Panera Hero

Emails with Live Updates

From: Panera
Date: 10/13/18
Subject Line: Amy, vote for your favorite Mac & Cheese!

Panera Cropped Email    Panera Animation

We’ve seen it before: emails that refresh the content each time you visit. Mostly it’s been used to count down the time until a sale ends. Well, Panera has come up with an innovative way to use live email updates. They ask subscribers to vote for their favorite Mac & Cheese creation, with the email displaying the live results! What a cool way to get customers up-to-date information that’s also interactive. In this case, it was also a fun way to let customers know that new fall “Soups and Mac” have arrived.

The live results aren’t the only thing Panera is doing right in this email. They also animated the hero to grab my attention, used my name in the subject line and email to make it feel personal, and made the design mobile friendly. Nicely done!

I could see this strategy being used for other types of retailers. For instance, Gymboree recently had a vote-for-our-next-toddler-model contest. Wouldn’t it have been cool to see which child was “in the lead” in the email? I could also see a clothing retailer having shoppers vote on their favorite fall outfit. What about having subscribers vote what the next holiday “deal of the day” should be? The possibilities are endless!

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Animate Your Catalog hero

Get Your Catalog Moving

Are you trying to create awareness of, or drive traffic to your online catalog? There’s an email for that! Sure, you can throw a graphic in your header or footer, but if that’s not cutting it for you, go for gusto with an animated hero! What better way to grab someone’s attention?! Here are three retailers that did just that.

From: Michaels
Date: 8/26/18
Subject Line: Your Fall Lookbook Is Here! 👀

Michaels email shortened   Michaels animation

 

Michaels did a good job placing their message above the fold. They also included images of leaves which continue throughout the design, tying it all together nicely. However, it’s missing a call-to-action and the animation begins without mention of the catalog. If the viewer doesn’t take the time to watch the entire gif, they might miss the objective entirely. Our next email has a solution for this exact issue.

From: Mark and Graham
Date: 8/26/18
Subject Line: 20% Off Sitewide + Over 100 NEW Arrivals Starting at $29!

Mark and Graham email   Mark and Graham animation

Mark and Graham placed their headline “View the New Online Fall Catalog” and CTA above the animation. This way, wherever you start watching the gif, you’ll know what it’s about and will always have a place to click-through. If I were to change something, I would remove the photo that’s next to the headline, allowing the title to take less space, moving everything up. The use of the picture and horizontal line also make it feel like 2 separate messages – I would like them to feel better integrated.

From: Target
Date: 8/05/18
Subject Line: Your new Weekly Ad is here.

Target email   Target animation

I saved the best for last. One noticeable difference that Target implemented: instead of flipping through the Weekly Ad, they animate the cover. I LOVE this! It brings the cover to life, making it fun and drawing your attention. You know they had to plan ahead to achieve this, and it pays off! They also fit their headline and call-to-action next to the animation, above the fold. I wouldn’t change a thing. Here are a few others they’ve done in the recent past.

Target animation 2Target animation 3Target animation 4Target animation 5

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Moms Day hero 2018

My Mother’s Day Picks

Did your Mother’s Day email fall short this year? Help add life to your message with use of authenticity, originality and humor. Check out the emails that made my list this year.

From: Hot Topic
Date: 5/14/18
Subject Line: Newsflash: It’s Mother’s Day. Get your cool mom a cool gift.

Moms Day Hot Topic Email  Moms Day Hot Topic Animated

This email animates a phone conversation between a mother and daughter. It not only grabs your attention with the animation, but also makes it fun by adding some humor when the mom asks for Slipknot tank for Mother’s Day. It’s smart that they added in the typing […] graphic to the animation to allow time for reading while also making it feel more genuine. I also love how they manipulated the keyboard and word-suggestion area to call attention to the sale.

From: aerie
Date: 5/08/18
Subject Line: You Got It From Your Mama!

Moms Day Aerie Email  Moms Day Aerie Email zoom

Aerie sent out an email asking their models what they got from their mothers. The design features loving quotes and pictures of the moms and daughters together. What makes this one extra special though, is that all of the women are wearing aerie swimsuits and (as is the aerie way) are shown in untouched photography. It’s refreshing to see women of all ages and body types together, having fun and confidence in their natural forms.

From: Anthropologie
Date: 5/13/18
Subject Line: Isn’t Mom the best?

Moms Day Anthropologie Email  Moms Day Anthropologie Email zoom

Anthropologie sent out a series of emails highlighting their female staff with their kids. It’s a different angle to feature the employee as the mom. The photography is really what brings these emails to life. They are shot outside of a studio and look very authentic — Moms hugging and tickling their kids and playing on the beach. It just warms my heart. The script fonts, shadows and ripped edges add to the natural playfulness.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 5/08/18
Subject Line: Gifts for Woman Warriors (aka Moms)

Moms Day UnCommonGoods Email  Moms Day UnCommonGoods Email zoom

Finally, this email from UncommonGoods caught my eye. It defines Moms as superheroes and lets you choose which comic best fits your mom’s style. The unique hand drawn covers portray different super-abilities that match shopping categories. For example: “Dr. Brainiac” leads to geek gifts, “Mother of Gardens” goes to garden gifts and (my favorite) “The Gray Tornado” features gifts for grandma. The theme overall is original and fun.

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Christmas Engagement Hero

An Engaging Holiday

The holiday season is upon us! Here are 3 things you can be doing to engage customers now.

1) Encourage creating and sharing wishlists.

Creating a wishlist is a great way for users to see all you have to offer, scouring all the different section of your website. So how can you encourage them to do so? Here are 2 retailers with different approaches.

From: The Land of Nod
Date: 11/08/17
Subject Line: Your Wish is Our Command

The land of nod email

Land of Nod offers a chance to win a gift card to anyone that creates or adds an item to an existing wishlist. The design is short, simple and festive. The bold headline and minimal text makes it quick and easy to know what they’re offering.

From: American Eagle Outfitters
Date: 11/08/2017
Subject Line: 📝 WIN YOUR WISHLIST.
See the animation

American Eagle Outfitters email

American Eagle offers the chance to win your list (for up to $500). The subject line is straight-forward, complete with emoji to make it stand out when scanning your inbox. Their headline says it all, in big animated letters, above the fold. However, I feel the design is lacking a bit of festive flair or some type of product/graphic to make it more memorable. I might also suggest inverting the call-to-action to give it more pop.

Both are great strategies. I might even take this a step further by offering extra entries for sharing your list. The pre-filled email or social media post could mention the sweepstakes (to gain new subscribers) along with a link to the list.

2) Make engagement fun!

Set yourself apart. Try something new and creative to make your brand/products stand out. Children’s Place is promoting their new unique online gift cards. You can choose from a pre-made animated eCard, a custom card where you can add your own video, or a digital photo-book gift card! Plus, they add in the bonus of a $10 coupon with any $40 eCard purchase. I haven’t seen anyone else offer a video or photo book gift card and love the idea! It’s a nice personalized touch that transforms “I ran out of time/ideas” into I made this just for you.

From: The Children’s Place Outlet
Date: 11/10/17
Subject Line: NEW – Animated eGift Cards are here!
See the animation

The Childrens Place Outlet email

The email is also well designed. They grab your attention right away with the animated card placed above the fold. The 3 card types are clearly defined with numbers and scannable headlines. It even has flow with staggered numbers and the addition of arrows.

3) Keep people coming back with daily prizes.

Maurices is offering a “Gift a Day Sweepstakes.” I’m a sucker for these emails. I will actually keep them in my inbox and click on them daily. This is a great way to engage your subscribers. However, I feel this campaign was lacking in a few areas.

From: maurices
Date: 11/08/17
Subject Line: You could WIN a GIFT A DAY!

Maurice

The email states: 1 sweepstakes, 12 gifts, 60 winners, enter daily. It shows 12 numbered products. I was confused if you win certain products on certain days or if they were showing the 12 things you could win at any point during the sweepstakes. I also had to look at the fine print to find the cut-off date. So, a little more clear instruction would have been nice.

Also, the retailer payoff for this type of campaign is to get your subscribers to not only click to enter, but to continue to shop. This requires some type of eye-candy on the entry page. Maurices was missing this. They did have a link to “shop holiday gift guide,” but could have used a product picture or anything to pique your interest. (See the landing page)

One final thing, in an Ulta email that had a similar promotion, they told you after your daily click if you were a winner or not. With this campaign, they say “Here’s to ho-ho-ho-hoping you win! Swing by tomorrow for another chance to win.” I’d like to see a little more info about when and how the winners will be announced.

In short, the learning points here are: be clear in your messaging, don’t forget the details, and remember opportunities for click-through.

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UncommonGoods hero

No joke – this email is great.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 6/14/17
Subject Line: Shopping for Dad Is No Joke

UncommonGoods Email

This email from UncommonGoods is filled with fun, humor, and originality. It’s the one Father’s Day email that really stood out to me this year. It has the theme: Dad always tells the lamest jokes. They encourage you to shop all the usual categories (ties, beer, gadgets, grilling, etc), but the spin is they pair each section with a cheesy and relevant joke. For example, “I used to hate facial hair. But then it grew on me. [Shop personal care].” Every joke is also being told by a character that represents that category (a mustache with legs for instance). Most of the characters are crying with laughter, which put a smile on my face. The design flows nicely, staggered left to right. I had a lot of fun reading this email and even told my son some of the jokes. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with something for every section, and they pulled it off flawlessly. (BTW, I also love the preheader: Email died laughing? View in browser.)

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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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