One of the beautiful things about email is how versatile of a tool it is for marketers. It can complement any campaign, target any audience, and support any part of the customer journey.

But email has traditionally had one key shortcoming, at least compared to other marketing channels and tools: it’s not great for creating urgency or building immediate anticipation.

Fortunately one simple tactic, embedding a countdown timer in email, can mitigate that weakness and create the compelling ‘fear of missing out’ feeling that marketers love so much. Read fast, this blog will self destruct in 10…9…8…

The Power of FOMO

The inclusion of urgency in marketing is a time-honored art that has evolved into a sophisticated science. As marketers have come under more and more pressure to drive immediate contributions to the bottom line, they’ve needed to find new ways to generate quick conversions.

From broadcast commercials to direct mail, display ads to Facebook posts, marketers’ messages are often jam-packed with urgency. Act today! Download now! Register before it’s too late! Order before we’re sold out!

There’s a reason marketers try to build a fear of missing out within their campaigns: it works, especially among digitally-connected consumers and younger generations.

Nearly 70% of millennials report experiencing FOMO, and 60% report making purchases because of it.

As Eventbrite reports, “For millennials, FOMO is not just a cultural phenomenon, it’s an epidemic. In a world where news feeds and social media broadcast what friends are experiencing, the fear of missing out propels millennials to show up, share and engage: a driving force behind the experience economy.”

Leading verticals able to take advantage of this sensation include travel, events, and food/dining, though it has a place among almost any industry.

Email: Fuel for the FOMO Fire

Email is an incredibly effective marketing channel, but traditionally has not been the go-to tool for inciting FOMO.

The channel lacks some of the capabilities that make catching the eye and inciting an immediate action easy. There’s no emotional music cues, no eye-catching stickers, no spoken dialogue, and little exciting video.

But the situation isn’t hopeless. It’s still possible to inject exigency into the inbox and increase conversion rates.

One of the most effective options for generating this urgency is to insert an email countdown timer.

From rocket launches into outer space to time bombs requiring immediate disarmament, there’s something about a ticking clock that builds up unmatchable and anxiety and anticipation.

This simple yet powerful tool is the perfect way to motivate immediate action in your email marketing. Just a few of the things you can do with it:

It’s never been easier to insert active countdown timers into your emails. Innovative real-time email technology means your embedding a countdown clock in email can look great on any device. Timers can be customized to display time ticking away down to the fraction of a second. Expertly-implemented timers even adapt to the client they’re opened in to display a live running clock or a still image that refreshes every time the email is opened!

3…2…1… GO!

Subscribers aren’t the only ones “on the clock.” Marketers are also racing to get ahead, differentiate their email experience and drive conversions. The good news is that results-generating tactics like embedding countdown timers in email have never been more accessible.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to add urgency and FOMO to your emails! (See what we did there?) Click here to see the power and capabilities of countdown timers in email for yourself.

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.

Marketing masterminds and retail trailblazers recently gathered in Las Vegas to learn, network, and (sorry) talk shop at the annual Shoptalk conference.

An enormous crowd (including the Liveclicker team!) made the pilgrimage to meet and discuss the biggest changes, challenges, and opportunities facing businesses in retail, ecommerce, CPG, and related industries. As always, the conference was overflowing with expert perspective on emerging trends and technology and needle-moving insights on email marketing for retailers.

Shoptalk this year was sold out—and even if you went, you probably weren’t able to attend every incredible session, round-table, presentation and forum relevant to retail email marketing. Either way, not too worry! We took careful notes for anyone who missed out so you can make the most of your email program in the coming year.

Automatic, for the People

Among all the insights, reports, analysis and discussion, one theme dominated the Shoptalk conversation: the customer experience.

Today’s retail consumers live in an era of unprecedented choice. Shoppers have more options than ever: more products, more stores, more locations, more channels. Competition for their attention and favor is fierce, and delivering a compelling, relevant experience is one of the few reliable ways for a brand to differentiate itself and earn loyalty.

“Real personalization is not just about products, it’s about the whole digital journey of our consumers,” said Philip Thompson, Worldwide Tech Leader for Amazon Web Services during a presentation on AI.

Personalization would come up time and again as one of the most important ways to improve the retail customer journey from beginning to end. It’s an especially valuable lesson for making and deploying the best retail emails, since email as a channel has so much potential for 1:1 engagement and relevance.

For instance; email personalization can mitigate brand abandonment, a problem rampant in the retail space. Qubit founder and CTO Graham Cooke revealed during his session that 83.9% of retail shoppers only purchase once! He suggested an authentic customer experience, driven by personalization, could drive that number down—but also cautioned that tracking loyalty metrics can be difficult and implementing personalization throughout the customer journey requires well-equipped cross-functional teams.

Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, highlighted the importance of relevance and shared a personal story on how retail email marketing still has a long way to go. She recounted an experience buying a set of spoons from a home-and-kitchen retailer, and getting a follow-up email encouraging her to pair up her shiny new spoons with…”a jar of pot roast sauce.”

This is a great example of digital marketing gone wrong. The idea was right; a targeted email set to trigger after a purchase can be incredibly effective at engaging and upselling. But unless that message is packaged with real-time relevance, it will fall flat and tarnish your brand relationships. Eggers would go on to emphasize that marketing needs to be focused on what the customer wants and needs not what we want to show or sell them.

Interested in learning how you can easily add real-time relevance to your email campaigns? Schedule a demo with us 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.

Content really is king today. For proof, consider that marketing teams and companies that embrace the right content marketing approach tend to succeed on many levels.

First, these companies distinguish themselves as true thought leaders and stand apart with their ability to provide the very latest news and information. At the same time, they do a great job of giving their audience a steady flow of helpful content that informs, educates, and guides them toward the right decision.

(Sidebar: It is important to note that successful content marketing strategies are not overly promotional or salesy. The same can be said for the best email marketing campaigns, which is a topic we recently covered in a blog article that showed how helping customers and prospects can improve your bottom line.)

But let’s face it. Asking busy marketing teams to constantly churn out high-quality, creative, and relevant content just isn’t realistic. Many companies don’t have full-time content professionals yet, which probably means that their employees have other responsibilities beside content creation. Expecting busy marketers to write a good blog or two “whenever they have downtime,” only leads to decreases in content frequency and quality.

Curating content can help

Fortunately, there is good news. Content curation—the process of finding great content and delivering it in a way that is meaningful and adds value—overcomes these challenges. Using curated content from third-party sources also helps minimize the amount of self-promotion (“me-speak”) brands tend to do, helping to draw consumers in. More, it also enables marketing teams to efficiently maintain their cadence of fresh new content, leading to increased engagement and loyalty.

Yet many companies may believe that curating content presents the same challenge as creating content: namely, that the process will still take too long, especially if employees must now scour the web each day/week in search of new ideas.

Better use of social content

Many leading content curation tools and platforms address this concern by simplifying the process of discovering user-generated content at scale. Marketing teams can search for content or influencers based on hashtags, engagement rates, and other variables. Then, they can creatively publish this content to their own channels, including their website and social media sites.

For example, a retail brand might search for a hashtag related to its clothing to find great photos of influencers wearing its latest fashions and other user-generated content. This content can then be used to create galleries of product imagery, complete with product information and cross-selling offers or promotions.

Curated content in email marketing

Curated content marketing can be delivered in email, too, a strategic approach that is recommended by Forrester Research. In its research report, Empowered Customers Inspire Email Innovation: Your Best Subscribers Will Help You Do More with Email, Forrester advocates co-creating content with your best customers to help you innovate. Examples include instructional videos, input on new store locations, user-submitted photos, game-playing stories, and more.

Liveclicker now offers powerful integrations with leading content curation platforms, Olapic and Curalate within our RealTime Email platform. Liveclicker customers can combine real-time email personalization technology with these integrated solutions to develop and deploy extremely innovative emails that feature user-generated social content.

Not only does this become a unique way to engage consumers and promote products, but using curated social content is enabling today’s innovators to increase brand awareness, email performance, conversions, and sales.

Stay tuned for more information on our social content curation integrations, or as always, visit our website or contact us for more specific details.

Let’s face it. Marketers constantly need new technology and powerful tools to cut through the clutter, stay a step ahead of the competition, and generate the best results possible.

Testing is a perfect example of this. Marketers are always looking for advanced testing capabilities, especially because traditional testing methods are usually time-consuming, manual efforts. Worse, testing may not deliver the full intelligence marketers demand, requiring them to make further updates as they attempt to optimize email content.

Yet, what if there was a better way? What if marketers could take advantage of technology to automatically ensure that the best content is displayed for the full life of their campaigns?

The good news is that now they can with a powerful new suite of capabilities in the RealTime Email platform.

The Future of Testing is Here Now

These new capabilities, collectively called Adaptive Personalization, remove the obstacles that once made it difficult to make content as relevant as possible. Our Adaptive Personalization tools automate testing, targeting, and optimization processes, enabling marketers to deliver the most relevant messages based on constantly changing variables such as consumer behavior, preferences, context, and more.

The Adaptive Personalization suite includes many new features and capabilities, but one of the most innovative is Adaptive Testing.

With Adaptive Testing, marketers hold back a percentage of subscribers for constant testing (even after an initial winner is chosen). This audience receives content that dynamically changes based on continuous testing results, giving marketers a new way to automate the decision-making process and optimize email content at all times.

Adaptive Testing is extremely intuitive and easy to use. Marketing teams only have to set up the rules once and upload the most relevant content. Not only does this save valuable time and effort, but marketers will rest assured knowing that the winning test will automatically evolve in response to changing customer inputs.

  Adaptive Testing provides a number of important benefits:

Adaptive Testing in Action

To understand just how powerful Adaptive Testing can be, consider the case of a theme park using this new capability.

The park sends a marketing email on a Tuesday to attempt to generate interest and drive attendance for the upcoming weekend. A winning CTA is automatically selected via Live A/B testing. In this case, the winning result is a call to action that creates urgency by telling customers they only have two days to take advantage of this offer.

But as the week goes on, Adaptive Testing kicks in. Now, the weather forecasts predicts rain, so the winning call to action automatically updates to show a discount to attend an indoor park, based entirely on email click activity.

Without Adaptive Testing, the park would have been hard pressed to capitalize on changing circumstances in time to influence results. At best, it would have taken extra time, thought, and effort. At worst, they would have missed the opportunity completely.

How to Use Adaptive Testing in RealTime Email

Here’s how it works. A new toggle called “Continuous Testing” is now available in RealTime Email. This feature is displayed when A/B testing is enabled and when “winner picking” has been toggled to on.

When continuous testing is turned on, a “Holdback Percentage” option also appears. This is the percentage that will be tested after a winner has been selected.

Losing content from the initial A/B test is tested against the winning content over time in the holdback group, until – or if – the losing content begins to beat the previous winner. It is then displayed as the best possible email creative.

Get Started Today

With Adaptive Testing, powerful, innovative testing capabilities are now a reality. Adaptive Testing removes traditional barriers while giving marketers an easy way to discover and deliver their best email content. As a result, they can do what they do best: Drive program performance, create lift, and generate positive results.

Ready to gain a new edge in email marketing? Learn more about Adaptive Testing and our new Adaptive Personalization capabilities here.