We’re now more than two weeks into 2018, and while the weather outside may not have changed, the holiday season is firmly in the rear-view mirror. Now what?

During a recent webinar with Bounce Exchange, DEG Senior Relationship Marketing Strategists Jenn Horner and Laura Madden discussed what worked for marketers during the 2017 holiday season and how to effectively “fight the holiday hangover” and retain your holiday acquisitions. Here are the 12 key points that you need to know:

holiday season

1. Post-Purchase Engagement

Brands need to continue engaging with their new customers after the holidays. An excellent way to do this is product recommendations—based on your customer’s holiday purchases, what other products or services might your customer be interested in right now?

Another option for increasing engagement is to capture reviews and referrals. Send an email to remind your customers to review their purchases, or offer discounts for referrals and encourage them to forward your emails to friends or share your posts on social.

2. Onboard Appropriately

Wallets are likely feeling lighter for retail customers, so now is a good time to focus on the benefits of staying engaged with your brand throughout the year. Pulling secondary content and social aspects to the forefront of your marketing efforts can help with your cross-channel acquisition. Now is also an opportune time to review your welcome series emails and make sure they don’t need to be tweaked.

Our email marketing experts can help you capitalize on every moment you have with your customers—here’s how.

People tend to refocus their priorities in January, so including brand mission statements or charity partnerships in Q1 marketing efforts is a good idea.

3. Plan Ahead

People tend to refocus their priorities in January, so including brand mission statements or charity partnerships in Q1 marketing efforts is a good idea.

Also, take a look at your most effective acquisition methods and timeframes from the 2017 holiday season. What kind of follow-up is appropriate, and what should be changed for 2018? For example, if your brand catches the most subscribers during check-out, focus on value content versus sales to start, since those new subscribers just made a purchase.

4. Don’t Sweat the Unsubscribers

Unsubscribes often pick up in January. If someone bought a gift for someone else on your site and doesn’t want to be on your list, that’s ok—it’s likely they would become an inactive subscriber anyway. Consider making it a little easier for people to opt out during Q1 by moving the unsubscribe link to the top of your emails so uninterested subscribers don’t drag down your metrics with inactivity.

Just because a customer doesn’t want you in their inbox doesn’t mean you can’t still reach them. Re-targeting these customers on social channels is a good way to keep them engaged, extend your brand reach, and potentially get them back on your email list at a later date.

holiday season

5. Less is More

Ramp down the number of emails you send from your peak holiday frequency, and make sure you have something to say—a “special announcement coming soon” approach will get your subscribers interested in the next big thing your brand is doing.

6. Use Your Data

Take a hard look at the explicit and inferred data you have—how can you better utilize that data to personalize your email program? Does it make sense to use this data to develop campaigns to confirm your customers’ inferred preferences, or are there data points you can start to segment more?

Already planning for the 2018 holiday season? Let our Holiday Retail eBook be your guide.

7. Automation Audit

When is the last time you looked at your automated campaigns? If it’s been over a year, make it a goal to analyze and refresh each campaign to reduce redundancy for your most loyal customers. Go through every automation, take screenshots of the creative, and look at the timing so you can put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes.

Consider whether or not it would be beneficial to add more automation. A low-friction way to do this could be a “new arrivals” automation to recommend a customer’s next purchase.

8. List Hygiene

Assess your opt-in process based on what you’ve been doing that has or hasn’t been working, and clean out inactive subscribers from your list—a re-engagement campaign is a good place to start.

holiday season

9. Surveys & Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes can help with your customer acquisitions—for example, every Q1 ask your subscribers to update their profiles with more personal information for segmentation and targeting, and offer them the chance to win gift cards or discounts for their efforts. Also, surveys offer customers the opportunity to voice their opinions, which can provide your brand with UGC and increase customer loyalty.

DEG’s award-winning social media team has a history of bringing measurable results to national brands, and we can do the same for you.

10. Cross-Channel Cohesiveness

Having regular cross-channel meetings throughout the year can be incredibly helpful for brands who are looking to consistently and effectively reach their customers on all platforms, and it can help your teams verify that all messages are branded properly and reflect your campaign message. When you’re doing retrospectives on what worked for your email marketing during the holiday season, make sure you’re also looking at numbers from other channels so you can identify strengths and weakness of your holiday marketing strategy.

11. Design

Look at your holiday emails from a usability perspective—how were your customers interacting with your emails? Use insight from data and engagement activities to lead your design going forward, and be sure to test your new designs. Also, consider what’s happening on your website, and make sure all design changes are reflected in all of your channels.

12. Testing

What kind of questions were you asking when you were planning for the 2017 holiday season? Now is a good time to use the data you collected from Q4 to answer those questions and analyze what testing you need to do to make sure you have all the key data points you need for the 2018 holiday season. For example, use A/B testing to test different offer types or subject lines and see what options make your audience respond better.


Let us show you how we can help your company stand out during the holiday season and all year long. Contact us to learn more about what DEG can do for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>