This is a guest post from Molly Horstmann, the Content Marketing Manager at SmarterHQ. SmarterHQ is a leading multi-channel behavioral marketing platform delivering results for the world’s top brands. To learn how SmarterHQ empowers B2C marketers to personalize individual customer interactions in real-time, visit their site, and download their holiday guide for more tactics.


‘Tis the season when every retail marketer scrambles to find a way to cut through the holiday noise and capture consumer attention, while delivering on (or even better, exceeding) their holiday and year-end goals. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone—and you’re reading the right post.

During Cyber Week 2017, the National Retail Federation reported more than 174 million shoppers headed in-store and online to shop. In that five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the average consumer spent $335, with millennials (the biggest spenders of the bunch) averaging $419. With this sort of revenue-driving potential per customer, there’s a lot riding on marketers’ shoulders to make their emails stand out in a never-ending inbox of holiday deals.

And with 78% of millennials saying they will engage with offers that are personalized to their own tastes, personalizing and getting more strategic with your triggered campaigns this holiday season is imperative. So is offering a seamless cross-channel experience—a growing number of consumers are browsing online and buying in-store, and multichannel buyers spent $82 more on average than an online-only purchaser last year.

How do you set your email marketing up for success headed into Cyber Week, throughout the holidays, and into the new year?

Here are 5 ways to step up your triggered campaigns with behavioral marketing this holiday season.


1. Supplement gift guide content with products based on behavior.

Gift guides are the norm this time of year. But instead of sending batch-and-blasts featuring a general list of items “for her, for him, for the fashionista, for baby” like everyone else, enhance your gift guide content with custom groupings of products based on your holiday merch and a customer’s past interactions with your site. Convert gift-givers that are browsing but not yet buying by tapping into their category/browse abandonment behavior to populate a personalized product selection within the email.


2. Re-engage annual shoppers with specific messaging and recommendations.

Some customers only buy from brands during the holidays each year. As you work to hit holiday numbers, these seasonal shoppers can provide a critical boost to your bottom line. Dig into your year-over-year data and deploy tailored messaging to those who engaged with your brand the same time last year to increase the likelihood that they return again. These annual shoppers may also appreciate you remembering their previous business, which would then boost their brand loyalty, too—and turn them into a more frequent customer.


3. Leverage sale mop-ups to reward high-value holiday shoppers.

In the most discount-heavy time of year, ensure your promotions are top-of-mind with your high value customers. One of our favorite ways to do this is through sale “mop-ups”—email campaigns in partnership with sale or promotion with messaging designed to communicate a sense of urgency for consumers to come back to your website to purchase items they interacted heavily with during the event. As holiday promotions come to a close, automatically message customers who have engaged with products that qualify them for a specific deal, and enhance your content with personalized product retargeting.


4. Step up cart and checkout abandonment for seasonal shoppers.

Yes, your standard card and checkout abandonment campaigns could use an upgrade during the holiday season, too. Since customers will be flooded with promos this time of year, lead with your best offer in your first email drip to really help you stand out. Also, hone in on the cause of abandon during the checkout process to then re-target those customers and message them accordingly. For example: Do you see a pattern of shoppers bouncing due to shipping costs? Send an exclusive promo code for free shipping.


5. Convert holiday bargain hunters with price and inventory alerts.

Thanks to Cyber Week, holiday shoppers are trained to expect big deals throughout the holiday season. They may be browsing for the best discount, or waiting to see if prices drop even lower throughout the season. Speed up your average time to conversion by delivering automatic alerts to holiday shoppers when an item they’ve engaged with during the season drops in price or availability, like when something is back in stock.


Plus, a few bonus tips to help you stand out in a hefty holiday inbox:

  • Speed up delivery time of triggered campaigns. One to four hours after the user hits your site seems to be a sweet spot for many of our clients.
  • Spruce up creative to reflect holiday seasonality. (Luckily, MailCharts has you covered with all sorts of inspiration and tips.)
  • Tight on resources? Personalize your batch-and-blasts to make your mass emails more timely and relevant to specific customers’ specific holiday shopping habits.
  • Prioritize the reactivation of disengaged customers during the holidays to drive significant revenue and post-holiday engagement.


The holidays are no time to keep all of your campaigns running as is or send out the same mass marketing messages to everyone. Get moving on these recommendations and get ready to deliver outstanding results this season and beyond.

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