If my kids weren't constantly reminding me about Earth Day on April 22nd, my inbox surely wasn't going to let me forget about the 44th anniversary of this day that celebrates our environment. Let's look at how three different retailers used Earth Day in their email programs and how these emails performed (interesting charts below - I promise!).
Banana Republic's Earth Day email subject line, "It's Earth Day - let's save some green!" did not provide subscribers with the exact discount, but worked to pique their interest. Banana Republic used flower imagery and leveraged the word "green" in their creative as well. Subscribers were required to scroll down the email to see the actual savings (30% off) that were valid for only one day. Banana Republic also used the preheader text ("And see how we're helping the planet") to support Earth Day and further pique subscriber interest. At the bottom of the email, Banana Republic provided facts about how the company is working to be more environmentally friendly.
West Elm used the opportunity to promote 20% off their organic bedding and bath with the subject line "20% off! Have a nice (Earth) day..." Like Banana Republic, West Elm used the body of the email to leverage the word "green" with "Go Green in any Hue" in the top graphic and then includes specific details and links to organic sheets and towels were included below the large top image. This offer was also a limited-time offer.
Like West Elm and Banana Republic, World Market used Earth Day as an opportunity to promote a one-day sale. With the subject line "Celebrate Earth Day with 20% off," World Market also offered a 20% discount on specific merchandise, just like West Elm. The discount was applicable on their botanist collection and used email creative focused on the color green and plant-based merchandise.
Earth Day Engagement
So, which of these campaigns drove the highest engagement? When we look at the results in Return Path's Inbox Insight product, we can see that for both World Market and West Elm, the Read Rate for these campaigns was slightly higher than their 15-day read rate average. However, the Read Rate for Banana Republic's Earth Day email was slightly lower than their 15-day read rate average. This might indicate that a more direct subject line that included the 20% discount was more effective for the Earth Day emails than the more subtle approach of Banana Republic's email.
Given that World Market and West Elm sell similar products, I thought it would also be interesting to see how many subscribers they have in common. Using Inbox Insight again, I am able to see that World Market has a larger list and that 20% of West Elm subscribers also receive email from World Market. Not only that, but West Elm also has 18% of their subscribers receiving emails from Banana Republic. As the inbox becomes a busier and busier place, it is important to understand that you are not only competing with your direct competitors, you are competing against every email in the inbox.
While the Earth Day message is one example, the busy inbox makes it even more important to ensure your messages are targeted, engaging, and relevant to your subscribers. Otherwise, you can end up becoming just noise to your subscribers and no creative play on words is going to matter.