A look back on seasonal trends, email activity and standout B2C marketing:
Start to finish: The first reference to Valentine’s Day was on Jan. 3 by Oriental Trading. The last reference was on Feb. 14 by Overstock.
The distribution curve: Two-thirds of Valentine’s Day-related emails were sent during February. The biggest days were Thursday, Feb. 8, followed by Tuesday, Feb. 6, and then Monday, Feb. 12.
Most interesting emails: I really liked the Valentine’s Day emails from retailers selling products that you normally wouldn’t associate with the holiday. These retailers show that with a little creativity and spin, nearly any holiday can be a selling opportunity. My favorite was Northern Tool’s Feb. 1 email (Chad, Top 10 Valentine's Day Gifts - Free Shipping Ends 2/5/07!), which suggests “Good gift ideas for Her that you’ll NEVER find at NorthernTool.com,” plus gift ideas that are “GOOD for you.” The only danger with this approach—and it’s a pretty significant danger—is that you could offend your female subscribers. The vast majority of Northern Tool’s subscribers are surely guys, but I kind of doubt that they all are.
Snap-on, another tool retailer, also make a testosterone-laden pitch for Valentine’s Day gifts with this dramatic Feb. 7 email (Free Snap-on Catalog with Every Gift Card!):
EB Games makes a couple of pitches for cupid’s cash. The first was on Feb. 6 (EBgames.com Newsletter 02.06.2007) (see Feb. 7 post); the second on Feb. 13 (EBgames.com Newsletter 02.13.2007):
A few retailers also touted their gift cards and certificates, including Cabela’s in a Feb. 8 email (New Gear for 2007 @ Cabelas.com), Drs. Foster & Smith in a Feb. 7 email (Email Your Valentine a Surprise Gift) and Bass Pro Shop in a Feb. 6 email (New Bass Pro Shops Clearance & Sale Barn).
Cool tools: In a Feb. 5 email (Save on Valentine's Gifts for Everyone), Sears makes good use of the send-to-a-friend tool by relating it to Valentine’s Day, making it a more powerful call to action.
And 1-800-Flowers.com, in each of the four emails they sent between Feb. 11 and 13, included a banner for their Email Gift Notice program, which allows customers to notify gift recipients that a present is on its way. (See Feb. 12 post.)
Standout subject lines:
Art.com, 2/1 — 20% Off + Tips to Create a Mood in the Bedroom
Neiman Marcus, 2/6 — FREE GIFT WRAP: Valentine's Day gifts + a GIFT FOR YOU!
Avon, 1/27 — Be Tempting with Valentine Beauty Tips plus NEW Skin & Body Care
RedEnvelope, 1/23 — Gifts for the guy with a one-track mind.
RedEnvelope, 2/4 — Score one for Valentine's Day - Save up to 50%.
AllPosters, 1/29 — Up to 30% Off - The Calorie Free Valentine
RedEnvelope, 2/12 — Express Love. [promoting express shipping]
Harry & David, 1/25 — Guide Cupid's aim: Our gourmet gifts are right on target
Coach, 2/6 — Must-Have Gifts for Your Valentine
Blue Nile, 2/12 — Top Ten Gifts for Your Valentine, Free Overnight Shipping
Read previous posts about Valentine’s Day emails.