What do email and retail marketing have in common? Besides looking completely different from what they did a few years ago, both are on the verge of another fundamental transformation.
With 2022 on the horizon, retail marketers will depend on email marketing to achieve their goals and elevate customer experiences even more than they already do. Traditional lines between brick-and-mortar shopping and ecommerce will continue to blur, giving any brand that harnesses the power of dynamic personalization technology a huge advantage in growing audience engagement, loyalty, and conversions.
Especially if you combine tailored content with advanced digital commerce tools to stay ahead of next year’s strategic evolution. Now’s the perfect time to create a winning email strategy — so start by incorporating three key tips that will help you take advantage of tomorrow’s retail trends.
While millions of holiday shoppers were excited to shop in-store for the first time in a few years, a large portion of retail consumers elected to stay at home because they’re still weary about COVID-19 safety protocols. Add in the growing popularity of more customer-friendly fulfillment options like curbside pickup and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and all the trends point to a continued demand for hybrid shopping experiences fueled by email interactions in 2022.
With the support of AI and data-driven tools like live video, localized weather forecasts and customized store locator information, email continues to be a top-performing tool for creating stronger relationships with customers.
A personalized product recommendation is always best. Smart marketers tap into data like browsing history, customer reviews, and click-to-reveal offers to create moments of delight for shoppers. Studies show that personalization can deliver an ROI of $20 or more.
After all, you’ve spent weeks, months, or years collecting data to learn everything about your shopper’s buying habits, brand preferences, and what motivates them to purchase.
A “You Might Like These Items Too” list or a “Complete the Look” promotion is a fun, creative, and — most importantly — effective way to engage your email subscribers to capture customer preference data and make more sales online. Offering dynamic content to these interactions to make your hottest sellers easy to find — or to make finding that new item they didn’t know about five minutes ago a must-have purchase.
Email is even more powerful when you pair it with mobile and social commerce channels. But no two shoppers are the same.
For someone looking to comparison shop safely from home before visiting their favorite store to complete a purchase, a store locator embedded directly into your email experience alongside driving directions, hours of operation, and live inventory level displays, is an engaging way to bridge the gap between in-store and ecommerce experiences.
Meanwhile, others may be looking for a brand that makes it easy to browse and buy from anywhere at any time. Personalized video content, subscriber-sourced social media posts and product reviews, and integrated mobile app download messages are all excellent ways to extend your reach and keep loyal customers connected.
Today’s powerful AI technology gives retailers several mission-critical advantages to know your customer better, and to be where your customers are in real time. Liveclicker makes it easier than ever to enhance your email marketing strategy and work alongside your existing martech platforms and products of choice.
Ready to greet the future and change the game with a winning email strategy in 2022? Check out our latest round of Email Innovators Awards Winners to see how a more engaging email experience is only a few clicks away!
The media and retail worlds have more in common than ever. Between Apple’s iOS 15 privacy updates, impending doom for third-party data cookies, and a headstart to the holiday season, the moral of the story is that similar changes are occurring across both industries.
For members of both marketing crowds, this means audience data is no longer nice to have — it’s a must-have. Today, the value exchange you create with every reader, consumer, and email recipient is what separates your brand and makes your content stand out from the competing noise.
And that’s a huge advantage when it comes to creating stronger reader relationships. Especially if you’re laser-focused on engagement and able to take a page or two out of retail’s top-performing playbooks. After all, these companies have been using low-effort, high-impact email tactics to enhance reader experiences for years!
Exclusive access, more personalized messaging, and interactive email content can make any media or publishing brand’s marketing experiences more satisfying. These tactics can deliver:
What are you waiting for? Level up your email engagement rate and reader relationships now by downloading What Media and Publishing Can Learn from Retail’s Top Performers!
The workhorse of the marketing world—personalized email newsletters—are winning respect again from media brands and publishers that want to expand their subscriber bases and gather more first-party data.
These benefits haven’t changed over the years. What has, however, is the industry’s approach. Today, personalized email newsletters are one of the most effective ways to engage your audience, capture their attention, and deliver unique digital experiences that are personalized for each subscriber.
Are you ready?
In many ways, Morning Brew is the standard-bearer for this new phase of personalized email newsletters across media and publishing. After all, it grew from a single newsletter in 2015 to a household online brand featuring
Soon after, other media and publishing groups like news website Axios began adopting personalized email newsletters focused on general news content, special topics like business, politics, sports, or culture, local news, or some mix of all four.
To win in this new-age, hyper-competitive media environment, publishers will need innovative tools like dynamic content to make personalized email newsletters part of their subscribers’ daily routines.
Done well, dynamic content turns a static email full of manually curated content and hours of work into a perpetual, breaking news click-inspiring machine. Combined with live data feeds and personalized messaging, your brand can even update newsletters between the time you press send and your subscribers click open—making your email experience even easier and more valuable than your website’s homepage.
Personalized email newsletters help media brands expand their audiences—without the need for new content. Using real-time engagement data and audience feedback, you can use the stories you’ve already produced to create even more brand loyalty, affinity, and (ideally) revenue.
They’re also a rich source of first-party data collected straight from the same subscriber base you’re working hard to learn more about every day. Data powers these ongoing interactions—paving the way for deeper, more meaningful email experiences and dynamic content updates down the road.
Want to make email newsletters work for you? Download our What Can Media and Publishing Learn from Retail’s Top Performers Guide for a few fresh ideas you can borrow from ecommerce’s proven, engagement-driven email strategies!
Personalizing a prospective customer’s first visit to your website can give them a memorable customer experience. As long as you don’t cross the line from “Cool, this is what I’m interested in,” to “I’ve never been here before, why do you know so much about me?”
A few well-chosen data points can help you personalize first-time shopper experiences to serve up relevant content. And that’s even before your first-time visitors click around your site, use your search function, or sign up for your emails.
How someone found your website or email program is a data point many marketers overlook. Did they click from an organic search listing, a paid search campaign or an Instagram campaign? Did they opt in from a Facebook or LinkedIn post, find you on Pinterest or opt in at one of your stores?
All of these give you context and first-party data you can use to show first-time visitors copy, images or offers that are relevant to that source. One example: an opt-in invitation tailored to first-time visitors who click to your site from your Instagram page can convert better than a generic pop-up.
Cookie data gives you useful data you can convert into personalized content, even in this era of default cookie-blocking. Help wary users feel more comfortable about enabling cookies—and sharing their first-party data—by showing first-time shoppers what they’ll get in exchange for opting in.
Once your first-time site visitors find your site, your next job is to bring them back. Call on your email messaging program to keep your brand name in front of your customers in the inbox, to give them reasons to come back to your site, and encourage them to buy.
The onboarding or welcome series is your first step in that relationship. After all, it can help you achieve some key marketing goals:
Once again, your acquisition source is a data-driven starting point to personalize first-time shopper experiences—as well as the rest of your onboarding or welcome series messages for other audiences. Using dynamic content, you could send one version of your onboarding journey to subscribers who signed up onsite and another to people who opted in during checkout or when creating an account or registering for an event.
It’s really just good old-fashioned drip marketing, in which you assign customers to different messaging tracks, each with its own set of emails.
A welcome message for a non-purchaser, for example, could deliver an incentive intended to drive a first purchase or invite the newcomer to open an account. Customers who opted in during checkout, however, don’t need that extra discount. Instead, you could promote your mobile app or invite them to follow your social accounts. Later on, circle back after the purchase with a special offer to drive a follow-up purchase.
The preference center should be your gold mine of valuable data to personalize every first-time shopper experience—from web visits to email messages. But all too often we see classic examples of a good idea executed badly.
Sure you want to serve customers a lot of highly relevant, personalized products and services. But do you really want to make customers scroll through a long list of options on your website? That’s a nightmare for time-pressed users, especially if they’re peering at tiny mobile screens.
So, do the work for your customers instead. Ask for data gradually, over several emails. Begin in your onboarding series and then mix in preference-data request emails with your regular promotional campaigns.
The Thrive Market email below matches up a data request with customer interests. Sent as one email in a four-message onboarding series, it begins with a survey invitation. Note how the wording addresses one of the objections to doing surveys: “We promise it won’t take longer than slicing an avocado.”
Then, Thrive Market links directly to 12 different interior sites within its website. Click data on those links reveals their interests without asking for it outright—enabling the brand to drive dynamic content in future messages, too. What better way to make a first impression?
Your VIP treatment can make first-time customers and loyal buyers alike feel special. So special, in fact, that it nets you even more valuable data. The birthday-request email Sephora sends is a great example of this something-for-something value exchange.
One key feature in Sephora’s data-driven email program is the birthday email, which gives customers in its rewards program a gift on their birthdays. The email asking for birthday info generates a wealth of data (as you can see). And all for the price of triggering a sweet little freebie for the recipient.
Besides asking for the user’s birthday, however, this email also collects their personal brand and product preferences indirectly. By giving customers the option to choose their own gift, Sephora can find out which brands they like to shop, or if they prefer products or loyalty points over discounts. All of that data helps Sephora understand its customers better, improve messaging precision, and ultimately create some of the most personalized first-time shopper experiences in retail.
Tailoring email content to reflect web behavior is another best practice, especially with abandoned cart and browse abandonment emails. It can also help you resolve an age-old email question: when (and if) to add an incentive to encourage never-before-seen buyers to finish checking out.
Using dynamic content in combination with email triggers, you can automatically serve a discount or other personalized incentive to first-time buyers. Making them much more likely to buy from your brand—while simultaneously preventing every shopper from scoring a sale price or snagging up all of your deal sweeteners.
After securing a shopper’s first purchase, your next task is to ask for a second purchase. The faster you can bring first-time buyers back to buy again, the sooner they’ll become regular customers. That shortens the next-purchase cycle and decreases churn—a two-for-one winning tactic. The catch: it takes a highly personal shopping experience to do consistently.
If you’re not doing this yet, start small. Blend in personalized recommendations with your regular promotional content in a broadcast email. A “curated for you” approach that uses dynamic content to spotlight products based on each customer’s purchase history is an easy way to boost clicks, conversions, and engagement.
Unfortunately, the common assumption is that email only works for retail and media’s biggest brands. Many owners make the mistake of believing that small business email marketing success isn’t possible—or, at the very least, won’t work as effectively for them.
But that’s not even remotely true!
In fact, many marketers cite email marketing as their most lucrative channel for online engagement. After all, for every dollar your small business invests into email your team creates the potential for ROI of $20 or more. Giving your budget the most bang for its buck—no matter how big or small it may be.
That said, this investment takes time to pay off—and your company expects results now. So, here are four tips to inspire small business email marketing success right away!
Right now, you’re seeing more online traffic from first-time shoppers than any other time of the year. But if you’re not personalizing these engagements based on where new visitors are finding your brand from, you’re leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table.
For example, if you know a user came from a specific paid media campaign, personalizing their shopping experience to incorporate consistent messaging between their onsite, email, and mobile interactions increases their likelihood to convert—as well as your ability to take a running start to new, long-term customer relationships that keep them coming back for future purchases.
Social media channels are another increasingly popular small businesses are using to inspire email marketing success. By incorporating the same influencer, Instagram post, or a social media ad that brought someone to your site into their welcome experience, you create a highly relevant first impression that makes them much more likely to take advantage of future updates, offers, and exclusive opportunities like loyalty program membership.
Combined with a data-driven ESP, first-time shoppers can even be tracked via cookies on your site experience whether they sign up to receive your emails or not. But when they do, all of the collected first-party behavioral data can be used to personalize your messages on a one-to-one scale.
Your email experience should feel like a gift: thoughtful, personalized, and surprisingly delightful. But without an equally impressive CTA, even the most carefully planned interaction isn’t likely to lead to small business email marketing success.
Adding an eye-catching CTA is one of the easiest ways to supplement your spot-on marketing messages and boost campaign conversion rates. So, before you send your next email, here are a few tips for crafting irresistible CTAs that convince your customers to buy:
While ROI is obviously an important metric to help you gauge small business email marketing success, there’s an equally important—yet much less talked about—benchmark to consider: subscriber value.
After all, an accurate estimation of your email subscriber value lets any small business marketing team know how much it costs to acquire an engaged recipient, how much they’re potentially worth, and how many resources you should put into finding and retaining them. Once you have an understanding of these figures, it becomes much easier to make informed decisions about your strategy—and where you can make the biggest impact for the smallest investment possible.
Did you know that ESPs and third-party email services will often change your email’s code as you send messages out? After all, adding tracking pixels, removing unnecessary code that’s likely to get your interactions stuck in the spam filter, and rewriting links are standard ESP practices.
Left unchecked, however, these positive-minded changes can be bad news for your email rendering. Especially when you consider that email clients like Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo!, and Outlook play by their own rules.
For example, these companies make the decision to either enable or block email images by default—creating two very different renderings of your campaign (or more if you create additional personalized versions based on individual user preferences). And if you’re not aware of these issues due to lack of pre-send testing capabilities, you risk losing the impact your campaign could have had because your messages will appear broken to anyone that opens them.
Sure, you could put in hours of extra work testing every email across every browser, email client, and operating system your customers could potentially use. But teaming up with a powerful ESP or email partner is the most effective way to eliminate email rendering issues before they occur. These solutions put robust design tools and testing mechanisms at the tip of your fingers, allowing you to preview your email campaign across any device or ISP with a single click—before you press send.
Plus, many of these email partners will deliver an abundance of responsive, code-free email templates ready to use and email builder tools to automatically optimize your messages. Not to mention access to industry-leading reporting systems that shed light on the real-time strengths and weaknesses of every campaign.
No doubt about it—retail customers love to click and collect. Cleaner stores and more crowd control? Great! Same-day delivery or free expedited shipping? Bring it on!
In all seriousness, a quick ramp up to new ecommerce services and pandemic-friendly fulfillment options helped retailers survive the last 18+ months. But going forward, these same tactics will inspire enough customer loyalty gains to become a standard part of any customer experience—especially for the buyers that didn’t (or couldn’t) make it to your stores in 2021.
No matter how much customers value these added services, however, they can be expensive to run. They also require extra attention and more personnel in order to give customers the immediacy and convenience they expect. This is a major challenge given ongoing staff shortages, especially going into the holiday shopping season.
So, where will the money come from to meet these higher customer expectations? Many retailers, whether they’re exclusively brick-and-mortar, ecommerce-only, or a hybrid operation, are hoping higher retention will cover these added expenses.
While many have refocused attention on personalization and email marketing to help them reach out to their most devoted customers, other, more savvy retail marketing teams are looking at new ways to capitalize on customer loyalty instead.
Customer loyalty, whether measured informally or through a tiered or VIP program engagement level, has always been a key driver for retention. However, retail customer loyalty strategies have shifted markedly since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
According to Clarus Commerce, nearly 70% of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult to maintain today. And while product quality and price still impact customer loyalty in some cases, the picture has become undeniably more complex.
A new kind of customer emerged during the pandemic, which Accenture christened the “Reimagined” shopper based on its 2021 consumer survey. These shoppers are less tied to price and product quality and more concerned that brands understand and respond to their needs, especially during economic or social disruptions.
In fact, Accenture’s study revealed that 57% of consumers would switch retailers if their regular brands don’t meet their expectations for health and safety, protect their data privacy, or align with their personal beliefs.
Customer loyalty programs are a good jumping-off point for building retention because they pay off.
“Top-performing loyalty programs can boost revenue from customers who redeem points by 15% to 25% annually, by increasing either their purchase frequency or basket size or both,” McKinsey reports.
Restructuring your customer loyalty strategy can help you incorporate these new customer expectations in more effective retention programs that don’t prioritize purchases, points, or prizes like the loyalty programs of yesterday.
But you don’t have to turn a loyalty program into a cost center instead of a revenue generator. Anything from a little fine-tuning to a reimagination of rewards, along with a healthy dose of employee empowerment, can turn a minor producer into a customer-retaining powerhouse.
So, don’t wait—take advantage of these 3 customer loyalty strategies now!
1. Go omnichannel
Call on all of your marketing channels to promote offers, notify members about rewards, and collect data you can use later to go deeper into personalized messages. This fits with another customer expectation—a seamless experience no matter which channel they choose to connect with your brand.
Email can remain your loyalty flagship because of its wide reach, personalization potential, and economical distribution. If you need proof, look no further than this noteworthy example from women’s apparel retailer Torrid.
Torrid sends each loyalty program member a detailed monthly statement that shows how much she earned in the last month, how close she is to the next highest rewards tier, and what rewards she can spend now. Giving this brand’s triggered loyalty emails a chance to supplement regular monthly reminders that encourage customers to spend rewards, move into a higher loyalty tier, or take advantage of a limited-time offer it expires.
Cheetah Digital’s Digital Consumer Trend Index 2021 found email outperforms SMS by 92%. But that doesn’t mean SMS can’t (or shouldn’t) still play a key role in your customer loyalty strategy. SMS or push notifications through a branded app can be just as effective as email for alerting VIPs to reward or tier expirations, short-term offers only for VIPs, or even reactivation pings for program members who haven’t purchased lately.
2. Enlist your employees in the loyalty cause
Nobody knows your customers better than your front-line store personnel or customer service specialists. Do they know your loyalty program as well?
Retail workers know how fast a casual mention of an unexpected loyalty perk, VIP discount, or other reward can turn a “just browsing” customer into a first-time buyer. Or appease an unhappy one enough to re-engage with your brand.
But if your employees don’t understand your customer loyalty strategy or can’t access it to suggest purchases that result in rewards, they can’t leverage your efforts to encourage more customers to buy or to redeem their rewards.
Lucky for you, three marketing tactics can turn your employees into loyalty program ambassadors:
3. Think beyond points and discounts
Shoppers certainly are, anyway.
“The heart of loyalty is not merely the cheapest price-point, but a brand that can foster community, recognizes the customer as an individual, and delivers content and product recommendations that reflect this,” according to Cheetah Digital’s Digital Consumer Trend Index 2021 report.
Most loyalty programs reward on purchases, but if customers aren’t in the market for products all the time, this strategy causes your loyalty program to lose value and meaning over time. So, use email to offer incentives or tier points for completing preference profiles, taking short quizzes, submitting personal data like birthday or postal address, or making friends-and-family referrals. That way, you can give your customers something no competitor can deliver or compete with: a highly personalized, engaging email experience.
The ripple effects of the pandemic—staffing shortages, supply disruption, channel-shifting for purchases, and continued economic uncertainty for many consumers—will continue to challenge retailers into 2022 and even beyond.
Building up an effective customer loyalty strategy is a key first step in retention. And not just to persuade them to buy, to buy more, and to buy more often—but also to give you many more ways to show them how much you value them as customers and people. That might be the ultimate tie that binds someone to your brand long-term.
It’s no secret that email marketers are dealing with increased workloads. Today, you’re being asked to do more than ever—and with less time, budget, and team bandwidth too.
Which is why centralized martech solutions are becoming more and more necessary with each passing day. Over the last six months, we’ve seen a nearly 40% increase in the use of API-based integrations among our partners—proving that brand-specific personalization tools are necessary for bridging the industry’s most important knowledge gaps by giving marketers access to their entire suite of integrated third-party platforms, software products, and data feeds from a single location.
With this in mind, we’re excited to announce our direct integration with world-leading brand language optimization technology provider Phrasee. And even more excited to see the brand-specific email experiences you create using this new, seamless combination of your brand’s best-performing content, loyal customer insights, and industry-leading personalization capabilities.
“We have a shared goal of creating a single, user-friendly hub for email marketers to make it easy to access the very best content and capabilities for their campaigns. Together, we offer a better overall service and more robust capabilities, and we’re thrilled to help email marketers integrate intelligent brand content support from Phrasee, easily and all in one place,” said Kenna Hillburn, Chief Operating Officer at Liveclicker.
So, what do you stand to gain from our Phrasee integration? Let’s explore the advantages brand-optimized personalization can deliver your business now!
Personalization is essential for any brand looking to build solid, long-term relationships with its customers. Not only does it help boost engagement, but it also can reduce customer acquisition costs—allowing marketers to focus on increasing the lifetime value of their current customers (a more cost-effective tactic) rather than focusing on engagement-driven audience metrics.
And while email experts are aware of this reality, many still struggle to implement personalization into their existing efforts and into their CTAs in a way that doesn’t sacrifice elements of their brand voice and style. Now is the time for brands to look past standard, non-personalized messaging in favor of personalized experiences that are woven into every step of the customer journey.
Liveclicker’s integration with Phrasee helps you create brand language that turns opens into clicks—and clicks into loyal customers. We make it easy for you to deliver personalized experiences with the right content, at the right time, to the right people—all in your unique brand voice.
Why is this so important? Because studies show that personalized CTAs convert 202% better than default or standard messaging, and 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase that is personalized. Together, we help you increase conversions by creating “brand-centric” copy in less time. And by making it possible to test your email experiences at the moment of engagement, you can be sure your team is always sending the most relevant, impactful content to every recipient.
Take the guesswork out of creating high-converting copy by testing multiple, AI-powered CTAs code-free in just a few clicks. Phrasee’s integration with Liveclicker helps you spend less time stressing over what works by adding proven, brand-optimized CTAs automatically to your live, personalized elements.
This allows you to quickly determine which option(s) are most likely to positively influence your click-through rates and immediately deploy that winning option to the rest of your campaign. That data is then automatically sent back to our system so you can create future CTAs that include the language that customers are not only responding to, but that they’ve come to know, love, and expect from your brand.
Creating and deploying new campaigns just became easier and quicker, particularly for nimble teams who don’t have much time to generate a bunch of new CTAs.
So, whether you want to introduce a new product category or roll out a new seasonal product, our integration makes it easier to automate your brand’s voice, create clear CTAs throughout your personalized experiences, and ultimately make each offer irresistible.
No more subjective squabbles over language or endless hours in the thesaurus. We know that the process of creating and testing multiple email messages can be long, overwhelming, and very subjective. Our integration helps you confirm assumptions based on data so you can stop creating copy that just sounds good and let the data tell you exactly what is good.
We also help you automate the process of adding variants to your personalized elements, A/B testing them, and updating the winning experience immediately so that your campaigns are optimized in real-time for success.
For more information about what our Phrasee integration means for you and email marketers everywhere, click here to check out Liveclicker’s Phrasee partner page. Or, read our press release to learn more.
For any media brand, your biggest competition to hook new holiday readers won’t be another network or news outlet. It’s all those holiday emails filling up your readers’ inboxes.
But don’t close the book on email until after New Year’s Day! Instead, check out these tactics that top retailers use to cut through the clutter, grab readers’ attention, and move engaged subscribers to act.
In other words, you can beat them at their own game. And if you keep reading, we can show you how.
As a media brand, email can connect your audience (and hopefully, a lot of new holiday readers) directly to your latest books, news stories, TV shows, streaming platforms, or subscription models. But a strategically designed newsletter can also move your audiences to your platform permanently—increasing their daily brand interaction and likelihood to buy.
So, instead of waiting for them to discover your content, use a well-timed, personalized email to nudge them into action.
A well-timed email can remind your new holiday readers when and why to tune in now instead of waiting to catch your shows later. Got breaking news? Share it fast in an email bulletin, and track individual engagement and responses to learn which content gets your audience excited.
You can even use the data you’ve collected directly from your readers or viewers to create highly personalized messages featuring dynamic content that looks as if you chose it just for them. This season, don’t be afraid to call on the power of email—and your audience’s propensity for checking their inboxes regularly—to stay in touch, to persuade them to engage with your emails, to reward them for viewing or reading your newest content, and to whip up excitement about new programs and whatever’s coming next.
Publishers will be among the most affected when Google’s plan to kill off third-party cookies in its Chrome browser goes into effect sometime in 2023 (or later if another delay happens). After all, every other browser is likely to emulate that move sooner or later.
Today, media brands are ramping up efforts to collect more first-party data before they’re forced to make any changes due to outside factors. And the email address is both a solid piece of first-party data by itself and the gateway to a reservoir of activity tied to it—from predicted future subscriber engagement levels to preference, interest, and behavior data tied to these unique digital identifiers.
Amidst all this email optimism, however, publishers share a data privacy concern with their retail compatriots.
They’re also figuring out how to grapple with Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature in its iOS 15 update, which masks the open rate in an effort to block the kind of tracking email senders rely on for engagement. (Click here to learn more about these changes and make your email marketing evolution possible.)
Today, one important question remains unanswered: How can publishers create engaging content that helps them attract and retain audiences and stand out in busy inboxes? Our answer: Watch what top retailers do and see which three of the following tactics work best for your brand.
1. Automatically pull live web content into your email messages
The secret to email marketing success in media and publishing is efficiency. And one of the best timesavers you can implement is automatically sharing out the content you post on your website with targeted audience segments who are most interested in it—and therefore the most likely to engage with your emails as a result of this addition.
Your subscribers and hew holiday readers alike will see your news as it happens. Tempting them to click through for the full story on your website. You won’t have to wait for them to discover your content on their own ever again.
You could create dozens of individual email newsletters with bits and pieces of fresh web content—but if you’re in the news business, that’s like writing newspapers one by one or hand-crafting a news broadcast for each viewer. It just doesn’t scale.
And sending one-message-fits-all news updates to everyone in your audience will turn off people who aren’t into what you’re sending. Especially new holiday readers who can find similar content in thousands of other places with a simple Google search.
Dynamic content implemented directly into your email experience through real-time data feeds or web scraping tools is the best way to avoid leaving new holiday readers out in the cold feeling disengaged. By using subscriber or viewer behavior, preference, and interest data to select and load content into designated modules in your email template, you can identify any audience perfect for a targeted campaign and maximize their engagement level through highly relevant messaging.
Bonus 1: If you’re tracking breaking news, trending articles, score updates, or any other dynamic content on your site, your emails will automatically update every time your subscribers open the email with a live scraping tool or data feed’s support—no need to keep sending emails every time something changes.
Bonus 2: Add live video from your event right into new holiday readers’ email experiences. If your subscriber’s browser supports it, they can watch your interactive content right in their message. If not, they’ll see an optimized static image they can click to view on your website.
2. Season static content with 1:1 personalized material
Emails from top retailers often include a mix of general news, like sneak-preview sales announcements, with content based on individual subscriber data from previous web behavior, email activity, or submitted content preferences.
This tactic combines discovery—showing your subscribers something they might not find on their own —with personalized content. And together, these two forces create a feeling of serendipity. The personalization you can offer may not be as obvious as it would be in a transactional email, for example, but it definitely has a more relevant look, feel, and message than a generic news roundup.
You can see this serendipitous mix of static and dynamic content subtly at work in the Food Network’s Recipe of the Day daily email below. Look for modules of dynamic content based on the recipient’s browsing or download history sandwiched between layers of static content.
3. Turn new holiday readers into first-time attendees with live calendar reminders
Remember the old days when you had to park yourself in front of your TV at a specific time to watch the latest episode of “Survivor,” “Blue’s Clues” or “Seinfeld?” If you missed it, you were out of luck until the next broadcast.
Today, streaming and live content have just about destroyed this concept. While it’s good to give your audience viewing options, wouldn’t you like to send them a reminder to tune in at a specific time so they can see your shows roll out in real-time?
A live calendar element helps you build engagement for any exciting event: whether that’s a season-opening TV show, movie premiere, book launch, and or special educational webinar. And by making your invite as easy and engaging as possible to act upon, you increase the chances a new holiday reader becomes a first-time event attendee.
Retailers use calendar invites to remind customers about new-product launches, big sales, store openings and other can’t-miss events. Here’s how it looks in a new-collection drop-date announcement from Tommy Hilfiger:
This year, invite your viewers from the same email you inform them about a new event by introducing “Add to Calendar” buttons and links. That way, subscribers have a one-click process to register for any online experience that’s automatically updated to their calendar app of choice—so when the big day finally arrives, a reminder email can automatically be sent without building, updating, and sending any follow-up messages manually!
4. Count down to the season’s every can’t-miss event
A customized email countdown timer is one of the most versatile retail personalization elements you can use to inject real-time anticipation for any kind of topic, article, or newsworthy event. Use these simple-yet-sophisticated elements to build excitement before an event—or to let new holiday readers know how much time is left before their first invite expires.
On its own, this is a popular tactic among retailers to let customers know how much time they have to shop before a juicy offer ends. But for even greater impact, combine your email countdown timers with any of the dynamic personalization tactics we’ve already covered in this blog.
In this email, Disney combines video and a countdown time to promote its programming for International Friendship Day. Just imagine the urgency and FOMO you can add to any email experience with the simple addition of a timer.
The holidays have arrived earlier than usual this year. It’s weeks before Black Friday, yet retailers are already feeling the usual frenzy of the holiday shopping season.
And if that wasn’t stressful enough, email marketers everywhere are dealing with extra obstacles in Q4: an onslaught of holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges—not to mention the lack of any end to these problems in sight.
For many retail marketing teams, holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges are posing serious threats for any content or product launches months in the making. The good news, however, is that we’re all in this together!
So, here are four ways you can use creative email solutions to eliminate customer frustration, sales friction, and negative experiences this holiday season—no matter how many shipping delays and inventory outages your company may face in Q4 and beyond.
Save your customers, designers, and delivery team from several headaches this holiday season by incorporating live inventory feeds into your email experience. After scraping personalized website content or embedding data feeds that consider recently browsed items, product and brand preferences, purchase history, and more, you’re able to dynamically display the most relevant, engaging promotions across every channel someone interacts with in real-time.
Beyond a more personalized, easy-to-browse shopping experience, leveraging live inventory in your emails means you’ll never need to deal with a broken page link, send a sold out alert, or make a last-minute update to push a different product ever again. Freeing you up to take on bigger, better things than holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges this year.
Customers want to shop, but may not be ready to buy yet for a number of reasons. While holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges may cause a few unforeseen problems, dedicate your Q4 emails to highlighting the positives to drive customer intent through urgency.
If new inventory arrives, for example, mention that it’s first come, first serve and will go fast. If inventory is running low, use a dynamic data feed to highlight the exact number of hot sellers left in stock in combination with urgency-inducing language to close the sale. Then, you can put the fancy decorations on your customer experience by using back-in-stock and pre-order email campaigns to re-engage any disappointed or dissatisfied customers.
When all else fails, promote gift cards and e-gift cards when faced with serious holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges to get more customers back inside your stores. While some may think a gift card is an impersonal email promotion, the reality is a lot of shoppers are uncertain about what they’re going to buy this year. And giving them the option of buying something is always better than not getting a family member, friend, or loved one a gift at all!
You can also send a gift card message with live data feeds and product recommendations to make these messages a little warmer. An embedded email poll is also a fun pairing to highlight the items you do have in stock ready for on-time delivery based on individual customer feedback and preferences submitted.
And if you have physical stores, you can drive shoppers to their closest location using a dynamic map with holiday hours to push store-only offers or gifts with in-store purchase. That way, your loyal holiday shoppers know you’re fully stocked to deliver an exceptional holiday experience.
Transparency is going to be key to your holiday campaign success in 2021. So, let customers know as early as possible when your standard shipping cutoff dates for holiday shopping are with countdown timers and one-click, add-to-calendar event email elements.
If you want to take personalized experiences to the next level, use dynamic tracking mechanisms in your messages to follow each individual shopper’s order and communicate shipping progress as it happens—all from the same email their purchase was confirmed from so customers have one consistent place to check anytime they need a status update or a deliver is running late.
If you’re like many email marketing professionals we know, your day doesn’t end when you clock out. Because that’s when your email side hustle begins!
There’s no denying that communication and email skills are in big demand today. Whether you’re a developer, a copywriter, or a strategist, chances are pretty good that you’re putting your specialized knowledge to work on your own time already—or you’re dreaming about the day when you can turn your email side hustle into a fulfilling, full-time gig.
Plenty of people have made the jump from 9-to-5 worker to self-employed business owner. Especially at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when companies furloughed, cut back, or eliminated their in-house email teams.
In fact, The Census Bureau says a record 4.4 million people started their own businesses in 2020—a 24.3% increase over 2019. Although many email pros turned to freelancing when their jobs disappeared, others took a chance to start something new. To advance their careers by putting their skills to work on the aspects of email marketing they love most.
After all, from specialists and directors to VP-level strategists, companies are turning to outside contractors to plug the skill gaps on their teams. Some as temporary measures, while others are doing so permanently to eliminate the investment a full-time email marketer requires.
Having the right skills and a fierce determination to make your email side hustle succeed are must-have mindsets to make this option viable. Building your business up from the occasional job for friends or family members to a thriving business of steady work takes work, organization, and a good network of connections.
Moving from the security of a regular paycheck into a freelance email marketing career is like bungee jumping. That first step can be terrifying, and you’ll be in for a wild ride. But it can also be the most fun you’ll ever have.
So, if you’re looking for a few tips to help you take that crucial first step, follow these five recommendations to level up your career from moonlighting professional to full-time freelance authority!
You can start a company with nothing but your brainpower, but you’ll need to formalize your business structure to pay taxes properly and protect your business from liability.
In the United States, many solo businesses organize as limited liability companies, or LLCs. The LLC separates the business from your personal assets—hence the term’s “limited liability” designation. If your business fails or someone sues you, your personal assets such as your house and car can’t be attached to settle debts or a lawsuit.
A DBA, or “doing business as,” isn’t a formal business structure like an LLC. Instead, it’s a state filing that publicly declares your business name if it’s different from your personal name. You’ll need it to open a business bank account or to operate your business if you have an LLC with a different name. And, unlike an LLC, a DBA doesn’t offer any liability protection should a worst-case scenario arise.
If you’re a US-based email marketer, check your state’s requirements before you decide how to structure your business, and chat with a tax professional. Legal Zoom can answer basic questions, but always consult an attorney before signing off on an LLC or another business structure.
One last word of advice: Get business insurance. Some companies will require you to file an insurance certificate before starting work, so it’s good to be prepared ahead of time when someone inevitably asks.
Certifications can be more valuable than college degrees or industry awards because they’re impartial measures of your competence on technical platforms or with industry best practices.
The certifications that matter most for starting your successful email side hustle will vary by your area of expertise. If you’re focused on search marketing and optimization, for example, you might need to show Google Analytics or Bing Ads certification even to be considered as a contractor.
If you’re an email specialist, however, consider getting certified in major marketing platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, HubSpot, and Mailchimp. All four offer extensive training courses and certifications at little-to-no cost—making them a perfect option for accelerating the growth of your new business.
Industry associations such as the Digital Marketing Institute and the American Marketing Association even offer joint training and certification. Something that would be suitable for any aspiring professional aiming at strategic consulting or working with big brands beyond the self-guided course offerings and platform-specific training options featured on sites like Udemy and Coursera.
Word-of-mouth is the easiest way to build up your email side hustle’s client stable, but what do you do when you have only a few paying customers? Ask them for referrals. That’s easy to say, but hard to do right.
Pick your references carefully. Start with clients who like you—as in really, really like you and know you well—and ask them to write a testimonial for your website, LinkedIn page, or other public-facing forums. Structure your request so it focuses on the benefit they got from your services—higher revenue, reduced churn, increased conversions, etc.
Also, once you’ve secured their all-important referral, make sure you Include their personal and company names as well as their title for credibility. Explain the type(s) of clients you’re looking for so your referrers don’t send people who aren’t good fits for your services. Also, ask for the referral as soon as you complete the service—don’t wait months to give them a chance to forget about how much you helped.
New freelancers often underprice their services to attract clients. But that’s not sustainable in the long run, for you, your email side hustle’s success, or your fellow freelancers. So, before you sign your first contract and start working on any projects assigned, check these two guides to start your pricing plan:
This HubSpot guide includes rate calculators for several digital marketing guides and handy info on rate variations and fluctuations. Once you get established, look at Freelancer Rates: How to set them and raise them to deal with next-level issues like your “resentment number” (how low you’re willing to go before you start hating the project or the client who’s trying to lowball you).
This is an excellent salary guide for creative and marketing professionals in the U. and Canada because it localizes pay standards by cities, reports on trends, provides salary guides for specific jobs, and lists the hottest jobs and most in-demand skills all in one place. Although it’s skewed toward salaried workers, it’s definitely a helpful resource for any freelancer struggling to set (and defend) their hourly/project rates and fees.
Marketers are particularly sociable creatures. Here are a few places where we hang out:
Once you take that big bungee jump from corporate life to email side hustling and freelancing, it’s hard to look back. As an old US Army slogan once said, “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” All the time and effort you put into getting your business off the ground, finding new clients, and expanding your skills will pay off in the satisfaction of knowing you directly helped a company achieve its email goals. Not to mention—hopefully—a pretty nice check, too.