It’s near the end of February, which means spring is officially right around the corner. (Yes, it’s true!)
It’s a great time of year for email marketers. With the 2018 holiday season, New Year’s email resolutions, and Valentine’s Day all successfully behind us, this change of season can be a real opportunity to connect with consumers in a whole new way.
To be more specific, many leading brands are using weather conditions and forecasts to create highly engaging, personalized email campaigns. In doing so, these companies are successfully delivering an experience that surprised, even delighted their audience. Yet more importantly, these emails produce even better results than traditional “one-to-many” mass emails, especially related to email performance metrics and total sales.
At this point, you may be thinking, “All of this sounds great, but what can I do to get started?” This article highlights three examples of how leading brands are using weather and forecast data in innovative ways.
So if you’re getting ready to do a little proverbial spring cleaning by dusting off those email campaigns that worked well in the past but could use a little improvement, this article is for you.
Let weather become a secret weapon
First though, how can you use weather data to personalize emails in real time?
It’s easier than you may think. For example, using Liveclicker’s LiveForecast advanced email experience, you can now design emails that detect live weather conditions and display them the moment anyone opens your email. This functionality leads to near-endless possibilities and benefits:
- • Your emails can display real-time weather or forecasts for wherever your recipient may be.
- • They can also display weather and forecasts for other locations, such as a golf resort, a beach hotel, or anywhere else you’re promoting.
- • You can create emails that compare and contrast by showing your audience the current temperatures in their area alongside the forecast for a tropical getaway. (I’m guessing this approach would have been very appealing to anyone in the Midwest this winter!)
- • You can use this information to create personalized emails that promote products that are weather-specific. For example, you can create a special offer for sunscreen and sunglasses for a long stretch of sunny weather or umbrellas and other wet-weather gear for rain.
- • You can even use pollen counts as part of your email creative, an option that could help pharmacies sell seasonal allergy products or let any company with an outdoor presence encourage bookings when pollen counts seem low.
All of this becomes a great way for email marketing teams and brands to connect with consumers in exciting new ways. For more information, let’s take a closer look at three real-world examples that show just how a few of today’s industry leader are achieving all of this—and more—today.
Tip #1: Tease an Escape from a Bitter Winter (Or a Brutal Summer)
One of the best ways to use weather data in email is to feature the current conditions in another location far from the opener.
When people are in uncomfortable environments—long frigid winters, swampy summers, stormy days—your emails can serve as a much-needed source of relief. A live weather feed from tropical islands, cool alpine towns, sunny beaches, etc. can be a welcome and tantalizing sight. This has obvious applications for hospitality and travel brands, but can be used creatively by other industries as well.
Celebrity Cruises used this tactic to great effect in an effort to promote its cruises, ideal vacations and last-minute escapes. The brand inserted a real-time weather forecast from Alaska in emails targeted toward Floridians sweltering in the steamy summer heat. The campaign earned an impressive 38% open rate and promoted its cool Alaskan cruises as a welcome escape from the warm weather.
Open-time data like this is especially powerful when paired with vibrant, relevant imagery and energetic content like slideshows and live video. Together it’s possible to create an irresistible “wish I was there!” sensation that drives action and conversions.
Key takeaway: Weather forecasts are a great way to bring your experience to life (even if you’re using weather data from a far-off location!). But don’t stop there! Use images, videos, slideshows, and more to attract consumers and get them to take the right step.
Tip #2: How Did You Guess? The Perfect Product for Any Condition.
Another Liveclicker client, Ulta Beauty, used a combination of LiveForecast and LiveImage to create personalized emails using the recipient’s first name, weather forecasts, and specific product images. The end result was emails that offered products that were perfect for rainy weather (for example, a fritz-drying conditioning spray) or sunny conditions (in this case, a UV hairspray).
Ulta Beauty was also able to create a fallback option in case it didn’t have access to some recipients’ locations, ensuring a seamless experience that still offered best-fit product promotions.
Key takeaway: Give consumers a reason to shop, no matter the weather. Use forecasts to promote products that are suited for rain, sun, or anything in between.
Tip #3: Match Weather Updates with Images
Market leader Zillow created compelling emails to encourage consumers to book various real estate rentals. These emails served up specific weather forecasts, and put them in context with visually enticing images to enhance their appeal for a range of weather conditions.
For example, if the forecast showed temperatures in the low to mid 50s, Zillow included an image of a cozy cabin, complete with comfortable furniture and a crackling fire. Who could resist that?
Yet if the forecast called for temperatures to climb into the 60s or above, Zillow served an image that showed a beautiful porch and surrounding greenery. You could practically hear the birds singing. This too, was a scene anyone could relate to and want to experience for themselves.
Zillow’s creativity paid off: These emails led to click-through rates that were two times higher than past emails, and paved the way to increase rental bookings.
Key takeaway: Cold weather isn’t always a bad thing. Combine forecasts with images that will appeal to your audience for any weather condition.
This spring, get creative with your marketing efforts. Personalizing emails with weather information and forecast data can provide a whole new experience your customers won’t expect—and one that can position your company for impressive new results.