The holidays are over and seemed to fly by more quickly this year than last.  That starts to happen as you get older you know.  I can remember as a kid thinking that Christmas morning would NEVER arrive and now it’s gone in the blink of an eye.  For marketers that means all the careful holiday planning has been executed and it’s time for a much needed break…I don’t think so!

Even before Christmas Day arrives, the holiday season has already started to shift gears from gift-buying to holiday clearance sales, gift card redemptions, upsell opportunities, back in stock notifications and more.  Add to this the fact that you may now have many new subscribers and first time buyers that you’ll need to further engage.  There is still a lot of work that must be done!

Let’s take a look at a few post-holiday email tactics that you’ll want to make sure you are capitalizing on:

Gift Card Redemptions:

One of the most popular post-holiday messaging tactics is to encourage the redemption of gift cards, since your subscribers are quite likely to receive them.  Contrary to popular belief, you really do want your gift card recipients to redeem their gift cards as they often spend above the gift card value.  Gift card recipients are also a ripe crowd for new subscribers and for cultivating loyal brand followers (just be sure to opt them in to your email marketing program!).  While most gift card redemption messages are in the form of secondary banners and messages in headers, Sam’s Club dedicates this whole email to it.

Upsell Opportunities:

Upsell products that compliment gifts that your subscribers likely received. This is a less likely post-holiday tactic, but can be very rewarding.  Post-holiday (and really, after any purchase) is also an opportunity to push accessories and upgrades for gift items.  Personalized triggered campaigns are the best route, but a generic message based on popular gifts could work for a bulk mailing to get gift recipients shopping.  It may be beneficial to also include the original item in the email campaign as well.  In this email Barnes & Noble promotes their Nook app, targeting subscribers who got a new digital device this holiday season.

“Get What You Really Wanted” Sales:

While many after-Christmas sales start before Dec. 25, in the past this messaging has been strongest between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Whether a retailer is holding an “After-Christmas Sale,” “End of Year Liquidation” or “Winter Clearance,” this period is marked by a shift back to consumers buying for themselves rather than others.  In recent years, “Get what you really wanted” has become a major messaging point.  Both types of post-holiday “sales” are a great way to get rid of excess holiday inventory and a great way to capture those consumers looking for deals after a wallet-depleting holiday.

Back in Stock Emails:

Let customers know when your most popular items that sold out over the holidays are back in stock.  You should consider adding a notification module on your website so shoppers can sign up for an email alerting them that the product they want is available for purchase or by using your web analytics to determine which shoppers were interested in sold-out-items.  For the best-selling gifts an email may be sent out to your entire customer base, too.  These emails keep customers happy and buying well after the holidays.

Extend Free Shipping:

Research has proven that abandon cart rates peak after sales volumes peak.  People are still shopping after the holidays but the items they’re adding to their carts are possibly out of stock or shipping rates are too high.  Extending free shipping offers during your post-holiday campaigns can greatly reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.  After all, people are still looking for bargains and high shipping costs are one of the most common reasons that shoppers abandon carts.

Post-Holiday Review:

Learn from all your hard work and compare Holiday 2012 against 2011.  It’s never too early to start to think about how much better Holiday 2013 could be.  Make sure to analyze your best performing emails from all perspectives (highest opened, highest clicked, highest average order value, highest revenue driven, highest contact loss, etc.).  Note the timing, creative, subject lines, and offers in all of these campaigns.  Did you have email campaigns that were shared with social networks and forwarded to friends?

Having a well thought-out holiday and post-holiday campaign strategy is crucial for increasing sales and keeping customers engaged.  Without insight from the previous year’s campaigns, how will you optimize your strategy for the upcoming year?

Emily Keye
Marketing Strategist at Bronto