As we’re entering the most important time of the year for Ecommerce, there is a cornucopia of great advice out there for online retail. I’ve assembled the top 5 most important strategies that you STILL have time to execute on in HubSpot this holiday season, tailored to 2020's unique needs.

I've included ALL of the articles from all my research, below. Some of their ideas require more time to prep than we have left in the year, but depending on your team size I'm including everything in case you find something special that you know your team can execute.

Taking account for the pitfalls we're experiencing due to Covid-19, these are top strategies to consider when executing a 2020 holiday promotion campaign using HubSpot:

  1. Get Quicker Purchases to Avoid Shipping Delays
  2. Holiday Giveaway Contest
  3. Proactive Help to Assist New Sales
  4. Get Referrals from Happy Customers
  5. Exclude Key Activity From Retargeting Ads

#1: Get Quicker Purchases to Avoid Shipping Delays

We don't fully know how Covid-19 will affect shipping times through the end of December. I'm not going to cite articles because the issue has become too politicized, but you can search on the news source of your preference to see that major cities from various states are or may plan another lockdown as we enter the colder months.

In 2019 USPS geared up to ship 28 million packages per day between Dec.16-21, and all major carriers have already posted their Christmas shipping deadlines for 2020.

Without raising alarms that disagree with carriers' stated information nor wanting to put your customers at potential risk of late packages, you can use this very practical concern to make your business look like a hero and protect your customers' holiday joy by encouraging your customers to make their purchases, earlier.

Language around "Guaranteed arrival dates" and "avoiding possible shipping delays" in your holiday marketing messaging are some of the possible ways that you can message your content, and even start your holiday promotion schedule sooner, if needed.

Depending on your discount or promotion strategy, you can even promote coupons to drive that message home like "earlyshipping_5ke8" or something to that effect

Additional Reading:

#2: Holiday Giveaway Contest

Giveaway contests are a great, simple way to create engagement with your website visitors, and they tie perfectly into the charitable holiday theme. 

Without having to invest into a contest specific tool like Wishpond, you can create a HubSpot Popup Form on your website, today, that offers:

  • What they can win ($100 gift card, for example)
  • The number of winners (maybe 2, so they feel they have more of a chance)
  • The date you announce the winner (I'd announce it at least 2-3 days before Black Friday, so they're not holding off on a purchase to see if they win nor are you interrupting Thanksgiving celebrations for American families)
  • A nice holiday-themed graphic that contains all the needed text so you can tell the story, visually

In my experience helping run ecommerce giveaway contests, if you offer free merchandise rather than a gift card/coupon, you will get a TON more submissions, but your overall conversion ratio AFTER the contest is over will be much lower. (If your typical lead conversion rate is 5%, you can expect half that or 2%, at most)

The reason being is that people love free stuff, so you'll get people showing up from anywhere at a chance for free stuff. Offering a gift card/coupon attracts a more specific niche of audience who's interested in spending money with you, AND are excited by the idea of having to spend less.

I've seen that gift card giveaways don't seem to perform as well on social media channels, not to mention they're a lot harder to manage. If you're actually doing social submissions using hashtags or other handles, this requires someone (or tools) to monitor the blog and a more proactive way to rank the submission process. Instagram contests are great for building a brand and creating engagement, but they're probably not a great idea to launch now, 4 weeks before Black Friday (put a pin in the idea though and save these articles for 2021).

Conversely though, a HubSpot popup submission contest on your website are easy to administer and only require 5 basic elements:

  1. The HubSpot Popup explaining all contest specs (outlined above)
  2. A confirmation email sent after submission
  3. A winner email with the same design as the confirmation email
  4. A "sorry you didn't win" email in the same design that shares your Black Friday promotion 2-3 days early (if you just give them some % off coupon then they might hold off on it, wondering if your Black Friday promo will be better, but if you tell them "we're sending you our Black Friday coupon early" then they have no reason not to take action, today)  

Once you hit the submission deadline date, then you just have to take down the popup, randomly select the winner (do an Excel export RAND() function for a true random), send the winner the email, and send the "sorry you didn't win" email to everyone else!

It's DEFINITELY something you can pull off within the next 4 weeks.

Additional Reading:

#3: Proactive Help to Assist New Sales

Fair or not, an Ecommerce business is given credit for every part of their product ordering experience, including the shipping carrier. A late order is at least partially seen as your shared responsibility, so there's some special ways you can accommodate for this in HubSpot during the 2020 holiday shopping season.

Before your customer even has to complain to you (or worse yet, your website reviews) about any type of bad ordering experience, you can proactively offer them personalized help.

We sync several Default Contact Properties pertaining to shipping:

  • Last Order Shipment Date
  • Last Order Shipment Carrier
  • Last Order Tracking Number
  • Last Order Tracking URL

Now note (and this is a terminology I'd love for us to change about our own fields), the "Shipment Date" is specifically the "Ship-OUT" date. It's the date it was given to the carrier, not the date it arrives at their door. We don't track "Delivery Date", but you can still use this data point to start an earlier, helpful conversation.

You can create a Contact Workflow that's looking for "Last Order Shipment Date" > 1 day ago and the remaining fields being "known" as the trigger for a workflow:

Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 7.03.10 PM

(Note that if you have HubSpot Sales Professional you can do this on a Deal Workflow using our Deal Properties, if you expect customers to make multiple repeat purchases)

From here you can send a plain, white Outlook/Gmail looking email from your support or personal rep address stating something along the lines of:

"I know this has been a tough year with a lot of ups and downs. Thank you for placing your order with us and below is your tracking link. If you have any issues with your order please do not hesitate to reach out to me/us directly for help."

Only say "me" if you've got the team members in place who can manage personal-level followup. Otherwise just say "us" and sign it from your Support Team.

If you have Sales Hub Professional this is actually where I would use a Sales Sequence to send 2-3 reminder emails. HubSpot allows up to 50 contacts at once to be batch-enrolled into a Sequence so you can start new batches of Sequence followup at the beginning of each new business day.

With a Sequence your series of 2-3 emails will stop if you get a reply from the contact assuring that a customer will not reply and still get an automated email from you a few days later that comes off as "aloof". (You can even send the initial email using a Sequence by just using that workflow to set a checkbox property value that your service rep has to look up in a list, which will allow ALL of the followup emails to be tracked via the Sales tool.) 

If you do NOT have HubSpot Sales Pro, then I'd only recommend sending a single followup email using the Workflows tool to offer your help on the shipping process. It's your busiest time of year and it's not practical to have support reps manually checking and opting Contacts out of workflows if they replied; doing that automatically is what HubSpot's Sequences tool and Sales Hub Pro is for.

If you can proactively go above and beyond to deliver satisfaction to your holiday buyers, then you've helped give your customer an amazing experience in 2020.

This brings me to my next point about additional sales opportunities: If the customer is happy, then you can give them a special Referral URL to tell their friends about your store since more physical stores will be closed this year.

Additional Reading:

#4: Get Referrals from Happy Customers

Even if they still won't gift your product to their recipient for a few weeks, if your customer is happy with the ordering experience and you've got some nice product packaging then they may be more than happy to send their friends your way. 

Remember that major outlets like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others have decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving this year due to the pandemic, and it's unsure how many retailers will follow suit (by design or legal rules) during the entire Black Friday weekend.

You can reflect this language in your referral program as a way for shoppers to help out their family and friends. Arguably, 2020 is the best year to launch a referral program, if you haven't already, and help more of those customers online with your offerings.

Popular ecommerce-centric referral/rewards tools include:

Many of them can send out an automatic email at an appropriate time after purchase. And if you use and offer that proactive help I suggested in the previous bullet then you can even send an email out of HubSpot containing their "Customer referral URLs" that Smile syncs into HubSpot.

Additional Reading:

  • How to Prepare Your Rewards Program for Black Friday Cyber Monday ( Blog)
  • 11 Best Loyalty Programs for Ecommerce Brands (Medium Article)

#5: Exclude Key Activity From Retargeting Ads

It's relatively easy to exclude recent buyers from your retargeting ads, with this Facebook example excluding buyers in the last 30 days. But what if your retargeting needs to exclude other types of activities where you don't want to spend ad money?

As an additional point of consideration, the holidays are a time where people want to create surprises and preserve secrecy, so you might be able to be a considerate marketer by keeping your ads off their social feed if they've already interacted with you in certain ways.

HubSpot has the ability to sync ad audiences into your ad platform, based on Smart Lists you can build. (Note that a HubSpot list needs at least 20 contacts in order to create an audience list, but to get the most out of your ad spending - since the match rate won't be a perfect 100% - it's recommended that you use a list with at least 1,000 members.)

You can use this functionality for excluding other types of activities from your holiday retargeting ads. You can also create additional sub-segments of holiday retargeting ads.

Here's some popular prospect interactions that you might want to affect your retargeting, which aren't easy to build in Facebook or AdWords' native custom audiences:

  1. Prospect has a support ticket open with your team using Service Hub
  2. Prospect is actively emailing with your sales team
  3. Prospect has a recent Shopify quote emailed to them through Quotific
  4. Prospect has abandoned a cart and is currently getting an abandoned cart email campaign
  5. Prospect has recently downloaded a product information PDF
  6. Prospect has just signed up for your newsletter
  7. Prospect has just signed up for your holiday giveaway contest (shoutout, tip #2)

All of these activities can be built into HubSpot Smart Lists using HubSpot Properties or Unific Properties synced to the HubSpot Contact. You can then sync these as custom audiences to your ads platform.

Additional Reading:



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