Taking Advantage of Events, Not Just the Big Holidays
Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have a cadence to your emails and provide recipients with varied products, services and offers. It's a good idea to plan out future communications for a three-month time span. This isn't as daunting as it may sound.
The upcoming month should be organized with the most detail. Marketers might include specific types of promotions, themes, products and services — even subject line approaches — that will be used. Two months out the calendar has much less detail. It might include types of promotions and themes that will be used. Three months out there will be broad brush strokes and only high-level general approaches.
When you're mapping out your calendar, one of the first things you should include is upcoming holidays and events. Of course, everyone plans for the big holidays and gift-giving seasons such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the build up to Christmas. In many cases retailers begin marketing a holiday campaign early. Here's a look at some Experian CheetahMail research that examines transaction rates for emails sent on specific holidays vs. all industry promotional benchmarks.
It's obvious that you want to plan to take advantage of the big holidays. That said, there are plenty of minor holidays that provide a host of additional opportunities for promotion. Here are a few examples of ways you might take advantage of events that may stimulate your creative juices:
- Brookstone sent a promotion to capitalize on Daylight Saving Time (DST). The retailer promoted smart clocks that reprogram themselves with the correct time. There was also value-added content at the bottom of the email in the form of a tip. Brookstone noted that many fire departments suggest that DST is the perfect time to change batteries in any smoke detectors.
- Vivre, a luxury retailer, took advantage of interest in the Academy Awards to do its own Oscar promotion. However, the "Oscar" it focused on was Oscar de la Renta. It was a clever twist on a topic of interest to many.
- During the Olympics, The Wine Enthusiast used an evocative subject line that had a tie-in to the games: "Go For the Gold - View Our Top-Rated Wine Essentials!" This was a good way for The Wine Enthusiast to resonate with its audience with an event that was top of mind for many.
- Sears used geo-targeting to promote snow blowers, snow tires, shovels and more to its customers in an area that was expecting a snow storm. The subject line read: "Heavy snow is forecasted in your area - be prepared." This is a promotion that can be prepared well in advance and then used whenever the situation arises in different areas.
- Clothier Barneys New York took advantage of its customers’ interest in Michelle Obama's couture for the presidential inauguration. The subject line for its email campaign read: "Mrs. Obama and Barneys LOVE ..." It was sent following her husband's first inauguration when she wore an Isabel Toledo outfit. The email showcased the First Lady's clothes and other fashions by the designer.
- April Fool's Day can inspire fun emails. Road Runner Sports, a seller of running and walking shoes, sent an email with the subject line, "Runner! New INVISIBLE Running Shoes Are Outta Sight!" Once the email was opened the reader saw "April Fools! Invisible shoes aren't real - but this offer is!" The merchant announced a one-day, 10 percent off sale coupled with free shipping and handling. The way the offer was presented was so much stronger than just a typical sale announcement.
Holidays and events are a wonderful way to engage with email subscribers. While most marketers will take advantage of the major dates, you can stand out if you take the time to incorporate other meaningful dates into your campaign planning.
There are many online sources that provide event information. Here are just a few events coming up in October. See if you can put your thinking cap on and come up with ways to tie-in email campaigns to these events:
- 10/1: World Vegetarian Day
- 10/8 : National Children's Day
- 10/14: Columbus Day
- 10/15: I Love Lucy Day
- 10/17: Get to Know Your Customers Day
- 10/19: Sweetest Day
- 10/24: United Nations Day
- 10/31: Halloween
Finally, when you're planning your editorial calendar, don't forget to include internal company events. If you have a new product launch, for example, you'll want to to craft specific promotions to support the introduction.