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Black Friday email tips: Brands must focus on emotions, not just deals

Black Friday email tips: Brands must focus on emotions, not just deals
Friday November 17 2017

Invoking emotion, as well as offering attractive deals, holds the key to breaking through to UK consumers facing email overload this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to new research.

The study from AI marketing firm Persado, analysed email subject lines from 50 UK retailers and travel companies, revealing the five top emotions that UK consumers were most likely to engage with over the Black Friday period: Challenge, Intimacy, Encouragement, Guilt, and Fascination.

The UK spent more than £6 billion over the Black Friday weekend last year, with its continued success sending retailers scrambling to share news of their deals. Email volumes are rocketing as a result, with marketers sending 55% more messages last Black Friday than in 2015, and 42% more for Cyber Monday. Without offering the right deal using the right emotions, businesses will simply be adding to the noise if they take a scattergun approach to emails. Instead, Persado’s research reveals that targeted emotional messages will be the most effective.

“As Black Friday and Cyber Monday become increasingly crucial for the UK market, it’s only natural that brands react by trying to shout the loudest to attract attention,” said Assaf Baciu, Co-Founder and SVP Product & Engineering, Persado. “To rise above the noise, businesses need to avoid taking a ‘me-too’ attitude, and instead elevate their marketing messages to communicate with customers on an emotional level. Put simply, focusing on the language and emotions that resonate, combined with the attractiveness of their offers, can be key to success.”

Five key emotions for UK retailers to focus on Persado used its artificial intelligence platform to analyse email campaigns run by 50 UK retailers and travel companies across the 2016 Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion period, with a total of 171 subject lines gauging the reactions from 65 million email contacts. Interestingly, despite being the most-used emotion across Black Friday, comprising over 20 percent of emails sent, Urgency language (“Hurry” or “Time’s running out”) did not engage consumers the most. While a natural emotion to invoke during such a peak shopping period, using others might help some marketers stand out from the crowd.

1) Challenge

Challenge resonated the most with consumers, with more than 20 percent of consumers engaging with challenge-focused emails. Marketers can trigger this emotion by two means, either daring somebody to do something, or asking them a question. Using phrases such as ‘are you ready?’ and ‘prepare yourself…’ are likely to invoke this sense of a challenge that is so successful with UK consumers. An example email subject line could be: ‘🏁 3… 2… 1… GO: Black Friday is live’.

2) Intimacy

The key to invoking this emotion is informality – implying an existing relationship between the brand and the customer, which will make them more likely to respond. Figures of speech such as ‘hey there’, ‘how you been?’ and ‘we wish you the best’ play a part in positioning the brand as a friend consumers are keen to hear from, and will respond to. It could look like: ‘Because We Appreciate You, Enjoy Black Friday Savings!’

3) Encouragement

This approach sees brands motivating and inspiring consumers to take action by explicitly prompting them to do something. In the UK, using phrases such as ‘go for it’, ‘treat yourself’ and ‘almost there’ can prove an effective way to inspire people to take action. In an email subject line, this emotion could follow the lines of: ‘Psst! Sneak into Black Friday Offers Before Everyone Else!’

4) Guilt

Fear of missing out can be a powerful motivator for consumers. Implying that customer will regret not taking action can galvanise them to instead engage with your communications – helped by language such as “you’re missing out”. For instance, an email could go: “A Great Offer Inside – Don’t Let It Slip Away…”

5) Fascination

UK consumers are engaged by the promise of new experiences or possessions. During the Black Friday period, they can be especially engaged by the chance to try or buy something new. Marketers looking to tap into this can use phrases such as ‘we’re introducing…’ or ‘you have to try this’. For instance, an email subject aiming to fascinate customers could read ‘Make It Yours: Brand New Black Friday Offers Inside’.

Baciu noted: “Across our campaigns, we’ve determined that emotional language on average accounts for as much as 60% of audience response. When it comes to situations such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers are primed to scan for deals, but emotional language might give your brand a breakthrough moment in the inbox. By applying emotional language to their marketing, retailers can get personal with customers and demonstrate that they are helpful, handy and human.”