When you think of shopping events in November chances are you think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But there’s actually a larger event in November in terms of gross sales: Singles’ Day.
Singles’ Day originated in China as an unofficial holiday to celebrate singles and takes place on the 11th of November, meaning it’s sometimes also referred to as the “11/11 holiday”. The thinking behind it being that all the 1s resemble singles.
However, what started off as a tongue-in-cheek response to Valentine’s Day has since been transformed into a major shopping event by Alibaba through their annual Singles’ Day promotions.
Singles’ Day is now the world’s biggest offline and online shopping day with sales comfortably reaching into the tens of billions USD with over $1 billion in sales in the first minute recorded last year.
Starting to gain traction outside of China
The reason you may not have heard much about Singles’ Day despite it breaking sales records year after year is that it has traditionally been a mainly Chinese event.
And while that is still largely true, more and more brands each year are starting to run their own Singles’ Day promotions in the US and other Western countries.
While there are many reasons for this, part of it likely comes down to singles being a relatively untapped market despite them tending to have higher disposable incomes.
With the number of people living alone doubling in the US over the past half-century and rising, events celebrating singles are also likely to increasingly resonate with Americans.
Singles’ Day email design and strategy
Whether you’re thinking about running your own Singles’ Day promotions or just wanting to see what other brands are doing in their marketing campaigns, below is a curated list of some of the best Singles’ Day emails we’ve come across.
By analyzing these emails from both a design and strategy perspective, you’ll be able to start putting together your own Singles’ Day email campaign.
This sale announcement email from Uniqlo is your typical example of a Singles’ Day email.
It makes heavy use of the number 1 with their sale even beginning at 11:11 in the morning and encourages shoppers to ‘treat themselves’. Both of which you’ll see used in many brands’ marketing campaigns.
The interesting thing to note about this email aside from its bold use of color is that it doesn’t actually contain any details about their sale offers. Customers instead have to click through the two call-to-action buttons at the bottom to find out what the offers are.
This tactic could help boost click-through rates and is something that Uniqlo can get away with as they’re a well-known brand and most people are already familiar with their product offerings.
If you want to follow this strategy of piquing people’s interest by keeping details minimal, you might still want to consider including some nice product images to tease what items are on sale.
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble has again made heavy use of the number 1 in their Singles’ Day email campaign, however this time they’ve incorporated product imagery to form an ‘11’.
This is a small thing that keeps the email design more interesting and helps it stand out from all the other emails filled with 1s.
If you’re able to form the number 1 or 11 with your products, this is something to consider doing as well. Even if you can’t do it with your products, it’s worth considering other creative ways you can incorporate these numbers.
Aromatherapy Associates’ email shows that you don’t even need to emphasize any 1s in your email design. Even their offer is for $22 off instead of $11 which in terms of customers’ wallets at least, is twice as compelling.
Instead, they’ve taken the ‘treat yourself’ angle in their campaign which aligns well with their product offering and target audience as well as the spirit of the shopping holiday.
Despite it being a Singles’ Day sale, this shows you don’t need to only target single people in your messaging. The broader ‘treat yourself’ message is something that’ll resonate with people regardless of whether they’re single or not.
Just because Singles’ Day runs only for the 11th it doesn’t mean you can’t sneakily start your sale early.
Starting your sale by sending an email in the afternoon the day before will give your customers more time to read your emails and shop at your store.
If you do this, you’ll also want to send a follow-up email on the 11th reminding people that your Singles’ Day sale is fully underway. This will also increase the chances people know about your sale in case they missed your first email.
Likewise, you could also extend your sale for another day on the 12th by sending a “Singles’ Day Sale Extended” style email.
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There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about Karl Lagerfeld’s email design here apart from the fact that they’ve included a countdown timer.
A simple HTML countdown timer is a great way of driving home the point that your sale is a limited time offer and that people need to act fast if they want to take advantage of it.
It also helps to create a sense of urgency as people see the seconds tick down which will help with getting people to click through to your store.
If you look closely you’ll also notice that they’re offering a 22% discount instead of 11%.
Singles’ Day subject lines
Now that we’ve taken a look at various email examples and the strategy behind them, it’s time to consider one of the most important yet often overlooked parts of any email: its subject line.
While subject lines may be an afterthought for many email marketers who hastily come up with one on the spot after finishing the email, they actually have a major impact on your open rate.
The more you make your subject line stand out in customers’ inboxes and the captivating it is, the more opens your email will get.
Subject lines are so important that a third of people actually base their decision on whether to open emails or not entirely on the subject line.
So no matter how great your email is, if you give it a subpar subject line it’ll get fewer opens which means fewer people clicking through to your Singles’ Day sale and ultimately your sale will be less profitable.
Subject line best practices
So what goes into a good subject line that’ll boost your open rate?
The good news is that writing good subject lines is fairly simple when you keep the following best practices in mind:
- Keep it short
- Keep it clear and have it accurately reflect the contents of your email
- Personalize it with your customer’s name whenever you can
It’s hard to go wrong if you keep these three points in mind when coming up with your Singles’ Day email subject lines.
The other thing you might want to consider is adding an emoji to help your subject line stand out in customers’ inboxes.
Subject line examples
To help give you some inspiration when coming up with your own Singles’ Day subject lines, below is a list of some examples from previous Singles’ Day campaigns.
Like with the email examples above, these will give you a good idea of what the top local and international brands are doing.
- 11:11 SPLURGE: nab up to 60% off quilt cover sets 🙌 – Linen House
- It’s (almost) 11.11. Here’s $11 off. – Bumble & Bumble
- Your Singles’ Day Offer – Karl Lagerfeld
- 11-11: Wishes come true & Singles Day Sale starts NOW! 😍 – VogaCloset
- Celebrate Singles’ Day With This Exclusive Offer – Aromatherapy Associates
- Singles Day is coming! – SideShow
- Celebrating Singles Day | 30% off ⚡✨ – One Tea Spoon
- 💝 SINGLES DAY SALE! 💝 – Coco and Eve
- treat yourself for singles’ day! – Dermablend
- Singles Day Sale Starts NOW – Don’t Miss It! – Torgoen Swiss
- 63% Off Mega-Rich® Eye Crème – Peter Thomas Roth
- Still single? Good. Because our Singles Day 20% off sale is still on. – Redbubble
- Happy Singles’ Day! Enjoy $11 off $50. – Murad
- HAPPY SINGLES DAY! Even if you’re not… 😅 – Goodwin Smith
- FINAL HOURS: Treat Yo’self with a Free Four-Piece Gift for Singles’ Day! – Mac Cosmetics
- LAST DAY! It’s 11/11, Make a Wish! – Too Faced Cosmetics
- Singles’ Day Sale. Today only. – Biossance
- Last Day: Up to 50% Off Singles Day Category! – Torgoen Swiss
- Just for you: $11 Tees on 11/11 – Billabong
- Happy singles day! Get 40% off everything 👏 – Pretty Little Thing
- 1 + 1 = infinite beauty with Singles’ Day deals. – Neutrogena
- Singles’ Day Exclusive: Save $11 – Kate Somerville Skincare
- Ready, Set, Single’s Day – Lise Watier
- 11.11 Celebrate Singles Day with Savings! – Panasonic
- Celebrate Yourself | Give Yourself Something for Singles’ Day – Sony
- $11 OFF For 11.11 – Basic Outfitters
- It’s Singles Day! Take 40% Off Online Exclusives – Armani Exchange
- Mix & mingle this Singles Day – Marc Jacobs Beauty
A few brands decided to use an emoji or two, which as you can probably tell helped their subject line stand out from the others. If you want to use emojis as well, be sure to first check out our guide on using emojis in subject lines here.
Other things you’ll like have noticed from the list is that just like in the emails, many brands have used the number 11 and/or referenced ‘treating yourself’.
Singles’ Day is the world’s biggest shopping day.
And while that is still largely confined to China where the shopping event originated, brands are increasingly running their own Singles’ Day promotions all over the world.
This presents a golden opportunity to get ahead of the curve by running your own Singles’ Day sale before your competitors jump onboard.
Doing so is relatively simple too and the date provides the perfect excuse to run a relatively modest offer of only 11% or $11 off that won’t eat into your margins too much.