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Overheard at our office last week: “Christmas is 2 ½ months away.” Wait…whaaat?! I bee-lined for my calendar and…yup. October 13th is Columbus Day, a blowout shopping occasion where the e-tail Christmas season begins. And from there on out, the intensity increases for the next three months.

It’s time to prepare, which is why I’ve created this Ultimate Christmas Campaign Planning Guide for ecommerce shops. It will grow your revenue AND profitability. The key is your current customer base.

Did you know? Existing customers are four times more likely to buy from you than potential prospects, and you’ll spend seven times less on marketing and selling. You already have direct access. And you’ve convinced them to buy from you at least once already. It’s easier.

Repeat customers also spend more per order—on average, +33%! They’re typically not price sensitive. They’re the most likely to try (and love) your new products. And they’re the best source of referrals for new customers. Does it get any better?

Repeat customers create profit powerhouses. So let’s bring your current customers back to your online shop for the holidays!

1. Send targeted holiday campaigns using loyalty segmentation

The basis for awesome open, click and conversion-to-order rates is appropriate messaging and content. Each individual customer should be targeted based on their engagement with your business and personal product preferences.

Recency and frequency is a decades-old and highly proven method of loyalty segmentation. Recency means the days since the last ordered that a customer placed. Frequency means the total number of orders that a customer placed with you over all time. These two datapoints are plotted on a grid to create segments. Each one requires a different kind of messaging.

For example:

  • With new customers, say thank you for the recent business, share your story, and offer a welcome gift with a next order.
  • For promising customers that ordered a couple of times, invite them to join your social sites and ask them to give product reviews. Offer free shipping on a next order.
  • Loyal customers should be rewarded somehow, even if it is just giving them thanks again. (Note: Don’t be too liberal with discounts for promising and loyal customer segments, at least in the earlier days leading up to Christmas.)
  • With customers that ordered only a few times and not recently (we call them the “drifting” and “sleeper” segments), think about bold subject lines, unusual calls-to-action and time-limited discounts.

The other important thing to do is include relevant products in your campaigns. Ideally, they are dynamically injected based on the interests of each individual customer. That way every person gets a campaign that is highly appealing to their specific interests.

2. Plan a cohesive campaign strategy from October to January

Your entire plan for all holiday campaigns and most of the content should be ready to go by mid-September. That way you’ll have a complete overview of what you want to do in terms of themes and special offers, and you will deliver a consistent brand experience.

As the holiday crunch gains momentum, you will be very busy dealing with service calls, inventory management, gift wrapping, shipping and a zillion other things. Now is the time to invest in design, writing, and setting up your email campaigns to run automatically. It will spare you from a lot of last minute headaches.

Here is a complete overview of email campaigns to cover the entire three months. You can print out this infographic, below, and use it as a planning guide and hang it on the wall in your office. It looks massive, but you can take care of the heavy-lifting now, and later the entire program can be well-managed with little effort even by a small team.

If you need help, let us know. Our team at RetentionGrid runs programs like these for our customers all the time. Check out our app on the Bigcommerce platform. We’d love to help you. I wish you all a very happy holiday planning season!

The 2014 Ultimate Christmas Campaign Planning Guide [Click for printable PDF]

ultimate christimas ecommerce holiday calendar guide campaign retentiongrid


Leave a Comment
  • StartupSandy

    My pleasure!

  • Jade

    Awesome! Its just an awesome chart. We really badly wanted it to print. Glad you can help. :) Thanks so much.

  • StartupSandy

    Hey Jade, shoot me an email and I will get one to you in the meantime until BC can add the printable version:

  • Jade

    This is lovely but you can’t print that chart! Its made to fit one page and it prints out tiny! what can I do to get it to print on various pages? Thanks.

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