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Limited Time Offer Email Campaigns

Thoughts by Gracija Atanasovska • Writer Bento

When you’re crafting an email marketing campaign, you always need to capitalize on the urgency of the moment. A lot of the time, this translates into triggering your (potential) buyers’ FOMO - short for “fear of missing out”. It’s an effective tactic that drives conversions and sales because the longer someone thinks about purchasing a product, the less likely they’ll purchase it.

However, you cannot sustain this sense of urgency for too long, so adding a tangible limit or a deadline is what will drive the consumer to take action.

And that’s what limited-time offers are all about - making an offer even more enticing when its availability is somehow limited by time.

To make effective limited-time offers, they need to be crafted the right way. That’s why I’ll give you some tips on how to do this, paired with examples from successful brands. But first, let’s briefly talk about what limited-time offers actually are.

TLDR: Urgency is a currency in the marketing world. Use the tactics of limited-time offers, such as free shipping, free gifts, holiday season discounts and giveaways, and one-day deals for your email campaigns to encourage prospective buyers to act and get shoppers back from abandoned carts.

What are Limited-Time Offers?

Limited-time offers are a marketing tactic, similar to promotional deals, that focus on the sense of urgency. The emails that include these deals are called limited-time offer email campaigns.

These offers include promotional deals, like giveaways, discount codes, free shipping offers, and free gifts - but they always need to be available for a limited amount of time.

As I mentioned in the introduction, the effectiveness of these campaigns lies in the awakening of the sense of urgency and offering limited availability of products and services to customers and prospects. The goal is to make profits but also to convert one-time buyers into loyal customers.

Types of Limited-Time Offer Email Campaigns

Okay, now that we have a handle on what a limited-time offer is we can continue on to the limited-time offer campaigns themselves. Let’s take a look at all the ways you can use these campaigns to your advantage.

1. How to Promote Free Shipping for a Limited Time

Oftentimes, shipping isn’t calculated in the product's price and buyers are upset that they have an uncalculated expense. But when there’s free shipping, everything changes.

Did you know that, according to a Walker Sands report, the chance for online customers to buy something when there’s free shipping has a likelihood of 88%? As you can see, free shipping, especially when offered for a limited time, can serve as a very efficient sales incentive for prospective buyers.

You can decide for yourself how long you want this offer to last. But keep in mind that the longer the time, the less urgency your buyers will feel. So it’s best to stick to a period of 1-4 weeks. If it’s longer than two weeks, make sure to remind them in a new message.

Your email can look something like this:

Subject line: Free shipping for the next 14 days!

Email copy:

Don’t miss out on our free shipping offer! Save some cash and get your favorite products [write your products here] in a few days.

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2. How to Promote a Free Gift as a Limited-Time Offer

Another way to attract customers is to promote a free gift. This can include free samples of a new product you’re planning to launch, your customer’s favorite products, or a simple giveaway. In any event, people like it when you give them free stuff - they get to try the product out and see for themselves if they like it or not. Loyal customers value free gifts even more, especially if the gifts are customized to their needs and shopping habits.

There are two ways to use the free gift limited-time offers - you can either offer them for a limited time only, or you can offer them while the supplies last.

Your email can sound something like:

Subject line: Get your free __ while supplies last!/ Get your favorite __ for free in the next __ days!

Email copy:

Dear __,

You are one of our most loyal customers and we wanted to reward your loyalty with your favorite products/with our new line of products that we’re launching next month. Order now and we’ll ship them in the next few days.

Get a selected range of products [list them here] while supplies last!

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3. How to Use the Limited-Time Offers to Bring Abandoned Cart Shoppers Back

People can dissuade themselves from buying something, even after they have started to checkout. After all, it’s easier to do that online than on an actual checkout line. And that’s why abandoned cart emails exist. Combine them with limited-time offers, and you’ve got a winner!

It’s best to send the limited-time offer abandoned cart email within the first hour of the abandonment. If you do it later, it’s not going to have that big of an effect, but also if you do it too soon, it might alienate the buyer even more - you might end up being too pushy. But what if you give them an offer they can’t refuse?

By combining these two email campaigns, you can use the “15% off today only” or “free shipping if you buy in the next 20 minutes” offers and help your customers make up their minds fast.

How should the email sound? Try this:

Email subject: Don't leave [product name] behind… get 20% off/free shipping if you buy it today/within the next hour/15, 20, 30 minutes!

Email copy:

Hi __,

You left something/__ behind in your cart. Are you still thinking about it? Why not use our 20% discount/free shipping and get your __ delivered in a few days?

Don’t miss out.

CTA button: Return to cart/Buy now

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4. How to Use the Magic of Limited-Time Offers for Different Holidays

Holidays are perfect for all kinds of sales offers, and limited-time ones work wonders here because, naturally, holidays last only for a limited amount of time as well!

You can, for example, come up with a Christmas giveaway that ends, of course, on the 24th. Or you can offer various discounts till the 24th to incite buyers to get all the gifts they need before the actual holiday.

This is how the email can sound:

Email subject: Christmas giveaway! Don’t miss out on a range of products! / Get 15% off all orders before the 25th!

Email copy:

Christmas is the time of year when you can show you care by giving your loved ones something they will cherish. And to make it a bit easier on your wallet how about 15% off all orders until the 24th.

Get your sibling/partner/parent a gift from the heart.

CTA button: Enter their email address

The giveaway ends on 12/24/2022

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5. How to Promote One-Day Limited-Time Offers

Sale offers that are limited to a single day, also sometimes called flash sales, can have a limit of just a couple of hours to a full 24-hour round. For popups, a couple of hours works great, whereas, for emails, you might want to consider the 24 hours because not all people might see the email in time to take advantage of the sale.

You can even make a series of daily deals, which will make customers check on you frequently to inquire about the new deal.

Email subject: Only today! Selected products for just $_!/20% off!

Email copy:

The deal of the day you never thought would come.

Get a whole basket of your favorite things for just $_!/and get a 20% off each item!

CTA button: Shop now

The deal lasts till _.

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Limited-time offers are super effective when it comes to leading prospective customers all the way to the end of the conversion funnel.

Just remember, don’t keep your offers for too long, otherwise your customers will feel like the limited-time offers last forever and that they can always buy the thing later.

You can combine limited-time offer email campaigns with popups, which make for another great type of limited-time offer for persuading your customers.