Discover The Secrets of Email Secret Sales


When we’re not “in the know,” it’s human nature to exercise our curiosity and seek out the truth. When we’re kept in the loop, we feel special and privileged.

Your email marketing can appeal to those emotions, too. You want subscribers to feel privy to select information about your company. After all, that’s one reason you have an email campaign in the first place – to keep customers and prospects in the loop.

By positioning promotions as “secrets,” you can create buzz and start a game of whisper down the lane with your subscribers, hoping they will spread the word to their friends who weren’t as lucky to hear from you first.


When it comes to secret persuasions, Bloomingdale’s certainly has the right idea.

For their first ever online secret sale, they rolled out invitations only to email subscribers. The beauty of this tactic? It’s not really secret at all. Bloomie’s wants their readers to forward the message to friends and chat the event up.


How You Can Do It:

At first glance, it may seem like Bloomingdale’s can execute this kind of campaign because they have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on email marketing. Looking closer, however, there’s no reason that you can’t have the same impact with your own campaign.

  1. Create a broadcast message that promotes a “secret” limited time event. Use urgent language to inspire quick clicks.
  2. You don’t have to make a coupon code or get technical about sales deductions. Notice that Bloomie’s never mentions a code, they just include a link to the “sale” page on their site.


Everyone loves scratch-off coupons. It’s like playing the lottery, but always winning!

Overstock offers email subscribers a virtual scratch-off coupon in this genius email. The added element of the unknown inspired me to click through and see what item I could get a good deal on that day.


How You Can Do It:

  1. Pick an item on your site that you want to make the special sale item and copy the URL.
  2. Save the following coupon images to your computer, then upload one to your website and use it in your next email. Link it to the special sale item, and you have a mystery sale item instantly!


Rue La La’s Secret Suite invitation is another brilliant use of secrecy. The very idea of a guest list oozes exclusivity. If you’re not on the list at the hottest club in town, you’re not getting in, right?


How You Can Do It:

  1. You’ve already got your guest list, so the hard part’s complete.
  2. The trick is writing an email that uses language to paints a portrait of limited access. Using phrases like “under-the-radar” and “exclusive” lets your subscribers believe that they are special for receiving the email from you, which increases the odds that they will click through and purchase something from you.

Have You Ever Run a Secret Sale Campaign?

What kind of language did you use to inform subscribers of the sale? Were your emails successful? Share your experiences below!

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