February 28, 2013
February brought us three calendar events in a row: Chinese New Year, Pancake Day, and Valentines’ Day– and online retailers had a field day. It wasn’t just the usual suspects. Even Screwfix got in on the act, with a Valentine’s campaign featuring a half price offer on a gleaming circular saw and a ‘forward to your loved ones’ link.
We like this example from Red Hot World Buffet for valentines’ day:
The recent snow then provided a bonus opportunity for a topical email, with at least two major fashion retailers promptly sending out campaigns out on the theme of ‘it’s cold outside, so shop online’.
Topical campaigns aren’t always quite so harmless, though. Take the email from a data company linking their sales message about providing accurate data to the fact that good data played a key role in the capture of Bin Laden. In the B2C sector, American Apparel was heavily criticised for its Sandy Sale, which involved sending out emails offering 20% off for those living in states affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The problems aren’t limited to major faux pas. There’s also a big risk of damaging your brand by boring your readers, particularly if you’re in B2B. Emails focusing on an obvious topical theme can easily look clumsy and unimaginative. I for one long ago gave up reading any emails that reference ‘the current economic climate’. And every marketer faces the problem of standing out in a crowded inbox. Might you actually be making things harder by using the same theme as the dozens of other marketers all competing for the reader’s attention?
Posted by Paul Latham
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