Happy April Fools’ Day!
While not an official holiday along the lines of Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools’ Day is still a great opportunity for marketers to get creative and send emails that will capture consumers’ attention and stand out in the inbox.
For example, Redbox (the movie rental kiosk company) recently sent a memorable April Fools’ Day email campaign that announced its latest rental experience—just for pets!
A Redbox email featured an image of a smaller movie rental box that, if you fell for the prank, seemed to be the perfect way for pets to pick up a movie (presumably to unwind after a long day in the office). The email announced this new service as “Petbox,” and promised that this service would provide “the latest movies and games your pet will want to sit and stay for.”
As extra detail, the email creative even highlighted some pet-related movies titles, and included a custom hashtag, #Petbox. Clicking on any part of the email took recipients to a custom landing page where the campaign was revealed to be an April Fools’ Day joke.
How can you create an April Fool’s email campaign? First, commit to the process and make it as effective as possible by brainstorming with team members, developing a winning strategy, and exploring new ideas. This is the fun part of process and can generate many creative ideas.
At the same time, you should be careful in how far you take it. Consider your company’s brand, culture, and overall risk appetite. If you think your executive team would not approve of a prank email, especially if it misses the mark, you may want to err on the side of creating a safe, less edgy April Fools’ Day email.
A retailer recently attempted an April Fools’ Day email prank that … well, let’s just say it didn’t go as expected.
This brand wanted to creatively celebrate April Fools’ Day and even put a special discount in its customers’ hands. It created an email with a subject line that read, “Thanks for your order!” and inside included an image that appeared to show a receipt of purchased items.
Recipients had to look a little closer to see that the headline read, “Your Receipt from the Future,” and realize that this was actually a discount coupon.
Unfortunately, as clever as this email was, it required too much work from its audience. Also, with so many data breaches, identity theft, and fraud, many recipients thought that their credit card information had been stolen, or even that forgotten items in an abandoned shopping cart may have been ordered after the fact.
When it comes to creating memorable, engaging email experiences, surprising your customers and prospects is the goal. Confusing or irritating them … not so much.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration for a future April Fools’ email prank, think of the potential in using any one of Liveclicker’s advanced email experiences. For example, you could:
We hope these examples and tips will inspire you to use April Fool’s Day emails in a creative way to engage your audience (and drive sales!)
If you’re looking for even more holiday-related tips and best practices, for any holiday, download our Holiday LookBook today.
Everybody loves St. Patrick’s Day!
After all, what’s not to love about a holiday that inspires an entire community of consumers to have a little fun? For those marketing teams that get it right, St. Patrick’s Day can be a great way to market products and services that go hand in hand with this holiday. Yet even those brands with less obvious connections to St. Patrick’s Day can still get creative to improve marketing and sales results.
Why is this? The typical St. Patrick’s Day consumer is ready to celebrate and may only need a slight push to purchase additional products to make the day even more special. Much like Valentine’s Day, this holiday gives email marketers a unique opportunity to stand out in the inbox and capture their audience’s attention.
So this year, before you partake in any corned beef and cabbage (or possibly even green beer!) devise a winning St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaign. To help get you started, here are three St. Patrick’s Day examples that can bring your email marketing results to a whole new level.
Chico’s, the women’s clothing and accessory retailer, created a St. Patrick’s Day campaign that urged recipient’s to “Give Green a Go.” The email creative included copy that promoted St. Patrick’s Day while displaying Chico’s latest, most appealing fashions in the color green.
The email also featured Liveclicker’s LiveMap advanced email experience functionality to direct consumers to the closest Chico’s store, and further motivated them with a compelling 40% off St. Patrick’s Day discount. Now who could refuse that combination?
Key takeaway: Show them! Display specific product images from your website so they can see exactly how they’d look on such a festive day, and create urgency with special holiday discounts.
Hot Topic, a multichannel retailer that uses many pop culture references in its apparel and accessories, captured customers’ attention by creating a fun St. Patrick’s Day game that would appeal to the specific demographic that shops at Hot Topic.
In this case, Hot Topic created an email that encouraged recipients to try to catch an animated leprechaun. When a consumer successfully clicked on the leprechaun, the LiveReveal advanced email experience revealed a specific discount. It was fun, but more importantly it created an engaging experience that encouraged recipients to click (and then shop).
Key takeaway: Get creative by personalizing emails with animations and other engaging email elements. It all adds up to an experience customers will love—and act on.
Just like the Times Square countdown clock, Liveclicker’s LiveTimer can be used to create emails that generate excitement as they count down to any holiday. Not only does a countdown timer build suspense and create urgency, but when used in the right way, they can help generate impressive results—and revenue.
For example, consider a restaurant in Boston, New York, Chicago, or any other city with a large Irish population. This restaurant—or any other company—could create an email using a LiveTimer countdown clock to promote a special St. Patrick’s Day event. In this case, when the timer hits zero, the email would then reveal a special promotion or discount, which would generate increased interest, traffic, and ultimately, more business on the actual holiday.
Key takeaway: Engage your audience with a countdown clock—or other creative advanced email experience—to deliver new experiences that will motivate your recipients to take action.
Hopefully, these tips and examples will inspire you to devise some new strategies that could help you improve your next St. Patrick’s Day campaign.
Yet remember, any holiday can be a perfect reason to get creative and have fun with your email marketing efforts. If you’re looking for even more holiday-related tips and best practices—even for made-up holidays!—download our complete holiday LookBook today.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Some love it, some … well, let’s just say they don’t love it as much. No matter how you feel about this holiday, as an email marketer, you should embrace it for the opportunity it presents.
To be clear, we are not talking about Valentine’s Day in the context of being the perfect holiday for just those brands that sell chocolate, flowers, wine, or other gifts romantics love to send and receive. Instead, this article will show you how you can use Valentine’s Day (or any holiday) to get creative and deliver something your subscribers might never expect to see in their inbox: a highly personalized email they actually want to receive.
A new email approach may even lead to a whole new relationship with your customers and prospects. You’ll stand apart from the competition, impress your recipients, and transform even the most cynical transactional shopper into a starry-eyed, loyal brand advocate. As an email marketer, isn’t that what you really wanted this Valentine’s Day?
We realize you may have already sent a Valentine’s Day email campaign this week (if so, good luck!). But keep in mind that the concepts of creativity and pushing the boundaries of traditional email marketing with innovative new technologies and strategies are not exclusive to this holiday.
Here are three real-world examples of how three industry-leading brands successfully reconsidered stale, “same-old” email approaches.
So put down that box of chocolates, and start planning your next great holiday campaign.
Industry-leading floral and gourmet foods gift retailer, 1-800-Flowers partnered with Liveclicker to develop an extremely creative Valentine’s Day marketing campaign.
1-800-Flowers’ marketing team used Liveclicker’s advanced email experience tools to add a poll question directly to the email creative. The poll featured a gender-specific question. For example, women were asked “What is your favorite bouquet?” 1-800-Flowers made the results available in the email, and even used response data to create personalized re-targeting messages to promote appropriate products to the opposite gender.
If the company was looking to create an interactive, fun, and effective email, it achieved all of these goals—and more. Recipients loved the overall experience and appreciated receiving shopping tips that were sure to be well received. Mission accomplished!
Interested in learning more about 1-800-Flowers innovative Valentine’s Day campaign? It’s just one of dozens of best practices you’ll find in our LookBook.
M&S Foods also got creative, but in a slightly different way. The company created customer chemistry with custom-crafted dynamic elements.
They used a rotating slideshow to showcase each tantalizing course of their special Valentine’s Day packages (steak with heart-shaped butter? LOVE!). Further down, a fully-embedded recipe video empowers subscribers to make a simple, delicious breakfast-in-bed dish of their own for a loved one.
National Express, Britain’s leading travel and transport company, improved its email marketing by including many different advanced email experiences in its Valentine’s Day campaign. The company started by personalizing the subject line with the recipient’s first name, but also included a heart emoji to make sure the message stood out on such a special day.
Once recipients opened the email, they were greeted by an email creative that featured animated hearts. This artistic touch continued to capture the reader’s attention and impress them with National Express’ creative capabilities.
The offer was cleverly tied to Valentine’s Day—“We’re here to bring you together with the people you love”—it read. It also offered another innovative component: pulling in images from Instagram to encourage customer engagement on social media.
Looking for other ways to use advanced email experiences to create exciting email campaigns that truly stand out?
Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re planning next year’s Valentine’s Day campaign now, or looking to improve the overall experience for any email. Consider any of these tips:
We hope these examples and tips will help you improve your next holiday campaign. For even more holiday-related tips best practices, please download the Holiday LookBook today.
Ho, Ho, Ho! The 2018 holiday season has officially come to a close, and as we look back on all the fun and festivities, we wanted to highlight a few real-time holiday email designs that really “sleighed” this year.
Hickory Farms spread good cheer with an in-email poll asking customers if their shopping was finished. Recipients who voted “yes” were directed to a landing page featuring stocking stuffers, while recipients who voted “no” were directed to a page featuring Christmas gifts. In addition, recipients could return to the email for live poll results, adding a sense of community with subscribers and establishing the email as a living, evolving experience. What a brilliant way to engage customers in email and connect them with relevant content!
As a gift that kept on giving, White House Black Market promoted 10 days of deals leading up to to their holiday event. For 10 days, recipients could come back to the same, elegant email and see a different deal every day. And on the final day, the image switched to “Hurry Ends Tonight” to create an even greater sense of urgency.
Pier 1 helped customers get their online shopping done on time by counting down the days to its Christmas shipping deadline, and then automatically switched to a reminder that it wasn’t too late to pick up purchases in a nearby store. So no matter when the recipient opened the email, they received the most relevant information.
Everyone loves a good holiday TV special. With this engaging and easy-to-read schedule, British network ITV made sure everyone had the chance to settle down with a cup of cocoa and get in the Christmas spirit with their favorite flick. This email uses LiveSlides to rotate through numerous shows, keeping the reader engaged and enabling the brand to convey a lot of information in just one email.
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, things can fall through the cracks. That’s why Taubman Centers’ option to add its “Photos with Santa” events directly to recipients’ calendars was such a wonderful (and helpful!) idea! Personalizing emails with location and timezone data is especially powerful for brands with large brick-and-mortar footprints. Pair that with a customizable calendar invite for a big event or sale, and you’ve got a potent recipe to bring customers in at a particular place and time.
Yes, you know Black Friday. But how well do you know it? How are you switching up your email program to overcome the unique challenges that this mega sales day puts in your way?
Even though Black Friday has been dethroned as the king of one-day holiday sales and email volume (that honor now goes to Cyber Monday), it remains the gateway event to the holiday shopping season. It sets the tone for your email strategy and is a “must win” for many brands.
Your greatest email challenge for Black Friday is standing out amidst the flood of emails that your fellow marketers are creating right now. MailCharts’ data shows that Black Friday emails begin to dribble into inboxes as early as the week before Halloween.
Let’s dive into three strategies you can follow to ensure your Black Friday campaign is a success.
Your customers are bracing themselves for the flood of emails that comes with the opening of the holiday shopping season — most of which will have little or no personalization.
You’ll get an immediate leg up if you go deeper with real-time personalization. Personalized email content helps you recognize customers individually, provides them with a good experience, and encourages them to shop with you instead of your competitors.
These three strategies will help make your message not just be seen and opened on but acted on to drive the actions you want:
Anticipation encourages your customers to look for your emails. The countdown clock is perfect for this because it makes an abstract event real to your customers. Use it to build anticipation before an event begins or to compel the customer to act before an event ends.
Torrid, a retailer of on-trend women’s clothing, used Liveclicker’s RealTime Email LiveImage capability with countdown clock, personalized to the subscriber’s open time, to generate traffic on limited-time promotions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and ensure readers only saw currently active offers.
The clock on the first image indicated how much time was left on the promotion whenever the subscriber opened the email (picture on the left). And, if she opened the message too late, she saw a new image explaining the promotion had expired and linking her to the current offer on the website (picture on the right).
This approach helped Torrid gain incremental revenue from campaigns sent days or even weeks earlier. Even expired promotions led to revenue spikes and new traffic since they were able to change the hero image to drive customers to today’s sale. This would not have happened without the ability to swap content after the email was sent.
The best way to get noticed in the inbox is to have customers actively looking for your messages. The best to make that happen is to have them actually ask you to send them a message. That’s the genius behind the “Set a Reminder” email and CTA. (See the Harley Davidson example below.)
They’re essentially opting in to a one-time mailing list that you will use to send an email letting them know when your promotion goes live.
One way to position this reminder request is with a “Request VIP Status” email. It frames the reminder request as a benefit, since one perk would be allowing them to cut the virtual line and get early access to your best offers.
These action-request emails give your customers another avenue to engage with your brand, one that doesn’t involve a purchase. Because many shoppers are still in research mode this early in the holiday season, “Buy now” might not always be the most effective CTA.
Also, these emails can help you identify your most interested or engaged customers, giving you priceless data for segmenting and targeting emails down the road and beyond the holiday season.
This strategy cuts both ways: You help more customers achieve their goals, and they, in turn, buy from you instead of your competition. Some tactics:
Identify all of the ways you could help your shopper purchase. Then, address them in a non-promotional email, one they might be likely to keep in their inboxes throughout the season.
Subject line: Gather + Give Thanks?
Send a Black Friday email on Thanksgiving? Absolutely. We love this email because it sets up Harley-Davidson’s Black Friday promotion without overshadowing the heartfelt “Thank you” message inspired by the holiday.
Now, before your brand manager freaks out, we’ll point out that there is a traffic-driving offer in this email. It’s the “Tap to set a reminder” CTA under the countdown clock. It ties in perfectly with the deadline-setting emotion that the countdown clock inspires.
Customers who click the link get a reminder email coming at the top of the inbox (not buried under everybody else’s emails). They’re also giving the brand another data point to use for personalization and segmentation.
Sender: Clarks Shoes
Subject line: Black Friday Deals are almost here | Delivery your way
This email, sent a week before Black Friday, sets the tone for the following week of deals. It uses two tactics to pique interest and prompt action before the event begins:
Sender: True Lemon
Subject line: ? BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING STARTS NOW ?
Normally, we would suggest not using a “Black Friday starts now” style of subject line, because just about every other brand does the same thing, and your goal is to stand out with a unique, benefit-driven and action-generating subject line.
But we’re making an exception here since we love the email’s concept. Who can resist a scratch-off email? Not us, and probably not your customers. The animation piques curiosity and teases the customer into clicking through to the scratch-off.
In contrast with the other email examples shown here, this email is not a pre-Black Friday message. Instead, it was sent on Black Friday itself, early enough in the morning (8:45 a.m. Eastern time) before peak shopping and email delivery times.
One final note about this email: It earned a rare 100% email quality score from MailCharts. Each email in our database gets scored on best practices like the following:
These are important considerations, because nothing else matters if your message doesn’t make it to the inbox in the first place.
We’ve shared some innovative ideas for Black Friday emails that will help your messages stand out in the inbox and compel your customers to open and act on them. But don’t wait until crunch time to try them out!
Take some time now to draw up a strategy, and then experiment with tactics like real-time data modules and “set a reminder” and “add to calendar” emails on your fall campaigns. You’ll see what works, what you need to tweak and how to iron out the wrinkles in plenty of time.
If you’d like to know more about RealTime Email and Liveclicker’s other capabilities for real-time personalization, or any of the other ways you can harness your email data to build stronger bonds with your customers through email, make sure you reach out to them!
Carl Sednaoui is the director of marketing for MailCharts. If you’d like to learn more about MailCharts — and how we take the hassle out of email marketing planning and research — visit our website or drop us a note. We’ll be happy to answer your questions or walk you through a demo of our app.
As originally published on the Oracle Modern Marketing blog.
It’s beginning to look a lot like … September.
Which means your holiday planning is in full swing! Instead of writing an article with vague ideas that only add to your growing to-do list, we decided to give four specific tactics you can execute NOW to better position your programs for a successful holiday season and Q4.
The first item on your holiday prep list should be to A/B test. Now is the time to determine the right creative mix for subject lines and email designs so your content is fully optimized and ready for the holiday season.
It’s a real opportunity, especially when you consider a surprisingly high number of marketers still aren’t testing. In fact, research shows that nearly 39 percent of brands never or rarely A/B test their broadcast and segmented emails.
The good news is that there are tools that can help automate the process and deliver winning creative in real time. This reduces the effort needed to analyze results and send a winning version.
Your broadcast messages shouldn’t be the only touch points to benefit from a test – also consider testing your automated and triggered messages for maximum impact. According to the same research, successful email marketers are 70 percent more likely to A/B test their triggered emails at least once a year. Also, these marketers are 95 percent more likely to A/B test their transactional emails at least once a year.
Start your test now, and carry it through the holiday season with dynamic testing tools that continuously test creative versions to ensure the champion version is always deployed.
The next item to tackle is a welcome series refresh. Your welcome series is your chance at a first impression, and if you are not personalizing that content, the impact of personalization later in the journey can be lost.
Here are a few suggestions any brand can implement to improve their welcome series – and generate better results:
You can also begin to progressively collect user preferences via a poll to personalize future emails.
Think quick: What is the one message all converted shoppers receive in their experience with your brand?
Shipping confirmations are often an afterthought in the marketing strategy – sometimes they are even executed by a different team – but think of the opportunity these messages represent. WIth high open and re-open rates, as customers anxiously await and track their precious packages, these emails are the perfect opportunity to keep a customer in your branded experience instead of sending them to a third-party tracking site.
For example, digital retailer Evine uses live business context data to display live package location information in its shipping confirmation emails. This tactic increased month-over-month click-to-open rates by 16 percent.
Our last recommendation focuses on planning. The phrase, holiday rush, is not an exaggeration. Timely offers and communications are key for a consumer looking for the best deal, and driving urgency is one of the most effective tools in your marketing playbook.
This demand is the perfect opportunity to use time-based targeted messages. Create an hourly, daily, or weekly deals campaign, and drive urgency with a mix of countdown timers, add-to-calendar calls to action, and images that change in real time as offers expire and new promotions come online.
As you start developing this year’s holiday campaigns, don’t resort to the same old, same old approach. This year, get creative with innovative new strategies and technologies that are proven to increase important email metrics and improve sales. With these four tips, you can truly give the gift that keeps giving – highly engaging email campaigns your customers will love.
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Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, let’s welcome summer with all the traditions we know and love – barbecues, backyard parties and longer days – not to mention one of the best holidays of the year: Independence Day! You’ve probably already started to think about your Fourth of July email campaigns, but, if not, we wanted to put together a few fun, last-minute ideas for you to consider.
According to a report by the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent more than $7 billion on cookouts and other celebrations of the Declaration of Independence, up from $6.8 billion in 2016. Numbers are forecasted to be even higher in 2018, so take advantage of these trends and get your campaign out the door with some real-time personalization.
Be Inviting and Engaging
What better way to engage your customer than to get them interacting with your email? Take your LiveReveal to the next level and personalize it 1:1 for your customer. How about a scratch-off with first name personalization? Or you could use custom coupon codes and showcase them behind the reveal. There are so many fun options.
Help Them Plan Ahead
The LiveTimer is the best way to create a sense of urgency and drive traffic to your 4th of July deals. In fact, one of our retail clients who used a LiveTimer over Black Friday/Cyber Monday achieved the highest revenue hour in company history and and gained incremental revenue from campaigns sent days, even weeks, earlier. You can also add a LiveMap to show your closest retail location. Another helpful, creative idea would be to have a countdown to your local fireworks show with a map of the location.
Prepare Them Properly
Everyone will be checking the weather in anticipation of the day at the beach, the cookout or the evening fireworks, so why not be the source that they can count on while providing personalized content and product suggestions?
Or take that one step further and consider adding a pollen level forecast so your email can be even more handy!
Just remember, you can never send a holiday email too early (okay, maybe don’t send a 4th of July campaign in January, but you get the point). It’s also not a bad idea to send multiple emails and associate yourself with the holiday more than once. Break free from the typical brand guidelines and add a patriotic flare to your creative. This holiday is a great excuse to have a little fun while the livin’ is easy.