B&N email

How Barnes & Noble hooked me with email marketing

Note: The following story is completely true.

I love books. I don’t actually read them, but collecting them is righteous. Oh, how smart I appear! So imagine my elation when I discovered this email on a fateful January morning.

Naturally, I printed my mystery coupon and scooted to the nearby Barnes & Noble. I browsed around for a bit, then snagged a copy of a hardcover I’ve had my eye on for a while, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. $25 book, but I was going to save 50%, so it was a no brainer.

Alarmingly, my scanned coupon revealed just a 10% savings. I did NOT see that coming. So did I return the book? That would be a no. In fact, the B&N employee upsold a yearly membership to me. Hey, back off, it only cost $20!

So, to recap, here are the events that transpired after I printed my email coupon:

  1. I bought a $25 hardcover and saved 10%, the lowest possible savings
  2. I purchased a $20 annual membership
  3. I have since purchased two additional hardcovers online to take advantage of free express shipping (membership perk, baby!)

So how did this happen? Quite simply, the natural allure that comes with rolling the dice did me in even before I printed the coupon. That slight adrenaline kick combined with my already-present love of books to hook me from the get-go.

And the big question: what does this mean for your email marketing campaigns? Well, if you have any kind of product that can be sold, you might consider holding a fun little Mystery Savings campaign. Your subscribers may love what you’re offering as much as I love books, and if that’s the case, they won’t even know what hit them.