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Summer Cook Off: Who's More Social?

7/2/13

By Julia Peavy

With summer and the long sunny days finally here, there’s less and less cooking happening at our house. Firing up the stove or oven and being indoors after coming home from work is one of the last things I want to do. Enjoying cheap eats on the patio or at the pool sounds a lot more fun (and a lot less work). So, how are restaurants using the power of email (combined with social media) to win my summer spending money?

Domino’s 

Pizza is an easy go-to meal and can easily be eaten at the pool, the park, or on the patio. Not surprisingly, Domino’s Pizza takes advantage of this with their most recent subject line “Summer is officially here: Domino's Pizza Party!” sent on the first day of summer.

This short-and-sweet email included a clear call to action to order online as well as options to order via a mobile device in their pre-header (great use of this space!). Social media calls to action are simply to follow the company on Facebook or Twitter. Domino’s could have benefitted from having a social sharing calls-to-action to share this great summer deal with friends and still keep the email simple and straight-forward. According to the GetResponse 2013 Email Marketing + Social Media Report, emails that include social sharing buttons have a click-through rate 158 percent higher than those that do not.

Chili's

The start of summer also played into one of Chili’s most recent email campaigns. The following email with the subject line “Summer Savings for Julia” was sent June 18 and takes advantage of personalization in the subject line as well as location.  The messaging in the email (“Two coupons, one official start to summer”) and the messaging included in the social sharing calls-to-action  (“I started summer off right with two great FREE deals @Chilis”) at the bottom of the message  also bring in the summer theme. Chili’s also includes social following links at the top portion of the message in addition to the social sharing links at the bottom.

While, the social sharing links are clear and actionable, this is a very long email and subscribers may not scroll to get to this content (especially on mobile devices).

 

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings took a different approach to summer with their email program. This email promotes their new menu item and ties into the summer pastime, baseball.  The subject line, “Limited Time Menu Offer - Inside!” entices the subscriber to open (which is supported by the fact that this email generated a  read rate 24 percent higher than the Chili’s email and 93 percent higher than the Domino’s Pizza email). Only after the email is opened (if images are enabled) can a subscriber see the actual new menu item.

Unlike Dominos’ and Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings included no pre-header text to help support the message and included no links to social media sites within the template. While a clear call to action is included, it is buried at the bottom of the message and only shows up if images are enabled. Buffalo Wild Wings could make this email much more engaging if they added these elements

What can we learn here? An enticing subject line really can drive your subscribers to engage with your email. But, the work isn’t done there. Once these subscribers view your email, you want to be sure that you have several ways for them to engage with the message and spread your good deals for you. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the dinner table.

Julia Peavy is director, response consulting for email intelligence firm Return Path.

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