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How Retailers Can Leverage Email for Mother’s and Father’s Day to Connect with Consumers in an Uncertain Time

Mother’s and Father’s Day are holidays that can surprisingly get overlooked as a major priority by retailers, when in fact, NRF reports that in 2019, the two holidays were expected to reach $41 billion in total sales. Categories such as cards, electronics, jewelry, and housewares can cash in big time if they message towards the right customers.

This year, with COVID-19 impacting so many businesses and consumers, retailers with an online presence have a unique opportunity to connect with consumers to help fill a very real need for consumers. By putting the consumers’ needs first, retailers serve as the connection point to bring friends and families together. With these two holidays right around the corner, it’s time to tighten up your email strategy in advance of the holidays.

How to monopolize on the holidays

1. Identify the opportunity to grow the marketed population size

Some brands limit the number of audiences they mail to based on engagement status alone. However, we’ve seen that by excluding these audiences, brands are missing a large piece of their potential audience and a valuable opportunity to connect with consumers. First, examine your existing segmentation and really analyze who is being excluded and why.  A current retail client recently saw a 135 percent lift in reactivation conversion during a holiday period by including previously excluded audiences.

2. Develop a plan to re-engage users

Reactivation tactics for audience expansion can be used for any holiday and can be extremely successful. For Mother’s and Father’s Day, it can be tweaked based on year-over-year lift. Have certain customers engaged with your brand around these holidays in previous years? If so, they should definitely be included in reactivation tactics this year. If you haven’t had much, or any, engagement with them within the year other than on Mother’s and Father’s Day, this can be a good time to revive your marketing efforts and win back relationships that may have dried. It’s important to work with your deliverability team to ensure that any additional audiences are throttled prior to the main campaign.  By ”warming” the list and throttling audiences based on size and engagement,  brands will be able to maintain deliverability and reputation metrics.

3. Develop a personalized segmentation

Use all your available first-party data for this step in the process. This can allow you to segment based on where your customers are in the buying cycle or play towards how they engaged with Mother’s and Father’s Day last year.

4. Mailed with personalized subject lines, pre-headers and messaging

By adding in subtle hints of personalization, your customers will likely feel valued and acknowledge that you understand where they are in their buying journey.

Merkle has used that same strategy for key moments throughout the year with success. By targeting consumers based on previous purchases, our team has seen a lift in conversion (~3pt – 7pts depending on brand).  The good news is, while multiple creative versions may not be feasible due to resource or functionality constraints, there have been similar results for campaigns that used the same creative and only personalized the subject and pre header.

Lastly, this is a time when many friends and families may not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day together. Make sure that the tone of your message acknowledges the challenges and uncertainty that so many are facing while offering empathy and relevant solutions to help consumers connect with loved ones in a meaningful way.