Spirit Halloween Email: Is It a Trick or a Treat?

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Spirit Halloween Email Grade: B


Subject Line


Preview Pane


Eye Path


Clarity of Message


Call to Action






Sense of Urgency



Company Overview

Spirit Halloween (http://www.spirithalloween.com/) is self-described as “the largest Halloween specialty store on the planet.” With over 1,000 base locations in 49 states and Canada, Spirit Halloween stores typically open around Labor Day weekend and close in early November. This email was sent to subscribers to make up for a problem encountered by Spirit Halloween customers who tried to complete an online order during a recent special promotion.

Strong Subject Line and Great Offer

This promotional email starts off strong with an entertaining, yet clear subject line: “We’re Frightfully Sorry…Here’s 20% Off!” It lets recipients know right away that there’s a substantial discount offered in this email. The preview pane is also strong, providing enough information in the alternate text to inform recipients that it’s worth their time to load the images and find out more about how to get the 20% discount.

Once the email is opened, the eye path is quite effective, leading from the logo, to the apology for their mistake, to the stand-out offer in large, reverse type: “SAVE 20% OFF Your Entire Order ONLINE ONLY!”

Missing Call to Action Hurts Clarity

There are a few issues, however, with the call to action and the clarity of this email. To take advantage of the offer, recipients can click anywhere on the image. We suggest that a specific and defined call-to-action button would drive more click throughs. We were also a bit confused by the phrase, “Local Time” in reference to the availability of the offer. We noticed that the store location is in New Jersey, so is it Eastern Time? Or is it based on subscribers’ local time zones? Apparently, this also confused other recipients, as there were a lot of questions about it on Spirit Halloween’s Facebook page. In addition, there were many questions on Facebook about how to redeem the 20% discount, since there was no promotional code or coupon included. So it seems that more information about how to redeem the discount would improve the clarity of this email.

Kudos for Sense of Urgency and Credibility

Credibility is very high for this promotional email: Spirit Halloween realized that some of their customers had a problem taking advantage of the company’s Wicked Wednesday offer and not only apologized for the mistake, but also made good with a special discount offer just 2 days later.

There’s also a definite sense of urgency created, as the discount is good for only 1 hour on the day the email was delivered. Giving 1 hour to respond creates urgency; however, it may be a bit too aggressive and could come off as a somewhat insincere apology, since the email was sent the same day as the 1-hour sale. Many recipients may not even notice the email in time. Perhaps an advance notice of the 1-hour special would create both the desired sense of urgency and adequate notice to customers.

Disclaimer: FulcrumTech does not have access to the performance data relating to this promotional email, so any tests performed on this email can’t be reflected in FulcrumTech’s commentary.

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