Mother’s Day: It’s not just a retailer’s holiday

May 5, 2016
3 min read

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and email marketers are clamoring to send out last minute reminders to stock up on gifts and think about the special women in our lives. And it isn’t just retailers. Financial services emailers are also very active during special holidays. The majority of the financial emails observed either reference Mother’s Day as a reason to explore specific products/services, or to purchase gift cards or take advantage of special partnership deals with jewelry and floral retailers.

According to recent research from Yesmail and Persado, Mother’s Day email subject lines that are more emotional in nature have a 21.5% higher open rate than those that do not. This same research also found that nearly two-thirds of all Mother’s Day email subject lines focused on at least one emotion. In fact, emails subject lines that took on a tone of “encouragement” or “curiosity” were found to be the most effective, while the least effective was “safety.”

Some of American Express’ emails this month are great examples of subject lines with an encouraging tone. For example, on April 24th, American Express sent emails with the subject line “Give Mom just what she wants. Save on a Gift Card for Mothers Day.” On this particular day, that email had a 24.4% read rate, well above the industry’s 17.5% average, according to Mintel ePerformance/eDataSource. American Express continued to send this email into the first week of May.

American Express also had a special offer for Canadian customers through a partnership with Little Life Box, a Canadian health and lifestyle brand, and a limited-time invitation to order a special box just in time for Mother’s Day. The email offer, with the subject line, “Little Life Box Mother’s Day via American Express,” had an impressive read rate of 35.2%.

Citibank was also successful in hitting on both encouragement and curiosity in its emails this year. One of Citibank’s largest emails related to Mother’s Day 2016 was sent to BestBuy cardholders and had the subject line, “Gift Mom happy with your choice of rewards or financing,” which had a 22.6% read rate. The offer itself was a choice between 5% back in rewards or 12 months of free financing, but it was positioned as a way to buy all the tech gear your mom is sure to love.

Citibank also sparked curiosity on April 21st with the subject line, “Mom-worthy gifts,” which had a 30.3% read rate. Inside the email, the top copy stated, “Gifts to make mom’s day. Give Mom gifts that will make her feel like the luckiest gal in town. From earrings, to drills, to cameras and more, whatever your mom fancies, you can get the perfect gift with your ThankYou® Points.”

As with many holidays, the closer we get to the actual date, the emails become more and more focused on time running out and counting down to the actual day. But as every holiday is a little different, so too are the emotions that accompany each one. Marketers need to think about holidays individually and assess the emotions that are going to resonate the most with the audience at that particular time.

Mintel Comperemedia clients can log in to view the above mentioned email campaigns from American Express, Citibank and Citibank/BestBuy


Lily Harder is the Vice President of Research for Mintel Comperemedia. Lily specializes in the financial services industry, researching and presenting on the latest industry trends, competitive intelligence insights and newsworthy developments.

Lily Harder
Lily Harder

Lily Harder is Vice President of Research, Mintel Comperemedia. She specializes in financial services, researching industry trends and competitive intelligence insights.

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