A Holiday Ruined by Marketing Automation: A Cautionary Tale

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A Holiday Ruined by Marketing Automation: A Cautionary Tale

Marketing automation is one of the most effective tools to include in your holiday marketing strategy. Yet, if you don’t set up your campaigns properly or you neglect certain steps, your automated marketing campaigns can turn nasty. Many businesses have missed out on opportunities to connect with customers because they missed the boat with their holiday campaigns. Other businesses have even lost customers by doing ineffective or poorly timed holiday campaigns.

We don’t want your holiday ruined by ineffective marketing automation techniques or tools. So we’ve come up with a few of the most important aspects to be aware of when you’re using marketing automation for your holiday campaigns.

Ensure that your holiday campaigns go out on time and stop on time.

Create and follow a strict timeline for your holiday campaigns. Have you ever gotten those rogue holiday emails that show up in your inbox in September? Delete! How about the few late stragglers or repeats that come in around the middle of January? Delete! Holiday campaigns that are sent out too early or too late are almost always ineffective. When you send too early, people are not in the holiday mood. When you send too late, people are sick of holiday messages. Either way, ill timed emails don’t generate much interest or many sales and they also irritate many of the customers who receive them.

When using marketing automation for your holiday campaigns, it is essential to create a strict schedule and set messages to be sent out at very specific times. Review your campaigns from recent years and determine which send times and days get the most opens around the holidays. Schedule separate messages to go out around popular buying days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Once you have created your holiday marketing campaigns, ensure that you schedule your messages to stop sending on a specific date. Once the holidays are over, you don’t want any more messages to go out.

Make sure you have double checked that everything works.

Marketing automation is awesome and efficient. It saves time and effort for your staff. But there is always the possibility for human error and technological error. This is why it is so important to test your holiday marketing campaigns before they go out. It goes without saying that you should check messages for errors, of course. Do a test send to members of your staff. Check that the messages go out correctly at the appropriate time, that all images display and links work, that your landing pages function properly and purchases go through, that responses to messages are properly received and so on.

As your campaigns send and gain responses, keep a close eye on them. If anything does go wrong or if sending is interrupted, you will know right away and can identify and fix the issue. Automated marketing solutions collect and organize all data received from your campaign sends. Check this data frequently to see how your messages are performing and if anything needs to be changed.

Follow through with leads and stay connected with customers.

Around the holidays, things get particularly hectic and crazy. This often means that businesses get overwhelmed and are not able to process all their leads. After someone does make a purchase, the business may be too busy to follow up with the customer and start building a strong relationship to increase repeat business. Marketing automation is perfect for this. Set up your campaigns so leads are automatically nurtured and customers are automatically followed up with.

Use automated tracking software to see which pages leads are visiting and which links they are clicking. This enables you to learn more about their interests. When a lead contacts you with a question or comment, send them an automated email that thanks them and lets them know you will be in touch soon. Include links in the message to your FAQs or helpful videos so leads have somewhere to go while they await your response.

If someone is filling a shopping cart on your site and abandons it, if you have their contact information send them an automated email to regain their interest. Often, people simply forget about the cart, plan to do it at a more convenient time, are hesitant about the price of a product or have a technical issue with the website which prevents them from continuing their shopping. “Hi there, we see that you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for. Here are some related products that may be just what you need to complete your holiday wish list. Please enjoy this 20% off coupon just for being our valued customer! If you have questions about our products and services, please contact us here. If our website is not performing properly or if you are having difficulty completing your order, let our friendly support team know.”

Follow-up support helps pull a customer back in and provides them with information they may need in order to make a purchase. When a customer makes a purchase, have an automated email sent out that confirms that the purchase went through properly and provides relevant information. Effective automated follow-up messages may also include “how did we do” customer surveys that help you gain more information, coupons and other discounts, personalized product lists based on each customer’s unique purchase history, search history and preferences. Sending holiday cards to your customers is also a positive way to use marketing automation.

Include multiple channels in your campaigns.

Do you use other channels besides just email in your holiday marketing campaigns? You should! Consumers are now interacting on more channels than ever before. 39.3% say that Facebook has influenced them to buy a gift for the holidays. Twitter referrals for products have grown by 24% year over year. Most consumers now do holiday shopping on their mobile phones, making SMS marketing a great way to reach them. Social media and SMS need to be included as part of your holiday marketing strategy if you want to reach the most customers.

Social media marketing and SMS marketing are both simple to manage using marketing automation. Social media posting, normally tedious and time-consuming, takes up hardly any time at all when it’s automated. It tracks interaction on social media and interaction with your automated text messages. This enables you to improve your ongoing marketing messages.

Try an all-in-one marketing automation solution.

Some businesses use five or more marketing solutions for their campaigns and customer data! That quickly gets unwieldy and confusing. When you have all the automated marketing tools you need for the holidays in a single solution, you manage it all (including customer data) from one place. This makes the most of your time and marketing budget.

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