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.

Use April Fool’s to Connect with Your Audience (but Proceed with Caution)

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.

Don’t Accidentally Send the Wrong Message

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.

Get creative with advanced email experiences

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:

Prank and prosper

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 creates a splash using the color green

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 uses animation to reach the end of the rainbow

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.  

Use St. Patrick’s Day to drive customer loyalty

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.

Bolster your messaging and benefit

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?

Three brands using Valentine’s Day to their full advantage

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.

1-800-Flowers asks … and receives

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.

Key takeaway: Create polls and questions for more engaging, interactive emails. Plan to use consumers’ responses to personalize future offers and promotions.  

M&S Foods creates urgency in an engaging email experience

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.

Key takeaway: Vibrant, lively animated content is a powerful way to keep your emails opened and condense a lot of information into a small amount of space. Use video, slideshows, and dynamic graphics to catch customers’ eyes (and hearts)!

National Express goes all-in on Valentine’s Day

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. 

Key takeaway: Get creative with personalization, theme-related emojis, animations, and other engaging email elements. It all adds up to an experience customers will love—and act on.  

Additional email tips, tricks, and best practices

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.

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 for your holiday marketing plan, we decided to give four specific tactics you can execute NOW to better position your programs for a successful holiday season and Q4.

Tip #1: Test, Test, Test

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.

Tip #2: Refresh Your Welcome Emails

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:

text overlay of Micki holiday blog

You can also begin to progressively collect user preferences via a poll to personalize future emails.

master cuts holiday blog

chicos holiday blog

Tip #3: Don’t Forget Transactional 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.

tracking holiday blog

Tip #4: Plan Ahead with Time-Based Campaigns

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.

These types of messages successfully cut through the clutter by delivering dynamic content that is always up to date and never provides the negative experience of an expired offer.

torrid holiday blog

deals holiday blog

A Gift Any Email Marketer Will Love

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.

More like this: 

Take a look at our Holiday LookBook for even more great ideas, or download our holiday checklist to make sure you stay on track.