True confessions: I'm an online shopper who also studies email marketing. I scrutinize marketing emails and the online sales process up close and personal, if you know what I mean. Last week a few things baited my interest in my email inbox. Two emails that wouldn't allow me to buy what they were offering…sounds crazy, but it's true.
Imagine an email campaign that actually entices your customers to open future emails? Better yet, not only want to open them, but maybe even flag the current email, just so they don't forget to check back to your website at some future moment in time. Sound too good to be real?
I've been noticing a trend among large brands. Many of them are introducing sales and products through email campaigns. Of course, that's old news. Everyone does that.
However these sales are not only time-sensitive; they are not even going on at the time the messages are sent. The customer is actually instructed to visit the website at a later time, or to sign in and jump on a list to make sure they are included in a future email reminding them of the upcoming sales event.
How can this possibly work? Retail email marketers are in the business to try to get customers to ACT… and act NOW.
These teaser emails are so good that customers may even flag them, just to ensure that they 're paying attention when the offer is actually "ON." The following emails from Office Max and eBay Fashion (Coach) baited my attention. I checked these two sales out before they even began.
Why this email works:
First, as you can see, it was mailed to someone who owns a MaxPerks card, which means I have an account with Office Max, shop there frequently, and use their perks system.
The Deal of the Week is a great hook. If you buy paper you know that a typical pack is usually around $6. A ream of ten brings it down to about 10 for $50. so a box of paper for $26.99 is a good deal.
The offer is enticing to paper users like me. (Copywriters love paper.)
Then, just peeking above the fold is "Big Daily Deals."
Worth a scroll down, maybe?
Here's what hooked me. This Flash drive… I use them, my kids use them at school, I keep pictures on them, etc.
Holy Cow: 32 GBs for $14.99! I'm already pulling out my credit card when I see it's only valid on Sept. 5. That's two days from the day I received this email, but I can still "Shop September 3" so I click.
No go. The price on the website is $49.99 on the day of this email; and no hint of an upcoming sale on the webpage.
Now I'm thinking this sale is just for MaxPerks members or email subscribers, so I flag the email and save it in my inbox.
Which is exactly what Office Max wanted me to do.
A quick scroll down…nothing I want. Except I can tweet this offer to my friends and look like a hero to all the small biz people who shop at Office Max.
And now for the second example of email inbox deliciousness. It uses anticipation to ensure participation.
eBay Fashion: The Coach Store
Email #1: Coach's Exclusive 48-Hour sale…locked out until sale time.
The subject line: Tomorrow: Coach Factory Sale — shop new styles!
This one worked because not only did Coach entice customers to look at the email, the fashion store had the reader click to register just to get into the store at sale time. (The picture to the right is a tweak on the original. "Check back soon" instead of the actual date and time.)
After clicking "Join Wait List" button, the
registration page was simply an eBay sign-in branded with the same picture and promises of "Free shipping on orders over $125" and 'Up to 70% Off."
The very next day…
eBay Fashion Store Email #2: Coach's Exclusive 48-Hour Sale…On Now.
The subject line: Coach Factory: Free Shipping + new styles. Starts now!
Here in the email the shopper is shown an example of the kinds of deals she can get if she clicks "Shop the Sale." I only included the top handbag pictured, but there was also a pair of shoes, a wristlet, and a man's small duffle.
The original MSRP was slashed thorugh and the sale price in red.
Again, Coach knows its customers. We know the prices shown are better than department stores' sale prices, so this sale in the email inbox is worth checking out if you're a Coach customer.
Finally, eBay Fashion Store Email #3: The Reminder Email
Subject line: Don't miss the Coach Factory Sale!
I included the whole email here for you to see some details…
At the top the header says "Up to 70% off, Plus Free Shipping on $125+" Free shipping is huge, by the way. People who aren't even looking will check out a sale with free shipping. (I think I read somewhere that's especially true for women.)
Since 10 – 50% of all email is now opened on mobile devices, the header is increasingly important factor in getting your emails opened. This line at the top of the email, just below the subject line urges the reader that this could be good. It may also help the reader to decide to enable pictures on her phone (if she normally disables them).
The product sample are important images to show the shopper that these are current styles; while some of them may be familiar, they are ageless and chic, nonetheless.
Finally, at the bottom, the Coach logo and the tagline "The Official Factory Store on EBay" lends credibility to the email. It's not just some hawker who got an armload of goods from an outlet store or knock-offs from China. (Sorry if that offends you; I'm just saying…)
Finally, ebay's tagline (which I had never noticed before) "If it's on your mind it's on eBay" reminds you that you can always come back to shop later. The apps at the bottom are a nice touch, too. Remember, your customers are mobile now!
Even if you're not an e-commerce giant, I hope these emails give your some ideas on how to create irrisistible emails to your customers.
The excitement of waiting for a great deal is fuel that keeps customers engaged. A pre-launch email series, toegether with reminder emails and continuously hints at valuable content and keeps your brand at the top of your customer's mind.
- Don't send an email too far in advance. One or two days seems right.
- Don't give too much information. Leave the customer wanting to see what's in the shop. Make them click to see more.
- Know your audience. Excitement kicks in among people who already know your brand. Don't expect new subscribers and people who have never heard of you to be waiting with baited breath for you to open your doors to them.
Opinions? I'd love to know what you're thinking…
Hop on over to Facebook and let me know if you're an avid online shopper and what gets your attention these days.