Send weather-related email marketing campaigns

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful… so use it to your advantage!

If people are stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day, they are likely curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and their laptop. What better time to offer them a discount? One of the keys to successful email marketing is relevance, and your weather-related email is sure to stand out in the inbox when your subscriber sees a subject line of, “IT’S SNOWING! Get the gear you need” or “Snowed In? Shop From Home & Get 20% Off – Today Only!”.

It’s been a wet winter so far on the East Coast, and my co-workers and I have received a few weather-related emails that made us take notice.

Rainy Day Special

On a rainy day, most of us want to stay inside where it’s dry and warm. Unfortunately for Qdoba, a Mexican fast food chain, that means fewer customers will stop in to eat with them.

Qdoba took this opportunity to offer their email subscribers a “Stormy Weather $2 Off Special”. Senior Client Services Manager Michelle Oglesby originally received this email, and it was bad weather in Michelle’s area that day. Qdoba used the demographic information they had for subscribers, and they targeted only those subscribers who lived in areas with bad weather.

The special was only available for that day only, so it truly was a rainy day offer. They also encouraged subscribers to engage with them by requiring them to click through to access the coupon. Kudos to Qdoba on a great offer. (Click image below to enlarge)

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) sent an email back in December, during one of the first snows of the season here in Baltimore. With a subject line of “IT’S SNOWING! Get the gear you need”, combined with the preheader “SEIZE THE SNOW DAY” and the excitement of that first snow, we took notice. Not only did the subject line grab our attention, the preheader further prompted subscribers to open the email and act on their call-to-action. It was literally snowing outside when we received this email, and it was a great reminder to purchase our outdoor gear for the season.

While EMS didn’t offer a one-day discount to further prompt recipients to make a purchase, the complete relevance and timeliness of this email made it hard to miss, and not get excited and click through to shop. (Click image below to enlarge)

*Bonus: I also like how they remind the recipient of the nearest store, so if we’re feeling adventurous, we can head out and shop in-store.

Snowed In? Shop from Home & Get 20% Off!

What’s one email that made Client Services Manager Elena Hekimian convert? Urban Outfitters’ recent personalization based on location and weather. In “4 Email Marketing Creatives That Made Me Convert”, Elena talks about a recent Urban Outfitters email where she explains:

I live in Baltimore, which just happened to receive some snow last night. It would appear that Urban Outfitters knew this as they cleverly sent me this email offer for being “snowed in”. I don’t know for sure that they used this much logic, but I’d like to think they only sent this campaign to those subscribers to have shipping or billing addresses that received snow last night. Also, in my email marketing dreams, I would imagine that they sent this to me because I’ve only converted on previous email campaigns within the past year when I’m given a coupon code. Maybe only in my wildest email marketing consulting dreams, but either way, I just purchased some discounted jeans!

With a subject line of “Snowed In? Shop From Home & Get 20% Off – Today Only!”, and a preheader of “Enter SNOWEDIN at Checkout to Get 20% Off!”, recipients were prompted to open the email and take action. (Click image below to enlarge)

19″ of Snow Means 19% Off

Barnes & Noble recently sent an email with the message “Nothing Stops a New Yorker! Especially when there’s a deal involved. 19″ of Snow Means 19% Off”.

B&N then prompted subscribers to “Put your snow boots on” and get an in-store coupon, or if they’d prefer to shop online, it was “Stay in your socks”, directing them to shop

While I love that B&N used this snowy occasion to offer a discount to their subscribers, it seems as though they offered the discount to all subscribers in honor of New York receiving the snow. It would probably be more meaningful they segmented by city or zip code and targeted the email to people in that specific area as the examples above show. At the same time, no one is complaining about a 19% off discount!

If you want to use weather in your email marketing campaigns, here are a few tips:

  • Collect subscribers’ demographic information. At opt-in or via subscriber preferences, ask subscribers for their location. Be sure to tell them why you’re asking for this information and how you’ll use it.
  • Segment your database to target subscribers. Use the data you’ve collected to target subscribers in certain areas. This can be easily done in WhatCounts’s Publicaster (or the email marketing software you use).
  • Monitor the weather & act quickly! Be sure to monitor the weather forecast, so you’re prepared to send your email as soon as the weather starts. That way subscribers receive your promotion early and have time to act (if there are time constraints)!

Have you received weather-related emails worth sharing? Let us know in the comment below!

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