Lately I’ve been seeing emails promoting “Spring Black Friday,” and while I love a good made-up holiday as much as the next email marketer, I’m not sure I can get behind this one. Black Friday already seems to start earlier and earlier every fall, and now it’s creeping into my spring? If you’re looking for ways to beef up your promotional planning process without creating new holidays, here are four tips to get the ball rolling on creating your own reasons to send.

Look Back

More than just what you did last year, look at what worked for you last year (you’re planning ahead so you don’t have to default to past ideas, remember?). Even if you want to freshen up the promotion a bit, keep in mind what timeframes were most profitable for you last year so you’re prepared to anniversary that revenue year over year. If you don’t have your previous year’s campaign neatly documented, that’s ok. It can be just as helpful to pull your team into a conference room and go through your inbox (because you receive and file all your brands’ emails, right?), and you’ll quickly identify the most memorable ones.

Start With Overarching Themes

Think about what each season or month means to your target audience. In the spring, are they getting ready for kids’ baseball and soccer games? Or are they more likely to be planting gardens, preparing for family graduations, or planning summer vacations? Choose overarching themes that speak to your audience’s lives outside your brand, and your messaging will already feel more relevant to them.

In this example from Bag, Borrow or Steal, the assumption is that customers are going through the process of spring cleaning and would therefore have items to sell. The subject line speaks directly to this (Spring Cleaning? Sell us your luxury goods!), and the email itself includes quick points for why you should sell your items to them.

Schraeder_Spring Cleaning_promotional email

Plug In Your Must Haves

These are the corporate events, holidays, annual promotional periods, etc. that are important to your brand. Don’t just think about the one day. Do you need communications or teases leading up to it? What about follow-ups? Can you ask for feedback? Maybe extend the promotion an extra day? You can get a whole week of marketing content and promotions out of just one event if you promote it right.

Brainstorm to Fill In The Gaps

This is the really fun part! There are a variety of resources available to help you surprise and delight subscribers throughout the year:

  • Competitive research – we all receive promotional emails (and hopefully you’ve signed up for a few of your competitors to stay on top of the trends), and there are always those few that catch our attention enough to avoid the trash folder. Go through your personal inbox to see if any of those eye-catching promotions could be applied to your brand.
  • Ask your colleagues – they might have their own ideas folder they’ve been holding onto, or even just a cool email they’ve seen recently. Expand your search outside the marketing department to gain a different perspective.
  • Random holidays – while I’m still not sold on “Spring Black Friday,” there are a lot of fun “holidays” out there to provide an excuse to send. A quick online search of “silly holidays” will return everything from “Tweed Day” to “National Jelly Bean Day”, and you might even find one you can tie back to your brand.

It’s not quite as fun as “National Jelly Bean Day”, but Tax Day is a great example of creating a reason to send. In this Kansas City Steak Company email, they play off the idea of a tax deduction to position their offer “$15 off your purchase of $125 or more”. The subject line “A Tax Day Deduction Steak Aficionados Will Love” helps the offer stand out among standard “Save $15!” – type emails.

Schraeder_Tax Day_promotional email

Even if you can’t walk through all four steps from beginning to end, even taking a few key points could get you headed in the right direction for upcoming promotional planning. So start brainstorming with your team, sign up for more emails (yes, more emails), and maybe buy one of those “holiday a day” calendars for your desk. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss “No Socks Day.”

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