Consistent Messaging During the Holidays

Consistent Messaging

For retailers, the holidays always provide a significant increase in traffic. This period is invaluable for retailers who are conversion testing as more traffic allows for more tests. You can learn so much from your customers during Q4 through A/B testing, but with all of the extra content you’ll have to create, remaining consistent could get tough. So how do you test your messaging while staying consistent in your messaging?

Focus on Themes

To be successful, you should build out all of your email testing campaigns (and landing pages that connect with them) to have a specific theme. Some example themes might be: getting gifts under the tree on time, help customers beat the rush of black Friday, and a more affordable holiday. Ask yourself, “What goal am I trying to help my customers achieve?” Your answer to that is your theme. Be careful not to let your tests swing between multiple objectives. Keep them focused on small variations between that theme.

Make sure you’re not confusing themes with strategies or tactics. For examples, urgency isn’t a theme. It’s your strategy. Getting your gifts under the tree on time is a theme. Under the umbrella of urgency, you have several tactics that you can use. For example, the fear of a disappointed relative or an aversion to spending money. You can A/B test which is the more powerful motivator: fear of Aunt Margaret’s wrath vs. reluctance to spend too much money on Aunt Margaret.

Keep Variations Minimal

When you create your emails and landing pages, create templates that can be modified. Keep it simple enough that you can switch around messaging. A goal might be to only change no more than 20-30 percent of the content on a page between variations.

This part is really important. Don’t just A/B test the email and drop them into the homepage. Make sure that you have variations of your landing pages on your site that coincide with the theme found in your email. Like with the email, keep your adjustments to no more than 20-30 percent of the content between variations.

Keep Themes Minimal

With that in mind, don’t try to do every idea that comes to your head. If revenue is your goal, then do the ones that you believe will have the biggest effect on revenue.

When you’re selecting themes, focus on two or three. One won’t allow you to do enough. Four is probably too many. After all, you won’t run that theme for one set of tests. Let’s say you’re going to send out two emails per month from October through December, and let’s say each of those months has three themes. Each month, that’s six emails. For the holiday season, that’s 18 emails. That’s not an insurmountable task. However, with four themes per month, you’re now up to twenty-four emails for the holiday season. The difference, six emails, is the equivalent of another month of work.

What to do with your learnings.

Holiday learnings teach you a lot about your customers. In this world of throwaway content, your content doesn’t have to be thrown away. These themes could potentially benefit you next year and could apply to other seasonal sales over the course of the year. Make sure you meet with your team after the holidays to review what you learned and brainstorm ways to improve next year while the experience is still fresh.

About Jay Atkinson

The first two things people notice about Jay Atkinson is his unflappable demeanor and his sense of style, which we all call "strongman chic." With a background in omni-channel commerce and brand development, Jay brings over 15 years of experience in graphic design, eCommerce web design, usability, and web technologies. Throughout his career, Jay has focused on eCommerce design and usability, working with clients like Sony, Harley Davidson, Tumi, and many others. Jay now helps Blue Acorn’s clients achieve their goals of presenting a unified brand image and finding continued success across all channels. As a director, Jay leads a team of creative and optimization evangelists to help clients achieve successes based on qualitative and quantitative data and usability.

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