Design and strategy inspiration from the biggest send day of the year
As anyone who works in the wonderful world of email knows, Cyber Monday is kind of like our Super Bowl. In fact, this year's event ended up being the biggest online shopping day in history, with sales up 16.9% over 2016. That kind of pressure (and opportunity) means brands big and small had to do everything they could to stand out in the inbox – and this year's batch of emails didn't disappoint.
One note, though: “Cyber Monday” as an insular, one-day event doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. In fact, I can’t think of a single brand that actually waited until Monday to start their big sales. Many brands began their big promos as early as November 1st, proving that traditional sales holidays are beginning to blur into entire seasons.
So with that in mind, here are some of the best emails my team received on Cyber Monday proper. Kick back and feast your eyes on these top-notch emails!
Some of my favorite emails are the most unexpected.
For retailers like J. Crew and Kate Spade, animation and cheeky imagery are table stakes for a big email day like Cyber Monday. But I wasn't expecting something like this from Allivet, an online pet pharmacy that typically sends pretty generic emails. They went all-out on their Cyber Monday campaign, utilizing an eye-catching animated banner up top and that incredible photo of a puppy in VR goggles.
10/10 on this one, team.
It's a marketer's worst nightmare: Something goes wrong with your site on the biggest online shopping day of the year. But the team at Moment pivoted beautifully from their mishap with this lovely "oops" email that apologized for the issues and extended their sale.
In a sea of crowded messages, we loved how Etsy kept it simple with a bold headline and clear CTA. It's something many brands could stand to learn: Instead of cramming every single offer and product into your email, simply tease your subscribers with the most important part of your message and entice them to click through to learn more.
4. Bite Squad
People tend to hate or love this type of tongue-in-cheek promo, and our team leans toward the latter. Rather than running any sort of actual deal, the folks at Bite Squad offered 0% off and encouraged people to order food at normal prices. It was definitely a way to stand out – enough so that this email got forwarded around our team several times before the day was over.
To be fair, we like pretty much any email with robots. But this one was especially stylish, with that amazing hero image, contrasting CTA button, and clean, mobile-friendly template.
Again, often less is more. Element kept their Cyber Monday campaign light on copy, opting instead for a tile format that was easy to scan and quickly navigate. Remember: On busy sales days like Cyber Monday, your recipients most likely aren't actually reading your email. Catch their attention as quickly as possible if you want to inspire action.
7. Blue Apron
Blue Apron is king of the GIF, and they did an especially wonderful job using one to their advantage in their Cyber Monday email. As a food delivery service, it was the perfect way to tie their offerings to the big day and keep their messaging timely.
Our big winner for the best Cyber Monday campaign in 2017? Nest, by a landslide.
It's honestly unfair to compare most brands to Nest when it comes to email marketing, yet here we are. Their team leads the way when it comes to email design and innovation, so of course they pulled out all the stops and sent an interactive email. Recipients could add items to their shopping cart directly from their inbox – a neat feature that significantly elevated their brand experience.
The moral here? Invest your time and resources into email. Sure, it's easy to drum up a decent email, and chances are good it will perform decently well. But since so few brands actually take the time to truly optimize their email marketing, making it a priority is a simple way to stand apart from competitors and produce massive results.
See any great Cyber Monday campaigns I missed? We're gluttons for great examples here at Emma, so please share away in the comments!
About the Author
McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.Follow on Twitter More Content by McKenzie Gregory