COVID-19 Marketing Strategies for Home, Garden, and Housewares Brands

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Overview

Because of mandatory stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, people are spending more time at home than ever before. Your customers may be inspired to spruce up their homes with home improvement projects or by trying their hand at a new hobby, like gardening. This guide will run through ideas and inspiration to make sure you’re growing your brand and giving your customers the best experience during this time.

New to email marketing? Check out our Getting Started Handbook for more information.

Before You Get Started

Take inventory of your current email deliverability before diving into new ideas. The key to good deliverability is to send to engaged contacts, create content with a clear call to action (CTA) that is targeted and compelling, and adjust your sending habits where needed. For example, if you have low open rates or other key performance indicators are lacking, strategize on how to fix this for future sends.

If you are new to Klaviyo in general, you’ll need to warm your infrastructure. During warming, turn on high-engagement flows and email engaged contacts on a set schedule. This helps you build a positive sender reputation.

Follow up any changes you make for COVID-19 by monitoring the deliverability performance of your campaigns and flows. Note which messages outperform others, and shift content to reflect what resonates with your audience. Keep track of whether sales rise or fall during the pandemic, and make sure to use properties that you gain from subscribers in your forms. You can keep track of these insights by Segmenting for Form Results.

For instructions on how to review campaign analytics, check out the article Review Campaign Analytics. For flows, see Review Flow Analytics, and for forms, head to Review Signup Form Analytics.

Segments to Build

Segmentation is key for targeting a group with personalized and pertinent information. While you should have a handful of segments that you send to regularly (e.g., engaged, unengaged, VIP), let’s dive into a few segments to build to enhance your messaging amidst the coronavirus.

By Location

Your customers will have different needs based on their locations. If they’re renters who live in a large city, they may have vastly different motivations to purchase than customers who own a home in a rural area. Let’s highlight how you would target these customers differently.

City Dwellers

Many city-dwellers are often renters who live in small apartments. Additionally, large cities are likely to be those hit hardest by the coronavirus so you’ll want to watch your tone the most with this group. To target them with relevant content, you can start by creating a segment of customers who live in big cities.

2020-05-01_13-11-52_copy.pngSend educational content about home improvement projects for renters or how to optimize smaller spaces with your products.

Region-Specific

Additionally, if you sell garden projects that will vary greatly by climate region, or home improvement projects that are best done at a certain temperature outdoors, you can send content to customers when it is relevant to them. The best way to group your customers by these factors is to create a radius around a particular region. For example, to target customers in the Northeast of the United States, you can create a segment of customers within a 300-mile radius of New York City.

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Local Customers

Likewise, you’ll want to keep your local customers up to date with specifics around how coronavirus is impacting your physical locations and options they may have to shop (e.g., curbside pickup, delivery, online-only, etc.). Similar to the above segment, create a segment of shoppers within a certain radius of your store.

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Behavioral Information

Next, let’s look at how to use behavior information that you have in Klaviyo to create relevant segments.

Never Purchased, Engaged

As people are at home more, promote your DIY, WFH, and home improvement items. There are two different groups to target with information — interested but never purchased, and purchased other items in the past but not from your WFH or home improvement collections. The segment below consists of customers who have not purchased but have recently browsed your site.

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You can target this group on social media or with a form directing them to shopping help.

For those who have purchased from you before, but not from your WFH collection, send an email highlighting your best WFH or home improvement items, target them with a popup directing them to your WFH collection, or advertise to them on social media encouraging them to purchase.

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You can use this same segment for any type of collection you may have. Especially if you have items that are pet-friendly or for pets, this may be a good time to highlight those products as people are home with their pets more.

Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment

Abandoning a cart or browse indicates that a customer is interested in purchasing from your brand, but may have been distracted before they could complete the purchase. In addition to an abandoned cart or browse abandonment flow, create a segment based around their behavior to target them in other channels, such as social media or on-site forms.

This first segment is the abandoned cart segment. This group will consist of people who have started a checkout in the last five days but did not purchase.

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Likewise, the segment below is those who have browsed your site but have not purchased.

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With these segments, you can target them in a flow, on social media, or with an on-site popup that we’ll highlight in the section on signup forms. Head to our Guide to Creating an Abandoned Cart Flow for a deep dive into your abandoned cart flow.

Lifetime Value Segments

Lastly, you can segment based on customer lifetime value (CLV). With these segments, you can target high CLV customers with your new items or your VIP collection and low CLV customers with your sales and clearance items. Head to our Best Practices for Using Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Data for more information.

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Signup Forms to Set Live

Signup forms can transform the on-site experience for your customers to a targeted, personalized interaction with your brand. Let’s dive into how you can use signup forms to show browsers necessary information, direct them to products, and more.

Updates on Coronavirus Impact

To start, if you have any issues with shipping, fulfillment, or physical locations that are closed, let your customers know with a banner on every page of your site in order to set expectations. If you aren’t experiencing any delays with your shipping and do not have physical locations that are closed, you may still want to add a banner to your site to inform your customers.

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Home Improvement Projects

As many people are inside of their homes for the majority of their day, now may be the time that customers want to do home improvements.

Working From Home

To start, create a selection of inspiration for people to build a productive and modern work-from-home space. You could highlight foliage for desks, comfortable chairs, warm lighting, etc.

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Options for Renters

Likewise, many city-dwellers live in small apartments. For this group, you can start by creating a segment of customers who are in big cities that we made above.

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You can then highlight home improvement projects that will likely not break stipulations in a lease as well as promote products that make efficient use of space to make small apartments feel bigger.

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Rather than promote a product directly, you can also link out to any educational content that you have about maximizing space like a blog post or a video that will indirectly promote your products as well.

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Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment

After you’ve created an abandoned cart or browse abandonment segment, follow up with an on-site notification in addition to reminder messages in your flows.

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If you have a split or certain email in your flow that offers a discount, you advertise only to the people who received the communication on your form by assigning an associated profile property within the flow and creating a segment around the property.

Virtual Consultation

Part of what makes a physical location, be it your own brick-and-mortar store or a retailer that sells your goods, great is the ability for a customer to talk to an employee and test out your product before buying it. An easy way to soothe customer concerns with an online store is to offer a buying guide or virtual consultation.

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For your buying guide or virtual consultations, you can set up a discount code that a customer will receive after participating.

Campaigns to Send

In your COVID-19-related campaigns, think about what to say and how you want to present information to customers. Remember that this is a difficult time, so be extra sensitive to what your subscribers are going through in their personal and professional lives. Some best practices for creating COVID-19 content is to:

  • Refine your audience
  • Adjust your tone
  • Discuss relevant topics
  • Offer deals, discounts, or promotions
  • Highlight your brand community
  • Refine Your Audience

While some campaigns sent to a large audience perform well, knowing who to send to is key to generating high open and click rates. After following the segmentation advice above, consider what groups of people you want to receive each email, and target specific segments based on their interests, shopping habits, location, and more. The more targeted you are in your messaging, the more engaged your audience will be given that the information is applicable and likely resonates with them.

Adjust Your Tone

Striking the right tone in a time of crisis is essential to maintain a positive relationship with your customers. They will appreciate messaging that shows awareness of what they are going through and displays that there is a human behind your brand.

First and foremost, show empathy and relate to what your audience is going through. Individuals around the globe are sick, losing jobs, and losing loved ones. Be cognizant that this is an incredibly difficult time. Though every company has its own unique brand voice, it is important to be caring, thoughtful, and informative during this time of need. Let customers know of any changes affecting your business that will impact how they shop or receive products from your brand. Moreover, emphasize the ample value of your brand and products during this time.

For example, this text-based email from The Sill addresses the uncertainty communities face as well as the trend of staying indoors. They vow to “help you bring the outdoors in,” and seek comfort customers with their plants. The text-based structure signed by a founder makes this message feel personal. It feels as though she is not only writing to customers, but friends who she hopes stay positive and well.

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Discuss Relevant Topics

COVID-19 has transformed the way people live their lives, so update your content accordingly and show how your products provide value in these trying times. For example, advertise products pertaining to work-from-home setups, simple home improvement DIYs, and creative ways to make your customers’ home and gardens feel more inviting during these stressful times. You can pivot your product offering to adjust for changes in shopping behavior and current consumer interests as well.

For example, the company Lights 4 Fun illuminates how their light fixtures can be a defining feature for date night. In adjusting their typical content around home improvement to pertain to the coronavirus, they connect with customers who are staying in, and provide a great example of how their product can prove useful during these trying times. They also give several options to choose from so that customers have easy access to ideas.

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Meanwhile, some home and garden companies will showcase how to spruce up your professional setting now that many companies are working remotely. Lula’s Garden does just that, showing how customers can add a personal touch to their work from home setup by purchasing from their brand. They also encourage customers to purchase gifts for other coworkers, encouraging more purchases, and spreading positivity to customers.

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Offer Deals, Discounts, or Promotions

Now is a great time to explore new deals, discounts, or promotions to offer your customers. These incentives show appreciation to brand enthusiasts, boost engagement, and increase sales. Consider proposing percentage-off sales, free shipping, buy-one-get-one promotions, or incentives for customer referrals or product reviews.

For example, this campaign from Brooklinen was sent out to engaged customers, inviting them to enjoy a celebratory site-wide sale for customers who have shown interest in recent weeks. This message emphasizes how they are connecting with the community during the pandemic, they value and have acted upon their VIP customers’ opinions, and they want to show their appreciation with a discount.

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Highlight Your Brand Community

Finally, be sure to highlight the brand community that provides the foundation for your business, and of which, your customers will feel a part of. A brand community is a great way to expand your business across channels. Content from your campaign can influence how people interact with your brand on your website, forum, or social media. For example, consider marketing a hashtag in your email content and encourage subscribers to share images of them using your household or gardening products on social media.

Emphasize gratitude for your brand community when communicating to them, showing that you support them during these uncertain times. If you have the means, consider giving back to the community, especially if you host a brick-and-mortar location in a high-impact area. You can target a campaign to location-based segments to invite them to help you give back and show that you support them in the midst of a crisis.

Flows to Set Live

Your flow messages are touchpoints with your customers throughout their journey, and it’s important to keep this content up to date and relevant. Edit your flow to not mention things like in-person events/gatherings or in-store offers. Instead, focus on DIYs your customers can do, tips for starting a new garden or at-home projects, and virtual events where people can connect.

In your welcome flow, you may want to link to a buying guide or to resources for beginners, as many people are trying out new hobbies and starting new projects.

Similarly, update your post-purchase or thank you flow to ask for feedback, provide extra guidance, or both. If you are experiencing delays in shipping times, mention this as well.

Other flows to consider updating include:

An easy way to have an alternate COVID-19 flow without creating a whole new flow is to set up a conditional split with 100% of your customers going down the coronavirus messaging for now. Set a reminder a few weeks or months out so you can change it back to the original content when business returns to normal.

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Next, copy your existing emails, move them to the opposite path, and then mark them for COVID-19. Then make the changes to your tone and content to align with the current climate. Then, once the coronavirus begins to die down, you can know which path to delete.

Analyze Your Results

After you’ve done the hard work of making sure that your brand is set up to drive sales and make people feel more comfortable at home, analyze your data to know how your marketing is performing. Once you shift your messaging to reflect the global impact of coronavirus, be sure to analyze your results. Ask yourself:

  • How are campaigns and flows performing with this new messaging?
  • Are sales lower or higher amid the pandemic?
  • What information have I gathered from customers? How will I use it going forward?

Keep track of deliverability metrics, such as open, click, spam, and bounce rates, that affect your sender reputation, as well as how much revenue you gain from each owned channel.

According to data pulled from Klaviyo, open and click rates are on the rise across home, garden, and housewares ecommerce brands. 

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If you're looking to grow your brand, A/B test your campaigns and flows, check out your form performance, and understand how your sales perform from a bird’s eye view. By staying up to date and monitoring your analytics, you won’t need to wonder about the state of your business during these uncertain times. Rather, you will make data-driven decisions to build your brand and own your growth.

Your Business After COVID-19

Once stay-at-home orders start to lift and life returns to normal, you can take the insights you’ve gained and customers you’ve acquired to continue growing your brand. To prepare for life after the coronavirus, utilize the following best practices for communicating with customers:

  • Keep Customers Informed
    Give customers a heads up if and when any brick-and-mortar stores re-open, when items are back-in-stock when shipping is back to normal, and any important company information. Maintain a supportive tone even if your content shifts away from the virus or stay-at-home activities, as the effects of the pandemic will likely linger and vary depending on where your customers live.
  • Keep Flows Relevant
    If you altered content to discuss the pandemic or to change the tone of your key flows, revert your flows back to their original content, or take a post-coronavirus tone in your flows.
  • Use New Information to Personalize Communication
    If you gained information from customers using forms, quizzes, virtual consultations, or email, be sure to turn those insights into actionable marketing content going forward. You can create segments based on profile properties, recent pandemic shopping behavior, and more to then make more targeted content. For more information, head to our Guide to Email Personalization.

Additional Resources

 

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