40 posts categorized "Case Studies"

Join us for some insightful and inspirational training

We have some great offline and online courses lined up for you in the coming months - so why not check them out and see if one (or more!) is suitable for you?

The Art of Persuasion: Leveraging Psychology within your Email Programme - April 30th 2014, London

Email Marketing Masterclass - London; May 22nd 2014Brussels; 2nd June 2014

Getting Started with Email Marketing - Online course, starting 27th May 2014


Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

5 tips to getting the most from mobile search

We're excited to be hosting the International Digital Marketing Summit @YourDesk (#IDMS) next tuesday 8th October, and as an appetiser to this event, Rob Thurner of Burner Mobile has kindly shared with us below some of this thoughts on mobile search. To register for this and our other sessions on the day please go to http://events.plantoengage.com/digital-summit.html


“Truly great search is all about turning intentions into actions, lightning fast. In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy”, says Google in its AdWords blog.

That’s not enough today’s mobile users.  50 per cent of mobile interactions start with a search, and users want more from that search.  “When searching for great local restaurants, they want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping”, the blog continues.   

Google, a self-proclaimed ‘mobile first’ company, has invested heavily in technology, slick marketing and an extensive suite of search tools to drive consumer demand and assist marketers in taking advantage of the opportunity to delivered personalised, time and location sensitive results.   Google estimates that mobile search is growing 8 times faster than PC search, and has grown 500% in the past 2 years.   Mobile search growth is projected to out-strip mobile display advertising  for the foreseeable future. 


It would not be reasonable to attribute 100% of the Mobile search business to Google, since Bing and Yahoo! deliver competing mobile search platforms.   But let’s not underestimate the role Google has played in defining the mobile search market, and its impact in realising one of mobile marketing’s greatest consumer and business achievements through its proprietary products and service, notably:

  • Android, its open-source Android operating system, which now attracts over 1 million new customers daily, and is the clear market leader
  • Search tools:  including the Google mobile browsing widget which combines text, voice and visual search functionality (particularly relevant for location-based searches)
  • Insights and intelligence: watch out for The Mobile playbook, Our Mobile Planet, the “Small screen, big opportunity” ads blog.

5 tips to getting the most from mobile search

      1: Start by reviewing search behaviour

 As with so many other aspects of marketing our advice is to start by reviewing people’s search activity and the volume of demand.   Google’s free Keyword Tool lets you assess the number of searches by entering a phrase and then choose ‘mobile’ against ‘desktop’ volumes in the box “Show ideas and statistics for”. Don’t forget to set a Match Type, where you can limit searches to those including the word in a Phrase or an Exact Match.

It’s worth researching how behaviour varies through the day. There are variations by daypart which will impact how and where you should allocate your mobile search budget

The IAB’s study into connected device usage highlights that all three screens (desktop, tablet and mobile) complement each other.  The three screens allow for constant connectivity in and out of home, in the evenings and weekends.   Mobile can be used most effectively in driving enquiries, via search working alongside banner ads or in-app push notifications, to deliver product information. 

2: Making sure your mobile site is optimised for SEO

As with desktop search, the majority of searchers still click on the natural or organic listing, so it’s important to maximize your visibility here.

Gaining good visibility in the natural listings on mobile relies on solid SEO principles that you will be familiar with, which rely on a similar algorithm to desktop search, but there are some key features to gain visibility.

Keyword targeting

To adapt for mobile users’ task-oriented behaviour, brands should identify and prioritise the search terms used most commonly on mobile, including ‘deals, offers, sales’ with a local qualifier appearing frequently.


Consider how search engine crawlers function, and optimise your visibility. If you have a mobile-specific site with dedicated content then you should create mobile site specific site maps. But if you’re using a design technique like progressive enhancement aka responsive web design with common content for all screen resolutions then this isn’t necessary. 

Optimise UX

Mobile users want ease, speed, and a frictionless user experience.  Always try to reduce load times by optimizing content, images and code. Google recommends page load times less than 5 seconds and can penalize slower sites.    You can gain an idea of how Google evaluates your site using the “Test Your Site” on Google Get Mo: http://www.howtogomo.com .   

3: In-home: cater for high-spending tablet users

The IAB’s research highlights that most people with Tablets are dual screening, with 51% of all Tablet usage occurring in front of the TV.  Tablet owners are 50% more likely to use their tablet to dual screen than their mobile (35%) or their PC (33%).

Touchscreens have changed the way consumers seek product information. Tablet users claim to spend over 4 hours shopping on their devices each week, with 43% saying they prefer search on tablet compared with PC or mobile.  This can be explained by the superior browsing experience, the touchscreen interface, the location and mindset of tablet usage, where browsing is a more relaxed, less time pressured “lean-back” experience than PC browsing allows.   

Critically, tablet browsers also tend to spend more.  Based on its analysis of 16.3 billion visits to websites of more than 150 retailers, Adobe Digital Marketing Insights revealed that tablet visitors spend over 50% more per purchase than smartphone visitors, and over 20% more than ‘traditional’ visitors using desktop PCs.


Marketers can use the search targeting capabilities of AdWords to reach tablet users during the evening, and drive them to tablet-oriented landing pages to maximize engagement and conversion:

  • Point ads and ad extensions (on Search) to tablet focused landing pages
  • Designate separate budgets for tablet campaigns. In search campaigns: bid for 1st-3rd position above the fold
  • State a clear value proposition  for tablet customers in your ad creative, such as “view our selection of iPad cases today!”
  • Day-part campaigns to match when consumers are using tablets (evenings, weekends).
  • Review  Google Analytics  for tablet traffic patterns, and allocate bids and budgets based on peak times.
  • Leverage large, touch friendly screens! Utilize new tablet rich media ad units in your campaigns. 
4:  On-the-move: delivers geo-location based results

Geo-targeting is one of the greatest differences between desktop and mobile search and one of the greatest opportunities.  85 per cent of mobile search has a local intent, says Google, and 81% of searchers act upon the patient based information they find.  This  explains why the retail, travel and entertainment top the list for most popular search queries.

Your search returns should match shoppers’ demands for quick, easy, simple

responses to task-oriented searches.  Typically they enter no more than two to three words per query, and want to find directions to your address (with zip code), a link to a your (mobile-optimised) site, and button to call your number (with  correct dialing code).  

5: PPC on mobile: bid aggressively

Space constraints on a mobile screen mean paid ads are more prominent relative to natural search returns, with two paid ads appearing on the top and three on the bottom.

Google Adwords enables specific targeting of mobile searchers which is not possible in natural search, so even if you don’t advertise in Adwords for desktop searches you should consider how you can target mobile searchers.   More limited inventory and specific targeting options may make it worthwhile to bid higher on mobile, although many compilations show that mobile CPC are currently lower than desktop CPC.

Be prepared to bid 2x higher to get on the first page of search results.  You will be competing to have your ad served on 5 ad spots vs 10 for desktop, and add a click-to-call feature when possible.

Select mobile ad formats to meet user demand

Google Adwords isn’t just about text ads and blue links, you can choose a number of ad extensions to provide the most useful search returns.   These include 

  • Click to Call  - Extend my ads with a phone number

Click to Call is one of the most effective ways to connect to your consumers. We have seen URLs CTR increase by 30% by using the CTC feature.   Google AdWord’s ‘Call Extensions’ and Bing adCentre’s Click-to-Call drive call traffic directly for search results.  In addition to click-to-call functionality, retailers can also give mobile users the option to click through to the website.

  • Location - Extend my ads with location information

Location presents a significant opportunity for retailers aiming to drive footfall who should use location extensions to promote local details within Google Places and adCenter, which   should result in a reallocation of retailers’ mobile search budgets in today’s cut-throat business climate. 

  • Sitelinks  - Extend my ads with links to sections on my site

Site links are an effective way for brands to provide mobile users with additional options or offers to direct their click into site.  This option would take more real estate on the site results page, thereby increasing the chance of click through.  

  • Mobile App  -  Extend my ads with a link to a mobile/tablet app

 For retailers with apps to promote, Google’s click-to-download feature allows you to download links to iTunes or Google Play.    Handset detection software plays a critical role here, filtering iOS / Android traffic to the right appstore automatically.  Users simply click the link for the correct app, which elegantly sidesteps the major challenge of saving a timely trawl through the 500,000 apps in each appstore

Case study

After realizing that mobile traffic was outperforming desktop traffic in CTR and CPCs, Roy’s Restaurants created a separate mobile-only campaign to maximize number of calls and clicks.

The search solution was based on hyperlocal location extensions to better target on-the-go customers searching nearby one of their local restaurants

“Mobile searchers looking for dining options could effortlessly see how close they were to a nearby Roy's Restaurant and the click to call function allowed for instant reservations. Our hyperlocal mobile-only campaign drove a 40% increase in calls with a CPC 67% less than desktop ads. The numbers are impossible to ignore. We have to invest in hyperlocal mobile advertising as part of our long-term growth strategy”. 

Jason Maloney, Vice President of Marketing for Roy’s.


  • Achieved 800% ROI on mobile-only campaigns
  • Drove 40% more calls
  • Hyperlocal mobile ads had a 539% higher CTR and 67% cheaper CPC compared to previous desktop campaigns

 Author: Rob Thurner, Burner Mobile 




Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Interesting Tidbits from eTail East

Chad White shares some takeaways from a conference he recently attended. These are my favorites:

>>Timelife.com has improved email capture over the phone by moving email collection up in the script, changing the wording of the request, and changing the response if customers ask why they want their email address, saying it’s to send them order and shipping confirmation emails and to send them free shipping and other offers.

>>BabyAge built an abandoned cart triggered email in two hours. To avoid seeming like Big Brother, the email doesn’t say what was in your cart. It uses the subject line “Did You Forget Something?” This email offers the shopper a free shipping deal that’s not tied to what was in the cart, so shoppers often use it to buy something else. Space said that this triggered email outperforms their regular promotional emails by 10-to-1.

>>Redcats USA, which operates Chadwick’s and other apparel retailers, has found that triggered emails work better than regular promotional emails, citing abandoned cart emails among those. They implemented abandoned cart emails a year ago and they don’t include an offer in those emails to incent shoppers; they just remind the shopper about the item in their cart to avoid training shoppers to abandon carts in order to receive a discount. Their shopping carts are persistent for 30 days.

>>Circuit City uses the most popular search terms from their website to determine the content of their emails.

>>When asked how retailers should process and react to negative feedback on blogs and social networks, Jack Jia, the CEO of Baynote, replied: How do you know that what people say on blogs and social networks is statistically relevant?

Read more here.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Reminder: Background Images Don't Render in Outlook 2007!

I received Casio's newsletter today and I opened it because the subject line referred to the new Exilim EX-S10 which I bought on the airport last week. (It's all about relevance, right?)

This is what I saw in my Outlook 2007 inbox:


I immediately noticed that something wasn't rendering properly. This is what I was meant to see:


What is the problem here? Simple: the camera picture was included as a background image and background images don't render in Outlook 2007.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Interview: How NorthStar Doubled the Number of Client Engagements in just One Year through email marketing

NS_logo_small Yesterday I had the pleasure and the privilege to interview Vicki Morris, who is VP of Marketing at NorthStar (the leading provider of wealth management software to financial services institutions).

In the interview, I asked Vicki to tell us a bit more about NorthStar so that I could get a better feel of their business and target audience. She said that in their industry it's all about who you know, so it's very relationship-based. Because of this and because they are on a tight marketing budget, Vicki was tasked with finding both an innovative and cost-effective way to tell their market that a new class of software was available and of course to generate leads and sales.

To achieve her goals, Vicki and her team experimented with 3 different types of strategies. She will share the results and outcome of these three strategies in her session "B-to-B Segmentation Strategies and Procedures" at MarketingSherpa's Email Summit next week but she already shared a lot of the information and best practices with me yesterday.

So, if you want to find out how she managed to double the number of client engagements and revenue of her company in just 1 year, you should definitely listen to my interview with her (mp3, 7MB, 29 min).

You can find a sample of their newsletter here and here is an example of the email postcards they use:

NorthStar email postcard

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

How Bronto Builds Relationships with its Customers

Bronto Bronto's DJ Waldow forwarded me a copy of their latest customer newsletter in which they featured this blog as one of their resources. Thanks guys!

Apart from them mentioning this blog ;-) I find this newsletter particularly good because it's simple, short and contains valuable information. Another thing I like about it is the fact that it appears to have been sent from the Account Manager and the content also appears to have been handpicked by him for that particular customer - which makes it an even more personal experience.

I believe DJ once told me they send this newsletter out every two weeks and I'm pretty sure they are a huge success. DJ, if you're reading this, feel free to give us some more background on this newsletter in the comments!

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

How LiveNation Fixed its Deliverability Problems

According to a new case posted on the MarketingSherpa website, LiveNation, an online tickets marketer, improved their deliverability rate 20.4% and increased email-driven conversions 143% in just two months. Read the case here.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • they applied much stricter rules for bounces
  • they eliminated spam-triggering words from their copy
  • they re-built their reputation by mailing only to the most recent/active subscribers and slowly expanding to older addresses
  • they signed up to the feedback loops or the whitelisting process of their top 10 ISPs

Read the full case here.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

CDBaby's Shipping Confirmation Email Rocks!

Found this one on the MarketingProfs blog:

Jim Sterne ordered some music from CBBaby and received this confirmation email subsequently:

"Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

"A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

"Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

"We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Sunday, November 18th.

"I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.

"Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year.' We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!


"Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little store with the best new independent music
http://cdbaby.com [email protected] (503)595-3000"

It sure sounds like the shipment of his order is handled with lots of love :-)

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

How Blair Corp Handled Its Change of Email Address

When Blair Corp. changed the e-mail address it was sending from this fall it sent three notices to customers about the impending change, asking them to add the new e-mail address to their address books “to keep receiving our e-mail specials.” And when the address did change Blair again highlighted the switch at the top of the e-mail message and reminded customers to update their address books.

Having Blair in customer’s address books is the best guarantee the retailer’s e-mails will be delivered without scrutiny from an Internet service provider’s spam filter, says Darren Schott, senior director e-commerce. He says the first e-mail blast with the new address went out last month and that he does not yet have a complete report on delivery rates and customer responses.

Blair, which is No. 118 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, changed its e-mail address because its old address, [email protected], had been provided by a previous e-mail service provider. When it switched providers to Yesmail the company needed a new address and chose one, [email protected], that is a sub-domain of Blair.com. That way it will be able to continue to use the same e-mail address if it changes e-mail service providers in the future, Schott says.

This kind of advance warning of a changing e-mail address is a new and welcome development, says Chad White, director of retail insights and editor-at-large for the Email Experience Council, a unit of the Direct Marketing Association. “That’s something a year ago we didn’t see at all,” says White, who closely follows the e-mail practices of large online retailers. He notes that Williams-Sonoma, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also recently sent out e-mails to its customers with a note about a new e-mail address and a request that it be added to the customer’s contact list.

“Whitelisting is extremely powerful because it means those permissioned e-mails are going to automatically go to your inbox and have images turned on in most cases,” White says. Many ISPs and e-mail software clients automatically turn off images unless the sender is in the recipient’s address book.

This kind of communication is easy and essentially free, White says. “You just have to communicate with your subscribers,” he says. “It doesn’t involve going to the ISPs or anything complicated.”

Source: Internet Retailer

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

An Interesting Multi-Channel Approach

It's part of human nature that makes us helpers.  My kids are always asking if they can help cook dinner, wash the car, and put away groceries.  Why?  Because it makes them feel good to help.

Chadwicks_2 It's no wonder when I saw the subject line in a message from Chadwick's today I immediately opened the message.  "Please help our design team & get $20 off". 

They even said "Please".

By voting on my favorite cover for the upcoming fall catalog I can get $20 off my order of $80 or more. 

I clicked on my favorite and received the code.  The message on the landing page said "Look for your new Fall catalog in the mail"

Chadwicks_thank_you_2 This is a great multi-channel approach that really engages subscribers.  Now I have an opportunity to save if I order between now and August 27th and I will be paying close attention to my traditional mail over the next several weeks to see if the cover I selected was the winner. 

And, I'll probably make another purchase then too.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Asking for Preferences = Personalized Messaging

PetSmart sends a message each month promoting ways to save money with their PetPerks Program.

I received their latest message last night.

And after reading about the personalized email marketing messages from Columbia Sportswear  I realized that PetSmart wasn’t doing the best job of speaking to their subscribers.

Petsmart The message that landed in my inbox had "Specials for Dogs", "Specials for Cats", "Specials for Fish" and  a "Grooming Special".  Here's the problem with that.  I have two short-haired dogs.  No cats or fish and those short-haired dogs don't go to the groomer.

Three quarters of the advertised specials don't apply to me. 

Had PetSmart asked for my preferences they would know that I'm not interested in  cats, fish, grooming, hamsters, snakes or  anything other than dog products. And with only a way to unsubscribe, rather than update my preferences, PetSmart may never know that while I'm interested in receiving messages from them, I don't really care about their "Specials for Cats".

By using subscriber preferences combined with a dynamic content strategy, PetSmart could send highly targeted  messages that would speak to each individual subscriber.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Ask and You Shall Receive

I was thinking about the transactional type email messages that are sent through LinkedIn when a connection is asking a question, requesting an introduction or requesting an endorsement.

These requests are coming from your connections, and therefore you trust them.  You read the message and then act on it, by either answering the question, coordinating the introduction or endorsing your connections work.

A friend of mine is moving on to a new job. Last week he verbally asked me to endorse his work at his current company.  I told him I would.  And seriously, I was meaning to do it.  However, I got distracted and there always seemed to be a million things for me to do.  It’s not that I wasn't going to endorse him, I just hadn't done it yet. 

This morning, I received a transactional type message sent through LinkedIn by my friend, asking for an endorsement.  I immediately clicked the link and wrote an endorsement for him.

What does this have to do with email marketing?

I think the same principles apply.  If you want your subscribers to do something, simply ask them to do it.  In addition, make it easy for them to accomplish.  A link that takes them where you need them to be with minimal effort on their part will make it easier for you to get the results you desire.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Best of Blue :: Compelling Enough to Click

Best_of_blueThe latest email from Kmart has an interesting feature that encourages clicks from curious subscribers like me. 

Although the main body of the message, which was focused on dorm needs (and camping), may lose some subscribers before they scroll to the bottom - I almost didn’t make it down that far.  With the elementary school set in my house, it’ll be long enough before we’re searching for dorm essentials.

The bottom of the message features the Best of Blue, which Chad White wrote about earlier this month.  “Shedding light on the great products Kmart has to offer.”  The links on the first question mark brought me to a page of jeans and the second link brought me to  a page bras. 

While I’m not in love with the placement of this feature in the message, it was interesting enough for me to click.  What if it was something I didn’t know I had to have?  Kmart has a great opportunity to get those clicks and keep subscribers engaged by providing relevant clicks.  It will be interesting to see how these links will play out over time.

I am curious to know what other links were possibilities.  Chad,  and others, care to weigh in?

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Overwhelming Subscribers with Too Much Copy

I love the Disney brand from a many different angles.  I live near Orlando, and several times a month, my family and I enjoy spending an afternoon at Walt Disney World.  I'm also a big fan of the Disney Channel, because it's decent entertainment for my kids.  I could go on and on...

Quite honestly, they are a marketing juggernaut.  From a masterful plan surrounding Hannah Montana to the superb job they have done with  vacation planning to the most magical place on earth.

With all of the great work they have executed,  they still have a lot to learn when it comes to some of their email marketing campaigns. 

Disney_insider_2 I receive the Disney Insider each week and there are some elements I really like about the message.  The Fan Spotlight showcases user submitted stories about their favorite Disney moment. There is also a section titled "Ask Dave"  in which subscribers submit questions regarding all things Disney and they are answered by Dave. 

I like subscriber-submitted content in emails when it is appropriate.  In this case' I think it works really well.  However, it can get lost in the shuffle of so many other pieces of content in the email message. 

The weekly "Main Attraction"  is a necessary element.  This takes up the bulk of the space, as it should, and is the main focus of the subject line.  However it could almost be lost amidst all the other content surrounding it, including "Special Insider Offer", "In Next Week’s Issue",  "History and Trivia" and the countless links below.

Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with enough content for a weekly newsletter.  I think in this instance, Disney has the opposite problem. There are clear definitions for where each area starts and stops, which helps a great deal,  but the hefty volume of content could be too much for subscribers to read.  I almost find this message overwhelming.

I appreciate that Disney has links to finish reading the longer articles.  This actually serves a dual-purpose.  The email is kept shorter (yet still a bit unmanageable in my opinion).  And Disney can see what their subscribers’ are most interested in by tracking click-throughs.

With a weekly deployment, Disney might be better off trimming down the overall content and perhaps eliminating a few content blocks  to encourage subscribers to return each week to read the message. 

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Does Your Subject Match Your Message?

Earlier this month, our friend Mark Brownlow at No Man is an Iland referenced Kelly Mooney’s blog post  about the Gap maybe being too clever with a subject line about Men’s Wear referring to Women’s Fashions.  While not exactly along the same lines, the message I received from Banana Republic, one of the Gap family brands, made me think of the message that particular message.

Banana_republic_2The subject line of today’s message read, "Men's Fall 2007 has arrived..."

But when I opened the message there was nothing at all related to the new men's clothing line.

I actually had to do a double take.  I was captivated by the message that was about the Fall Collection and the banner at the bottom caught my eye.  Letting me know that even more stores are carrying their petite line.  I sat wondering if everyone received the same banner or if I had made that a preference choice.  That train of thought brought me back to the subject line. It didn't match, although I remember specifying Men's fashion as a preference when I registered.  The subject line referenced men's clothing.

Was this is mistake by Banana Republic?  Did they select the incorrect subject line?  I have to think yes.  The subject line just doesn't match the imagery of the message.  With proper testing and greater care, these types of situations can reduce confusion subscribers may feel. 

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Samples of How to Use Email to Reach, Delight and Build Relationships with Your Customers

Melinda Krueger shares some great examples of how some email marketers use email to reach, delight and build relationships with your customers:

Michelle Novak, Saga Communications: "we look for ways to [provide lagniappe] in every email we send to our radio station listeners. When we gather our listeners’ emails to join our clubs, we always get their birth date. Several stations have worked with clients to provide a “birthday present” for the listeners. WSNY, in Columbus,Ohio, worked with the local ice cream parlor. On a member’s birthday, they receive a Happy Birthday email from the radio station which includes a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Maggie Moos. At Star 102.5, in Des Moines, IA, the station sends a birthday greeting with a free lunch at a local restaurant. Clients indicate the redemption rates have not been significant, but it’s very customized and personal and a warm-fuzzy for both the radio station and the client sponsor. We get many “thank you” emails from the listeners who are flattered we remembered their birthday."

Valerie Warner, Brushfire, Inc.: "for our humble bathroom cleaning product, we did a viral email campaign featuring a standup routine on the pain of cleaning, by a comedian featured on “Last Comic Standing.” It had a link to the product Web site to view outtakes and get a discount coupon. It worked!"

Carrie Andersen, Schneiderman’s Furniture: "for our Web site Grand Opening, we let our email list know that we’d be sending emails every Wednesday until Labor Day with special offers, discounts and prizes. Our first email was to promote an auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. The highest bidder would receive 10K in furniture as well as design consultations from some HGTV celebrities. This was in conjunction with a local radio station, and we had a positive response. Our second email was a bit of a nail-biter, as this was the first test of how well our “weekly” emails would go. We were happy to see that our unsubscribes were not any higher than average, though our open and click rates were slightly lower. With this email, we gave away $100 gift cards by hiding them under the cushions at our stores. We had a fairly tepid response and were a bit discouraged. However, our third email was a scavenger hunt on our website asking customers to decipher the clues then go to our site and find the answers and win a free item of furniture. Well, the response was overwhelming — so much so that all prizes were won within the first two hours."

Source: Email Insider

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Questioning Your Subject Line?

I will admit, sometimes it can be hard to come up with a compelling subject line.  And knowing that the subject line plays a large part in determining if your message will get opened or not,  you want to be sure you have a good one.

One way to help get your message opened is to ask a  question.  A word of caution before we go any further.  If you ask a question in every single subject line, the novelty and effectiveness will wear off and then you're  back  where you started from.  But when it is an occasional occurrence, it is a good tactic to help increase opens.

I recently signed up for messages from Pillsbury.  I received my second message today and the subject line said "Have you explored Pillsbury online?"

I thought to myself, "Why, no I haven’t."

Pils1_2 With several emails waiting in my inbox, this message was opened first.  This was a welcome message, which, on a side note was confusing, because the message I received yesterday appeared to be a regular message.  There might be some scheduling issues there.  If you are going to put forth the effort to send a welcome message,  that message should go out before any other message. 

The message I received today did a wonderful job of serving it's purpose.  I opened the message  and learned about the things I could find on Pillsbury.com including recipes, coupons, discount subscriptions and user generated reviews.

My favorite part of the message was the bottom right corner.  "Too busy to browse?"  followed by an invitation to sign up for additional email marketing campaigns from Pillsbury.

One question, the question in the subject line of this message, prompted me to open the message.  Bravo Pillsbury!

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

And in Contrast...

Yesterday, I wrote about a message footer that could use some help and had a faint odor of spamminess.  Today, I have a better example of a footer from one of my favorite email marketing campaigns, Road Runner Sports.

Rr_sports_footer_2 The 60 day guarantee banner, with it's bold color signals a break in the reader's mind. Just beneath the banner Road Runner Sports includes a forward to a friend link, which it should, but I am always amazed by the number of messages from retailers that don't include it.

And while the message footer playfully calls the footer fine print, it is all very clear in a nice large font.  There is a reminder of the benefit of being a VIP and then a phone number if subscribers need or want the human touch.

The next paragraph requests that subscribers add the from address to their address book to ensure delivery.  They actually take it a step further and include a link to directions for nine separate email clients.  This page is from their ESP, e-Dialog.  I really like the link to a directions page.  As email marketers we shouldn’t assume that all of our subscribers are tech-savvy.  We have gotten them as far as opening  our messages, let’s lend them a hand where we can.

After the obligatory address are links to unsubscribe, customer service, the privacy policy, and store locations.  The links are blue, except the unsubscribe link, which is orange.  There may be some that think this calls attention to the link and may result in unnecessary opt-outs, but I beg to differ.

When subscribers are ready to opt-out, let them go gracefully.  I don't think the orange link is pushing people out the door.  If anything, it calls attention to the fact that it is different.  Although Road Runner Sports uses orange as one of their main colors, I think it serves a dual purpose  as a  sign of caution, as if, be careful if you click here.

Overall, a great footer that other could emulate. 

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Something's A Foot(er)

I have had my Yahoo! Email account for at least eight years.  The internet was still relatively new for regular folks and through a painfully slow dial-up connection, I spent a fair amount of time learning about new technology, signing up for sweepstakes and signing up for emails. 

This email account is no longer my primary address, but I keep it active, because it’s hard for me to let it go.  I also like to go in and see what kinds of messages land in the inbox.

This message I received the other day was a message that I assume I got as a part of some co-registration from some point in the late 90's. Gevalia_1 I rarely open these messages, maybe once a year or less, which means there probably  isn’t a lot of thought put into list hygiene or dropping dead weight by saying goodbye to subscribers aren't opening their messages.

The footer in this message definitely leaves something to be desired.  The entire footer is clickable and leads to the opt out page.  I guess that makes it easy... Talk about following the letter of the law.  Instead of telling me where I signed up the footer reads:

"You have received this advertisement because you have registered with (Publisher List Name Entered Here)."

The footer also contained a physical address, again, following the law, but the  font selected looked  like hieroglyphics.   

It appears that the top part of the footer is to unsubscribe from coffee messages and the hieroglyphics part of the footer is to unsubscribe from wherever it is I subscribed. 

The footer in this message should serve as a reminder to all email marketers to QA your message.  Including the footer. There is really no excuse  for messages  to be sent live with a fill-in-the-blank  that has not been filled in properly.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of the text in the footer being clickable.  It makes me feel like there is something not quite right.  Especially when there is a hyperlink in the footer.  That smells sort of  spammy.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!