Share the Love! Proven Best Practices You Can Use this Valentine’s Day (or Any Holiday)


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Some love it, some … well, let’s just say they don’t love it as much. No matter how you feel about this holiday, as an email marketer, you should embrace it for the opportunity it presents.

To be clear, we are not talking about Valentine’s Day in the context of being the perfect holiday for just those brands that sell chocolate, flowers, wine, or other gifts romantics love to send and receive. Instead, this article will show you how you can use Valentine’s Day (or any holiday) to get creative and deliver something your subscribers might never expect to see in their inbox: a highly personalized email they actually want to receive.

A new email approach may even lead to a whole new relationship with your customers and prospects. You’ll stand apart from the competition, impress your recipients, and transform even the most cynical transactional shopper into a starry-eyed, loyal brand advocate. As an email marketer, isn’t that what you really wanted this Valentine’s Day?

Three brands using Valentine’s Day to their full advantage

We realize you may have already sent a Valentine’s Day email campaign this week (if so, good luck!). But keep in mind that the concepts of creativity and pushing the boundaries of traditional email marketing with innovative new technologies and strategies are not exclusive to this holiday.

Here are three real-world examples of how three industry-leading brands successfully reconsidered stale, “same-old” email approaches.

So put down that box of chocolates, and start planning your next great holiday campaign.

1-800-Flowers asks … and receives

Industry-leading floral and gourmet foods gift retailer, 1-800-Flowers partnered with Liveclicker to develop an extremely creative Valentine’s Day marketing campaign.

1-800-Flowers’ marketing team used Liveclicker’s advanced email experience tools to add a poll question directly to the email creative. The poll featured a gender-specific question. For example, women were asked “What is your favorite bouquet?” 1-800-Flowers made the results available in the email, and even used response data to create personalized re-targeting messages to promote appropriate products to the opposite gender.

If the company was looking to create an interactive, fun, and effective email, it achieved all of these goals—and more. Recipients loved the overall experience and appreciated receiving shopping tips that were sure to be well received. Mission accomplished!

Interested in learning more about 1-800-Flowers innovative Valentine’s Day campaign? It’s just one of dozens of best practices you’ll find in our LookBook.

Key takeaway: Create polls and questions for more engaging, interactive emails. Plan to use consumers’ responses to personalize future offers and promotions.  

M&S Foods creates urgency in an engaging email experience

M&S Foods also got creative, but in a slightly different way. The company created customer chemistry with custom-crafted dynamic elements.

They used a rotating slideshow to showcase each tantalizing course of their special Valentine’s Day packages (steak with heart-shaped butter? LOVE!). Further down, a fully-embedded recipe video empowers  subscribers to make a simple, delicious breakfast-in-bed dish of their own for a loved one.

Key takeaway: Vibrant, lively animated content is a powerful way to keep your emails opened and condense a lot of information into a small amount of space. Use video, slideshows, and dynamic graphics to catch customers’ eyes (and hearts)!

National Express goes all-in on Valentine’s Day

National Express, Britain’s leading travel and transport company, improved its email marketing by including many different advanced email experiences in its Valentine’s Day campaign. The company started by personalizing the subject line with the recipient’s first name, but also included a heart emoji to make sure the message stood out on such a special day.

Once recipients opened the email, they were greeted by an email creative that featured animated hearts. This artistic touch continued to capture the reader’s attention and impress them with National Express’ creative capabilities.  

The offer was cleverly tied to Valentine’s Day—“We’re here to bring you together with the people you love”—it read. It also offered another innovative component: pulling in images from Instagram to encourage customer engagement on social media. 

Key takeaway: Get creative with personalization, theme-related emojis, animations, and other engaging email elements. It all adds up to an experience customers will love—and act on.  

Additional email tips, tricks, and best practices

Looking for other ways to use advanced email experiences to create exciting email campaigns that truly stand out?

Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re planning next year’s Valentine’s Day campaign now, or looking to improve the overall experience for any email. Consider any of these tips:

  • Show them you know who they are. Use first-name personalization or other strategies—for example, populate emails with loyalty program points balances—to truly impress.
  • Display the the best product. Develop targeted emails that will include images based on their profile, past purchase history or website behavior.
  • Ask them to tell you more. Use polling functionality to ask specific questions and reveal their answers. Use their responses as a way to generate additional personalized promotions and offers.
  • Count down to an event. Use countdown timers to show how much time is left before a specific event, such as when free shipping offers expire or their birthday.
  • Put it on their calendar. You can also combine a countdown timer with a calendar event. For example, subscribers could put a reminder on their calendar so they can act on a particular sale.
  • Play a game. Create emails with scratch-to-reveal promotions. Consumers can’t resist to see what they’ll get!
  • Be dynamic. Offer a slideshow to showcase many different products, packages, discounts, or promotions.
  • Plan to fail. Create a fallback image in case inventory sells out. You can highlight similar products your customer might be interested in, which will avoid unhappy customers and continue to drive sales.

We hope these examples and tips will help you improve your next holiday campaign. For even more holiday-related tips best practices, please download the Holiday LookBook today.


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