Email Creative March Madness: Final Four

By now, you’re familiar with my Creative Cage Match posts, in which I throw two emails into the cage and one comes out a winner. Today, I’m going to mix up my sports metaphors to bring you: Email Creative March Madness.

By now, you’re familiar with my Creative Cage Match posts, in which I throw two emails into the cage and one comes out a winner. Today, I’m going to mix up my sports metaphors to bring you Email Creative March Madness.

March Madness Email Creative FInal Four competitorsSince launching Sass Marketing, I have hosted four Creative Cage Matches, which makes for a perfect mini-bracket. The winners from those four matches — the Final Four — are competing today head-on with NEW creative in two separate games. Then next Tuesday I’ll host the Email Creative March Madness National Championship.

There are five areas to score points, and scores are as follows:

  • 0 points: Dude you missed!
  • 2 points: Nice shot!
  • 3 points: You’re totally going pro!

Game 1: Food vs. Makeup
GrubHub was the winner of the first Creative Cage Match. Hailed as the “nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company,” GrubHub’s original CCM performance impressed me with it’s multi-part drip campaign, sassy copy, entertaining design, and well-written subject lines and preheader text.

Gruhub St. Patrick's Day Creative Cage Match: March Madness EditionThis email, sent March 13, starts with the subject line: “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Grubhub.” It’s to the point … and not much else. Surprisingly, despite preheaders of the past, this email skips it altogether. The St. Patrick’s day icons are whimsical and eye-catching, while keeping things from being too busy.

Possibly the best part of the email is that Grubhub identified a handful of restaurants near my apartment, and gave me a brief overview, including: restaurant name, cuisine, delivery charge, minimum order and address. Following each is a “View Menu” call-to-action button, as well as a photo of a menu item. I appreciate the quick “snapshot” that lets me make my ordering decision that much easier.

Grubhub’s Points
Subject line: 0
Preheader text: 0
Copy: 2
Call to action: 2
Overall design: 2
Total: 6 points

Up against Gruhub is Birchbox, the most recent Creative Cage Match winner who swept with its solid content marketing via email. This beauty subscription box loved by millions kept things simple and straightforward with its original winning email, letting the tutorial video do all the talking.

Birchbox April Box Preview Creative Cage Match: March Madness EditionI received this email on March 16, with the subject line: “Sneak Preview! Your April Box Options?” (Trust me, the hibiscus emoji wasn’t as huge as it’s displaying here).

As a Birchbox subscriber, this is exactly the kind of subject line I look for every month. The inclusion of the emoji was cute, and also a nice way to make the email stand out in a sea of black text (especially since it’s a brightly colored flower).

The preheader text echoes the subject line, but is personalized with my name: “Melissa, we’re revealing the customization options for your April Box.” It’s also a clickable link, taking you to the Web page that includes the monthly reveal video. The email design borrows a border from the Rifle Paper Co. Botanical Notebook + Notepad Set —  an April featured item — and includes a image of Lorelei and Rachel, two Birchbox ladies who subscribers are very used to seeing in our inboxes.

Birchbox’s copy, as usual, gets to the point, supporting the “Reveal My Choices” call-to-action button. I mean, seriously … who’s going to pass up clicking through and finding out more info?!

Birchbox’s Points
Subject line: 2
Preheader text: 3
Copy: 2
Call to action: 2
Overall design: 2
Total: 11 points

Gruhub vs. Birchbox Final Score: 6 to 11

Oh wow … we have a clear winner in Game 1, with Birchbox wiping up the court with Grubhub. It was the subject line and preheader that provided the clear advantage in this situation.

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.

2 thoughts on “Email Creative March Madness: Final Four”

  1. What a fun post! It really made me examine my email newsletters and wondered how they would score… Thanks for another great post!

    1. Thanks so much! I figured it’d be interesting to apply March Madness to something I know a *little* more about 😉

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