Email marketing is written off far too easily by digital marketers, but the truth is that we will see once again next week exactly how powerful it is as brands prime us for Black Friday deals and then ram home their latest offering on the big day itself. And don't forget Cyber Monday just after.
New Anglo-American research shows, however, that it's not just money off and the latest deals that people respond to. The figures from Persado suggest that emotion is at least important, if not more, than deals alone. I would qualify that the research doesn't suggest money-off isn't the main draw on Black Friday. Given the nature of the day and the weekend running into Cyber Monday, it would be foolish to suggest that getting a bargain is not top of most consumers' minds when they check their inbox.
No, what the research suggests it that emotion is a great way to pull an eye toward a particular subject line and check out an email's contents where, of course, a consumer is going to expect a Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargain or two. It's important advice because email volumes in 2016 rose 55% over the previous Black Friday, so standing out will become increasingly more difficult.
The research itself shows that the most important emotion of the main five selected is challenge. Subject lines with an "Are you ready for" or "Prepare yourself for Black Friday deals..." type of message achieve the highest levels of engagement. In fact, the researchers are suggesting engagement of 20%, although it's not clear whether that is just an open rate. Nevertheless, it's at the top of their suggestions for standing out in busy Black Friday email inboxes.
Next in line is intimacy, implying a relationship between you and the recipient, and engagement levels tend to increase. "Black Friday deals just for you" or "Because you love x, here are some Black Friday deals just for you" are the sort of thing that works well here.
The encouragement of a sneaky treat comes in at third place, with the "Shhh, Don't tell anyone but..." or "Go on, treat yourself" type of headline doing well here. Then we have what the researchers call guilt by I would simply label, FOMO (Fear of Mission Out). "They're gone tomorrow" or "Don't miss this one day only deal" are the type of call to action email marketers will already know only too well. Then coming in at first place we have the fascination of introducing something new. "Try out our new" or "Launching today" are big pulls for engagement.
To be honest, most of this will not be entirely new to all email marketers because many will already be involved in the black arts of constructing the perfect subject line. What this research reminds us all of is that emotion never goes away. Just because people are expecting a deal doesn't mean that marketers can forget about the emotional aspect of any message they put in front of the public.
Draw them in with emotion and then let the deal sell itself.