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.

Creative Cage Match: Battle of the Birthday Wishes

I turned 34 less than two weeks ago, so let’s take a peek into my inbox to look at a couple of the birthday wishes I received from marketers. I had quite a few to choose from, but decided to pass on showing you the one from my dentist (also, who wants to think about their dentist on their birthday?).

Happy birthdayThere’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.

I turned 34 less than two weeks ago, so let’s take a peek into my inbox to look at a couple of birthday wishes I received from marketers. I had quite a few to choose from, but decided to pass on showing you the one from my dentist (also, who wants to think about their dentist on their birthday?).

In this corner we have my bank, Capital One 360. Yes, the same Capital One that has the credit card commercials starring Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner, and asking, “What’s in your wallet?”

Across the ring we have Friends of Laphroaig, a unique loyalty program that begins with the booklet tucked into each tube that houses the Islay Scotch whisky. Within the booklet is a unique purchase number … once you register it, you become a member of the Friends of Laphroaig and are granted your own square foot plot of land at the distillery (mine is plot No.685730).

So, two very different marketers … let’s see how they did with their birthday wishes to me.

Email vs. Email
First up is Capital One 360, with the subject line “Happy Birthday from Capital One 360!” All right, not very interesting, and the focus is on them, not me.

I opened it anyway, because it was my birthday, and birthday mornings are meant to be spent drinking coffee on your best friend’s couch and reading email (No, just me? Okay).

Capital One 360 Birthday EmailThe message is very “banky,” but not terrible. Slightly flattering, calling me wiser and smarter, since obviously I’m thinking about my financial future (according to them). Below the message sits an image that indicates there’s a video to watch. So I did.

https://youtu.be/pFB7XU_nj5o

The video is cute, and to be honest, more than I expected. It wasn’t personalized, and the clickthrough from the email takes you to Capital One 360’s YouTube page, which makes sense. We can’t all be special snowflakes in CapOne’s world. That said, it was my birthday …