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  • March 12, 2012

AM Inbox: The subtle side of seasonal marketing

The Retail Email Blog monitors the email marketing campaigns of more than 100 top online retailers. Here are highlights from my inbox this morning:

CB2, 3/10 — from our mixologists: a mod mix of must-have barware.
Most seasonal messaging is in your face, but sometimes a more subtle approach—as taken in this email—can be effective. Instead of leading with St. Patrick’s Day, CB2 simply promotes barware, which subscribers may find attractive regardless of the season. They then follow that promotion with a recipe for a mixed drink in honor of St. Patty’s Day with some nice copywriting touches.

Mar. 10, 2012 CB2 email
View this email full-sized.

Orvis, 3/9 — Let us help you contact us so we can better serve you.
Changing your sender address is always a tricky matter. You’re often walking away from an address that your subscribers have whitelisted and using a new address that in the best case scenario will have images blocked and in the worst case scenario will land in subscribers’ junk folders. That worst case scenario is what happened to this Orvis email, which I fished out of my spam folder. Despite the cryptic subject line, which sounds like you’re receiving a survey or preference center update email, this email is alerting subscribers to their new address. A more direct subject line would have been better. But Orvis does a good job of designing for blocked images, which is a given with a new sender address. Other tactics to consider would have been to alert subscribers of the upcoming address change ahead of time while still sending from your established address. You could also send an alert via both the new and old address, or send a series of emails to non-responders.

Mar. 9, 2012 Orvis email with images offMar. 9, 2012 Orvis email with images on

View the images-off version full-sized. View the images-on version full-sized.

Neiman Marcus, 3/10 — Free Designer Gifts: The Big Dance
Neiman Marcus, 3/11 — Spring Trend: Sports Influence
I thought the “Big Dance” reference in the subject line of the Mar. 10 Neiman Marcus email was just fortuitous coming a day before Selection Sunday for the NCAA tournament. But then their Mar. 11 email also included a sports reference. It can be smart to play on national events that might be top of mind for some subscribers, but be careful. The first email promoted dresses, so the basketball reference doesn’t carry through, making it just a gimmick or trick to get subscribers to open the email. However, the second email is more on point and truthful, playing off Selection Sunday in a way that feels relevant.

Kohl’s, 3/11 — Time to wake up!
While others are having generic Daylight Savings sales or promoting smoke detectors or clocks, Kohl’s took a novel approach and tied the loss of an hour of sleep to coffee makers.

Mar. 11, 2012 Kohl’s email
View this email full-sized.

SUBJECTIVITY SCANNER: Select noteworthy subject lines
The Children’s Place, 3/11 — Spring Ahead With Big Savings - 25% Off Ends Today!
Blair, 3/10 — Remember to spring ahead with 25% off everything!‏
Chadwicks, 3/9 — Spring forward with $1.99 shipping!
Kmart, 3/10 — Shop Kmart: Daylight won't be the only thing you save today
Sierra Trading Post, 3/11 — FREE SHIPPING & EXTRA 25% OFF + Up to an EXTRA 40% OFF Winter Markdowns & 20% OFF Daylight Savings!
Sony, 3/11 — Save Up To $1,080 On HDTV | Immerse Yourself In Hoops Madness
OfficeMax, 3/11 — It’s Madness! Save up to 70% Online Only
Dell, 3/10 — Got the fever?
Blue Nile, 3/9 — Save 20% On Green Jewelry and More for a Sparkling St. Patrick’s Day
Lowe’s, 3/11 — Under $1 per Sq. Ft.? Yes, Please.
Eddie Bauer, 3/9 — 200 Styles. 1 Sale. 50% Off. Say Hello to Spring. Plus, Free Shipping
Ann Taylor, 3/9 — Just In: Our New Spring Collection Is Here!
Home Depot, 3/9 — Don't Miss Up to 40% Off Patio - While Supplies Last!
Costco, 3/9 — Time For The Kids To Head Outdoors! Find A Playset On Costco.com.
Nordstrom, 3/9 — From Rush Hour to Happy Hour
Urban Outfitters, 3/9 — Muy Bueno!
Williams-Sonoma, 3/9 — Top-Rated & Earth-Friendly Soaps, Lotions & Candles
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BROWSE... Archive / Post Categories / Selling Seasons / Topics Covered / Retailers Tracked

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