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How Star Wars emails became a force in our inboxes

How Star Wars emails became a force in our inboxes

There’s a little movie coming out this weekend…. maybe you’ve heard of it?

When tickets to the new Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” were first released in October, fans clamoring for early tickets crashed ticket sites like Fandango; during release week it dwarfs every other trending topic on Twitter–by the millions; and Star Wars-themed products, from cereal to makeup to laptops  are top of mind for every Jedi fan around the world.

But perhaps no where is Star Wars fervor more apparent than in email inboxes. Brands, retailers, and even nonprofits, have jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon and figured out how to align their email marketing with the movie–even when what they’re marketing seemingly has nothing to do with The Force.

A quick scan of my personal email inbox reveals a slew of Star Wars-themed subject lines–and this is for someone who is NOT a typical Star Wars fan. Email lists I subscribe to have been trying for weeks to entice me with subject lines like:

  • Star Wars Nightlights (Steals.com)
  • Turn Your Child Into a Reading Jedi (Scholastic)
  • Star Wars… the Force is strong with you (Zulily)
  • Star Wars Fans: May the deals be with you (Target)
  • Boba Fett, Yoda, and Chewbacca Jewelry (Bezar)
  • Must-see Fall Movies, ‘Star Wars’ Secrets (Moviefone)
  • Star Wars Costume Exhibit Invades Times Square! (Time Out New York)

So what’s the best way to join the cultural zeitgeist and incorporate Star Wars themes and language into your own marketing emails? Here are our five top tips for forceful Star Wars emails, gleaned from the best Star Wars emails that have landed in our inboxes so far.

You can use these tips for Star Wars–or any other blockbuster movie event in the future (we’re sure the Force will reawaken in 2018 or so, right?).

Tip #1: Start Early to Maximize Impact

Star Wars premieres in the United States on December 18, but it opened in some other countries a few days earlier. AirFrance took advantage of the opportunity to entice customers with an early screening by sending an alert on November 2 to promote its “Flight and Cinema” package. The airline offered to take customers directly from the airport to a movie screening on December 16. By getting this email out more than six weeks before the premiere, AirFrance gave customers from overseas plenty of lead time, and stuck out in inboxes because they weren’t yet flooded with Star Wars themed mailings.

Star Wars Email from Air France

Tip #2: Showcase Your Star Wars-Themed Products

Star Wars is one of the most visual brands out there, with dozens of well-known and unusual-looking characters, props like light sabers (which Facebook is taking advantage of), and more. Make sure your Star Wars-themed emails show off these visuals. Check out how book publisher and retailer Scholastic does it here.

Star Wars Email from Scholastic

Scholastic puts the  characters front and center in this Star Wars email, creatively using book cover imagery to get parents to purchase Star Wars books for their kids.

Another company that captures the visual elements of Star Wars, with their own unique spin, is the online design shop Bezar. In this email they’re promoting a line of Star Wars jewelry.

Star Wars Email from Bezar

Showing the full line of products in email, when the theme of all the products is as visually compelling as Star Wars, can really make customers feel connected to your offerings. As I mentioned, I’m not a Star Wars devotee, but even I can’t help wanting all of this cute jewelry!

Tip #3: Figure out your angle

You’d think Star Wars can’t have much to do with a nonprofit media organization that publishes world news of Jewish interest, right? Wrong. Publisher JTA, also known as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, finds its own unique spin on Star Wars mania by publishing a Star Wars Hanukkah gift guide, perfectly timed to coincide with both the holiday and the movie release. The company puts the Star Wars article front and center in the email because it knows that, even if this story is not the typical breaking news that it usually covers, Star Wars is still top of mind for many of its readers.

Star Wars Email from JTA

Tip #4: Keep your offer in line with customer expectations

Target customers expect a few specific things from the emails they receive from the big box retailer: good deals, easy to find products, and wide breadth of product offerings. With their Star Wars email, Target doesn’t disappoint.

Star Wars email from Target

 

From the very top of the email, it’s clear that at Target you can find Star Wars items at a discount, you can find lots of different types of products, and you can easily navigate to the category of product that you’re looking for. Target is making it clear to its customers that they’re the place to go for any Star Wars product needs you have.

Tip #5: Align your branding with the more recognizable brand

Star Wars has its own font, its own color scheme, its own characters, and its own brand identity, all recognizable by millions around the world. Unless you’re a major global brand, your own branding can’t compete.  Don’t run from the strength of the Star Wars brand; instead adopt it. Embrace it.

This is what the Australian shoe brand UGG did in its Star Wars email, to terrific effect. To promote the shoe line’s “Darth Vader collection,” they used an all-black background with white text, a haunting image of Darth Vader, and a huge collection of shoes to match, to encourage customers to browse and buy. It’s a far stretch from their typical emails, featuring earthier tones (like this one), but that’s why it works: UGG embraced the Star Wars brand and made it their own, featuring their darkest boots and shoes. You can just picture Darth Vader himself wearing those boots–and therefore you want to get a pair for yourself.

Star Wars email UGG

 

It’s not too late to sneak in some Star Wars themes into your upcoming marketing emails. The movie opens in the US on December 18, but we’re pretty sure it will be all anyone talks about for at least another month or two. Get started creating your Star Wars-themed email in the BEE editor today!

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Kelly Shetron