Marketers are opportunistic by nature. So it’s surprising to see that relatively few are using the record cold temperatures and snowfall to anchor promotional emails.
Maybe merchants are concerned about the difficulties parcel carriers are having reaching some areas of the country. Numerous websites have caveats on their home pages admitting to weather-related delays. That concern shouldn’t hold you back, though: Consumers who are finding it difficult to get to the store to replenish their waning supplies of tea and milk (or in my case, Diet Coke) are well aware that delivery delays are inevitable, so a simple reminder on the website is enough. If they then decide not to place an order, so be it. But at least do what you can to get them to your website (or your call centre) first.
Home decor retailer Brissi, for instance, informs visitors to its home page that its carrier, DHL, is having some difficulties. And to drive consumers to that home page, it sent out an email with the subject line “Beat the freeze, we are delivering to your doorstep for FREE!”. The copy continues in the same vein: “Beat the Big Freeze and avoid the icy roads, now there is no need to venture out, while the cold snap is biting we are delivering everything to your door for FREE! Yes, free package and posting. So what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on, sit comfortably, browse through our gorgeous collections...”
Gifts merchant Past Times takes a similar approach with a recent subject line: “Beat the freeze and shop our Winter Sale online”. The email itself is a generic “sale continues” sort of thing, but by putting a more timely spin on the subject line and creating a benefit in the minds of readers (no need to trek out in the cold; we’ll enable you shop while lazing in front of your fireplace in your Slanket), Past Times manages to instil a bit of urgency and interest.
Apparel retailers arguably have it easier than most others when it comes to tying a promotion into the weather. Cataloguer Bonprix does it nicely while confirming its brand image as a source of fashion savvy on a budget, “Beat the big chill by layering!” reads the subject line. The text continues, “There's only one way to beat the big chill this winter and that's the layer look. Fight off the cold with a cami under a jumper, a cardi, and a coat and then simply peel off a layer at a time when you're back in the warm. For more inspiration, view our online fashion show to see just how it's done.” The runway video that the email links to does a great job of piling multitude items of clothing on each model; I wouldn’t be surprised if the clothes weighed more than some of the mannequins. But they sure look both warm and chic.
Gadgets mailer I Want One of Those did more than simply come up with a clever subject line; it came up with a contest as well. “Stuck at home?" begins the email. "Use that snow before the gritters get to it! While you're working from home (or occasionally checking the work email and watching Cash in the Attic), why not make us a snow creature and post a picture on our Facebook wall? The best one posted will get a tasty £100 IWOOT Voucher! All we ask is that you include a purple element into it somehow, just to prove you're not dragging out photos from Winter '87.”
I received the email at around 3:30pm on 7th January. By noon on 8th January, 151 snow creature pix had already been posted on the I Want One of Those Facebook page. The email about the contest didn’t push product, but it certainly helped engage customers with the brand and, judging by the retweets on Twitter, is spreading the word to prospects as well.
The only things more clever than the promotion are some of the snow creatures photographed for the contest. This photo and caption made me laugh, but my favourite is the one labelled “Snowman cat & dog by Justin Adams” (see below), which for some reason reminds me of Jeff Koons's Puppy.—SC