This year Valentine's Day conveniently crossed paths with President's Day. With that 3-day-weekend came some questionably cold weather, and endless opportunities for shopping online. Therefore, the only love letter I wanted to receive was in the form of an email filled with discount codes. Apparently I wasn't alone. My team and I gathered up some of our favorite email marketing campaigns from the holiday weekend to see what features really stand out in the inbox. Take a look at our list below, and see if you can incorporate any of these elements into your next email marketing campaign.

1. American Eagle

One of the biggest challenges in email marketing is getting a potential customer to open your email. However, once they are there, you need to keep them entertained and invested in your content in order to have them engage with your brand. American Eagle took a playful approach with an animated gif that included one of their products. The fun intro naturally leads readers right on down to the deals and savings below as they continue to scroll. It plays up the Valentine's Day theme just enough to get their customers intrigued, without dragging on too much about the actual holiday itself.
Turn your images on. Shop AEO

2. Lucky Brand

As we mentioned, a big email marketing challenge is a compelling subject line. Lucky wins this year with - "Love makes us do crazy things like…" - this immediately makes the reader want to open up the message and see what that "crazy" opportunity could be. The design of the email layout is relatively simple. It doesn't waste any time, and just lets the audience know that they can get a pretty good discount. However, it is rare that a subject line really draws us in, and this one was both clever, and engaging. Two essential elements to a successful email campaign. Presenting your audiences with a question or statement in a subject line, that can only be answered or completed once they open the email, is a great way to ensure that they do so. If they are really reading through their inbox, it is naturally going to peak their interests, and increase your open rates.
email marketing - lucky

3. Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods is known for their…well…uncommon goods. They also tend to have some clever email campaigns when it comes to both subject line, and actual content. This year, they are another brand that made successful use of a rather adorable animated gif. Rather than telling the story focused on humans, they use their email to tell their audience about a penguin love story. This cute intro acts as a way to show their readers that there are "uncommon" ways to celebrate the holiday, and rather than the gif just being decorative, it helps to illustrate the information they are presenting in their message. Their email not only leads their audience to their products, but also some other romantic animal knowledge if that's what they are looking for!
It's different, and its adorable. This making it a successful email campaign, and an alternative take on this (often commercialized) holiday.

4. Free People

Free People is an online retailer that has always used a lot of strong visuals in their online marketing efforts. Their imagery is a representation of their brand, and something that audiences can always look at and know who exactly it is coming from. From video campaigns, to interactive look books that you can shop from, investing in their visual content has helped this brand grow. Their ideology translates beautifully to their email marketing. They rely on their visuals to promote different products, blog posts, and contests. For Valentine's Day, the main plot line in their email directs you to a post written by a real couple as they reminisce about their own love story. The post is filled with pictures with links to purchase the products featured within them. The email also links to fun baking ideas and other shopping options to fit the various interests of any individual reader.
email marketing - free people
Their combination of quality content with high quality imagery has made for a successful email campaign, and a continuously strong branding effort.

5. Party City

Party City's email catered to those holiday shoppers that waited until the last minute. Yes…even on Valentine's Day. Their subject line got right to the point for anyone scrolling through their inbox who may have forgotten that "Valentine's Day is Tomorrow." So whether you needed to get some last minute treats for your sweetheart, or wanted to fill your house with festive decorations for your annual party, they offered a generous coupon in their email. Since Party City is the place to get all of your essentials for any celebration throughout the year, they customize their design layout and imagery to fit the theme of the holiday they are currently promoting. It can often be difficult for businesses to sell a holiday promotion while remaining true to their brand, but considering Party City's product line and clientele, the door is open for them to have fun with their email campaigns at any point throughout the year.
email marketing - party city
While some holidays may be difficult to target your customers through email, its important to continuously think outside of the box when planning your campaigns. Take the creativity that was applied in these campaigns, and try to rework them and see if they can be incorporated into your own email marketing efforts down the road. Have you seen any new and interesting email trends in your inbox? Did any of your favorites make our list? Comment below or tweet us @BFMweb.
How to Reach the Inbox Whitepaper