Make new holiday subscribers the gift that keeps on giving

As the holiday season approaches, retail marketers can expect a significant spike in email subscribers as consumers scour the Internet in search of gift ideas and bargains. Some will subscribe in hope of receiving a coupon or free shipping code; others will want to be notified of promotions and sales that are still to come.

But what happens to these seasonal subscribers after the holidays? Will they remain engaged with your brand once they've fulfilled their holiday mission, or will they disengage, unsubscribe or become a lapsed customer?

In order to truly understand the long-term value of new holiday email subscribers, it’s important to think about them differently within your overall acquisition strategy. Follow these best practices to help make the most of your holiday subscribers.

Treat holiday subscribers as a unique profile or segment.  The circumstances of a holiday season subscription are unique, so be prepared to treat it that way. Create a unique profile or segment that enables you to customize campaigns to new holiday subscribers. For example, you might want to trigger a holiday-themed welcome message as opposed to your standard welcome greeting.

Reintroduce your brand to holiday subscribers after the holidays. If a consumer subscribes to your email program because they heard about a coupon you are offering, they may not take the time to learn more about the program. In fact, once they’ve used the coupon they may forget all about your brand. Why not follow up with an engagement message that reintroduces them to your program and emphasizes its ongoing value? Now that the pressures of the holidays are over, it’s a better time to get acquainted.

Consider one-off audiences within your holiday subscribers segment. For example, let’s say you are an online jewelry retailer. If you have an audience of new male email subscribers who used a coupon to buy holiday-themed charm bracelets, they are at risk of becoming “one-and-done” customers, and are much more difficult to keep engaged after the holidays. Perhaps you can use other holiday triggers and send them preview offers for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. As long as they believe your program will keep delivering value and, in this case gift ideas for the special women in their life, these one-off subscribers are more likely to remain engaged and profitable to your business.

Don’t be afraid to return the gift if it isn't giving. In other words, one-off subscribers are what they are, so if after 90 days they are no longer engaged in your program, remove them from your list. You can always separate the segment and follow up with them next holiday season. But don’t let these one-and-done purchasers linger on your list and end up costing you more than you profited as lapsed customers in an email list have a cost associated with them. You pay a CPM to send a campaign, and thousands of lapsed addresses weigh on the cumulative cost. Furthermore, they can negatively impact your ISP reputation if you continue sending to them with no engagement.

Following these tips will help ease your holiday hangover when it comes to new subscribers. Of course, first you need to make it through the holidays before its time worry about the hangover!