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December 22, 2016
Automation  |  4 min read

Post-Season’s Greetings: 5 Ideas for Automated Holiday Follow-Up

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Amy Saunders
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@amyksaunders

After this month, all the gifts will have been unwrapped (and maybe returned). The floor will have more pine needles than the Christmas tree. M&Ms will come in colors other than red and green.

But when the holiday season is over, your holiday marketing efforts should continue for just a little longer.

Over the course of the season, you’ll (hopefully) gain new customers, as well as new leads who haven’t yet purchased from you. With either group, following up after the initial contact is crucial for sales growth: 80 percent of sales are made after the fifth “touch” with the lead, according to InsideSales.com. And once you land a customer, according to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to them again is 60 to 70 percent.

When you automate processes to stay engaged with customers, that follow-up is guaranteed to happen every time. Check out these five ideas for automated post-season’s greetings. 

1. Send a thank-you gift

By the end of the holiday season, consumers have been besieged by countless companies asking for their business. Leave them with a positive impression of your company by sending a post-holiday gift, like a promo code for a discount or a gift certificate to be used toward a future purchase.

With automation software, you can segment your contact list to personalize the same offer for different groups of consumers. Those who haven’t yet purchased from you receive another chance to buy while existing customers are rewarded for their support and loyalty.

A gift for a customer can be a gift for your business, too. Incentives like promo codes can drive sales during what might be a January slump when customers are feeling spent on spending.

2. Show them the shopping cart

During the season, customers load so many shopping carts—both the wheeled and virtual types—that they might simply forget about one they filled online and then abandoned. According to comScore, 40 percent of shoppers store items in shopping carts for safekeeping, and 29 percent continue to shop around before checking out. 

Automation software can put the shopping cart on a timer so that customers receive an email reminder to make their purchases. While it’s wise to follow up on a cart in the initial days after its abandonment, set another timer to trigger an email with a post-holiday message: “I know you’ve been doing a lot of shopping this season, so I wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about this item you left in your cart.”

3. Gain new customers by asking for referrals

If all goes to plan, your holiday sales efforts will result in new fans who would be happy to recommend your company to friends—if only you asked them to do so.

While customers are feeling especially generous this season, send an automated email inviting them to share a referral. To inspire a little more generosity, you might want to offer an incentive, like a promo code for both the referring and referred customer. (Just be sure to ask the new customer to opt into your communications to avoid your emails being marked as spam).

4. Ask customers for feedback on a purchase

All customers have opinions on the products and services they buy, but not everyone is inclined to share it. That might be especially true when purchases are made at holiday time when some are too busy to provide feedback.

After the season, send an automated email to customers who made recent purchases asking them to share their thoughts or complete a survey. Positive or negative, the responses give you the information you need for your next steps with that customer. You might call a dissatisfied customer to see how you can help or recommend additional products to another who’s happy with the purchase. 

5. Ring in the New Year

Whether they’re promises to get healthier, save money or learn a new skill, New Year’s resolutions are efforts to make life better. Tell customers how your business can help them do just that.

Understanding the mindset of your customers is a constant challenge, but it’s a pretty safe bet that many of them will be feeling hopeful and looking ahead as the calendar flips to January. Take advantage of this time by tailoring your marketing messages to the new year, sending automated emails that highlight new products or explain how your business can help customers achieve their goals.

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