Valentine’s Day is long gone, and Easter is a month away. But March is hardly a dead zone, content-wise, for email thanks to St. Patrick’s Day, Daylights Savings Time and Snowmageddon. Pi(e), too.
All these, plus politics creeping into brand messages, have given email designers, copywriters and brand manager plenty of “newsjacking” moments to create memorable messages.
What is ‘newsjacking?’
Newsjacking, by “hijacking the news” to promote your brand, is a time-honored PR and advertising practice, but it can be tricky to pull off.
- The plus side: Tying your email lets your copywriters, designers and brand managers come up with attention-getting messages that stand out in the inbox.
- On the down side: You could look like everyone else if your copy falls back on the usual clichés in message content. You also stand to alienate customers if you comment on political or social events that aren’t directly associated with your brands.
Newsjacking itself has been in the news this year as more U.S. brands have used their email to express company positions on events such as immigration policies and travel bans.
How to avoid inbox invisibility
Using calendar-based and shared events is less risky for newsjacking, but the creative stakes are higher. If your subject line or offer is the same as everybody else’s, you’ll lose the individual, unique approach that newsjacking can give you.
The best way to avoid inbox invisibility is to see what your fellow email marketers are doing. Check the FreshAddress Email Creative Archive to see what your fellow email marketers are doing and tag some favorites for your swipe file.
Uncovered in the archive: St. Patrick’s Day and much more
So, a snowstorm, a time change and an infinite number walk into a bar on St. Paddy’s Day … and it turns into email gold for many brands.
Many brands jumped on the giant snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast of the United States, probably because they had several days’ notice to prepare and test messages. Brands also co-opted the earlier-than-usual switch to Daylight Savings Time and Pi Day (March 14, or 3.14 for the math nerds).
Of course, the perennially popular St. Patrick’s Day began turning inboxes green with subject-line shamrocks as early as mid-February.
Subject-line icons: Still attention-getting
Shamrocks prevail over rainbows and pots of gold for St. Paddy, and clocks or watches are showing up on Daylight Savings messages. But they’re still rare, according to both the archive and our own inboxes.
Tip: Now that many mobile and desktop email clients support icons, try adding them to emails especially during heavy mailing periods to see if they give you an open-rate lift. Always test to make sure they render in different browsers and operating systems and cause no deliverability issues.
Now, here are some samples from the Email Creative Archive. If you have some examples of newsjacking emails that resonated, please tell us about them in the comments. Thanks!
1. Subject lines: The good and the overdone
First, we saw a lot of the usual “[X] starts now!” and “Last chance for …” subject lines. Those might be timely, but they lose their punch when every other email uses it.
St. Patrick’s Day is most susceptible to clichéd thinking. Looking through the archive, we lost count of all the variations on “Lucky you!” and “It’s your lucky day!” Clever on their own, they might get lost in an inbox full of copycats. Same for “Spring Forward.”
These newsjacking subject lines snagged our attention:
Daylight Savings Time change:
- JunoActive: Set Your Clocks Ahead to Savings (sent before the time-change day)
- Smallflower: Why Should Daylight Get All the Savings?
- SuperHeroStuff: ⌚ Daylight Savings Watch Sale ⌚
- Penguin Random House: More Daylight = More Time to Read!
- Anthony Logistics for Men: It’s Daylight Savings – Free Wake Up Call
St. Patrick’s Day:
- Coastal: It’s easy being green – 50% off lenses for St. Paddy’s
- Kassoy: Test your pot of gold this Saint Patrick’s Day with the Kee Analyzer.
- Bulk Candy Store: Mean Green St. Paddy’s Day Theme
- Casual Male: Green Screens for St. Patrick’s Day
- Tee Fury: Don’t Get Pinched on St. Patrick’s Day!
- Toolfetch: Snow On The Way, Pick Up Your Shovel At Our Elmsford NY Location
- Bon Appetit: 15 Snow Day Recipes We’re Making Tomorrow
- Tasting Table: Your winter storm survival guide
- The Wine Thief: Stock up for Stella with The Wine Thief Beer Sale: March 13th thru March 15th
- Readers.com: Have a piece of Pi Day with 31.4159% OFF Sitewide!
- LifeSource Natural Foods: Special Tuesday Secret Sale…Pi Day! Save $3.14 on Silly Zak’s Pies ALL DAY 3/14
- American Scientific and Surplus: ‘Twas the Night Before Pi Day…and All Through the Warehouse
Note: We picked these for their originality. But we have no data on how well they performed on open, click or conversion rates. As always, test to see what works best for your own users. If “Spring Forward” gets your customers clicking and buying, go for it!
2. Great Copy:
Eat’nPark: “We’re getting irrationally excited for March 14. Why? It’s Pi Day! This algebraic holiday is a sine (get it?) that there is always an occasion to enjoy our favorite dessert…PIE! On this day, math and food lovers unite to celebrate together in paralleled harmony. Pi party anyone? …
“You don’t need to be a mathematician to solve this final problem: What is the maximum amount of pies one can enjoy on Pi Day? Answer: The limit does not exist.”
3. Email Creative:
St. Patrick’s Day:
Stonewall Kitchen – Subject line: The day after St. Patrick’s Day…
Bon Appetit – Subject line: 15 Snow Day Recipes We’re Making Tomorrow
LifeSource Natural Foods – Subject line: Special Tuesday Secret Sale…Pi Day! Save $3.14 on Silly Zak’s Pies ALL DAY 3/14
(none for Snowmageddon)