Making the most of your Black Friday campaign

It’s, therefore, safe to say that getting your Black Friday campaign right is essential.

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a massive shift in Black Friday sales. Traditionally an in-store shopping extravaganza, Black Friday deals are now being scooped up by online shoppers, sparking a clicks vs. bricks war. A whopping $6.2bn was spent online in the US on Black Friday – up 23.6% in 2017.

Consumers are clearly shunning the stores in favor of a more accessible and stress-free way to bag the shopping day’s deals. This presents a tricky challenge to ecommerce brands; while high-street retailers are rewarded with limited rivalry, online stores are fighting in an arena where their voices can be silenced by the sheer size of the competition. Our November send volume is proof that consumers’ inboxes were groaning with messages from brands: 1.6 billion emails were sent from the platform, peaking over the Black Friday weekend.

Shopping day turned shopping week

An extended Black Friday shopping period – sometimes
referred to by retailers as the Black Tag or Cyber Week event – has been a
growing trend over the last couple of years. Have too many brands jumped on the
bandwagon and saturated the market, resulting in a lack of sales on the day
itself?

Michele Dupré from Verizon Enterprise Solutions thinks that
consumers now see Black Friday as a marathon and not a sprint: “Retailers need
to be prepared. Everything used to be built around Black Friday. Now, shopping
starts in early November and continues to December 24. Retailers must keep
consumers engaged throughout.”

And, on that very note, we thought it was about time we checked on some of the big brands to see how they made the most of their Black Friday campaigns.

Trends and findings

A prominent observation from our research was that retailers
see Black Friday as a weekend-long or even week-long event.

None of the brands we looked at restricted discounting to one day. 100% of retailers who participated in the occasion offered a sale for four days or more, however email promos and previews often spanned beyond that period. There were variations on the name of the shopping event, however, most were branded Black Friday, the Black Tag Event, or Cyber Week.

66% of retailers didn’t try and claw back the abandoned cart

Using email to combat cart abandonment was a proven tactic
that was missed by 56% of the brands in our 2018 Hitting the mark report. It
seems as though the retailers have still not realized the huge revenue
potential of cart recovery emails, with 66% of brands we looked at failing to follow
up on the lost sale.

Abandoned cart automations are easily set up and can often
deliver ROI in a matter of weeks, if not days. And with the global shopping
cart abandonment rate sitting at around 75.6%, we’re baffled as to why more
retailers aren’t utilizing this ROI-generating automation.

44% of brands didn’t use email effectively

14 of our sample of 32 retailers didn’t adopt email as a
method to market Black Friday deals, despite 22 of the brands participating in
the promotion. This surprised us considering email delivers the best ROI of all
the marketing channels, with average returns of $44 for every $1 spent.

However, as you’ll see from the next set of stats, there were many brands that had a heavy reliance on email when it came to amplifying shopping day sales.

Consumers received an average of 18 emails a day during the period

We received a total of 130 Black Friday-related emails that arrived before, during and in the final throes of the shopping event. That means over the week-long period, an average of 18 emails landed in our inbox every day.

What we found was that brands tended to use email to tease us with previews in the run-up to the event, then went hard on the day. For the remainder of the event, it was common to receive countdown reminders or category-specific product deals.

Black Friday still reigns in the US

Black Friday has swept its way across the world with
retailers in the UK, France and New Zealand jumping on board. But it seems that
US-based brands are still the ones who go the biggest on Black Friday.

We received a total of 95 emails from US brands, compared to just 27 from UK-based retailers. This isn’t totally surprising seeing as the Black Friday shopping period is tied to Thanksgiving and its origins as the United States’ start of the Christmas season. However, there were some American brands that were quite aggressive in their use of email. For example, Overstock sent us 18 emails over the week but it was Best Buy who smashed that number with a total of 26 emails over the seven-day event, averaging four emails a day.

Noteworthy brands

Easy opportunities to boost sales are still being missed by
companies of all sizes in all sectors. We decided to home in on a few retailers
who performed highly, along with a couple which surprised us. From this, we
hope to inspire you to branch out and try something new for this years’ Black
Friday marketing campaign.

ASOS

ASOS is a global fashion destination for 20-somethings, selling cutting-edge fashion and offering a wide variety of fashion-related content. The brand scooped the top spot in our 2017 Hitting the Mark report, collecting the highest number of points for email marketing compared to the other 99 retailers.

ASOS ranked above the rest for timeliness, its use of
automation and cross-channel promotion. But how did it fare on Black Friday?

The fashion retailer ran a site-wide 20% discount over the four-day period from Black Friday. It was widely promoted via email and as an appropriately themed homepage takeover. What we really liked was that despite offering 20% off all its products, ASOS targeted us with a gender-specific promo email that homed in on a category we’d shown an interest in previously.

ASOS Black Friday event

After browsing the ASOS website, adding something to our
cart and abandoning the site, a few days passed but we received no cart
recovery message. The lack of an abandoned cart email surprised us as the
fashion retailer scored highly for this automation program in our previous study.
One recommendation would be to use the abandoned cart program as a last-ditch
attempt to bag the sale on the last day of the event.

John Lewis

John Lewis is a chain of upmarket department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom. In 2017’s Hitting the Mark, the retailer was crowned the King of Customer Experience, scoring 32 points from a possible 35.

For a well-respected brand like John Lewis, a shopping event
like Black Friday necessitates a careful balancing act of attracting custom yet
without cheapening its name. And no surprises, the department store did it in
admirable style.

The John Lewis homepage tastefully reflected its Black Friday campaign which complemented its existing design. What’s more, the retailer fought back the competition by advertising that it was price matching a close competitor’s promotion.

At the start of the event and on the final day, John Lewis
used on-brand responsive emails to promote its offer and link us off to the
various price-dropped product categories.

John Lewis Black Friday abandoned cart

Finally, we were impressed to see that John Lewis followed up with after a well-designed abandoned cart email to encourage us to complete our purchase. The cart recovery program delivered the email the day after we’d placed the item in our basket. We especially liked John Lewis’s emphasis on free and easy returns if we weren’t happy with the product once it arrived.

Timpson

Timpson is a British retailer specializing in shoe repairs, key cutting, and engraving, as well as dry cleaning and photo processing.

The brand came 96 out of 100 in our main report – did it
improve its tactics for Black Friday?

In short, no. A year and a half on from joining the company’s mailing list – and a couple of months later buying a product – we still hadn’t received a marketing email. Timpson didn’t jump on the Black Friday bandwagon and this was evident from its homepage and website.

Timpson Black Friday homepage

In the 2017 study, Timpson lost points for failing to send a
cart recovery email. We tried again for this Black Friday special, to no avail.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is a leader in the design, marketing, and distribution of premium apparel, homeware, accessories, and fragrances. In our 2017 report, the retailer performed quite poorly, coming in at 86 out of 100. However, we were pleasantly surprised by its efforts on Black Friday.

Understated Black Friday design appeared to be a theme for premium brands. Ralph Lauren named its event ‘Cyber Weekend Deals’ and the style of its website promotion was very much aligned with its typical brand colors.

Ralph Lauren used email to the max during its Black Friday campaign, first offering us exclusive early access to its deals and then catching us with a cart email after ‘forgetting’ to purchase our chosen item.

Notonthehighstreet.com

Notonthehighstreet.com is the leading curated modern marketplace, connecting the best small creative businesses with the world. The brand came up trumps in Hitting the Mark 2017, coming in at joint 11th place – and it didn’t disappoint in our Black Friday review!

We really liked Notonthehighstreet.com’s cute Black Friday homepage banner styled out as a handmade typographic tapestry. Like many other retailers we reviewed, its Black Friday event spanned beyond the day itself.

Notonthehighstreet.com made sure we knew about its Black Friday campaign with an email to wake up to. It was creative and eye-catching with a GIF taking center stage, along with light-hearted copy to encourage us to click.

The Notonthehighstreet.com abandoned cart email was equally original, with witty words and helpful touches in case we were having issues checking out. A perfectly executed Black Friday campaign.

Notonthehighstreet abandoned cart

Key takeaways for 2019

Once an in-store shopping day, Black Friday has successfully
merged with Cyber Monday to become one mammoth event.

Smartphones contribute more than $2bn of the $6.2bn from online sales, so mobile-readiness is essential. We witnessed some great examples of mobile-friendly emails, particularly from John Lewis and ASOS who used optimized templates, images, and copy, plus responsive content blocks.

However, what was jarring was the brands’ lack of use of email marketing automation, namely abandoned cart programs. Overall, there was a lack of personalization and a penchant for one-size-fits-all offers. Using smart segmentation and marketing automation these can be easily avoided.

Implement today

Our advice for this years’ Black Friday campaign would be to focus on key customer segments using Engagement Cloud’s RFM personas. Using these, you’ll be able to differentiate your new customers from your inactive users and loyal shoppers, making it easier to take each segment on a personalized, automated journeys.

For more inspiration, check out our Hitting the mark: Black Friday special report.


Keep reading

The post Making the most of your Black Friday campaign appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Let us take the reins: campaign management hours

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

Email has changed the way we communicate – it empowers us as marketeers to give consumers exactly what they want and when they want it. What’s more, it continues to be the most powerful revenue-generating channel for brands to reach their customers; for every $1 spent on email, $32 are returned.

With more choice comes greater competition in the inbox, and – for email to stay relevant – innovation and transformation are both key. Today, consumers expect brand messages to be contextual, relevant to both their preferences and activity. And, to effectively achieve this seamless journey, it’s essential that you pair the right data with the right messages.

So, why not let our Digital Marketing Specialists provide a fresh perspective on your email marketing strategy? Whether you want to deliver a high-value showstopper, or just looking for interim support on the everyday stuff, we’re in the best position to step in and provide specialist support for great ROI.

Let us work alongside you to:

  1. Streamline your processes
  • We can take the pressure off by managing your daily sends in a convenient way, providing briefs and calendar templates alongside any amends you may require.
  • Let us look at what you’re currently doing and advise on whether we think something could be improved or implemented in a better way.
  1. Offer best practice
  • Are you optimizing your emails with dotmailer’s features? Let us check.
  • Our specialist team can guide you on content*, layout and design to make sure you get the very most out of your sends.
  1. Check your templates
  • Are your templates mobile-optimized? Let us do the hard work and test your templates across all major email clients to ensure your emails have the very best visibility.
  1. Experience our partners
  • We have an incredible range of partners coming up with new ideas and exciting concepts that can transform your email campaigns and enhance their performance; from rich and inspirational content to engagement generation tactics. Whether it be a countdown timer or pulling in a real-time weather forecast into an email, we’ve got you covered.

How do you stack up against other brands in their email marketing? Check out our Hitting the Mark benchmark report – a free download featuring the hottest insights into the email marketing strategy of 100 UK and US brands.

*Please speak to your Account Manager for more information on copywriting services and campaign management hours.

The post Let us take the reins: campaign management hours appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Campaign creation: check ✓

Bookmark this page, because we guarantee you’ll be using this for all your future emails! This guide is your start-to-finish for everything you should be checking when creating a campaign, and won’t make hitting that send button so nerve-racking. So, let’s start….

Your campaign name
Simple, but effective. Giving your campaign a name that makes it easier for you to find and report on is really useful. Try doing it by date, range, season or content… or all. dotmailer has a tagging feature, making it simpler for you to check your stats.

Who’s it from?
Keeping your sending ‘from’ name consistent is more important than you might think, and why? Having a strong from name that’s familiar with your audience will help build trust, familiarity, and help it stand out within your recipients’ inbox.

What’s your message?
Ensure your subject line has relevant messaging. Around 35% of recipients will open your email based on the subject line alone. Keep it strong, use powerful words and aim to keep it to a maximum of 50 characters. Aim to avoid multiple spam phrases and / or words.

DO encourage replies
Set an ‘optional forwarding address’, enabling you to see users’ important responses when they hit reply. dotmailer will aim to filter out any Auto-Replies / Out of Offices / Inbox Full responses.

What should I put in my campaign?

‘View in browser’ links
In the instance that a recipient’s mailbox is unable to load properly, having a ‘view in browser’ link will allow online viewing in their default browser.

Inbox preview text (the pre-header)
This is essentially a sub-heading in the inbox. All clients will pull through the first string of text, so having inbox-preview text at the top left of your email will allow you to not only expand on the content inside your campaign, but will avoid displaying any image and / or URLs when in preview mode.

An unsubscribe link
Unsubscribe links are obligatory by Spam Law – so make sure all of your email campaigns are compliant.

Registered company address
It’s a legal requirement your company name and registered company address are in ALL email marketing campaigns.

ALT tags are key
Most email providers will make you download / click to display images before a user can see the full contents. ALT tags will display the image description, encouraging the user to click to enable. It’s also key for blind users who have a text-to-speech reader, so your ALT (Alternative Text) should be clear.

Company logo
A visibly, prominent company logo within your template will help your brand stick in your customers’ mind.

Social sharing
Encourage social sharing of your campaign to engage and reach a wider audience. Make use of Twitter Web Intents which is incredibly easy to use, and it’ll enable your users to Favorite, Re-Tweet and Reply to a Tweet straight from their inbox.

Clear call-to-actions
Make your CTA stand out. Try split testing your campaigns using various colors, target messaging, actions to take, and alignment.

Text-to-image ratio
Aim to keep this at around the 60/40 ratio. Too many images can mean a large file size, and may get clipped by Gmail. Also, if a receivers’ default settings for images are off, then there will be no clear content for them to see.

Generate a plain-text version
Once you’ve fulfilled the above, and “Save & Continue”, you’ll be able to generate and amend the plain-text version of the campaign. Primary reasons for having a plain-text version is that because HTML emails can display differently from client to client, with plain text you know that what you see is what they’ll see.

Finally, check these off…

Use the Inbox Preview to ensure your email works across browsers and devices
For a small fee, you can do an inbox and spam check for over 50 inbox types. Find out more about inbox and spam testing here.

Does your email make sense without images?
Have someone read your email without images, ensure they can gauge the message and action to take from a text-only format.

Test send and URL check
Send a test to yourself; are you happy with the format? Should more relevant content appear above the fold? Do you understand the message without scrolling? Yes… OK. Now check all your URLs go where they’re meant to go.

Spelling and grammar (in both HTML and Plain Text versions)
You don’t want to be known as the marketer who misspells their communications. Grammatical and/or spelling errors potentially destroy your brand’s reputation and credibility, so check it through Word, a colleague, and step away from it for a while. Then go back and re-read, and then repeat these steps again!

Using dynamic content for personalized fields.
Does your default field have a pre-set value to ensure no blank spaces are displaying once your campaign is launched?

Just before you hit send…
Are all of the details on your campaign summary screen correct? Are you happy? … SEND!

As advised, keep this page bookmarked and after your first few sends this will shortly become second nature to you. You can also get a free copy of our ‘Back to basics email marketing’ cheatsheet.

Thanks for reading, and happy marketing!

The post Campaign creation: check ✓ appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

6 upgrades for your next email campaign

The question to ask yourself is this: are your emails actually getting the response you want? If not, then perhaps it’s time to take a new direction. Check out these six actionable upgrades that you can implement next time you create a campaign.

1. Be clear and define your email’s purpose

Clarity is critical to the success of any email blast. This might not seem like an upgrade, yet you might be surprised at how often businesses fail to clearly define the goals of their emails.

In fact, the name itself—email blast—implies something that doesn’t have a lot of thought behind it. ‘Who am I speaking to?’ is the most important question any marketer should ask themselves before they begin writing an email. If you don’t know who your audience is, it’s almost impossible to create content that’ll resonate with them.

2. Use better images

Staged stock photos just aren’t personal enough in these days of social media marketing. If you’re going to use images in your email blast—and you should—then use something unique; something that shows the personality of your brand and the message you are trying to send.

You can create something yourself, have a professional photographer do it, or leverage user-generated content. If you do use stock photos, try to go beyond the overused ones to find something that feels more real.

3. Make it personal

Firstly, no one wants an email from a no-reply email address; it feels far too impersonal. Ideally, the email should come from a real person in your organization, such as you, your CEO or a member of your customer service team, giving the reader the feeling that they can have a two-way conversation if they wish.

You also want to make the most of the data you have to personalize your emails. You can do basic things like including the subscriber’s name, or you can go much further by tailoring the content of each email to reflect that subscriber’s interests, geographic location, birthday, past purchases, and customer behavior and profile. Customer data is the most powerful tool that will allow you to segment your contacts and deliver meaningful information to them.

4. Make your call-to-action clear

Make it big, make it bold, and make it obvious. No matter what your call-to-action is, you need to get it out there in a very obvious way. Anyone who looks at the email should know what they are supposed to do within a matter of seconds. This is especially important when it comes to those who are viewing emails on mobile devices, because it needs to be easy to tap, too.

5. Send it out at the right day/time

The day and time you send out your email will vary depending on your target audience. For example, stay-at-home parents with small children will have a different best-time than an executive working for a large corporation. This is where dotmailer’s Send Time Optimization tool comes into its own; it remembers when subscribers open their emails and delivers future sends at the times they’re most likely to be read.

6. Promote in-store

If you have a bricks-and-mortar location for your business, you have the perfect way to gather email addresses. You can ask for email addresses at the cash register or you can run an in-store contest or raffle. E-receipts are also becoming more popular and provide a mechanism to collect customers’ email addresses, connecting valuable offline and online purchase data.

These are just a few upgrades you can give your email campaigns to increase their effectiveness and get the results you are looking for. Check out our resources library for heaps of free content downloads that will help you to advance your email marketing.

The post 6 upgrades for your next email campaign appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign

At dotmailer, we love a creative challenge, so when Barbour approached us with their idea for a holiday email campaign, we couldn’t believe our luck; we must have been very good this year!

Barbour and Sons Ltd was founded in 1894, and is synonymous with waxed cotton and country wear, enjoying a reputation for quality and durability. Barbour is sold in over 40 countries worldwide and has over 30 of its own retail stores in the UK, Germany, US and Japan.

The brand also boasts an impressive email marketing initiative. Here’s an awesome statistic: by adding a popover to their website using dotmailer’s surveys and forms tool, the company grew its engaged contact list by 20,000 contacts in just three months! If you subscribe to their list, you’re in for a refreshing treat; the brand is keen to use their email marketing to inspire customers with their collections, rather than send out batch and blast, cut-price campaigns.

We’re ecstatic to announce that our four-year relationship with Barbour has reached new heights of success this holiday season. Working with dotmailer’s talented Creative & Managed Services team, the company has produced a wonderfully dynamic and festive marketing email to accompany their TV holiday campaign: The Snowman and the Snow Dog. Elaine Taylor, Barbour’s Global Ecommerce and Digital Manager, describes why dotmailer was the only choice for the company:

“This year’s Christmas campaign with The Snowman and The Snow Dog is the biggest we have undertaken and we really wanted every element of it to feel special.  We reached out to the guys at dotmailer to see if they could help us launch the holiday campaign with an email that was a little bit magical.”

Based on the famed story The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, the design for Barbour’s nostalgic advert provides a heart-warming sequel; the now grown main character and his dog, both clad in matching Barbour, recall a memorable bygone Christmas in the snow.

Our CMS team got stuck in with the illustrated assets, producing a holiday campaign that perfectly complements its TV counterpart; the design features an animated snowfall header and Snow Dog, an embedded video, and beautifully illustrated CTA blocks.

Elaine continued “We gave them a tight deadline but Brett (our key Account Director) and his team rose to the challenge and came up with some great ideas. The end result was a beautiful animated email designed to work on all devices that captured our theme perfectly. The email campaign went out on time and in the first four days generated a real buzz around the website and on social media.

The result was a real success. The overall campaign has already been seen by 2 million people online, including a whopping 1.2 million users on Facebook – a truly multi-channel achievement for the brand, and a fantastic experience for the dotmailer team.

The expertise, creativity and knowledge that the team at dotmailer brought to the project was fantastic and we wouldn’t have been able to produce something like this without them.”

Check out Barbour’s case study to find out more about the brand’s achievements using dotmailer.

 

 

 

The post A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

We’ve been wowed by Aquascutum’s innovative competition campaign

Here at dotmailer we keep our eyes peeled and our ears sharpened for customers who are doing fantastic things with our platform; it’s great to see companies making use of the tools we’ve created in inventive ways and achieving stellar results, and even better when they involve email! So when we came across Aquascutum’s exciting new competition, we needed to find out more.

Founded in 1851, Aquascutum is an England-based luxury clothing manufacturer and retailer dedicated to fine craftsmanship and technical innovation. It’s no surprise then that, for the launch of its Autumn/Winter 16 accessories range, the brand wanted to switch things up from its usual digital look-book.

Aquascutum wanted to create a competition campaign that would add value, both to its database and to its future designs. The company also wanted to showcase the brand’s creative, and provide a technically impressive alternative to its hashtag incentive campaigns – usually run on social media. dotmailer’s flexible technology provided a great fit for the initiative.

 

Illustration: Miranda Schwartz, Graphic Designer at Aquascutum

 

Aquascutum used dotmailer to its advantage

Customers are asked to find five bags within this busy London street scene, illustrated by Aquascutum’s in-house graphic designer, Miranda Schwartz. They’re then given the opportunity to win one of the bags by providing their name, email, DOB, and then by selecting their favorite bag from the collection.

The team at Aquascutum made use of dotmailer’s EasyEditor functionality in the landing pages tool, where they originally created the competition page. Daniel Bhattacharya, Aquascutum’s E-commerce Executive, then extracted the code so that the page could be hosted on the main website. The brand also used dotmailer to create and send emails to contacts, further promoting the competition.

6% average CTR from email

Without wanting to count chickens here (as the competition is still running!) we’ve been impressed with the results of Aquascutum’s handiwork. Average email CTRs have hit 6%, while average link clicks are up by over 100%. The open rate average has doubled, and views and forwards of the promotional email have increased by 50%.

With metrics like these, it’s clear that Aquascutum’s campaign has caught the attention of its audience.

Boosting relevancy

Aquascutum’s competition initiative has allowed the company to engage its database, gaining crucial information on customers’ ages, genders, and style preferences. This initiative will enable the brand to better segment and target its email campaigns as a result.

Prosumer benefits

Perhaps the most interesting benefit of Aquascutum’s campaign is that it’s been able to collect data about customers’ favorite bag designs as feedback for its design team. Positioning the customer as a prosumer within the lifecycle model is a great way to ensure a healthy and true database, and a revolutionary method to drive customer engagement. We’re impressed!

Aquascutum will be running its Autumn/Winter 16 competition until October 31, 2016. Try your hand to be in with a chance of winning something special!

Aquascutum’s competition initiative provides a positive and engaging alternative to a website popover – a feature with an uncertain future. Read our recent blog post on the subject.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Is a local SEO campaign like a sitcom?

Strong local SEO is no laughing matter, but columnist Jenny Foster discusses how local search campaigns and sitcoms follow a surprisingly similar formula.

The post Is a local SEO campaign like a sitcom? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Setting Local SEO Expectations: 3 Points To Hit Early And Often

When it comes to providing SEO for local businesses, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations. Columnist Jenny Foster discusses three points she likes to drive home with clients to ensure a strong relationship and a smooth campaign.

The post Setting Local SEO Expectations: 3 Points To Hit Early…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google Updates AdWords Android App To Include Video Campaigns

Advertisers can monitor video campaign performance and make bid and budget adjustments.

The post Google Updates AdWords Android App To Include Video Campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com