Recently, this article about FutureMe was brought to my attention. The FutureMe website allows people to send emails to themselves more than 50 years in advance. These emails can serve as reminders of past events (think a vivid description of the day you got engaged) and a time capsule of your fondest memories.
Similarly, Timehop’s rise in popularity is no doubt due to people’s desire to recall past events. Other social channels have even adopted similar concepts, like Facebooks, “On This Day” feature. It appeals to the sense of nostalgia people know and love. Given the popularity of time capsule apps and products similar to Timehop and FutureMe, marketers should consider incorporating a similar concept into email campaigns. Marketers already trigger emails based on abandoned carts, weather and sporting events, so deploying triggered emails based on purchases from one or more years ago is an obvious next step.
Why Timehop and Email Go Hand-in-Hand
This concept makes sense for multiple reasons. First and foremost, consumers crave nostalgia. In the past, brands have benefited from nostalgic advertising campaigns, and obviously, we’ve seen nostalgia benefit Timehop (which boasts 3 million daily users). Secondly, consumers are on a specific buying cycle, and often, purchase based on the seasons and the lifespan of a product. Consumers don’t always need a new winter coat, but it’s possible that they shop for one every other year at the same time of year. Similarly, a product, like jeans, that is worn every day may need to be replaced on a yearly basis. Perhaps most importantly, however, creating Timehop-style triggered emails can encourage repeat purchases and build brand loyalty. A consumer may buy a product from an online botique and never shop there again unless they are reminded of the experience via these reminder emails.
Given the value of Timehop-style triggers, sending email reminders of purchases from years ago is an inevitable next step in email marketing. But how can marketers further mimic Timehop’s strategy to capitalize on the concept?
- Incorporate Social Sharing: Timehop allows users to share past memories straight from the platform allowing engagement and resulting in brand recognition. Just the same, emails that incorporate social share buttons can encourage consumers to interact with a brand while fostering advocates and new customers.
- Think About Your Brand: Timehop boasts a futuristic feel and therefore, sends push notifications with “out of this world” messages and design. Just the same, Timehop-style triggered emails only work if they are branded, on message, and mirror current products being sold on the website. While a consumer may have bought a fanny pack from your store 10 years ago, they probably aren’t looking to purchase another. Therefor, you won’t suggest purchasing a second fanny pack. Instead, update their accessories with new trends that are in-style and available online or in-store.
- Communicate the Sending Schedule: Timehop users expect an updated review of past experiences every day, but that might overwhelm email subscribers. And, consumers who experience email overload from one brand may begin to ignore emails, or worse, unsubscribe. Regardless of the frequency you choose, communicate with subscribers when they first opt-in to an email program so they know how often they should expect Timehop-style emails compared to regular marketing promotions. Allow them the opportunity to change their frequency settings in their preference center to keep them engaged and subscribed.
Nostalgic advertising works, and it’s time marketers incorporate this strategy into their email campaigns. Considering these three steps, email marketers can relate to consumers and motivate a purchase using Timehop-style triggered messages.