Is It That Time Already?
Before this NFL season started, I didn’t even pick my Bears to win 6 games. I thought we were going to be horrible. Must be the Cubs fan (re: pessimist) in me. Turns out the Bears won the NFC North and got a first round bye in the playoffs. I probably wouldn’t be thinking ahead to the NFC Championship game and Super Bowl if we weren’t playing the still sub-.500 Seahawks this weekend. Since I have had the Super Bowl Shuffle stuck in my head these last few days, it caught my eye when Best Buy sent me an email promotion with the headline: Get Ready For The Big Game.
It got me thinking though. The Super Bowl this year is on February 6th. The email was sent January 9th. Almost one full month prior to the Super Bowl. So, when is the best time to start sending promotions for an event? Is that the only thing you have to consider?
When to Send
One month does seem to be an appropriate amount of time to start marketing prior to an event. The first Black Friday promotions I remember seeing came just after Halloween and there were plenty of those for the next two months. Sometimes too many.
The other aspect that needs to be considered is the frequency that emails are sent during this promotion period. Too much, and a subscriber may unsubscribe before the date of the event even arrives. Too few, and a subscriber may forget about the event altogether. Every day is likely too much. More than once a week may even be stretching it. As always, it depends on how active your subscribers are and how often you generally send emails outside of a promotional period. Once a week is a safe bet for an event like the Super Bowl, especially since the games are happening on Saturdays and Sundays and will be on peoples’ minds.
Email Marketing Strategy, or When Is Game Time?
Getting back to the example of Best Buy, their promotion was pretty solid. We’ve complimented them on their autoresponders for the online purchasing process. This promotion doesn’t exactly reach those lofty expectations, but it does offer a few lessons.
The large headline and TV screen with a football player have you thinking about the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the subject line does not. In fact, I wouldn’t have opened the email had I just seen the subject line of: $100-$600 off select HDTVs and Blu-ray player (I have a TV I purchased on Black Friday last year). I opened it because I saw the headline and image in the preview pane of my Mac mail client. A Super Bowl-related headline may have garnered more opens. Perhaps they’re saving those for closer to the big game.
The moral of this story is to plan ahead for your holiday email promotions. Decide when they should start, and how often to send the emails for the campaign, before you send your first event promotion. Use your competitors as a frame of reference if you need to. See what you do/don’t like about their event promotions. Enjoy the Super Bowl, and most importantly, GO BEARS!