Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I deleted all my Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails

Okay, I admit:  It’s hard enough to write great subject lines any time of year.  It’s even harder to make good ones last.  Unlike the direct mail headlines of the past, subject lines wear out faster due to overexposure and overuse.  But, when it comes to the 4th quarter, and the biggest promotional period of the year, you might think that a little more thought would go into the poor,  workhorse of copy—the subject line.

When I opened my personal email, what I saw were line after line of promotional emails all with some variation on Black Friday Sales Start Now or Hurry! Don’t miss out on our Cyber Monday Spectacular!  Line after line.  At least, with a pile of catalogs, you can sift through them, putting some in the in-stack and assign others to the out-pile.  But, in the meantime, you would have seen in that brief 30 seconds or so—pictures, multiple headlines, insets, calls to actions, multiple products—something that would be bound to capture your interest, especially if you were a customer.

But with subject lines—all bearing the same message or words, there’s hardly a nudge made to encourage you to open them up. Even the 30% off promises were routine.  Here’s a sampling from Land’s End.  Nov.26:  Doorbusters start tomorrow. Nov. 27:  30% off gifts for everyone.  Nov. 27:  Thanksgiving doorbusters are. . . . Nov. 28:  Hurry!  Doorbusters end tonight.  Nov. 29: It’s called Cyber Tuesday.  November 29: Last Chance for Cyber Tuesday.  (Cute, huh?  They thought they’d be different).

If you get emails from more than one retailer, your email inbox from Wednesday night through Tuesday was jammed up with boring, repetitive one liners.  No one stood out.  Even the beloved store of my youth growing up in the Northwest—Nordstrom—felt compelled to join in the fracas.  Theirs said:  Cyber Monday Savings are here.  Ugh.

So, I deleted them all.  And I didn’t go to the mall to be mauled either.  And I’m not the only one.  Did you notice?