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How to Add St. Patrick’s Day to Your Holiday Marketing Strategy

Holiday marketing covers more than the wild-and-crazy days from Cyber Week to New Year’s Day. That’s because holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween generate significant customer spending as well.

Adding campaigns focused on less popular holidays to your marketing plan is a great way to keep your email and other messages interesting while potentially driving additional sales.

Take St. Patrick’s Day, for example. In 2017, the NRF predicted U.S. consumers would spend about $5.3 billion for this day. That’s a lot of green beer and shamrock glasses!

Here’s the great news: even if your brand and products don’t have a natural St. Patrick’s Day tie-in, you can still tap into the collective interest of this holiday to give your promotions a creative zing.

About St. Patrick’s Day

Almost everything we think we know about St. Patrick’s Day is either wrong or invented.

The 4th-century man who became St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. The man who started out as Padraigh was a British-born Irish slave who became a priest and is credited with converting pagan Ireland to Christianity. And those snakes he supposedly drove out of Ireland? Probably a snarky 14th-century reference to Druids who resisted conversion.

Let’s now talk about money: about 139 million Americans planned to spend money on St. Paddy’s Day merchandise and food in 2017, the NRF said. Millennials are the biggest spenders ($46.55 per person on average, compared to $37.92 in general).

Where does all the money go? Survey says:

  • 52% of consumers buy food
  • 41% will get drinks
  • 28% shop for clothing and accessories
  • 22% hunt down decorations
  • 14% buy candy

Stats and Trends for St. Patrick’s Day

Sandwiched into the calendar between Valentine’s Day and Easter, St. Patrick’s Day emails have a short delivery window. The chart below shows most St. Paddy’s emails are sent the day before or on the holiday itself.

St. Patrick's Day email volume trends diagram

Not surprisingly, St. Patrick’s Day email volumes spike on the holiday itself.

Compare this to Valentine’s Day, for example, where you see a much more gradual volume ramp-up.

Test idea: Send your email before the spike to take advantage of an inbox that no longer runs red with Valentine’s Day promotions but hasn’t turned green yet.

If you’re planning on using a discount for your campaign, be mindful that a percentage-off is the most popular type of promotion used for St. Paddy’s Day (compared to dollars-off, free shipping, or buy-one-get-one). Also, most retailers only discount by 10% to 20%. Here’s the entire discount distribution, if you’re interested.

Test idea: Percentage-off or dollars-off: which one to use? Test both options to see which approach is more likely to drive conversions with your subscribers.

Three St. Patrick’s Day Campaigns to Inspire You

These three hand-picked email examples from the MailCharts database show you what’s possible when you use original content and attractive design.

1.  Banish Clichés

  • Sender: Benefit Cosmetics
  • Subject line: It’s your lucky day, gorgeous!
  • Preheader: Snag a FREE Benefit Passport cover + luggage tag this St. Paddy’s Day!

“It’s your lucky day” gets close to cliché, but Benefit gets away with it by adding “… gorgeous!” Putting a great freebie promotion in the preheader gives the customer another good reason to open the email.

Throughout this email is a design that winks at the usual St. Patrick’s Day clichés without repeating them. The green complements the brand’s distinctive pink. “Pot of glam” and “luck of the stylish” are clever twists, and the capper is the easy-to-remember “LUCKYME” call to action.

Screenshot of St. Patrick's Day email by Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics breaks away from St. Patrick’s Day clichés.

2. Create a Memorable Message With Animation

  • Sender: Boden Childrenswear
  • Subject line: Can you tell?
  • Preheader: We’re full of St Patrick’s Day excitement at Boden

Great animations (click the image to view), a curated product selection, and a distinct sender name give this St. Patrick-themed email extra oomph.

The “Boden Childrenswear” sender name shows readers quickly which of its three clothing lines the email features. We also love the bright colors and playful, rainbow-like product selection in the message body. The directional arrows also highlight products and make it easy for viewers to click confidently.

Screenshot of Boden's St. Patrick's Day email

Boden Childrenswear appeals to shoppers with its playful St. Patrick’s Day email.

3. Keep Mobile Readers Engaged

  • Sender: Bon-Ton
  • Subject line: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Follow the 🌈
  • Preheader: Every rainbow leads to a pot of gold (hint, hint!)

This email looks like a cluttered mess at first. Then, it begins to make sense. The product colors morph into each other like a rainbow, which compels mobile readers to keep scrolling and watch the colors change. Then, boom! At the bottom (the end of the rainbow), there’s a pot of gold with the offer.

What’s not to love about this email?

Screenshot of Bon-Ton's St. Patrick's Day email

Bon-Ton wows subscribers with this mobile-optimized St. Patrick’s Day message.

Need More St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration?

See more data and tips on our St. Patrick’s Day email strategy page. If you’d like to learn more about MailCharts—and how we take the hassle out of email marketing planning and research—visit our website or drop us a note. We’ll be happy to answer your questions or walk you through a demo of our app.

Here’s to hoping you have the luck of the stylish—er, the Irish—with your St. Paddy’s Day campaign!

Carl Sednaoui

Carl Sednaoui is Co-Founder and Director of Marketing at MailCharts

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