Thanksgiving and Black Friday contributed to the largest shopping weekend in U.S. history, worth $6.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. And that’s not even counting Cyber Monday, which hit $7.9 billion in sales yesterday alone.
Last year, 25% of Cyber Monday sales were driven by email marketing, the most consistent and lucrative digital channel.
It goes without saying that the holiday season is a hugely important time for brands and of course, marketers ramp up their messaging. I’ve really noticed that because my full-time job is doing content marketing for Sailthru, which is an email service provider. As a result, I’m subscribed to approximately 1 million brands’ email lists for research purposes. Leading up to Cyber Weekend, my inbox has been absolutely bonkers. Yours probably has, too.
Looking at all my emails at once, it’s mostly a sea of numbers: 25% off this, $30 back on that. The volume of holiday email marketing makes it even harder to stand out, but these six brands managed to do so.
Dollar Shave Club’s Black Friday email hit a lot of email marketing best practices: a short, snappy subject line supplemented with an emoji. An eye-catching graphic enhanced by rich media. A finger wearing a sweatband and google eyes. What really makes this Black Friday email stand out is how seamless it is.
Many retailers are so focused on using email to drive site traffic that their messages simply amount to, “Click here for 25% off.” Instead, Dollar Shave Club shows the deals right in the email. The brand lets me know exactly how much I can save on various bundles of products, a mix of those I’ve purchased before and those I haven’t, and further simplifies the potential transaction by deep linking right to the shopping cart.
When your entire inventory is on sale, it’s tempting to cram as many products as possible into an email, like a digital version of a supermarket circular. The problem is, those can be overwhelming and difficult to absorb, especially when cross-referenced with several other identical emails.
Product recommendations are one way to cut through the clutter. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of 2017’s holiday shoppers bought an item recommended by a retailer. But since I’m on Tory Burch’s email list more for research than anything else, I don’t have a purchase history to guide the brand’s recommendations in the right direction. Instead of going the generic route, recommending everything including the kitchen sink, which is 30% off, Tory Burch curated this email with recommendations based on what’s new and trending.
When you sign up for an email list, nearly every brand asks for the same data, like ZIP code. Knowing your location helps savvy retailers tailor communications by focusing on, say, what’s available in your nearest locations. Or in DSW’s case, recommend products based on meteorology.
DSW’s email had all the trappings of a traditional Black Friday email, like discounts, product recommendations and an even a scannable bar code for the many customers who are driven to physical stores by email. The footwear retailer also included New York City’s weather forecast and some seasonally-appropriate booties.
Brands will continue their holiday promotions for the next few weeks. But of course, we’ve all been conditioned to think they have the really good ones on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. eBay capitalizes on the ephemeral nature of Cyber Weekend nicely with this bright red countdown clock that automatically itself every second.
The real-time update creates a sense of urgency. At the same time, eBay complements this strategy by also showing recipients the top deals. Based on Google search data, the iPhone X was last year’s top holiday gift. It’s probably no coincidence that eBay is highlighting a comparable but deeply discounted product. Click through and see just how popular it is; 1,521 eBay customers have viewed this deal in the past 24 hours.
According to the Data & Marketing Association, triggered messages account for more than three-quarters of email revenue. Reacting to specific consumer behaviors, triggered messages encompass welcome series and cart abandonment, as well as re-engagement emails designed to appeal to lapsed customers.
Blue Apron went that route for Black Friday. If you’re going to try and win back a customer, why not do it when you have your best sale of the year? The top-notch food photography can’t hurt, either.
Like I said earlier, my (and probably your) inbox is a series of numbers, percentages off and dollars back. Most of them range from 15 to 50, which means that only one digit-driven subject line really caught my eye: “A $750 gift card is too good to let go.”
Accurate. I would have opened Saks Fifth Avenue’s email even if I wasn’t researching email marketing on Cyber Monday. Of course, Saks isn’t just handing out $750 gift cards. It’s part of a tiered discount, where higher spenders get bigger gift cards. It’s also a good strategy to offer a cash back incentive rather than a discount, a move that will undoubtedly generate more sales.
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