It’s key when creating a campaign is to ensure consistency from the beginning. So before you send out your first email introducing your offer, you should already be thinking about what other emails will follow and when. Most people find it helpful to have it drawn out. Here’s a simple example of what a promotional campaign structure could look like:
Introducing the offer - Email 1+2
As you might have noticed in this structure we start off with a blind subject line. A blind subject line is intentionally vague and meant to pique your recipients' curiosity. Examples for blind subject lines:
- “You won’t believe this”
- “Trust me - click this”
- “A gift for you”
It doesn’t give away the content of the email and works great with people who are already familiar with your brand. To make sure the deal-hunters won’t miss out, we will send a follow up that states the offer in the subject line right away - a direct subject line.
A direct subject line is clear and to the point and tells the recipient what this email is about. We’ve seen Pathfinder use the following that has worked really well for direct subject lines:
- “New Year’s Treat: 30% off”
- “SALE - 20% off everything”
- “D.E.A.L.S. up to 50% off”
Sweeten the deal - Email 3
Approaching the last third of the campaign it’s time to give your contacts who haven’t made a purchase yet a good push.
One great way to do that is to add an extra offer, bonus deal or any other kind of additional value. It will give your audience the extra incentive that they might need to buy. It’s also a good moment to start introducing more scarcity and social proof, for example, how many people have bought, that stock is running out, how the deadline is approaching really fast, etc.
A subject line that works great for this stage is “Good news, bad news” - the good news is the offer just got better, the bad news is it’s almost over and may even sell out before now as we have sweetened the deal and some stock is low. In this example, we’re using double-scarcity (deadline of promotion & stock running out) which is not necessary but makes it even harder to resist.
Deadline approaches - Email 4
While the deadline for the offer needs to be mentioned in every email (remember chapter 3) it should get even more attention towards the end of a campaign.
This will create a sense of urgency, which according to behavioral psychologists, is one of the most powerful triggers in human psychology. In our example, there’s only one email planned for that, but you could add more, even a little countdown on how many days left till the promotion ends.
These emails should be heavily focused on scarcity, here a few subject lines that work well for this:
- “Time is running out”
- “Don’t miss out on this”
- “It’s not too late yet”
- “Only 1 day left”
With the core structure at the beginning of this chapter you are set up to get solid results. What follows now are some secret weapons that can kick your campaign into overdrive. These are optional but can be the cherries on top that transform a good campaign ROI into a great one.
Dynamic messaging emails based on behavior
Besides the regular emails, you can set up emails that will only be sent to a certain group of people and contain tailored content for them specifically. They will be sent out based on certain actions that we call triggers.
Here are some examples:
Customized abandoned cart emails
Whenever somebody places an item into the cart but fails to finish the purchase, they will get an email with not only a reminder of the items left behind but also the opportunity of getting them at a discount. Important to note is that these emails are customized for your promotion so your generic abandoned checkout campaign should be disabled, something Pathfinder always ensures.
Considering that nearly 3 out of 4 shoppers leave items in their cart and knowing that abandoned cart emails have an average success rate of 29% this extra email can potentially lead to a 66%+ sales lift.
Display of interest emails
If somebody has displayed interest in a product by looking at the item several times or for a long time they are probably on the fence of making the purchase. To be able to identify these people your platform needs interest tracking which can be a bit fiddly, but Pathfinder sets it up for you automatically.
A well-crafted email highlighting the product of interest can push them over the edge. This can either be a separate email or dynamic content integrated into your core structure.
Closing email at the end
If people were close to buying but despite all the email efforts didn’t, the closing email is your last chance to convert them during your promotion. You do this by acknowledging why you are sending this email, for example, “I went through my store data and saw that you seemed interested in item X”. You can then highlight the product benefits again, your deal on it, and even add a special offer “just for them” - increased discount, extended guarantee, bonus item, etc.
You can even send this email out after the deadline and offer to extend 2 more days just for them. This will catch the people who procrastinated too long, meant to buy but didn’t.
Email is an incredibly powerful tool, did you know for example that email has the highest return on investment out of any marketing channels when we look at them in isolation? However, what is proven to deliver the absolute best ROI are multi-channel campaigns.
Time to add some more depth to your promotional campaign. Luckily, there are several options to expand your channels, even free ones.
Let's take a closer look:
There is absolutely no down-side to making use of all of your own channels to promote your sale. It won’t cost you anything to do so. On your website for example, you can use web banners to inform your visitors about the deal, how long it is on for, and how it can be applied. The same goes for web notifications. Ideally, these on-site messages are personalized to cater to your different customer segments.
For example, if you offer a bonus deal for prospects only, your existing customers should get a different message. This might sound like a big web development challenge, fortunately these are elements that can be set up without any code by using software like Pathfinder.
To quickly inform your customers that a sale is on, SMS can be a great channel. You include the basics only: Clear offer, discount code (or how it can be applied), and the deadline. Simple yet effective. This is also a great way to tell your VIP customers about a pre-sale and make them feel like part of the inner circle. With Pathfinder’s Zapier integration this channel can be added to your promotion easily.
We are going old school. In this day and age where most communication happens digitally good old postcards can make you stand out and leave a lasting impression. For example, sending a birthday discount to your most loyal customers with a personal, handwritten note will make them love your brand even more. Like the idea but don’t have the time? Pathfinder can do it for you using Zapier - beautiful handwriting included.
Owned social media channels
Use your social media channels and don’t be afraid of overwhelming your audience with the sales message - according to Socialmediatoday.com organic posts on Facebook only reach 6.4% of your followers on average. Therefore it is advisable to use all the channels you have to reach as many people as possible. You probably guessed it - Pathfinder can expand into social media channels as well.
When it comes to paid channels there are tons of options, from the mass-reach channels like broadcast, radio, OOH to more targeted ones like social media, search and display ads. For a small to mid-sized e-commerce business with a limited marketing budget, it makes most sense to focus on digital advertising. It’s a great way to generate traffic to your site using your promotion as a magnet to get those click-throughs.
Checklist for going multichannel
There are a few important things to remember when using multiple channels:
✅ Use the same wording (keep it clear and simple)
✅ Always ensure readability on all formats
✅ Use the same visuals
✅ Make sure the resolution of your visuals is good on all formats