I have to say the emails I received on Black Friday this year really caught my attention. It's very exciting to see so many brands trying different tactics to reach their subscribers and stand out in the inbox. In this post, I've detailed why these five emails caught my attention.
Digital marketers, take note!
Best use of branding to make an impact: Harley Davidson, Horizontal Scroll
Subject Line: Defy Holiday Convention
This is a fantastic execution of using your brand as a way to defy not only holiday convention, but email convention. The side scroller used a branded arrow as a way to indicate there's more to the right. Jackets are layered on top of each other to continue to give the subscriber the impression that there's more to view. It's also really fun to see a recovery module turned on it's side. By stacking the modules, these helpful links have a fresh new look in this campaign.
Best use of inbox innovations: Tiger Direct, Live Countdown Clock
Subject Line: Black Friday. Free Shipping. Clock's ticking
Formerly CompUSA and Circuit City, this retailer made a live countdown clock that tracked time down to the millisecond. This is a fantastic execution because the subscriber wouldn't necessarily know the clock was counting down if the increments of time weren't smaller than one minute. The creative is on-brand, even with a loud call out to the great deals they had that day. I'm absolutely positive this technology will be used in abundance next year. I've seen a few ways to pull it off and am excited to see retailers using it as a way to drive engagement.
Best way to make Black Friday about the holidays: Crate & Barrel
Subject Line: 15% off everything: online and in-stores
Crate & Barrel has had this fantastic campaign that features warm holiday moments and their Black Friday Campaign was no different. This email featured some traditional sale messaging, but it was juxtaposed with an image of a child excited about all the presents in his arms. This is the softer sell approach we're seeing consumers
really respond to. After all that extra day off should be about being with your family, even if it's while you're shopping.
Best Responsive Design: REI
Subject Line: Winter Sale + Friday Early Birds Get a Free Gift Card at REI Stores
It's always clear with it's the holidays with REI. This year their holiday branding element was wrapping their logo in a bow, but that wasn't the only change for this holiday. REI's holiday template is a prime example of responsive design at it's finest. The layout shifts depending on the size of browser the campaign is viewed on. It's really refreshing to see a retailer meet their customers with tailored messaging on their handset. Return Path reported that 40% of retail marketing emails were opened on a mobile device this year. Looks like REI was ready! Here is the link to the live campaign.
Best Mobile Optimization: Philosophy
Subject Line: black Friday doorbusters + up to 50% off + free shipping on all orders!
Another retailer showing a pro-active approach to mobile holiday shoppers, Philosophy sent the perfect example of a mobile optimized campaign on Friday. Reports from both Litmus and Return Path typically show a higher percentage of mobile opens happening on iOS devices where HTML emails scale nicely to fit the browser. In order to ensure a seamless mobile experience, Philosophy used larger fonts and buttons so that they appear in proportion when the layout is scaled down.
Honorable Mention: Cleverest subject line: Lowe's
Subject Line: Just Woke Up? Already Out? Swing By -- Stores Open at 5 a.m.
I love that Lowe's is speaking to a very specific customer... one already out looking for Black Friday Deals! Email can be really powerful to drive in-store traffic, and I'm sure this subject line caught the eye of a couple people standing in line waiting to get into another retailer or just waking up.
Speaking of Subject Lines... Here is a word cloud featuring all of the retail subject lines I received that day. The words are larger or smaller based on the number of times they were repeated.
It's very exciting to see so many brands trying different tactics to reach their subscribers. As the industry continues to mature, marketers will need to find new and innovative ways to stand out in the inbox, especially on a day like Black Friday.
Retailers, if you want to make 2015 your best holiday season yet, you'll want to download Turning 2014's Holiday Trends into 2015 Revenue, our eBook featuring a groundbreaking study where we learned not only what consumers said they would do but also what they actually did regarding their holiday spending and the behavior behind their decisions.