Creative Cage Match: Battle of the ‘Miss You’ Emails

Ahhh, win-back emails. Or as I like to call them “Miss Yous” (but not “youse” — insert New Jersey joke here). The marketer wants to win back the customer, so out come the puppy-dog eyes and usually some sort of device to get the customer to take action; whether that’s a discount code, some incentive to login, etc. Let’s see who can tug on my heartstrings the best.

There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.

So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.

Miss You BearAhhh, win-back emails. Or as I like to call them “Miss Yous” (but not “youse” — insert New Jersey joke here). The marketer wants to win back the customer, so out come the puppy-dog eyes and usually some sort of device to get the customer to take action, whether that’s a discount code, some incentive to login, etc.

Let’s see who can tug on my heartstrings the best:

In this corner, we have ThinkGeek, an e-tailer based out of Fairfax, Va. with a focus on geeky and pop culture-themed goods. If you’re not a customer, you may know these fine folks thanks to their infamous April Fool’s Day emails and zany fake products.

And across the ring, we have Redbubble, a creative community and marketplace that allows users to upload and sell designs on merchandise ranging from postcards to stickers, from t-shirts to decorative throw pillows. If you have a creative idea and the ability to design, you can make a little extra cash within this community marketplace (and if you like to shop for unique t-shirts, this is the place for you!)

Email vs. Email

As a marketer, if you want customers to come back, you have to give them a solid reason. Let’s look at some email:

 

Miss You email from ThinkGeek
First up we have ThinkGeek with the subject line, “Just because we miss you: 20% off any order at ThinkGeek!” All right … the offer right in the subject line, front and center in the inbox, piques my interest.

Now, sadly, the preheader text is a bit lackluster, but the rest of the copy works for me:

We miss you! Here, take 20% off any order

We haven’t seen you around recently, and we wanted you to know we’ve been busy monkeys! We have new gear from recent movies, TV shows, and video games, on top of our old favorites. If you wanted to come have a look, maybe we could make it worth your time? How’s 20% off any order from now until 11:59pm ET November 3rd sound?

The discount is pretty good, the email doesn’t get too complicated, nor does it trip all over itself, and the use of the mascot Timmy is an excellent fit. Simple and clean … if only ThinkGeek had written a decent preheader.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s look at Redbubble’s email:
Miss You email from Red Bubble“We miss you Melissa Ward” … whoa … full name. If they slipped my middle name in there I would have sworn I was in trouble with my mom. We know personalization gets people’s attention, and my first AND last name popping up in the promotional tab of my Gmail definitely make me pause.

Again, we have some serious weak sauce when it comes to the preheader: “It’s been awhile.” Yeah, um great. Moving along, we have a nice header image with some products and “We Miss You” in wonderfully large type.

The copy, much like ThinkGeek’s is on-brand and simple:

We’ve been chatting with your inbox, and you know what it said? It said it needs some art in its life. So to make sure it gets what it wants, we’re giving you 10% off anything you fancy on Redbubble.

Okay, so this cage match win is a tough one. The emails are very similar … ThinkGeek makes a better offer, and gave me more time to use the discount (I received the email Oct. 26 and the code is good until Nov. 3). Redbubble’s discount is smaller, and I only have 48 hours to use it. But this isn’t about offers … it’s about the win-back.

And well … sorry ThinkGeek and Redbubble, but I think this is a double countout. I’m a tough customer to woo with a win-back email, and neither one really did it for me. Each marketer got bits and pieces right, but nothing for a full win.

I miss you fix itWant more email creative critiques? Well guess what, you’re in luck! Last week I was part of a panel on email creative during Target Marketing’s annual All About Email Virtual Conference and Expo! The entire show is available now on-demand, and it’s FREE! What are you waiting for?

Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

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