Loft Mother's Day Hero

A Mother of an Email

From: LOFT
Date: 5/05/17
Subject Line: Two things we love: our moms…and a SALE

Loft Mother's Day Email

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. I love Loft’s approach to celebrating the holiday. They decided to do a mother-daughter photoshoot with the staff! The email introduces the staff member & their mom, has a personal quote about their relationship, and (the best part) includes a throwback photo of the two of them together. I like how personal this email is — you really feel like you’re getting to know the people “behind the curtain” at Loft. To top it off, all moms are dressed in Loft attire! It’s a great way of showing how versatile their clothing line is. Plus, it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to picture your own mom in the same wardrobe. They include calls-to-action that lead you to buy the clothing they’re wearing.

From: LOFT
Date: 5/03/17
Subject Line: Real moms, real style

Loft Mother's Day Email

Loft took two different approaches with this message. In this email they focus less on the individual staff members (removed the names, quotes and throwback photos) and made it more of a general message. They rely on you to click through to the landing page to learn more about the staff/moms. In this email it’s less obvious to me that the mothers are wearing Loft clothing (in the other email the copy points out that the moms are stepping in as models). Because of this, I find the main call-to-action (shop now) a little out of place. I would expect to see the “meet our moms” CTA first. Still, it’s very sweet and personal (because of the photos), but I favor the content in the other version more.

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Slime Bracket Hero

An Email Oozing with Engagement

From: Michaels
Date: 3/28/17
Subject Line: 1 Day Only! 20% Off Your ENTIRE Purchase
View Full Email

Michaels large crop  Michaels Slime Bracket

While sports fans are glued to their basketball brackets, Michaels has started a bracket of their own — for SLIME! If you’re a parent, you’re probably aware of the latest craze sweeping the kid nation: homemade slime. One of the key ingredients is Elmer’s glue and it has been flying off the shelves like hot cakes.

Michaels jumped at the opportunity to announce that their 1 Gallon bottle is back in stock and to call attention to their “slime bracket” where you can vote on your favorite DIY blobby creation! Are you more of a shimmery mermaid fan or a gooey zombie brain type? The email encourages you to hop over to Michaels’ Facebook page where you’ll find images of the different varieties teamed up against each other. Vote for your favorite and see if it makes it to the next round. What a great way to spark interest and get people involved with your social network! The email includes product images of the googly eyes, beads and pom-poms needed to create a few of the slimes from the bracket. All the gooey options are sure to inspire new ideas and encourage you to shop where you know ingredients will be available.

Michaels did, however, miss an opportunity by not linking the products. I (along with other Facebook commenters) would have liked to see full ingredient lists for each creation along with measurements. Finally, I wish the email didn’t go on to cover Morph and Easter products; it felt like too much crammed into one email. If they were mentioned as a small sub-message it wouldn’t be so bad, but they took up half of the email.

Overall, this strategy is a fun way to inspire people to shop while encouraging social engagement.

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Easter Hunt Hero

This Easter: Hunt for Savings!

From: Mark & Graham
Date: 3/27/17
Subject Line: New eggs have been hidden! Join the hunt for special treats!

Mark and Graham

Mark & Graham came up with a clever way to get into the Easter spirit while encouraging people to browse their website. Here’s the deal: Any product with an Easter egg graphic by it is 20% off! The play on words are just too fun — like the holiday, you must go “hunting for eggs” and place them in your “basket” to claim your reward! Even businesses that don’t sell Easter products can use this concept to celebrate the season.

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Rejuvenation Hero

The Beauty of a Zoom

From: Rejuvenation
Date: 3/24/17
Subject Line: LAST CHANCE! FREE SHIPPING + bath makeover inspiration

From: Rejuvenation
Date: 3/22/17
Subject Line: Don’t miss out! Free Shipping on your first order!

From: Rejuvenation
Date: 3/20/17
Subject Line: We’re treating you to Complimentary Shipping on your next order

Rejuvenation   Rejuvenation   Rejuvenation

These emails by Rejuvenation are the new evolution of design. Two major staples of my methods include: 1) creating flow by staggering products and 2) not overwhelming layouts with too many products. These email do neither, so WHY would I find these emails so aesthetically pleasing? The answer is in the photo zooms! If you tried this layout with photos of a typical shooting distance, it would become overwhelmingly cluttered; your eye wouldn’t know where to look and your brain would have trouble processing every element before you got bored and moved on to the next email. The zooms, however, add a clear and beautiful level of detail that are simplistic and easy to digest. Each image leaves you wanting more. The angles that the photos were taken at are also important; if each photo was shot head-on, it would become stale and lack movement. However, Rejuvenation cropped each image to add balance and interest to a layout that would otherwise be devoid of flow. I also love how each design has its own color scheme; every image coordinates with the hero perfectly.

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happy holidays hero

A Very Merry [something] to You!

We live in a politically correct world where people can be easily offended, so simply wishing subscribers a Happy Holiday can be a tricky thing. Because Christmas and Hanukkah are religious holidays, you don’t want to exclude anyone or step on any toes. Here are a few ways retailers messaged their subscribers this year, ranging from the daring to the all inclusive and a little vague.

1. Retailers That Went For It

I was surprised to see a few retailers going with the Merry Christmas message this year. I personally only recommend going this route if your company is clearly marketed toward a specific religious group (ie: The Christian Book Store). I wouldn’t want to offend and potentially lose a customer.

From: Michaels
Date: 12/24/16
Subject Line: We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
See it animated

Michaels

There’s no doubt which holiday Michaels was backing this year. Their headline spells out in all caps and dancing letters, “MERRY CHRISTMAS.” It is colorful, festive and attention grabbing. One nice thing about singling out a holiday is you don’t have to worry about choosing imagery that caters to everyone (for example snowflakes over Santa). They went a bit generic though with gold glitter stars throughout the email –glitter seems to be a common trend among holiday emails of all types this year.

From: Christopher & Banks | CJ Banks
Date: 12/25/16
Subject Line: Wishing You A Merry Christmas From All Of Us!

Christopher and Banks

Christopher & Banks also wishes a Merry Christmas in both the subject line and headline. They chose a nice photograph of a wreath hanging on a front door to fill the design. The copy is heart-felt and personal, coming from the President & CEO. I always enjoy receiving these types of communications (personal letters). It’s a nice reminder that there are real people behind the company that appreciate my business.

2. Did We Cover Everyone?

These emails did their best to incorporate multiple December religious holidays. This method can be fun and a little comical with original holiday phrases. It also shows your desire to bring everyone together.

From: Cupcake Polish
Date: 12/25/16
Subject Line: Merry Christmahanakwanzika! Celebrate with a FLASH SALE! ❤💚💙

Cupcake Polish

Cupcake Polish invented the word “Christmahanakwanzika” in their subject line. Their email went on to read: “Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year! We hope you are having a great day no matter what you celebrate!” I like how all encompasing it is with a bit of humor. The email design is a little lack-luster, but they did included a graphic “word cube” that includes all the holidays with some graphics.

From: Madam Glam
Date: 12/24/16
Subject Line: Merry Chrismukkah ! 🎉

Madam Glam

Madam Glam started with a similar approach, using the subject line and headline Merry Chrismukkah, but the copy leans a bit more Christmas (mentioning Santa). The graphic they chose could be viewed as generally winter themed — a tree made of glittery gold hearts, surrounded by falling snow. Overall, not a bad email, but make sure to stick with the plan from beginning to end.

From: Gap
Date: 12/25/16
Subject Line: May your day be merry and bright

Gap

Gap started out with a vague subject line (May your day be merry and bright), but got more specific within the email. They laid it out plain and simple: Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from our family to yours. The imagery is winter-clad models sporting cozy hats, coats and scarves. Glittery titles and background add to the generic but wintery design.

3. Happy … December?

And finally these retailers took the safe approach by sending well-wishes in a general way. It’s honestly the safest approach. It’s a way to say, hey, we care about you and want you to be happy, whatever you’re celebrating. There were plenty that used the well-known “Happy Holidays,” so here are a few that used an alternative method.

From: Tiny Prints
Date: 12/25/16
Subject Line: ❄ A Special Season’s Greeting for You
See it animated

Tiny Prints

Tiny prints decided to go with the headline “Merry Everything.” Since this choice of words doesn’t call out any holidays specifically, I’m going to place this under the slightly vague category. It is all encompassing, but a little noncommittal. It’s not a bad option, but I did find it a little funny to read, thinking, “Wow, they really weren’t sure what to say here.” It is, however, one of my favorite designs with texture, depth, color and even a subtle animation.

From: Neiman Marcus
Date: 12/25/16
Subject Line: Merry Christmas + a treat for you!
See it animated

Neiman Marcus    Neiman Marcus wink gif

Although the subject line is clearly Christmas, the email itself is more general holiday. The headline reads “May Your Day Be Merry & Bright!” The design, while colorful and creative, got the creepiest award in my book. The good: a model with a winter hat surrounded by doodles of snowflakes, doves and swirly patterns. I could even be okay with the strange choice to doodle a mustache on her, but … The creepy: they add an animation of her winking in a really weird and unnatural way. The right eye doesn’t squint as it should in a normal situation. It’s just a little unsettling.

From: Serena & Lily
Date: 12/24/16
Subject Line: Brightest holiday wishes.
See it animated

Serena and Lily

Serena & Lily went with a broad headline, “Wishing you a bright holiday.” They created their own unique graphic of a snowflake containing drawings of home furnishings. They also animate a little sparkle. I have to say, it is quite unique, but the design lacks a bit of flow and color.

One Final Observation:

As far as these day-of holiday emails go, I prefer it when the message is solely focused on well-wishes. It shouldn’t look like a last-minute inclusion tacked onto the top of a product/sale message. It makes the message a little less personal, not to mention that not many people will be shopping on the day of the holiday they’re celebrating. However, I don’t mind the addition of a link to send a virtual gift card. That’s an easy last-minute gift that doesn’t involve shipping or leaving the home.

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Social hero

Get Social this Holiday

Maurices and Disney found clever ways to get their customers to interact with their social network pages this season! Let’s take a look…

From: Maurices
Date: 11/18/16
Subject Line: ‘Tis the season for shopping, saving & free shipping

Maurices   Maurices animated

Maurices is running a promo that qualifies you to win your holiday wishlist. They call it the “Wish Pin Win Sweepstakes.” To enter, you fill out a small form, then pin any number of their products (to Pinterest) along with the required description line: On my wish list #wishpinwinsweepstakes #discovermaurices. I’m not quite sure how the user is linked to their Pinterest account, but I’ll leave that to the experts.

The idea behind this promotion has many advantages.
1. Engagement. It encourages shoppers to browse through the website, in turn finding products they’re interested in.
2. Customer Acquisition. By entering the contest, Maurices can gain access to a potential new customer’s contact information and ask if they’d like to receive future emails.
3. Future Targeting. By creating a wishlist, Maurices can better target each subscriber based on products they’re interested in. In this case, it can be obtained through their browsing history (since the wishlist is created in Pinterest rather than through Maurice’s website).
4. Even More Customer Acquisition. By posting products on Pinterest, word will spread about the best items you have to offer. Not to mention, products look so much better when suggested by a friend.
5. Conversion. By encouraging people to pin these items, the tedious work of browsing and compiling is now done — it’s easy for them to share it with friends and family. BAM, holiday wishlist complete.
6. Customer Retention. Offering contests keeps customers happy and waiting for the next opportunity to win.

Overall, this is a great way to market yourself using social media.

From: Disney Movie Rewards
Date: 12/01/16
Subject Line: Happy Holidays, Amy

Disney Movie Rewards   Disney Movie Rewards

For the month of December, Disney Movie Rewards is giving free reward points for clicks! On December 1st they sent an email announcing the promotion: “Earn 5 Points Every Day!” I clicked the CTA in the email, logged in, and earned my free points. BOOM. Done. Easy. The second day, I went to get my points but saw new instructions. To receive points I must now visit their Facebook, Twitter OR Pinterest page. There, I would find a link to a magic code. I can then use that code on the Disney Movie Reward’s website to redeem my points.

A great advantage of this promotion is that it:
1. Makes customers aware of their social media presence, and
2. Encourages them to “like” the page so they’ll be reminded to redeem points (therefore opting in to future posts).
3. Also, by liking the page, and/or posts, their friends will become aware of the promotion as well.

There are a few things I might change about their strategy, however.
1. For the kick-off email, I would make it clear how the process works (that social media will be involved). Rather than linking to the Disney Movie Rewards website, I would provide call-to-actions to their social media pages.
2. It seems like a lot of steps to earn your reward. Rather than listing a link within the social media post, I would like to see the code displayed there instead. I can only think of one reason why you might want to use a link: to direct them to a page with more opportunities for click through / conversion. In this case, the landing page only has the magic code.

Overall, still a creative way to incorporate social media.

Kudos to Maurices and Disney on finding unique ways to grow your customer base and engage existing customers through social media.

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Holiday Gifts Link Hero 2

Tis the Season to Give

Well, it’s officially time to break out those holiday designs! This year, make sure to extend your theme beyond the main message and include it in the framework of your email as well. You can add fun graphics or just switch up the colors for a festive touch. Today, however, I want to talk about one specific addition — a “gifts” button. It provides a quick and easy way for subscribers to shop for their loved ones and see what your business has to offer. Much like a recovery module, it offers an opportunity for click-through even if the subscriber wasn’t interested in the main message. Here are a few examples of gift call-to-actions that popped!

From: Anthropologie
Date: 11/16/16
Subject Line: New tops in need-now shapes: 25% off + free ship.

Anthropologie introduces a new “gifts” link in their footer. It can’t be missed with contrasting red text that animates! See the email animate.

Anthropologie    1118_gifts_anthro_200

From: American Eagle
Date: 11/16/16
Subject Line: A fresh take on destroyed denim

American Eagle follows suit with a red animated link, but they take it a step further by placing it above the fold. Love this idea! See the email animate.

American Eagle    1118_gifts_aeo_200

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 11/14/16
Subject Line: Win the Holidays

If you want to go all out, instead of a singular “gifts” button, break down the gifts by category. Shop by: gender, personality, price point, age, hobbies, etc. — the sky is the limit. (Side note, I just have to say I love this main message design. The use of graphics is so clever, bold and simple. It’s just perfection. But anyway, back on topic…) Uncommon Goods includes a footer at the bottom with “shop by” categories to help simplify gifting. Normally I would say it could use a headline to call out gift giving, or something to make the section stand out a bit more. But since the entire email is essentially a shop-by-category theme, it might have been overkill. Well done.

Uncommon Goods    Uncommon Goods Footer

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