Email Marketing for Valentine’s Day: Insights from the Online Flower Industry

Valentine’s Day usually sneaks up on me and on some occasions, I completely forget about it.  But this year it was hard to forget because starting in early January, I received an unusually high number of email reminders from various marketers, especially ones urging me to buy flowers for that special someone.

I decided to investigate my increase in volume of Valentine’s Day flower offers and see if the results would be similar to the Cyber Monday analysis where Amazon was able to double volume of Cyber Monday emails and still have a good level of engagement.

I used Inbox Insight to analyze the Valentine’s Day email marketing strategy for one of the largest online flower sites.

Doubled Volume Results in Below Average Engagement

I found that this online flower website more than doubled the number of Valentine’s Day email campaigns it sent in 2013 versus 2012 however, the result, from an engagement perspective, was poor. In 2012, the Valentine’s Day campaigns received average engagement but in 2013, these campaigns received below average engagement. The actual breakout by engagement benchmark is below:

2012 Valentine’s Day Campaigns Results for Major Online Flower Site

Above Average Engagement – 38% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

Average Engagement – 38% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

Below Average Engagement – 24% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

 

2013 Valentine’s Day Campaigns Results for Major Online Flower Site

Above Average Engagement – 16% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

Average Engagement – 40% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

Below Average Engagement- 44% of Valentine’s Day Email Sent

 In fact, in 2013, the closer the Valentine’s Day offer was sent to Feb 14th, the worse the engagement seemed to get.

 Why did this happen? I found one key difference was the Online Flower site’s campaign schedule in comparison to Amazon’s Cyber Monday campaign schedule. 

More Sending Days in 2013 Leads to Subscriber Fatigue

 Unlike Amazon shortening the duration of Cyber Monday campaigns from 8 days to 5, the Online Flower website increased the number of days it sent Valentine’s day offers from 15 days in 2012 to 22 days in 2013. See the charts below for more details.

As you can see from the first chart, in 2013, the first Valentine’s Day offer was sent more than a month before February 14th and the emails steadily increased. In 2012, however, the majority of the emails were sent within 10 days of Feb 14th.

It’s clear that figuring out the optimal volume and campaign schedule length is very tricky. If you send offers too early, subscribers may not be ready to make a purchase. If you send too many offers, subscribers may become dis-engaged. In this case, it appears that our online flower website was more effective in 2012 with a strategy of sending a smaller volume of emails over the course of a shorter period of time just. In 2013, it is possible that because subscribers started receiving Valentine’s Day campaigns so early, when the volume picked up closer to February 14th, they were just oversaturated.