A Prime Example of the Effectiveness of Email

Amazon recently made “Holiday in July” a reality with its much-talked about Amazon Prime Day, which created excitement and drove sales during a typically lackluster time for retailers. Negative social media chatter aside, this manufactured holiday was a success for Amazon, which reported that sales in the U.S. were up 93 percent following the event.

Amazon Prime Day is a strong reminder of the changing retail dynamics, and how retailers and brands engage with consumers. No longer are brands limited to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the traditional holiday weekend sales. The marketing landscape today affords marketers the opportunity to manufacture moments that engage, convert, and build loyalty with their customers. Email sits at the center of this.

For brands and retailers looking to manufacture moments with their customers: what can you learn from Amazon Prime Day?

1. Develop Effective Subject Lines

You need an effective subject line that entices and engages consumers enough to open and engage with your message. Think about how your subject line could vary based on the purpose of a planned email series, allowing the entire library of subject lines to tell a cohesive story.

For example, Amazon’s first email announcing the promotion on July 7 led with the subject line, “Mark Your Calendars for July 15.” Why? You had to open up the email to find out. According to eDatasource, this email message to 3.6 million subscribers had a read rate of 27.35 percent. The cryptic nature of the subject line left subscribers wanting more information while also giving them vital information about the promotion: the date.

2. Communication Cadence

One message alone does not launch a new holiday by itself. Your messaging needs to be cross-channel, and have a logical and sensible cadence to it, leading up to that very special day. It is important to provide multiple messages in the stream to build awareness. But don’t over communicate; this could result in diluting your message or turning customers off completely. Amazon sent a follow-up message on July 10, but held off on additional email communication until the day of the event.

3. Ability to Adjust in Real-Time

Amazon received backlash on social media from customers who felt the deals weren’t strong enough, or were upset because of out of stock merchandise. This feedback provided key, real-time indications of how the new shopping holiday was received. And while Amazon continued to email subscribers about deals amidst the negative social chatter, they chose not to adjust the context of those communications accordingly – but they should have.

It is important to establish a plan to adjust in real-time. If they had, Amazon could have leveraged adaptive content in their email to always present items that were in stock, included content notifying customers of higher activity than expected, or incorporated a sense of urgency into their messaging to stress the exclusivity of the products being offered.

4.Post-event Strategy

Customers that engaged and converted during Amazon Prime Day can now become a subset of your database. What is different about these customers? What drives and motivates them to engage? What did they purchase during that time and was the behavior incremental? Now that the event has concluded it is important to understand the audience and then determine how you want to engage or communicate with them moving forward.

The big question is, what new shopping holiday can you introduce?

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