Miles DePaul

Marketing Manager, North America

We’re less than a month away from one of the biggest marketing moments of the year (oh, and I guess one of the biggest days in American sports too).

The Super Bowl, set for February 3rd this year, is one of those few days in the year where nearly everyone’s attention will be on one event. Reaching over 100M viewers every year, the Super Bowl brings in nearly 3x the traffic you can expect from other major events like the Oscars, NBA Finals, or a regular season football game. The best performing TV show might reach 15-16M, but nothing ever comes close to the Super Bowl on an annual basis. Ok yes, the FIFA World Cup Final certainly outperforms the Super Bowl with a global audience of 163M in 2018, but this is not only a global event but an event that only takes place once every four years.

Super Bowl Viewership vs Other Major Television Events.

The point is, the Super Bowl presents a rare opportunity for you as a marketer, and given email marketing continues to drive the highest ROI compared to other marketing channels (yes, including social media, digital advertising, and, of course, Super Bowl commercials), it’s a rare opportunity to leverage this event to drive more conversions from email.

In this post, we’ll help get you ready for this event with some tips on how to optimize the impact you can get from your email campaigns before, during, and after the Super Bowl. We’ll also take a look at some tips for your Superbowl email subject lines.

Preparing Your Email Strategy for the Super Bowl

In the lead up to the Super Bowl there is a lot you can do to ensure that both you, and your customers are ready for the big game.

Roughly half of the Americans that watch the Super Bowl plan to do so at a party, that means over 50M people will be out of their house, bringing food, drinks, and gifts. In fact, 79% of people plan to spend money on food, beverages, or other merchandise. As you can imagine, spending on Super Bowl Sunday has gone up every year and is up over 60% in the last decade. In 2018 spending reached $15.3B with 25-34 year olds spending the most, with an average of $118.43 each.

 

Annual Spending on the Super Bowl in the United States.

 

To capture your share of this pie, you need to anticipate your customers needs and wants for the day, and help them spend their money the best way. This could include sending relevant and personalized sales a couple days or weeks ahead of time, like deals on dip bowls, food, big screen TVs, or streaming packages.

 

West Elm Super Bowl Sale
West Elm Super Bowl Sale

 

Or you could help your customers have a stress-free day by letting them pre-order certain items ahead of time, like pizza or wings.

 

Shaws Super Bowl Pre-Order
Make Pre-Orders Easy with Email

 

Almost as important as getting your customers ready for the Super Bowl is getting you and your marketing team ready as well. As you’ll see in the next section, there are many marketing opportunities during the game that you’ll want to be ready for, and as our VP of Sales always likes to say: “In anything, Preparation is 90% of your Success!”

Preparation at Mailjet

There are a lot of knowns and predictable moments in lead up to the Super Bowl, and you should use this to your advantage. We’ll start off easy:

  • We know the kick off time is 6:30pm EST on February 3rd.
  • We know it’s taking place in Atlanta GA and will be broadcast on CBS.
  • We know football games are usually three hours long, so a good guess is that the halftime will take place at 8pm EST and will feature Maroon 5 and Travis Scott.
  • We know that 1 in 3 people over the age of 35 will be checking their email during the game, and that over 80% of people will be on their phone multiple times throughout the game.

But let’s go beyond this.

  • We also know who will be advertising during the Super Bowl, as AdWeek is tracking everything they know about upcoming commercials.
  • Because of this we know, for example, that Toyota will have a commercial talking about their RAV4, and if this spot is relevant to your brand in any way you can adjust your messaging to stay relevant. The same is true for Colgate’s ad or Budweiser’s.

We’ll have a few more tips for you later on, to show how you can leverage the obscene ad dollars from major brands ($5M for a 30-sec ad) to help your own campaigns. Can’t Wait? Jump over to our tips for after the Super Bowl.

Ultimately, with all of this information up front you can begin to plan your email campaigns accordingly. If you want engagement on your site, you can schedule a campaign to go out three hours before the game to advertise last minute deals. If you want to take advantage of moment marketing, you could get your design team ready with images, related to football or the halftime show so you’re ready to quickly send a relevant email campaign at a moment’s notice.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Taking Advantage of Email During the Super Bowl

There is a lot happening when the game is on, and of course people are distracted. While, as we already mentioned, many people are actually checking their email and social media during the game and the commercials, you are going to see a noticeable drop in engagement during the game.

Make Sure Your Emails Are Mobile Friendly

Moveable Ink put together a really interesting study to look at if and how people are engaging with email during Super Bowl Sunday. They found that email open rates on Super Bowl Sunday were on par with open rates you can expect any other Sunday throughout the year. However, they did find that emails were opened much more frequently on smartphones and tablets than on desktop devices during this time.

 

Superbowl Open Rates
Email Open Rates During Super Bowl Week

This is understandable given people are away from their desks on most weekends, but it’s a good reminder that it’s important to ensure your emails are responsive on all devices, and also that your campaigns, CTAs, landing pages, and promotions are also optimized for mobile conversions.

Make it easy for people to go to your website or buy your product on a mobile device if you’re planning on sending on Super Bowl Sunday.

Take Advantage of Retargeting with Email

While of course social media, like Twitter, has quickly become the digital channel people are engaging with during the Super Bowl to discuss the game and the commercials, they are often engaging with brands, websites, and search.

Patrick Tripp, senior product marketing manager at Adobe Campaign explains why: “They’re using their mobile device to enhance their viewing experience by researching the celebrities and brands, new products/services making their big debut and more. Most importantly — in addition to all of this second-screen activity — they’re checking their email during the Super Bowl.”

While you can certainly take advantage of the fact that your customers are potentially reading your emails during the game, it’s more important that you are leveraging re-marketing and contact capture opportunities that occur during the game.

For example, if someone is reading an article you wrote about the Super Bowl on your site during the game, or are researching your products, make sure you set up transactional emails or automation workflows with promotions or calls to action to keep them engaged.

Kraft’s Family Greatly Twitter campaign last year directed people to a landing page where they were promoting an email newsletter with easy and delicious recipes.

Patrick Tripp from Adobe explains further. “With the right tools, marketers can create more than a spike in social mentions, but actually boost the bottom line by remarketing in email to create more meaningful, relevant engagements, leveraging insights they already have about the consumers’ interest in the game — from the team they’re rooting for to the brands they’re researching and possible online shopping carts they’ve abandoned.”

Moment Marketing at the Super Bowl

Finally, there is of course moment marketing, making sure you are ready to jump on relevant moments from the game. Oreo won this game in 2013 with their “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” Twitter post during 2013’s Super Bowl power outage, but many brands can take advantage of these moments on both social media and email to leverage a shared experience for brand awareness and engagement.

To do this right, you’ll need to have your email marketing team ready, maybe launch a “war room” at the office to watch the game, have some pizza (maybe even some beer) and be on the ready to quickly design a new campaign and write some new copy to capitalize on the shared conversation happening online.

Maximize Impact After The Super Bowl is Done

Once the game is done, your work is not.

It’s only starting, actually. One way to understand this is to look at how people interact with advertisers before and after the game. During the game, Millennials are the most likely to visit an advertisers website, whereas Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers are far more likely to engage with your brand right after, or even up to one week after.

Website Visits Super Bowl Ads
How Different Generations Engage with Super Bowl Advertisers

Be Apart of the On-Going Conversion

While we can’t all be advertisers at the Super Bowl, there are opportunities to take advantage of the discussion happening online about the game, the commercials, the players, and the brands. You can send campaigns that reference those moments from the game, that follow up on your social media posts, or maybe even email out your own (much cheaper) Super Bowl commercial with a YouTube link.

Either way, over 100M Americans are riding high from an event – take this opportunity to start and/or continue a conversation with them.

Piggy Back Off of Major Brand Awareness

Another massive opportunity, depending on your industry is to leverage the good will of the advertisers for your own products and services.

Super Bowl commercials are often more about pushing a new idea or concept, as much as they are about pushing a specific brand or product. For example, Amazon’s fantastic 2018 Super Bowl commercial for Alexa was as much about the future of the connected home and voice control as it was about a specific Amazon product. In fact they never actually name the product in the ad (the Amazon Echo).

“The commercial built awareness of Alexa and Echo devices, says Deb Gabor, CEO of brand strategy consultancy Sol Marketing. “While it didn’t offer much in name of showcasing the value proposition of Alexa, it seemed aimed at driving the adoption of smart speakers into mass use.”

Brands who don’t have $5M to spare on a Super Bowl ad, but with an interest in the connected home industry, can piggyback off of the attention smart speakers and connected devices will now have in the zeitgeist. It often doesn’t need to be a competing company, it’s almost more impactful if you are a completely different product entirely.

For example, if you sell smart thermostats, maybe send an campaign after with the subject line “Our smart thermostats never lose their voice”.

We know which brands will be advertising during the Super Bowl, and in fact we will likely already be able to see the actual commercial since they are commonly leaked ahead of time (whether intentionally or not). Major brands will be pushing new ideas and new industries. Identify where your brand can jump into this new window to capitalize on this new concept awareness.

Subject Line Tips for Your Email Campaigns

Finally, one of the most frequently asked questions about email marketing is how to write the perfect subject line. On a crowded marketing day like Super Bowl Sunday, standing out with good copy is even more important.

According to CoSchedule, 35% of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone. So what can you do to try to capture attention and inspire action? Here are a couple of tips that you can incorporate into your campaigns. We’ll apply each of these tips to the same Super Bowl themed email campaign.

Our case study will be a Home & Decor shop advertising their sale on beer mugs for your Super Bowl party.

Here are the beautiful mugs, and below are ways you can use subject lines to maximize sales. We’ve created a few examples under each tip.

Super Bowl Beer Mugs

Generate Curiosity

This is obviously easier said than done, but there is always a way to generate curiosity with your subject lines, and it’s often a matter of reconceptualizing the same question in a slightly different way.

❌ Beer mugs on Sale This Week

✅ Here is one item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party

Create Urgency & Scarcity

By creating urgency or scarcity, you are creating a small window for your customers to click. Anything that makes them think they can deal with this later reduces your chances of them coming back to your email. This is especially true for emails on a mobile device – act or lose them forever. In fact, subject lines with words that imply time sensitivity (e.g. “urgent”, “breaking”, “important” or “alert”) are proven to increase email open rates….but careful not to sound spammy. If they expect to hear from you, then this won’t be a problem.

email urgency

❌ We have all the beer mugs you need for the big game

✅ Today Only! One item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party

Personalize

We’ve said it a thousand times by now, but you should always be personal with your customers. Personalized email messages can improve your click-through-rates by 15% and your conversion rates by 10%. Often you will have the person’s name, so use this in the subject. Many brands also have much more information they can use such as transaction history, and city.

❌ Beer mugs on sale for the big game!

✅ Mike – we have Boston’s best selling mugs on sale today only

Kick Off Your Team’s Super Bowl Campaigns

Mailjet is devoted to helping teams send their emails faster, together. As you prepare for the Super Bowl, and all of 2019’s upcoming marketing moments, it will be more important than ever to have your entire email team on the same page. Be sure to check out our Collaboration Toolkit to help build your campaigns in real time and get ready for the biggest marketing moment of the year.

What email strategies will you employ for the Super Bowl? Tell us all about your own #SuperBowlEmails on Twitter!