Holiday Tip: Capture Email Opt-ins Everywhere

Your database is the backbone of a successful email-marketing program, and there's no better time to build it up than during the holiday shopping season, when hordes of motivated and interested shoppers are coming to your Web site. 

Many of your visitors will be first-time customers who haven't already signed up to receive your promotional emails. Many of them aren't coming to you just from your site's home or landing page. 

This year, more than ever before, your list-growth strategy should include a plan to offer opt-in opportunities to shoppers in every channel where you have a presence. These should be optimized for the advantages as well as the limitations of each channel.  

Following are five key areas to collect opt-ins: 

1. Website: Adding an email sign-up on every page on your site will offer something to shoppers who are interested in your offerings but aren't ready to commit. 

Do you promote email opt-ins in these key locations?

  • Home page in a prominent location (not sandwiched between other content modules, unless your click metrics show that location drives the most traffic to your registration page).
  • Account registration page
  • Blog pages
  • Interior product pages
  • Checkout and transaction confirmation pages
  • Landing pages created for search campaigns

2. Transactional email messages: These highly valued messages are fertile ground for expanding the customer relationship to include email.  Be careful to keep the transaction prominent in the message.

Messages like these are ideal for extending the email relationship:

  • Order or payment confirmations
  • Order status
  • Shipping notices
  • In-stock or out-of-stock updates
  • Customer-service follow-ups

As a best practice, use dynamic content blocks that substitute alternate promotions for existing subscribers.

3. Social presence: Many of your fans, friends and followers might not have visited your official Web site to be exposed to your email program. Promote your email program throughout your social presence:

  • Create a Facebook email tab and opt-in form.
  • Highlight on your Twitter profile page.
  • Regularly highlight the value of your email program via Tweets and your Facebook newsfeed.
  • Use social sign-ins such as Facebook Connect which captures email address and many other data points.

Other promotion outlets:

  • Your own customer forums or networks
  • Your company profile on third-party networks
  • Your blogs

 

4. In-store locations/Mobile opt-ins/Direct mail: Point-of-sale tactics can bring even more shoppers to your opt-in page, but a streamlined registration page might make your email program more mobile-friendly and attractive to people who live on their smartphones: 

  • Add QR codes that link to a simple online registration page to print materials (bags and bag stuffers, print ads, catalogs, store signs and other point-of-sale promotions).
  • Promote SMS to email opt-ins on POS signs or receipts.
  • Offer to email receipts to store customers, and include an opt-in offer.
  • In-store or POS tablets or kiosks allow shoppers to add their names and email addresses to your database.
  • Train call-center reps to capture permission for email promotions.
  • Use Foursquare check-ins and loyalty programs to capture email opt-ins as well as adding to To-Do Lists.
  • If you aren't that high-tech, start with simple opt-in cards at POS.

5. Regular promotional emails: During the holiday season, some of your messages are more likely to be forwarded or shared more often. The following make it easy for those on the receiving end to opt in:

·       A more visible "Subscribe" button

·       More prominent forward-to-a-friend and share-to-social links

·       Standalone email messages designed to be forwarded or shared in social networks

Change Content to Match the Season 

Location is important, but it's not the only factor in your email success.

 

The language you use to promote your email program should always answer the customer's unspoken objection: "What's in it for me?" Highlight the benefits (early notice of sales, special discounts, etc.).

Also, consider updating your promotional copy as the season progresses to appeal to time-pressed or bargain-hunting holiday shoppers.

Have you begun to change up your opt-in content? What's your best opt-in channel during the holidays? Post your comments below. 

Until next time, take it up a notch.  

Tags: email
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