The Key to Mother’s Day Marketing? Emotive Subject Lines
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show appreciation for moms everywhere, whether it’s with flowers, that piece of jewelry she’s been eying or a gift that’s completely unique. However, to capture a mother’s heart, marketers must first gain the attention of gift-givers with messages that strike the right emotional cord.
To find out what personalized language matters most to consumers, Persado and YesMail examined more than 180,000 emails sent in the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day in 2014 and 2015. The scope of the study crossed 12 industries, revealing the best and worst emotions for Mother’s Day marketing, as well as the the message elements that successfully drive open rates.
While the subject line may seem to be the simplest component of an email campaign, crafting the perfect pitch can be complicated. There are different subject line elements that can play a significant role in engagement, ranging from the offer description and positioning of the keyword or phrase (in this case, "Mother’s Day") to the type of emotional triggers a subject line can elicit.
Positioning a word or phrase that alludes to Mother’s Day at the beginning of the subject line is especially effective on mobile, with an average of 37.7 percent more opens. On mobile devices, where push notifications display fewer characters, it’s important marketers get straight to point when communicating about Mother’s Day.
In addition, emotions are a big motivator, driving 60 percent to 70 percent of consumer response. Nearly two out of three subject lines analyzed in this study included at least one emotion, and the subject lines featuring emotional language had an average open rate about 25.5 percent higher than subject lines without emotion.
Emotions in subject lines can range from encouragement and gratification to anxiety and urgency, and using the right emotion in the right context is imperative. Of course, some emotions are more powerful than others, and this varies from year to year. While “encouragement” and “curiosity” were top emotional triggers in 2014 and 2015, email subject lines with emotions like “gratification” and “anxiety” shifted in effectiveness. In 2014, “Gratification” (indicating a sale or savings) was the third most compelling emotion, while in 2015, “Anxiety” (Don’t Forget Mom!) moved up the list from a position near the bottom in 2014.
Mother’s Day is a unique holiday season, and some emotions that are typically effective in other promotions see a major dip in effectiveness. For example, the positive emotion of “Achievement,” typically successful, was one of the least effective during the 2015 Mother's Day holiday.
The findings confirm what savvy marketers already know: marketing strategy must be agile, evolving to keep up with ever-changing consumer preferences. Without data, crafting a message that truly resonates tends to be a guessing game for creative teams. A growing number of technology platforms use cognitive computing to amplify marketers’ ability to effectively engage consumers in a systemized way. In this case, “smart” or cognitive content would be able tug at a customer’s heartstrings — no matter the holiday event.
Lawrence Whittle is CRO at Persado, a cognitive content generation platform