The average ecommerce store sends 15.21 emails over the holiday season. For customers, that number adds up fast. Even if someone subscribes to just five different lists, they’d get roughly 76 individual emails in just over 30 days.
Despite the significant percentage of sales driven by Black Friday, Cyber Monday email marketing — 27% — all those promotions weaken performance. A depressing 0.14% of emails convert on Cyber Weekend.
The hard truth is that more emails don’t guarantee more sales.
In fact, the revenue per email sent is 4x higher on an average day than for Black Friday, Cyber Monday emails.
Ouch. It’s the most important weekend of the year … and your email performance is more likely to be lower than usual.
So, how can ecommerce retailers improve open rates and, more importantly, increase revenue on this top-selling weekend? By getting strategic with email segments.
First things first. Segmentation means splitting your master list into groups of people with common characteristics. When you have a clear picture of exactly who you’re sending to, you can make sure your marketing strategy and content are both tailored to get the best performance out of that group.
In other words, the sum of the parts equals more than the whole when it comes to your email subscribers. Slicing and dicing your list into finely tuned segments that are targeted to interested shoppers perform better than traditional batch-and-blast emails.
At Klayvio, we looked at the emails that approximately 1,000 U.S.–based companies sent in Q4 of 2016 — a total of 1.5 billion emails, or 1,501,929,496, to be exact — to see how ecommerce merchants that were segmenting their lists performed vs. those that were not.
The data doesn’t lie: the more segmented and targeted you send your emails to, the higher revenue per recipient you’ll generate. You’ll also see higher open rates, and higher click-through rates — helping you build and maintain a strong sender reputation.
When comparing the campaign performance of a smaller, more targeted, group of contacts between 1-25%, open rates were around 18.29% as opposed to 12.93% for a campaign sent to 75% of a master list. And revenue? The more targeted segment saw revenue per recipient at $0.17 as opposed to $0.11 for the less targeted send.
While it's easy to say you should "do segmentation," it's a lot more helpful to get specific about the types of segments you should send to and the campaigns that work the best.
That’s why we’ve put together …
10 Segments for Your Black Friday, Cyber Monday Emails
Don’t stop here …
Keep reading to find out about all 10 email segments.
But, if you want to go even deeper, we’ve built the ultimate Black Friday, Cyber Monday Toolbox. Everything you need to unwrap the magic of the Shopify Plus platform and make this holiday season your most profitable ever.
1. Seasonal Shoppers
This segment is essentially a re-engagement campaign for shoppers from the previous holiday season. Remind them that they shopped with you before Cyber Weekend. That way, they will be able to marinate on what they need to purchase again and potentially browse your site before the sale.
You can segment shoppers from last year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday email list by creating a segment with defined dates of purchasing.
For this use case, I would set it to begin Black Friday and end with your last touch of Cyber Weekend (generally Monday or at latest Tuesday). You could further segment this group by previous order value (to recommend products in their price range) or by the product or type of product they purchased.
2. Recent Openers
These are your most engaged recipients -- you want to reserve your best offers & most exclusive products for them because they have shown interest in your brand and are more likely to convert. You can even get more relevant by reminding them in the content of your campaign that they recently visited your store.
This email from Blenders Eyewear was only sent to subscribers who had open an email in the last 90 days.
3. VIP Customers
Offering an extra discount or extending a promotion to your highest revenue customers (and letting them know) is another segment that we see often. This segment is a no-brainer, these subscribers are already loyal customers and are likely to purchase again. For holiday campaigns in 2016, we saw conversion rates for VIP emails push 12%.
What a VIP means is different for every business. It could be based on the number of times someone has ordered or the total amount they have spent with your store.
This Black Friday email from The Elephant Pants was sent out to their VIP segment.
4. Product Browsers
While it’s become more common for ecommerce stores to set up cart abandonment emails (and is a great way to level up), browse abandonment emails are a good way to reach visitors who have looked at items on your site and then left without purchasing. You can send to this segment as either a campaign or just set it up as an automated email.
Browse abandonment emails are similar to abandoned cart emails, but are triggered when an identifiable browser visits a product page and does not start or complete a checkout. A visitor doesn't have to add an item to his/her cart to trigger this flow, all a visitor has to do is view an item and move on.
Visiting a product page doesn’t quite indicate the same level of interest as adding an item to a shopping cart and beginning the checkout process, so I recommend making your browse abandonment flow emails a "lighter touchpoint" than your abandoned cart flow.
5. Category Buyers
For this segment, send shoppers a campaign that features related products, or the latest products in a line.
Gadget company Nomad does this through campaigns for product releases. Whenever they release a new product, they divide their mailing list into four segments: iPhone users in the US, international iPhone users, Android users in the US, and international Android users.
The content for iPhone and Android users is the same; Nomad uses this measurement for their own purposes to determine which subset is more engaged. If they are releasing a new Apple Watch product, they will create a fifth and sixth segment for Apple Watch users internationally and in the US.
Because Nomad offers free shipping to domestic customers, the content varies slightly for their US and international subscribers.
6. Hasn’t Purchased (but Is Engaged)
Creating a segment specifically for subscribers who haven’t purchased before is a straightforward way to reach an audience that hasn’t budged and allows you the ability to up the ante.
By that, I mean promotion.
You’ll want to make it clear that no matter how many other emails they get from you this is the one with the best deals of the year.
Take this example from Sand Cloud Towels; it’s clear this is going to be the biggest sale of the year. If they don’t bite on this offer, it’s likely they never will. This email went out to subscribers who had opened an email in the past 90 days but had not purchased.
7. Email Ignorers
Sometimes you just can’t cut through the noise of Black Friday for one reason or another. It’s quite possible that among the dozens of emails a subscriber received they skipped right over your holiday sale.
Due to the increase in Black Friday, Cyber Monday emails, I recommend creating a special segment just for those who ignored (didn’t open) your earlier emails. The three main ways to make this email successful are to think about the timing (when things get less chaotic), a click-worthy subject line, and a little extra incentive like a discount or freebie.
Ursa Major of VT sent this email out at 7pm the day after Black Friday to subscribers who did not open an email on Black Friday.
8. Almost Purchasers
If you’re planning on sending multiple emails a day, segmenting by people who have already opened, and who have not yet opened, is a great way to get more targeted with your emails. With the constant flood of emails coming to your list on Cyber Weekend (not to mention increased family time), it’s quite possible that an email was opened and then forgotten.
After you have established the cadence and sending for your sale, decide what you want your threshold to be. An example would be segmenting those who opened a morning email but did not purchase; they could be a good group to send an afternoon email campaign to.
Ivory Ella segmented their list and sent this email out to only those who had received their morning email but had not opened it or placed an order that day.
9. Geographic Targets
Send them promotions and content that references where they live. For example, if you sell outdoor gear, you might want to send a promotion themed around getting ready for winter to your subscribers in colder climates. Another example might be that you want to segment your list by country so you can offer appropriate shipping options or promotions.
Nomad segmented their Cyber Monday emails by US and International subscribers.
10. Gift Givers
Remind them to get something for that special someone in their life, but don’t know exactly what to get. Gift card promotions such as, “Buy a $50 gift card, get $5 gift card” are some of the highest performing emails we see during the holiday season.
Pro Tip: Segment Out Purchasers
Many top-performing companies use segmentation to make sure that once a customer has purchased on Cyber Weekend that they do not continue to send them further emails unless they’re directly related to the item that was purchased.
To set up this type of segment, you’ll want to add the conditions of sending to equal “have not purchased in X amount of days” to each subsequent campaign you send.
If you’re new to segmentation, check out our guide.
This is a good idea to improve deliverability (those who have already purchased probably don’t need to open another email) and to maintain a good brand experience. How would you feel if you just made a purchase and you continued to get treated like the transaction never occurred?
Make Your Black Friday, Cyber Monday Emails the Most Profitable Ever
These last few weeks leading up to the Cyber Weekend are go-time for your ecommerce shop. By taking the time to thoughtfully segment and prepare targeted campaigns, you can increase your open rates, improve deliverability, and ultimately increase revenue.
About the Author
Alicia Thomas is a Content Marketing Manager at Klaviyo. She is fired up about helping marketers learn the best tactics and strategies to grow their businesses.
Klaviyo helps level up your marketing by making it easy to send super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook, and Instagram campaigns. Learn more at www.klaviyo.com.