Topic: Hall of Shame/Fame

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.

 

Automated email which is relevant to the recipient, and timed just right to maximise revenue is the holy grail for the email marketer.

But it’s not easy to get right. Everyone does it differently, yet the drive to optimise each customer experience must keep improving.

There are parts of this process, such as the unsubscribe process, which can be the roadblock in an otherwise pleasant journey.

Clearly, the Brads have struck this – prompting 30 frames of genius.

Click through and have a giggle at this cartoon which puts it way better than we could ever write it.

Your thoughts on this are welcome.

Back in 2008 we saidWelcome emails have a huge advantage in that they are the most opened of all emails you’ll ever send

Back n 2010, we saidThe email you send to welcome a new subscriber or customer is always the most read email you will ever send

Back in 2011, we saidThe welcome email is the most important email you send because for many of your subscribers, it’s their first email experience with your brand, and perhaps their first interaction with your company

In 2012, we saidEmail provides the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel, and that welcome emails provide the highest ROI of all

Whether it’s the first time someone registers for your e-newsletter, the first time they walk into your showroom, or their first on-line purchase, first impressions can make a huge difference to whether the prospect is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of your on-going eDM program – and with lifetime value measurements, your on-going revenue!

We have been writing about welcome emails for years. It’s always good to recap so we thought we would bring all our welcome posts together and all the best and worst welcome email examples we have collected and give you a grand line up of welcome emails. We have gathered more examples of welcome emails for you to look at, comment on, learn from and copy for your own welcome email program. We have underlined key areas of each Welcome email, and each thumbnail links to a larger version of the email image. Also each company name below links to their website.

Example 1: We Heart It is a new site like Pinterest, that allows you to find and collate images and share them. I just signed up the other day and they sent me this nice welcome email. It is a clean, simple email that covers what it needs to, introduces you to the site and provides some key links for the subscriber, including links to download their app.

Example 2: Polyvore is a fashion site where you can create outfits, collate items that you like, mix and match products and share it with others while offering brands insight into their customers. Their welcome email, like WeHeartIt, is a clean, simple email that covers what it needs to, introduces you to the site and provides some key links for the subscriber, including links to download their app.

Example 3: KNOW from Positively Wellington Tourism is a top quality e-newsletter that features all the latest events, places, people and news that is going on in Wellington. The KNOW welcome email itself is simple yet smart. It  clearly and concisely sets the expectations to the subscriber the frequency of communication, the type of content, reminds you of the email address you registered with, it links to key content on their site, they invite you to connect with them on all their social networks, it even allows you to invite friends. They even link back to the subscribe page in case you forward this email – allowing a clear path to subscribe if the friend you forwarded it to wants to sign up too. We can’t find a thing wrong with this email, can you? (Disclosure: KNOW is a client of our agency, Jericho)

Example 4: Anthropologie is an office favourite here at Jericho. We love the gentle design and the clever copy in the Anthropologie emails. The Welcome describes the frequency and content of the emails, and they invite you to help the emails arrive by adding them to your address book.

Example 5: Alice is the shopping site where you can buy all your non-perishables, leaving you free to get your fresh supplies from your local markets. The Alice Welcome email includes clear calls to action to get started – the best place to do this is in the welcome email. Could improve: They mention emails they will send that are related to your activity, but no mention of what else they will send or how frequently.

Example 6: Old Navy  If a Welcome offer for your first purchase is what you are after, Old Navy is here to help with 20% off your first purchase. In their welcome email they link to their family of brands, to their Social Media profiles, and offer T&C’s for the promo. Could improve: There is no description of email frequency or content, and there is no way to share the email to your social networks which means missing out on the newly engaged readers propensity to share right when they are most excited to meet you.

Example 7: Rachel Zoe  earns a special mention before we even examine the Welcome email. That’s because as you’ll see if you visit the site, the home page is all about the email registration. It is unthinkable how many websites we find that force you to search to sign up for email. The best email marketers (including the GAP family of sites) use the priority real estate of their home page to sell you to the sign up. If you make money sending email then your number one goal should be to get the email address of your site visitor. Sure you want them to look around, but if you get the email address you get the chance to make your case time and time again… This Welcome email does a number of things right. It welcomes warmly. She sets expectation of frequency, and content. She covers the housekeeping with how to get the email delivered to you and tell your friends, and a nice obvious unsubscribe too.

Example 8: The Whiskey Shop email is a basic looking email with a value-add which incentivises the registration, The Whisky Shop from Auckland nails a great Welcome on a low budget.


Example 9: Underground Skate has a basic email that covers what it needs to and major subscriber engagement – works so well because of the style, and copy. In fact their copy is so good we have previously done a whole blog post on it which you can read here.

 

Example 10: Outstanding in the wrong way this welcome email misses the mark in almost every way. Dull, unengaging and confusing. It was also sent in the middle of the night long after I had subscribed. This is a major Government department and although we expect them to be a bit behind there is simply no excuse for emails like this leaving the building. The newsletter it prefaces is a useful and important communication, however it is let down by this welcome email. Check out the reply email address. Not only am I unlikely to retain this email for future reference, as am I commanded to do, I am actually a little bit frightened of it.

We would like this to continue to grow into the best resource for welcome email examples on the blogosphere. You can help! Comment on these ones, and send examples of emails you have received, good or bad, email us!


You have just spent most of the day working on your email, you send it out, then… oops. The link to that file isn’t working. Or the merge fields aren’t pulling through. Or the subject line is wrong.

As much as you try and get your email perfect before you send it, mistakes happen. When it does most marketers panic and just re-send the email to the entire database. So what is the right thing to do? Be prepared with these apology email tips.

Minimise the Impact

Instead of firing the email out to everyone again, it is much better to stop the deployment as soon as possible, then try and isolate those who have been impacted. The ideal situation is that you catch the email when it is still on its way out, so you can minimise the impact by narrowing down your apology email audience to only those who were affected or received the error. If this is possible for you, then target just those subscribers who did receive the email in error and email them.

Target those affected
However if you sent your email some time ago and everyone has received the email, then your best strategy is email everyone with an amended email. But be aware, sometimes sending an apology to the entire list including those who haven’t seen or opened your original email, can confuse and frustrate your subscribers. However on the other hand I have seen apology emails do well even when sent to subscribers who did not have an opportunity to see the original email. So just weigh up the risks either way before apologizing to your entire audience.

Remember to be honest
You are a human and so are your subscribers. You could come across very official and mechanical, however it is always more relatable and realistic to just be human and admit the error. Some of the more effective apology emails we have seen include a more conversational, or even humorous, tone. Who can argue with big sad puppy eyes… and maybe putting “Oops…My Bad” for your subject line – you never know you may even increase open rates. Some apology emails I’ve received even offer a 10% discount. Basically, quickly and clearly pointing out the error to eliminate confusion is best – and where appropriate, keep the tone light to mitigate any possible frustration or confusion on the subscriber’s part.

Consider data and privacy
If in the situation you accidently emailed the wrong name, customer number or other personal details to the wrong subscriber, you will definitely want to address this and you will need to explain yourself. The last thing you want is your subscribers questioning your capability to store and use their personal information and there may be privacy concerns if other people see their information.  In this situation, explain what happened and assuage there concerns about data and privacy.

Change the email
While simply amending the subject line, the links or the data and re-sending the same email will be perfectly fine in most cases, many subscribers may miss /not see the subject line and may think you have simply sent a duplicate email, and may dismiss it or unsubscribe.  I am sure I don’t need to tell you that this could potentially lead to increased unsubscribes or more spam complaints.

So make it obvious, in both the subject line and the above the fold area, that this is a different email. Call their attention to the amendment by writing an explanation in the intro area, or maybe even change out the header image or include a discount offer at the top of your email. (Or a cute puppy) Anything that immediately identifies this second email as a different email that the subscriber knows they should also read.

No-one likes mistakes, yet they happen, so if you have the tools and you are prepared should this ever happen, it means rather than panicking, you and your team can focus on a solution.

The three pillars of commercial email law in Australia and New Zealand are the same in both countries – have consent, identify yourself, and have a functioning and actioned unsubscribe facility.

This week the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued Tiger Airways (a Singapore Airlines backed operator) with an $110,000 infringement notice — for failing to unsubscribe customers from marketing emails.  Tiger must now launch a program of audits, reviews, training and process to improve their email practices.

This follows similar action and outcome last year when Virgin Blue was fined for having an unsubscribe link that malfunctioned over a relatively short period of time.

‘This is one of a number of investigations in which the ACMA has found businesses have allowed faulty unsubscribe facilities to continue, in spite of repeated customer complaints,’ said ACMA Deputy Chairman Richard Bean.

‘This action is another reminder to businesses that they should pay attention to what their customers are saying, test their email unsubscribe facilities regularly, and not simply set and forget them. Tiger has now committed to ensuring its unsubscribe facilities are functional and effective.

‘Marketing to customers who have unsubscribed is not only against the law, it causes consumer frustration and that ultimately damages a business’s reputation,’ he added.

The ACMA highlights that marketing to recipients who do not want to receive your emails is not a successful business strategy.  If any of your email recipients are in Australia then it’s probably a great idea to sign up for the ACMA’s emarketing blog.

Action for commercial email breaches in New Zealand is detailed on the website of the Department of Internal Affairs, who manage enforcement of NZ’s UEM Act.

If you have any questions regarding the best practice management of your emarketing databases and mobile and email marketing programs, feel free to post them here and we will answer them here too – or if you prefer, email roanne@jericho.co.nz

“Our rugs will floor you”

This has got to be one of the best subject lines I have seen so far in 2012. Their play on words was so clever I opened and read the whole email even though I have no interest in rugs. If their email subject line had said ‘Rug Sale’ I would have deleted it immediately. Instead, they caught my attention instantly.

 

The next thing that impressed me about this email was their good use of the pre header text. As you can see in the screenshot, their pre header text matched their subject line, so even though they did repeat the information I knew exactly what the email was about. It’s descriptive yet simple. They also give the option to view text, or text with images which is handy. And they provide a link so people can add them to ‘safe senders’ list. This is a link that we strongly recommend people use if they don’t already.

The body of the email had fantastic graphics that were bright and visually appealing, (Part of which you can see in these screenshots) and like I said I’m not excited by rugs but this email made me want to buy one.

So they have captured my attention, got me excited by their rugs, now they have provided me with a large, colorful, simple, unmissable, call to action. Which I promptly clicked on. (You may recall the importance of a good call to action from our post last week – read it here) See this great call to action in the screenshot below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall this email has all the elements of a well-designed, well thought out, and well tested email. It has a great subject line, makes good use of the pre header text, has attention grabbing content, has a great call to action, and also includes handy links to unsubscribe and connect with them on social media sites at the bottom.

Well done.

creating email content is hardWe’ve been talking a lot about content lately (and making tools to help) so we were pleased to find this edgy and actionable resource that deals with a fundamental issue affecting businesses.  How to consistently create high quality content that engages, educates, informs and ideally, entertains?

When we ask clients ‘What’s hard?’ about digital marketing, one consistent pain point comes up:  Creating and curating relevant, sharable, high quality content.  Writing is hard.  When we talk to our peers at other agencies, we hear the same thing.

A way to address this critical issue is a fundamental rethinking, restructuring, and re balancing of company culture, resources, budgets and strategy.

This excellent recent report from Altimeter Group introduces a five-step content maturity model, complete with real-world case examples, to move organisations from zero (“standing”) to hero (“running”) with their content strategy.  It includes a useful Content Marketing Maturity self-audit.  It ends with four actionable recommendations, finishing with ‘Design Recombinant Content’…

The report urges us: “Strive to create content that can be redistributed in multiple formats across numerous platforms and channel to maximise value and minimise the resources dedicated to continually creating content from scratch.  Understand how to redistribute and reuse discrete components of longer form content”.

A new seasons product launch for example might turn into a themed landing page, a video, one or more blog entries, tweets and Facebook posts, and an email opt-in incentive in the form a Welcome email reward ‘Join our Inner Circle now and we’ll send you our exclusive How-to-Wear Guide for the 5 must-have pieces for this seasons new looks’.

I strongly recommend that you read this report and consider a content plan for your own business.  Here at Jericho we already have, and it’s a key strategy for working with our clients and in our own business.

Read the report on SlideShare and please share this post with your networks using the icons below. We’d love to see comments below on how you manage, or struggle with, the growing demands for content.

 

Today we have received a lovely email from Anytime Fitness with a great deal. However we couldn’t really identify said deal from their email…

 Some of our staff go to this gym and they are great, and their staff are lovely. However from the email we received from them today, we identified a few things they could do to improve on their email campaigns.

 

 

1) Font color. Their header font is white and their footer font is black. And the blue link in the footer is almost impossible to read. It is always important to ensure that you stay with your brand look and feel, and stick to consistent design, font colors, etc.

2) Font size. This font is OK but any larger and can have the tendency to look like spam. Be aware that the optimal font size is 10 or 12 (This is what we stick to when designing emails) and if it is any bigger it usually gets picked up by spam filters.

3) Watch your use of jargon. Note the sentence “You are able to use your access fob…” Now I have spoken to someone who attends the gym and even they don’t know what the fob is. Always watch your use of jargon.

4) Template. You may have seen some of the stunning templates we get to put together for clients at Jericho. They are structured, have a set width, includes images that catch the eye, they are structured into tables that help certain elements stand out and makes everything easy to read. More importantly, spammers don’t tend to use templates, instead choosing to use line after line of plain text. So this only serves to highlight how this email could have been improved by a template.

5) Centre Aligning. I think this came and went with comic sans.  It is very difficult for people to read so be sure to keep things left aligned.

6) Lack of prominent offer or call to action. We here at the office are struggling to identify what the offer actually is and where to find it in the email. And what do we do now? Where is our clear and simple call to action? One of the most important things to include in your email is information that answers these questions – who is this from, what is it for, what’s in it for me, and what do I do now?

7) Line height. It doesn’t help that the font is large and centre aligned, however we suggest increasing the line height to improve readability.

8) Contrast. The contrast of black on white generally is quite hard on the eyes – we suggest using a softer colored font, or a subtly colored background.

9) The main thing we noticed was what initially appeared to be Name and contact number fields that hadn’t been filled out correctly. The words in capitals do say ‘your free membership links’ so I was expecting to see links to something that gave me free memberships.  So I thought this was a matter of them not having checked the email correctly before sending. However after looking at the email 10 more times I see that it is actually where I need to input the names of 6 of my friends and then reply to the them with that information… Not many people look through emails more than once, so if they were like me they will miss this entirely. I will now reiterate the importance of having a clear call to action as mentioned in point 6.

10) I will give them this - they had a catchy subject line that was clever and worked well, and the email did pass all the tests on litmus that we ran it through. Litmus is the service that tests your email campaign against all major spam filters and will tell you if it will pass or fail the filters requirements, and gives you grades accordingly. Any number of things can influence this such as having all images or all text, or words such as ‘deal’ free’ sale’ and ‘$’.

So you can see how the little things can make such a big difference. We hope you use this as an opportunity to review your own campaigns and look out for the little things you could do to enhance your emails.

I’m working on a presentation for a Financial Institution  – we’re looking at examples of  campaigns that are doing well, examining what they are finding hard, and presenting ideas that they might take from non-FI email marketing successes.  All BAU, and collecting great examples to discuss is a part of this, so it was coincidental that I was interrupted by the arrival of an email from American Express a few minutes ago.

Last year when AMEX ran a digital promotion, we checked it out and found some things were amiss.  You can read that post here.

This year, there are some improvements (the personalisation is correct) but the key issue is still the same:  it uses the same techniques that phishing scams do. AMEX ask you to enter your credit card number into their form despite the fact that they already use several digits of it in the email as a personalisation field:


My inbox receives phishing spam a lot, and many are hard to tell.  I get messages looking like they are from my own bank, and sometimes they seem to arrive right after I’ve been online banking… spooky but unrelated.  Less experienced customers get caught every day.   To help, there are Govt organisations and sites dedicated to protecting people from scams, like antiphishing.org – who’s article Consumer Advice: How to Avoid Phishing Scams leads with the advice to never enter your account or credit card number…

I just don’t understand why AMEX are playing this again…  Do you?  Here’s the landing page:

Love to hear your comments.

UrbanDaddy do it again.  Taking the ‘daily deal’ and ‘members only’ offer style to the next level – gently gently – with the use of their consistent brand promise, and clever copy.  An exclusive color-way for this sneaker, and only those in the know can get it.

UrbanDaddy Members: $35.  Everyone else: Impossible.

Nice.  No wonder their list grows bigger every day.

Q. What are you doing to make your customers feel like it’s just you and them, and you’re always on the same team.

At Jericho we really believe that’s the case, and try to make our clients feel that way everyday.  If you are one of them, and you think we miss something, tell us here.