We love a good surprise. An email promising a mystery discount gets us every time. And aren’t you always dying to know What’s Behind Door Number 3?

But the email medium has traditionally suffered from technical limitations that make it hard to have a good surprise. Marketers are often left no choice but to make subscribers click through to a landing page to reveal a cool deal or amazing bonus – a disruptive experience that increases drop-outs and conversion attrition.

Thanks to two clever combinations of innovative email content with a ‘big reveal’ functionality, marketers can add some mystery, pizzazz and interactivity right in their emails. Your customers will get a better email experience, and you’ll get better results; it’s a win-win!

What’s in it for you? How about these bonuses:

The big reveal

Teasing a mystery is a time-honored marketing tactic. Innovative marketers have been using ‘reveal’ functions in their emails for some time, often with great success.

The idea is simple enough; you simply hide the content you want to reveal (a big surprise, a special discount, a secret message – you get the idea) behind a concealing image. When subscribers click, tap, or even “scratch” the image, the mystery is revealed. It’s fun, interactive, and can drive remarkable results for your marketing.

For instance; LEGOLAND Increased click-to-open rates by 600% for a Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign using scratch-to-reveal promotions. See the creative email and the results yourself in this case study.

Adding mystery to make magic

This ‘click/tap/scratch to reveal” functionality is powerful on its own. But you can make it even more effective by combining it with other dynamic, interactive email functions to really impress your audience and increase engagement. Consider these ideas:

Combo #1: Reveal + Content Hover

Consider combining the engaging experience of a reveal element with the interactivity of a hover pop-up!

Using the two together means you can set up an experience in which your customers can either tap (on mobile) or hover their cursors over your CTA to reveal your secret message.

It could be a special promo code, unique discount, new location – get creative! Then on another tap or click, the revealed content is once again hidden so the user can focus on other content or repeat the reveal experience.

Combo #2: Reveal + Personalized Coupon

With this combination, you can create an attention-grabbing offer: the mystery and interactivity of the reveal with the appeal of a unique personalized offer created through your personalization platform, such as a personalized birthday or win-back offer.

Let’s say you want to go the birthday route. Every other marketer in your customer’s inbox is sending a birthday greeting in an attractive but static email. Yet another generic 20% discount or free-shipping offer? Yawn. 

Now, your email shows up with your greeting or offer embedded in a big birthday cake, with copy that says something like “Scratch/Click to reveal your personal birthday message.” Who could resist?

But do they work?

Yes! This is what pop-fashion retailer Hot Topic told us:

“Since we started implementing the code behind the reveal, our average click-through rate has increased by 17%. It has even beaten out click-through rates from a similar campaign that was sent during last holiday! 

“Added bonus: having the live elements automatically populate the coupon code and personalized imagery has significantly decreased the workload on our CRM team, who used to spend days setting these campaigns up manually.”

Your comments, our inspiration

We were inspired to create these combinations in response to client requests for ways to boost the interest and interactivity within email. You wanted new ways to grow email engagement and avoid the losses that can result when you have to push customers to your website to deliver your offers right within our platform, so we made it happen. 

We hope you’ll test these reveal combinations in your own emails, and let us know how they work for you! 

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.” 

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, wrote that immortal line back in the 19th Century, but it’s a perfect description for the modern phenomena we call  “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. As it turns out, FOMO is a powerful tool marketers can use to generate excitement and participation for a big event

FOMO works for any kind of event, online and offline. Got a big sale coming up? A store opening? A festival, concert or conference? Persuade your customers that they’ll kick themselves if they miss out and show them all the other people who are already committed to attending! 

Allaying FOMO means everyone wins

Writing copy to induce FOMO is a start, but you’ll need a little more secret sauce to seal the deal. The solution? Ease their FOMO fear! Prompt participants to add your event to their calendars, and then send them a reminder to show up. 

The result: Your customers won’t miss out, and you’ll have fewer no-shows. No FOMO, no problem!

You could create and send that reminder email by hand every time you have an event, but why make extra work for yourself? An automated tool like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element does the job for you. It sends your customer an invitation right to their favorite calendar app, which can then generate a timely reminder as the time of the event draws close. 

Your customers will be less likely to forget about attending or to double-book themselves with another event when it’s right there in their calendars.

Here’s how Torrid used LiveCalendar to promote in-store appearances of its “Face of Torrid” content winner:

LiveCalendar generates buzz, revenue for Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay needed to find a better way to organize the information for its annual Food & Wine Festival, an event extravaganza covering multiple weeks and 18 concerts. The company added LiveCalendar to email promotions and urged attendees to add specific concerts to their personal calendars. 

Follow-up calendar notifications listed several concerts coming up soon along artist and festival information, links to buy tickets and seating upgrades and another LiveCalendar add-to-calendar element. 

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As a result, the click-through rate on the emails with LiveCalendar soared 150% over than the average CTR on Busch Gardens’ other emails. LiveCalendar helped create a better interactive user experience by communicating a long list of event details without overwhelming readers. 

The Food & Wine Festival email campaign using LiveCalendar was so successful it became the template other parks use to promote similar events.

Ratchet up the FOMO with an RSVP counter

Social proof is another psychology-based concept you can use to boost participation. Think of its as FOMU – “fear of messing up” – or the herd mentality It refers to the human tendency to look at other people to learn what to do in unknown situations and to find safety in numbers. 

If we get invited to a party, but we don’t know anybody else is going, we might be less inclined to go ourselves. If we miss out, nobody will know! But once we see people flocking to the event, FOMO starts ratcheting up. Especially if the event is one time only – we have to be there because we won’t get another chance.

Translate that to email by adding a live counter that shows how many people have signed up or registered for your event so far. That kind of real-time social proof provides valuable encouragement for subscribers to commit themselves, and could be just the persuasion needed to nudge someone who’d on the fence about going. An add-to-calendar feature and timely reminder will help them make sure they don’t miss out.

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Pro tip: Adding an add-to-calendar functionality and real-time RSVP counter is easy with the Liveclicker platform! Just click one extra button when you configure your calendar invite and determine a minimum RSVP threshold you want to collect before you start showing the numbers to your other participants. 

Encourage the Joy of Showing Up

As the event marketer, you have to do everything you can to make your activities as inviting and enticing as possible, so prospective attendees feel they’ll miss out if they don’t join in. 

An add-to-calendar function like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element allays those fears and gives you additional opportunities to market your event and build anticipation for the big day. Help them feel that JOSU instead of FOMO!