Topic: Email Newsletters

It’s great when a brand sends emails that are so true to it’s brand, that you can almost hear them speaking and taste their product through the email.

One such company is Innocent Drinks, who do the cutest emails and has one of the easiest and funniest sign up, welcome and email processes I have come across.

I thought I would start at the beginning and run through the process, first the sign up, then the welcome email then the newsletter, so you can get a sense of the process in order. (Better yet go to their website and sign up if you haven’t already and get a taste of this for yourself!)

Like every good website should, they have a prominent email sign up facility, and it’s humorous, by enticing me with a comfy couch and love and friendship, (But no pocket money)

Sign Up

I sign up, and immediately a note appears in place of the sign up form saying: ”You will shortly receive an email confirming your subscription. By the way, we will never, ever pass your details on to anyone else, but you knew that anyway, didn’t you. Your information will only ever be used to send you what you ask us to send you. If you would like to leave the family, use the unsubscribe button when you next receive an email from us.”

This is a great way to instantly and effectively confirm that I have subscribed, and assure me they won’t share my details with anyone, and let me know I can unsubscribe from ‘the family’ if I want to, however by giving me the option and not feeling locked in, makes me feel safer and makes me never want to leave…. aww.

Sign Up Confirm

That message the disappears after a short time, and they claim back a bit of space on their website,  and I then receive a cute and welcoming welcome email right away. It’s opens with the subject line ‘Welcome to the innocent family’ which gives me warm fuzzies and makes me feel like I am being welcomed into some big friendly and exclusive family.

I also love that the call to actions point to the ‘ceiling’ and the ‘moon’ and the ‘grass’ and the email includes a polar bear in a snowstorm! Can you see him?

 

Welcome Email

Click on the image to see the full email

After you have digested the entrée welcome email and clicked on all those links and seen where they all go, it’s time to wait for the main course of the email newsletter to arrive into your inbox. And there are many delicious ingredients!

Innocent Drinks

Click on the image to see the full email

Overall I love the use of creative copy and the tone of their brand language in the emails. For example, in the pre-header,  instead of saying ‘click here to view online’ they say ‘If this email looks a bit weird just click here to see it look not so weird’. I also really like the fact they have included a ‘sale’ star in the header that let’s you know the email is free! (Woo!) I know we all know emails are free but something about putting that star there telling me it’s free makes it feel even more like a bonus and my brain is thinking it’s getting a great deal!

There is strong brand consistency between the email and the website, with the same font, logo, colours, so when I do click any of the call to action links from the email to the website, it feels like the same environment.

The content of the email is fun, engaging, has a good mix of bright colours, white space, company news, human interest stories, and fun links to click on, and best of all, in their footer, they say “call us on the banana phone

These guys are really engaging, provide a seamless experience between email, website and social media, they use clever copy, great design and interesting content to deliver fun, fresh and funky emails, and in my eyes they are doing everything right.

email-overwhelmLet’s keep this brief, it’s coming up to Christmas and you are busy, sometimes though we can all do with just a little bit of reminding.

So here is your reminder that the holiday season is almost here (No surprise there) and more people than ever before are shopping via mobile and tablets (No surprise there either) so you will want to have your responsive-design-mobile-holiday-season-email-marketing-strategy-machine firing up and ready to go.  To help you fire up, here are some important numbers for your consideration.

27% of consumers over the last year found a shopping website thanks to an email from the retailer which drove them to the website. 22% of consumers arrived via organic search the rest were already existing customers and knew where they headed. (Not to say an email didn’t help them on their way) Any way you look at this, consumers are largely driven to your shopping website thanks to email. So this holiday season how are you going to utilise email to attract attention and drive consumers to your site?

And remember 49% of all emails are now opened on a mobile device… and 75% of those who read email on their mobile delete any email that doesn’t render correctly… so I can’t impress upon you enough the importance of having a mobile email strategy in place if you haven’t already.

With the average user receiving an average of 70 emails a day (That’s on average – for some it’s a couple of hundred) you need to look at what is unique and interesting and appealing about your email….  think about what value are you offering? How are you segmenting your database to better target subscribers and offer more personalised shopping options? Are you using your tried and tested friendly from name? Are you using short, catchy subject lines? Do you have the hierarchy of your content sorted appropriately? Is there an obvious call to action? Are the links finger-friendly? Are you offering something your competitor is not?

This is really just about getting you thinking about your holiday marketing; I will be following this post up next week with a more in depth look at specifically how you can create successful holiday email campaigns, so watch this space….

In the meantime, do you need some inspiration and ideas? Start by checking out our Jericho Pinterest board full of beautiful holiday email marketing inspiration and if you need some more expert advice – email us!

Dear {Generic Subscriber}

Thank you for taking the time to read our long email all about our company even though you have 573 emails to read and you are very busy.

All the information contained in this email is generic and fairly bland although very informative. We are sending the same information out to everyone, so don’t worry we haven’t taken much time looking at creepy data analysing your particular preferences or interests. Why spend time doing that when all 15,679 of our subscribers will enjoy reading the same generic news ins our batch and blast email this week, next week, and every week. In saying that, we may get busy and  just send one really long email with out dated news once a month, which we are sure you will want to read because it’s all about us.

Also it is not mobile optimised as we haven’t prioritised mobile optimisation yet but that’s OK, you still read your emails on a desktop computer right? The email also won’t contain any dynamic content or personalisation which would make the email more about you and your preferences, because as we mentioned we haven’t got the time or budget for that.

We didn’t spend too much time thinking about the subject line, so as you can see that says ‘September Newsletter’ which is exactly what this is. Also we don’t tend to put much emphasis on testing  so there might be a broken link in there somewhere. Just email our esp if you find it.

Also we probably won’t notice how many of you clicked on anything or who is engaged or not engaged because we don’t tend to do any reporting or analysis on our campaigns. And we we will be sending the email at 5pm on a Friday as we don’t really prioritise our email marketing or think about what the best send time is, just as long as we get to send our news out to everyone before we leave for the weekend.

We hope you enjoyed reading our generic email (that you care about even less than we do).

Insincerely and apathetically yours,
Batch and Blast Inc.

BrandsTalk
Sadly the above story is not so far from the truth for many companies. If the whole area of personalisation, engagement and analysis seems like a lot to get your head around, take a moment to read these posts that are bulging with best practice advice on everything from how to really your subscribers, how personalisation can make a huge difference to your readers and how engagement has a flow on effect to your reputation and deliverability.

Do much more than just batch and blast

To personalise or not to personalise

- Here’s how to really show your subscribers some email love

- How and why you should treat your subscribers like friends

- Why engagement is important and how to do it

EmailLove

See, that wasn’t so hard. All it takes is for you to implement a few simple best practice initiatives into your email marketing and you can be seeing a remarkable improvement.

 

Alpha Recruitment sent an attention grabbing email recently saying ‘Keep Calm and Like our Facebook Page’ and it certainly got my attention!

They sent this solus email out saying that since they have won their category in the SEEK Sara’s awards so many times they are not in the running this year, however you can still show that you back them by going and liking their Facebook page.

The email is really just one big Like button with the call to action front and centre, with just a brief amount of clear concise copy which explains what the email is about but keeps the focus on the visual call to action. A great feature of the email is their play on the ‘keep calm’ slogan and the Facebook colour scheme which I’m really liking, and all these factors come together seamlessly to create a simple campaign that really stands out.

Click the image below to see the full email:

 

This email puts much more into the email marketing efforts of Muchmore Music than just the same ol’ same ol’. 

Muchmore Music sent out this re-activation campaign to their subscribers asking if they still wanted to be on their database. Why? Because they noticed that some of the subscribers hadn’t opened their email for the last three email campaigns.

For many of you I think it would be fair to say you may analyse inactive subscribers once every six month’s or perhaps once a month. Have you ever analysed the reports for inactive or unengaged subscribers after just 3 sends?

It is a wise email marketer who asks their audience what their preferences are, if they actually want to be on your database, and regularly running re-engagement campaigns are a key part of any self respecting email comms programme.

 


If you would like to read more about re-engagement here are some of our key blog posts on the subject which should give you some ideas.

Engagement – why it’s important

Creating engagement with birthday and preference emails

Ask your subscribers what they want by doing a survey

Or you can always talk to us :)

 

This month’s email makeover from the expert team at Jericho is…  Grabaseat!

Click the image below to check out the ‘before’ email:

 

Click on the image below to check out the ‘after’ email:

What do you think of our Grabaseat email makeover?

As a follow up to our previous post about the mobile optimised email by Foodily, We bring you part #2 which is featuring…. lastminute.com

Last Minute is a travel deal site that gives you access to last minute deals, cheap hotels, and so on.

Check out the beautiful desktop version of the email below.  Click the preview below to see the full email.

For comparison, let’s look at the mobile optimised version below. The responsive design means that it automatically adjusts to my mobile screen, the design elements move around, it has simpler content with easily clickable elements.
The differences between the desktop version to the mobile are, the header only shows only the left portion of the image.

Moving down the email, we see the intro automatically adjust to the space, and the call to action buttons form a stack, where they move and align themselves one on top of the other.

Moving down, the next section is the blog, and again we see the content adjust to one column wide and ‘stack’ itself up so the right hand half of the content moves so it is under the main image.

Finally the footer of the email – the buttons move from being 4 buttons wide and 2 high to being 4 high and 2 wide. Followed by easily clickable social media links.

What do you think of Last Minute’s email?  Do you receive this email? Love to hear your thoughts!

I heard something the other day that struck me – someone said their customer service rep ‘put a personal face on a big corporation’.  It made me consider the journey that many organisations take from being small and therefore personal, to greater success and towards the cliche of the big faceless corporation, at which point they see the need to do a full circle right back to providing the personal touch.   Because to your customer, that is all that matters – that personal service. That friendly human face that actually talks to you, helps you, and most of all provides value. That face is often perceived as being ‘your company’ -not your building – not your logo – that personal face. And it is often the difference between a happy customer and no customer.

Being personal applies to every single business and every single industry. People love personalised service, even in this digital world. And email gets closer to people than many other digital channels, via what comes into their inbox.  When you send an email to anyone’s inbox, you are in the ‘golden circle’ of their life, along with emails from friends and family…. it’s like you have just walked into their house and they are having a family party when you arrive. This could be awkward…

So are you going to butt-in and start pitching to them? Only to have them ‘delete’ you and kick you out? Or are you going to be friendly and relevant to them and actually join in the conversation and provide some value to them? You know the correct answer. You know that friend that always comes around and just sits there and helps themselves to your food and your TV then expects you to be grateful to them for their mere presence? I bet you know some emails like that.

Now how about that friend that comes in when they are invited, when you said it’s OK to visit, and they bring your favourite cookies because you told them and they remembered. While they are visiting they also give you some tips, do your dishes and give you some discounts for something you really wanted. Maybe they even tell some jokes and make you laugh. Well obviously that friend is welcome any time! Just imagine if you do your email marketing like that, how much your subscribers would love you.

Well we have an example of an email from a company in New Zealand called Pixel Paint who do just that. Who? Pixel Paint is a canvas printing company based in Wellington and they send the most humorous, friendly emails ever. This month they sent an email out with the subject line ‘We love you so much we made you a mix tape…’ with a link to a retro music mix tape they made on Sound Cloud for their subscribers, just so they didn’t have to endure certain music on the radio. Then they added at the bottom ‘PS – if you want to buy a canvas click here’.  Wow talk about feeling the love from a company who has just gone the extra mile to do something for me. I instantly love these guys. Click on the email and check it out.

Once you have had a look at that awesome email, let’s go back a bit for a second. Email can get technical and can seem like it’s all about metrics, engagement, segmentation, dynamic content, setting up rules, looking at data, vlookups,  exporting reports….. and all that isn’t much ‘fun’ (Unless you are email geeks like us at Jericho) and like housework it’s not the most glamorous part, however, these are all important facets of email marketing and they must be done. Then, when all that foundation work is done, bring the personal side back in. Be human, be personable. Mix up the flavour of your emails and inject some humour into them. The age of using an overly formal corporate voice has gone and we are now all speaking to people in a more natural way.

I love the emails that arrive when I have told them to, I love the emails that open with a funny pre-header or intro, and who use a funny, friendly tone of language. I love those emails that include a pop culture reference, or a joke, or a nice story. Mainly I love those emails that give me my favourite cookies – the products I like and that I’ve told them I like. I love the emails that help me clean and give me advise while they are visiting – that could be anything from whitepapers, to industry advise, discounts, content no-one has seen before… I love these emails and I look forward to them arriving in my inbox. Every single day.

Real-life-humans operate your website, your social media and your email marketing so why not just act like it and embrace the personal, customer-centered focus. Now before you start dropping meme’s into your legal newsletter, we are not saying turn from corporate communication to young funky start-up just to try and be cool all of a sudden. It needs to be done in a way that is genuine and relevant to your company.  If you are a  young funky company like our example Pixel Paint, then you can take this humour and friendliness a lot further than some other companies potentially could.

The moral of this story is if you have made it as far as the inbox, you may as well be a good friend to your subscriber – add value, provide content they will appreciate, send emails your subscribers will look forward to, and they will love you.

Here is a Case Study by Marketing Sherpa that shows how http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/e-commerce-eco-friendly-email-content

 

If you are not yet running an integrated, segmented, personalized, customized, dynamic, responsive, multi-channel email marketing program… don’t fret, you are not alone! And yes you can still make email marketing work for you.

Most email marketers will always be talking about the most cutting edge developments and recommending you implement all the latest complex technical solutions and best practices. Those solutions are great for those who need and want them. However we realise that implementing these tactics and strategies are not always realistic or achievable for most people doing email marketing within their SMB, or those with just one staff member, a limited budget and 3 hours a week.

We recognise email marketing demands resources, skills or time that often just isn’t available. In the always shifting digital industry and the constant changes and push to get ahead, we sometimes forget to make sure we’ve got the basics right.

So instead of thinking about how to implement the most advanced, complex campaign ever because we told you to, we recommend you walk before you run – start by getting the basics right, and concentrate on what you actually need to do and what your customers want from you.

The basics for you could be as simple as:
Optimising your subject line
Changing your from name to increase opens
Making sure you include pre-header text and your company information in the footer
Implementing a testing process for your email before you deploy it to make sure it’s 100%
Regularly carrying out data hygiene on your list to ensure your database is as clean as it can be
Update your email content so it is shorter, simpler, and more visual. (If that’s what your audience wants)

You don’t need to be the flashiest or most hi-tech email on the block – leave that to the big companies with the staff, the budget and the time. Concentrate on winning over your audience by sending a quality, timely, relevant and targeted email that that your subscribers look forward to opening.

Once you have mastered all the basics and you are seeing consistent improvements in things like open rates, clickthroughs, and engagement for example, then come talk to us about implementing that integrated, segmented, personalized, customized, dynamic, responsive, multi-channel email marketing program you’ve been dreaming about!

Because it’s amazing what you can achieve with a team of email marketing experts at your side.

You’ve spent all that time planning customer segments and creating targeted content for them – so it makes sense to test, to ensure you’re hitting the mark. And the best way to do that is with an A/B test. An A/B split test basically compares two versions of one email campaign where some elements can be different so you can test which is the most effective, and find out what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Select some key elements and segment groups and A/B testing will give you immediate and clear feedback on how well you’re matching content to subscriber segments. Some of the most crucial attributes you can test are:

- Subject lines: Test everything from your choice of words, to the tone of the language, use humour or be serious, test symbols vs. no symbols, etc.

- From name: A company name may work better than an individual’s name, or vice versa.

- Feature article:

- Offer or Promotion: Test whether having an offer in your email boosts open rates or clickthroughs, and see if your audience respond to discounts or promotions - it may not suit everyone. Keep in mind the experts recommend that you use an incentive only after the 3rd re-engagement or cart abandonment email, so don’t offer things too easily – however when used appropriately they can be effective.

- Send time: Yes there are the well known and much favoured ‘best days to send’ and ‘best times to send’ however it may not necessarily be relevant for your campaign or your audience, so test both these factors.

- Calls to action: The size, colour, placement, and design of the call to action can all have an impact on the effectiveness of your CTA. Too small and people won’t see it…. to bright and colourful and it may look like spam to your readers. The wrong words and it may not appeal to your subscribers. This is an element that can be done in so many ways it pays to test all possible variations.

- Landing pages: Landing pages are perfect for hosting additional content, which means your email can stay nice and brief. Test whether linking to landing pages that hold extra content works for your campaign.

- Email length: Some companies opt for short emails, some longer. Again it depends on your communication, the audience, etc. as to what is most appropriate.
With A/B testing you can test two different subject lines (Or test using any of the other elements mentioned above) and then send that to two test groups and then deploy the campaign with the most successful subject line (or whichever element you used that performed better and this will help maximise your open rates and clickthroughs and you also learn what works with your subscribers for future campaigns.

The A/B testing tool in SmartMail Pro is designed to be managed entirely independently by you. Read more on this here.