How to Find and Market to Your VIPs for the Holidays
Reading Time: 6 minutes
If you had to choose between bleacher seats or box seats next to Beyonce, it’s a no-brainer. We all want to be that brightest star on the highest bough. Everybody wants to be a VIP—including your subscribers.
Even if you don’t have access to Queen B herself, you can offer customers a truly personalized and superstar experience when you build out VIP segments.
VIP segments are crucial. When you reward customers, you turn them into brand evangelists. Give them a more customized and special experience and they’re more likely to return. Invest in them, they’ll invest in you.
And when you can convert a customer into a repeat buyer, you’re creating a loyal fan base. The good news here is that 57% of consumers spend more on brands that they are loyal to.
Here’s how to identify your most loyal customers and market to them in compelling ways during the holiday season and beyond.
Create Your VIP List(s)
There’s no one formula for creating a VIP list. But there are a few different things to consider when you create your VIP segment.
Are they high spenders? Your VIP segment could be a group of subscribers that have spent over $100, $200, or whatever amount you deem significant.
Are they frequent shoppers? A subscriber that has purchased more than twice might be VIP status for your store. If you have a larger base, the bar might be set higher, say a buyer that has come back and purchased more than five times. Or you can create a segment that identifies new and active customers by targeting subscribers that have purchased x times in the past x months.
Are they a customer that purchased x product? You might want your VIPs to be based on past purchase behavior, rather than how frequently they’ve shopped with you before. Perhaps a VIP to your brand is anyone who has purchased a specific bundle or a bestselling product. This provides a great opportunity to further segment if you want to suggest products based on past purchase behavior. For example, sending a campaign to anyone that bought a facial cleanser to shop the matching moisturizer on sale.
Are they SMS subscribers? For some brands, anyone on their SMS list receives unique offers for signing up. This is another great way to encourage list growth and capture numbers during peak traffic times.
And just like all good VIP lists, there can be varying tiers of VIPs too. You don’t need to market to one particular segment but instead, create lists based on the subscribers you’d like to target. For example, you may send a ‘first look’ to any subscribers who have made a purchase before but you may include an ‘early access’ campaign even sooner to your VIP segment that has purchased more than 2x before.
You’ll also notice that some brands call their VIP lists by different names, similar to how a loyalty program might be structured. Here’s an example from Brooklinen.
An easy way to collect and segment your VIPs is through the use of keywords. If you use the keyword BUDDYTHEELF to allow people to opt into a VIP list right now, make sure you display that keyword wherever you’re trying to capture subscribers, from the homepage, an email, or a swipe-up on Instagram.
Here’s an example of how this looks on the mobile homepage for Huge Supplements.
Once you’ve identified and created your VIP segments, it’s time to treat them like the very important subscribers that they are.
Roll Out Early Access
Whether you’ve got new arrivals coming, a gift guide that’s launched, or a new product drop – get those in front of your VIPs first. It’s important to include in your text that they are getting early access before anyone else.
Push a sense of urgency here, especially with the insane realities of shipping delays and supply chain issues hitting us this holiday season. Let them know that they are getting access to everything first in order to get things before you sell out.
Set Up VIP-Only Sales
If you’ve ever waited in line at a fashion warehouse sale, you know that people love exclusivity. Sometimes they’ll even throw elbows a bit to get inside.
Thankfully there is no need to politely shove someone over text. Especially if there’s a sale just for them! A VIP-only sale is a way to reward your customers for supporting your brand so deeply.
Skincare company REN has a Friends & Family sale with discount codes just for their VIP customers. It’s a great way to reward their most loyal subscribers with a sale, but to pass along those benefits to friends and family too.
If you’re on Hummingbird Candle Co’s VIP list you get BOGO sales messages leading up to the holidays.
This is especially compelling if quantities are limited and you’re offering your customers first dibs on a product before they miss out.
Cue the Convos
You love your VIPs and they love you. They’ll be excited to weigh in on a variety of things when asked. Still not sure whether to offer a deep discount or free shipping at a lower threshold during BFCM? Ask your VIPs to weigh in.
If you’ve got a new product coming out for the holidays, let them vote on their favorite color.
Offering gift wrap and can’t decide between cute holiday corgis and cute holiday cats? Ask those VIPs!
Be Their Personal Shopper
Roll out the red gifting carpet with access to your support team for holiday shopping help.
Send a campaign with a call-to-action to reply to the text if subscribers want to chat directly with your team of personal shoppers.
Or ask customers to use a keyword to get gifting ideas based on different categories, HOSTESS, KIDS, DADS, and send personalized recommendations based on their keyword reply.
If your customer service team doesn’t have the bandwidth to do this for all subscribers, this is a great alternative to reach your highest converting customers.
Personalize Their Experience
It’s important to recognize your VIPs in a way that stands out.
Set up an automation that goes out right after they’ve reached VIP status.
This message could be a limited-time promo code that’s just for them. It could be a personalized thanks from the founder about why having loyal customers is so crucial to a brand.
Or it could simply be a really rad GIF celebrating their new VIP status.
Ask for Content
Turn your VIPs into your ambassadors. According to Forrester 48% of all customers claim that user-generated content is a great method for discovering new brands. In fact, 25% of links for the world’s biggest brands are links to user-generated content.
Set up an automation that runs for any VIP that makes a purchase over BFCM and ask for photos using a branded hashtag. Incentivize them to participate by letting them know that all entries will be entered to win a gift card or prize.
Not only is collecting this UGC great for your brand but having customers spread the word about their love for your store helps increase brand awareness and engagement. Let your VIPs be your biggest cheerleaders.
We’ve got one more office hour session left before BFCM weekend hits! Sign up and join us to ask questions about VIP segments, campaigns, automation, and anything you need to run by an SMS expert before the biggest shopping weekend of the year.
Laura is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. She honed her writing chops as a magazine editor in New York before moving into the ecommerce world as a copywriter for L.L.Bean. She led the content and community at eCommerceFuel, manufactured and sold her own skincare line and ran the marketing team at Bella Luna Toys before landing herself at Postscript. When she isn't writing about her favorite topic (marketing) she's hanging out with her two sons on an island off the coast of Maine. Follow her on Twitter at @laura_serino.