Cyber Week has come and gone, but the failures and triumphs of the greatest e-commerce
week in history (according to a staggering number of reports on paid search spend, site traffic,
mobile traffic, total revenue and more) shouldn’t be forgotten.
In fact, there is a lot to learn from the companies that tackled
Cyber Week head on and won.
From bolder colors to larger fonts, and even exclamation
points, businesses fought hard to break free from inbox
clutter during Cyber Week. The ones who were successful,
however, took risks without jeopardizing their identity.
“The biggest challenge is trying to make an impact
without straying away from your brand's core communication
style, as you'll leave subscriber's confused and disinterested,”
said Responsys Director of Creative Services,
One company that Yeomans thought got it right was
Tiger Direct (the company that acquired CompUSA).
Tiger Direct’s innovative use of a live, dynamic countdown
is what caught Yeomans’ attention and enticed user action,
as well (see image A).
Apple, which typically sets the bar on email design,
also leveraged a countdown-type email to encourage excitement
and urgency, when they sent out a preview email
three days before Black Friday (see image B).
There were plenty of other elements at play for retailers during
Cyber Week. When email marketing service Campaigner
analyzed the data of customers who celebrated a
successful Cyber Week (many of which boasted an above
average open rate of more than 25 percent), it found two
similarities: the use of testing and engaging subject lines.
It may come as a surprise, however, that two successful
email subject lines from Campaigner customers during
Cyber Week were relatively simple in nature:
[Contact.Name]’s 2012 Thanksgiving Sale Discount
Coupon — This email subject line worked because nothing
captures a person’s attention more than their name,
and its simple personalization went a long way.
Cyber Monday Sale! — Simple, yes, but too vague — no.
Its vagueness relies on the (solid) assumption that customers
associate Cyber Monday with the best sales of
the year, so they already know what’s inside. Thus, this Campaigner client used that former knowledge to create
a to-the-point email subject line, and in turn, pulled customers
in with the great deals waiting.
In addition to powerful email subject lines, Campaigner
also noticed that its successful customers did A/B
split testing in order to find the perfect campaign to hit
their lists. Others sent at different times/days to determine
which would be the best time to hit send.
“We had a few select customers who did some in-depth
multivariate testing, which I believe is an innovative way to
outline what their customers are looking for,” said Campaigner
Marketing Coordinator Wendy Griffin. “Some of the
variables that were used were different offer formats and topics
in the emails, small design changes,
and different landing pages for different
offers and, of course, subject lines.
“Many customers also used our
segmentation feature to create different
campaigns for different segmented
lists. This is also a great idea because
when you segment a list you know
who is in that list and you can create
campaigns completely dedicated to
them and only them. It’s been showed
that customers who use segments have
a higher open/click-through rate with
On Brand & On Trend
When discussing Cyber Week winners,
it’s important to recognize the
companies who not only stayed on
brand, but also those who displayed
consistent marketing collateral (Web
pages, emails, social media, fliers,
etc.) across all channels. Additionally,
the true winners were ones who optimized
email design and copy for a
better mobile viewing experience, as
Responsys states that some brands
saw as many as 40 percent of their
subscribers opening emails on their