Achieving Twice the Traffic with 1/3rd the List
Proflowers Wins the Valentine’s Day War through Testing, Segmentation, and Re-engagement

February 11th, 2010 was the key web traffic day for Valentine’s Day flower shoppers. All the major online flower vendors achieved their major holiday traffic spike on that day. A close examination of the data utilizing the Email Data Source tool, Email Analyst, suggests that Proflowers was able to achieve extraordinary success with an email strategy that relied heavily on targeted and segmented email campaigns tied to exhaustive testing of creative and an agressive WinBack campaign strategy.

According to the Alexa web reach per million measurements, Proflowers achieved 71% more traffic than 1-800-Flowers and 126% more than FTD on their peak traffic day leading up to Valentine’s Day.

An examination of the emails campaigns sent during February monitored by EDS and the EDS panel of active inboxes reveal that these traffic gains were achieved despite the fact that the average reach of their email campaigns in February was one third the reach of their top competitors during the same time.


A significant campaign strategy was an agressive series of Winback campaigns leading up to the Valentine’s Day holiday.  Proflowers ran at least 7 reengagement campaigns just before Valentine’s Day, a strategy that does not seem to be echoed in their competitor’s strategies.

Below are the subject lines and dates of the re-engagement campaigns Proflowers ran:

Jan 25th: We Haven’t Seen You in a While… Come Back for 10% off

Feb 1st: $19.99 Valentine’s Day Flowers to Win You Back! Order Soon to Avoid Rush Charges.

Feb 2nd: Can Cupid Bring Us Back Together?

Feb 8th: $19.99 for 18 Assorted Roses, Come Back!

Feb 8th: $19.99 Tulips or Roses, Come Back to Us!

Feb 8th: Will You Come Back to Us for 20% off? Expires Wednesday!

Feb 10th: Last Chance! 47% Off if You Come Back Now

Segmentation and Subject Line Testing.

In addition to re-engagement campaigns, Proflowers engaged in a strategy of segmentation, targeted emails, and creative cycling.To illustrate, below are the subject lines for 10 different campaigns that Proflowers ran on February 8th, along with estimations of the relative sizes of each audience segment.

(The percentage numbers are for estimates based on panel data and do not necessarily reflect the actual percentages of the Proflowers list. The numbers were calculated with the following assumptions: the campaign with the largest reach was scored as 100% of the list and all other campaigns list percentages were based off of that).

Below are the subject lines for all the emails sent by Proflowers on Feb 8th along with their estimated percentage of list. Notice there are 3 re-engagement campaigns:

$19.99 for 18 Assorted Roses, Come Back! (7.76%)

$19.99 for 18 Assorted Roses, Last Chance! (20.47%)

$19.99 Tulips or Roses, Come Back to Us! (7.2%)

$19.99 Tulips or Roses, Last Chance for Valentine’s Day! (15.67%)

20% Off at ProFlowers just for RedEnvelope Customers (7.76%)

Bouquets From $19.99. Give Great, Save Great. (32.60%)

Last Chance for Long Stemmed Red Roses at $39.98 (13.41%)

Last Chance for Long Stemmed Red Roses at $39.99 (3.95%)

Thanks Again. Please Accept These Special Savings. (4.66%)

Will You Come Back to Us for 20% off? Expires Wednesday! (8.04%)

In contrast, Proflowers competitors sent out far fewer emails to a larger percentage of their list. For comparison’s sake, the following campaigns were sent by 1-800flowers on the same day (using the same percentage of list calculation):

 Free Shipping on Gift Baskets starting at $29.99 – lock in today’s prices (17.82%)

Free Shipping: 3 Bouquets only $29.99 each – Limited Supply (56.02%)

Free Shipping: Long Stem Red Roses with FREE Ruby Vase – While Supplies Last (74.24%)

Has it been a year already? (1.96%)


Regarding Inbox Delivery, Proflowers emails had very good delivery with over 90% inbox delivery for AOL, Yahoo, and Gmail, compared to top competitors who achieved less than 90% delivery to the same ISP’s during the same period.

Summary: Studies from Forrester have shown that segmentation of lists can achieve a much higher ROI than batch and blast strategies. Research from EDS, using the EDS live panel data seems to bear this out.


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