on this promise during the holidays though not in every email. As you consider supplemental content areas such as gift guides or “shop by recipient,” you can dynamically populate products that will get the click-through and have the shopper filling up their cart.

Wish Lists

Your customers may not be ready to buy, but probably have an idea of who and what’s going to be on their shopping list. Build awareness for shopping tools like a wish list and explain how it works. If you have date-triggered reminders, a “print list to shop in store” option, or a way to show related products and collections,  describe these features to give shoppers tools that can help them start to organize their holiday plan. This wish list data can also be leveraged to help customize promotional messages and target the gifts that resonate most with the shopper throughout the season.

Favorite Store

Ask customers to select their favorite store, so they can receive updates about any store-specific information in case any of them hold special events or hours during the season. This provides the ability to populate the store’s data in emails throughout the season and will have a huge pay-off when subscribers are opening messages on mobile devices on Black Friday and during the last-minute in-store push after shipping deadlines expire.

Loyalty Program

Many of your customers will be interested in stepping up their average order value with high-value gifts. Featuring information about loyalty programs gives subscribers a reason to continue shopping your brand, and provides the benefit of reward points for future purchases. The additional data you gain from a loyalty program enrollment will make your segmentation capabilities more powerful during the peak season.

Special Holiday Alerts

Many customers will be on-the-go during the busy season and would love to receive mobile alerts for sale announcements and store events. These alerts give you  another touch point outside of the inbox to keep your customers informed.

Even if you believe you have wrapped up your holiday planning, the reality is that planning is never really done. The holidays are filled with last-minute, high-pressure decisions that can boom-or-bust your bottom line. Building stronger subscriber profiles will help make better informed, more targeted choices to make the season magical for your customer.

Jim Davidson is the Director of Research for Bronto Software

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