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Cyber Monday: An Email Opportunity, Not an Invasion

When I first heard the term “Cyber Monday”, I thought perhaps the Cybermen from Doctor Who were attacking; alas, it has nothing to do with space-age, robotic tin dudes and everything to do with holiday email marketing.

You don’t have to be a retailer to get excited over Cyber Monday. In fact, you may get even more excited if you’re not in retail. Why, you ask?

Because you might stand out from the herd of colorful, Santa-filled, reindeer-clad emails fighting for top slot in the inbox. How big is Cyber Monday, you wonder? Well, Google it and see…over 30,900 results! And look at those web addresses…created for just one day of the year – it is indeed a powerful, and potentially magical, day for email marketing:

Cyber Monday Email Marketing

It’s already begun – the magical season of selling – advertising galore in the shape of emails, direct mail, TV – you name it, there’s a sale with something you “must” have.  But, perhaps, you’re not a retailer and you don’t peddle stocking stuffer-sized trinkets that will be forgotten the next day. Perhaps you sell a service or, like me, an online product that isn’t something wrap-able, shiny or even something one would give as a memorable gift. There is still a huge opportunity for anyone that utilizes email to market anything in the B2C world.

Take the email campaign we sent last year (Company logo and name omitted to appease the corporate legal machine):

cyber monday email campaign example

The product is online credit monitoring – it isn’t glamorous, but it’s useful. The theme is based on all the money that was likely spent on Black Friday (November 25th).  By deploying this email in the wee hours of Cyber Monday morning (November 28th), it will await the eyes of the shopper still looking for a good deal. But, it’s not about offering a deal – it’s about appealing to their financial savvy and being a “good shopper”.  It worked – really well.

I can’t claim the cred for the first deployment as I wasn’t here just yet. Because I wasn’t here yet, please note that my company did about the worst thing an Email Marketer can hear – they blasted! Zero targeting, zero segmenting and virtually no proper testing.  The Open Rate was nearly 5%, which was a strong rate at the time for promotional emails. Of that 5% we saw 529 orders from a single deployment when the previous average was 200-250; hence, the Cyber Monday email marketing campaign was a great success.

This year, with some tweaks, fresh creative and actual segments with strategic targeting (gasp!), I hope to see much stronger results.  Don’t you worry; I’ll definitely share my findings.

Tis the season, so I encourage anyone to take advantage of the jingle jangle and test – test – test!


It was a very interesting campaign this year which, I’m happy to report, was a great success. In fact, many Cyber Monday campaigns were successful this year yielding a 7% jump for retailers and a whopping 22% for online sales (source).

The Numbers: Opens =2.36%, CTR = .20%, CTO = 8.31%, Purchase Rate= 4.55%, Conversions (orders) = 207

This might not sounds awesome to many of you, but do keep in mind what I have to work with. Due to the previous batch and blast “strategy” that ran for several years, the bulk of my email database is frightfully weakened, unengaged and unresponsive. However, with some real strategy implemented along with segmentation and an engagement score model of our database, I’m managing to send less email and still average the same orders as last year, sometimes even beating last year’s performance.  In fact, this campaign launched the month off with a running start and I’m pacing to have the best December on record for email showing a huge 33% lead over 2010.  I’m sure all of you can agree that 33% isn’t too shabby.

About the Author: Samantha Iodice is Email Channel Manager extraordinaire for a Financial Services company. Samantha tripped into the online marketing world via direct mail and has never looked back. She works like mad within the corporate machine to convert thinking, leverage learning and optimize the email channel. Samantha is proud to be a bit nuts, a sci-fi fan and an all-around geek. Follow her on Twitter @e_Maven or drop a line at

Scott Hardigree
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