A Perfect Storm of Opportunity: Sunski’s Dress Rehearsal for Black Friday [Watch]

This is part of a twelve-episode series, Beyond Black Friday, where we take a look at the marketing strategy behind three ecommerce brands who are doing things differently and are successful in keeping the momentum going through the holidays, some in non-conventional ways.

Summer is the second-biggest sales period for Sunski, a maker of polarized sunglasses. That means it’s the closest they’ll get to having a way to practice for Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

The question for Sunski marketing manager Rich Krolikowski: What tactics should they test? There were a lot of ideas, but only one season-ending Endless Summer Sale. Rich described it as a “perfect storm of opportunity and preparation.”

Homing in on what to test

The Sunski team had plenty of theories about ad content, messaging, subject lines, art, and more. Ongoing summer campaigns had given them some insights, but not at the scale of Black Friday. They decided that the Endless Summer Sale would be like a dress rehearsal, and they’d apply what they learned to the next holiday season.

They suspected that building Black-Friday-like anticipation would make sure their audience was ready to shop when the sale began. To do that, they sent two preview emails to let customers know there was a big sale right around the corner.

What they learned

The sale was a success, but the email engagement data was confusing. The preview messages had a high open rate, but the actual launch announcement wound up with a much lower rate. How could they have such an anemic open rate on the launch promotion, but such strong revenue numbers?

Looking at the data, they found the answer: Those preview messages worked even better than expected. Customers who read them knew the sale was coming. When they saw the announcement, they didn’t even need to open it to start shopping. A significant part of their Endless Summer Sale revenue actually tracked back to the warm-up emails and not to the launch message.

How You Can Level Up Right Now

If you’re looking for ways you can level up right now, check out the Holiday Marketing Crash Course from the Klaviyo Academy to find out how to keep the holiday momentum going into 2019.

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