Sometimes when you take online things and make them a part of a story/IRL, its pretty darn funny. Enjoy.
Sometimes when you take online things and make them a part of a story/IRL, its pretty darn funny. Enjoy.
I have never been a huge fan of preference centers and while some serve a good purpose, a good many of them languish with old data that is never updated by the subscriber. I truly believe that preference centers fail not because they don’t do what they are supposed to do, but that they are not marketed regularly to the subscribers already on the list. They are often put in 4pt font at the bottom of the email next the unsubscribe button or they are touted as preference centers during the unsubscribe process (what is normally referred to as the opt-down center BKA the save-the-subscriber center).
If you have spent a fair amount of time and money in you preference center and actually use the data that comes in when people update their “stuff” then you as a marketer need to shout it from the rooftop on each and every email that this sort of thing is important to the subscriber and to you. Doing anything less and you might as well throw money down the drain.
Focus On Consistent Capture
Take at look at how Need Supply Co. accentuates their preference center in the example below. They clearly call it out at the footer and as users scan the email, the subscriber would naturally gravitate towards the preference beacon. The Need Supply Co. preference center is simply a communication center, but I am not here to judge that experience. I am simply calling out the fact that the mere capture of preferences is visually appealing and obviously important to them. They have this in each of their email and it makes for excellent brand consistency.
Preferences Are A Part Of The Lifecycle
Capturing preference data in your preference center should be a part of the customer lifecycle. Don’t settle for complacency either in the front end or the backend of the relationship. If you have been neglecting your preference center for years and are looking for ways to revive it rather than scrap it, consider a new treatment in your current template or test a once a quarter update to your dormant subscribers or previous purchasers.
If you have a preference center and its not doing what it was meant to be doing, you have a choice: ditch it or optimize it. Start with something manageable like the treatment in email and gauge its effectiveness. Make it stand out and most of all, make it memorable.
Being human in email is hard. Brands struggle to find the perfect combination of a value proposition, voice and their desired call to action in email. For years smart marketers have been trying to leverage social media and what it has taught us in email. When I speak with clients, or conferences and even webcasts I always reference the desire for companies to add a more humanized approach to email marketing because that is what social taught us. I often bring up examples of what brands do to move away from the buttons, the likes and focus on what people want…which is the ability for companies to speak with them instead of at them.
Selling In A Conversational Tone
While most subscribers still elect to receive email from brands because they want a good deal, they also crave for brands to know them and to speak with them about their products rather just force images with discounts. As humans we crave the interactions of other humans and want to know what they have to say about something that isn’t the brand talking. We trust what others have to say and we want to feel like we are being seduced by products rather than being sold.
Real Reviews Make A Difference
We have often seen brands send out emails with reviews or stars in them and wonder why everything is rated so high and why the quotes used seem a little contrived. We want to learn more than “this was fantastic” or “best XXX ever” because we know that those types of reviews are a dime a dozen. When brands take the time to source real reviews and stories around the products, it can be a winning combination.
I think we can all agree that in order for companies to get to the next level of email marketing they are going to have to put forth effort and creativity because in the long run, it does pay off. Take the email below from
@UncommonGoods . While it has the obligatory “stars”, I believe that the time and effort to solicit this feedback from their customers will pay off. The stories seem real and relatable and fit in nicely with the products being shown. The email is trying to seduce me by how most people read email today which is left to right (the triangle offense…thanks Alex) and offers a nice recovery module at the end if I am not interested in the 7 featured products.
Being human in email is not a hard concept to grasp, but it does come at a price internally at organizations who have being “doing” email marketing the same way for years and have seen good results. This approach is not for everyone and every email, but it does have some long tail rewards. If you have been human in email for awhile, drop me a line and let me know how its going. If not….try it.
We have been pretty busy at Trendline these days. In addition to being super busy with our awesome clients, we have managed to sign up for some great email programs just to see how they handle things. As I watched the welcome emails and first few interactions with these companies, there was one disturbing trend that I started to see amongst companies who leveraged an email to either confirm my subscription or re-confirm (DOI) that I had subscribed with the call to action of wanting me to click to confirm. Whether you send a confirmation email or a DOI confirmation email (prior to my welcome or series of welcomes) here are a few tips that you should consider:
For the last several years, I have talked with clients and spoke at events about the importance of the little stuff. Sometimes the clearest path to a better program lies in an email that often goes unnoticed and neglected for years. I have seen dramatic shifts in programs with sometimes the littlest of optimization around things like confirmation emails, password resets and subscriber initiated emails. If you haven’t done something like this in awhile, drop what you can and focus on the little stuff that can really matter.
SXSWi is right around the corner. It is *scary* close. As we run around frantically trying to plan meetings, add panels to our calendars, and get social strategies planned, we’re bombarded with party invites. How on Earth do we handle this problem?
You might have guessed that this post has to do with data? Party data is confusing and overwhelming, much like Big Data. The title of this post is a pun: big (adjective) data (adjective) secret (noun) and Big Data (proper noun used as an adjective) secret (noun). We all have data problems, and in the grand scheme of things, shifting through SXSW data as an individual isn’t Big like tetrabytes per minute.
However, it is a Big Data problem for brands to figure out how to incorporate data generated during SXSW into the Big picture? I don’t have the perfect answer, and the approach to handling this massive outlier-ish wave of data will differ for every company. My preferred approach for this type of data is to treat is as a repeated test; SXSW happens every year, and there’s at least five years of pretty good data. Twitter and Facebook have been adopted by SXSWi geeks for at least that long.
So here’s the cliff notes of what you might do if you are facing the problem of incorporating SXSWi data into your normal Big Data plan:
Another big question that many party-goers might have is: do I really have to RSVP? From the brand side, I would say, “Yes!” SXSWi is a big data collecting adventure. When you RSVP to a party, the brand grows their email list. Whether or not you show up, they now have another contact. I guess it is no surprise that Trendline Interactive is interested in growing email lists.
From the attendee side, we really don’t need to RSVP. I haven’t been to a party yet where anyone cared about RSVPs. The ones that do require a badge might check whether or not you have a badge, but not much beyond that. That’s the big secret. RSVPs might not necessarily be used for limiting parties, rather for collecting data.
So go and have a great time! I’ll be attending with a Chevy Volt. Let’s sync up!
Email needs to be pretty. There’s no doubt about it. Content presented in an ugly package just isn’t going to give you results you intended. It is like a beautiful plate of Nantucket bay scallops, adorned with delicate peppery microgreens, flecks of tangy lemon zets, and glistening jewels of roe – put into a Blendtec will it blend. It just isn’t as appetizing as this particular dish.
But in addition to making it pretty and graphical, you need to make is searchable. Gmail can’t read jpgs. I can’t click on a jpg on my mobile phone and call you. Sometime we just need text. We need to be able to search our emails. We need to be able to contact you with a single click. Don’t make take five steps to call you when I should only take one. Don’t make me scroll through 2,156 email just to find yours. By the time I get to yours, my impulse to buy or investigate your product has disappeared. I have a limited amount of cognitive energy. Wasting it does no good. It makes me less likely to click “Buy!”
Another case in which you might need searchable text came to completely by surprise. During my tenure as a professor, I had a visually impaired student in my statistics course. I had many things in person to convey abstract ideas and charts to her in person. I had a bag of skittles to create data distributions on a table, wikkistix so that I could create shapes for her to feel, and aluminum foils so that I could trace the shape of graphs for her to feel.
However, translating graphical images on our statistics programs into something she could read was something I was never able to do. There were currently no tools on the affordable market that could do this for her.
It really hit me by surprise when I received a phone call. The person called to asked me what was on my website. Her first comment was “your website is too graphical. I can’t understand what these buttons are.” It dawned on me that she was also visually impaired, and the program she was using to read my website was not able to decipher some icons. I’ve since changed the names of all the icon buttons on my site into the name of the link.
When evaluating your email program, these are two more items to add to your checklist? Is your email text searchable, and is it readable?
While most people in email marketing either talk about, debate or even try to educate around mobile first, responsive design or new pending patent methodology around making emails look better across email clients, I think about one thing:
How do subscribers click on the social media buttons that everyone had to have in emails when social was/is still a hot topic?
You see, I have small hands and pretty big thumbs and looking around my plane at 32,000 feet (as I write this) I see people with bigger hands and larger thumbs than me and I think to myself how or if they would actually click on any of these social media icons when they get the email. Sometimes its not about requiring the “must haves” in emails..its about having the “practical haves”
Check out some examples below and let me know what you think:
What is in a message? Besides the business goals that we are all familiar with, what are the emotional aspects?
There are many types of messages; each with a different purpose. Offers, newsletter, and transactional are common types of message; all with an measurable end goal.
Even though Valentine’s day is today, I believe that it is a perfect time to think about letters that don’t have a measurable end goal. It is curious to me when we talk about Valentine’s Day is directed mostly at romantic couples bu relationships are everywhere around us, and as marketers, we need to think about brand and consumer relationships.
While individual consumer relationships are not easy to measure quantitatively, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a critical piece to marketing. As you discuss your marketing strategy, here’s an example of a project I did – pulling messaging together into an interactive relationship building experience.
You might be thinking that love letters are too time intensive with low return. I must beg to differ. Investing in customer relationships is not a waste of time. While it may never directly yield a future sale, it may indirectly bring in future leads.
Zappos does a fantastic job of this. Employees of Zappos get company time to write notes to customers. If you’ve been on the Zappos tour in Las Vegas, they’ll explain it to you. They value their customers, and they spend time letting their customers know it. I didn’t get why people loved Zappos until recently. The customers service was phenomenal. I could probably write a long thesis on it, but just go experience it yourself.
And this Valentine’s, go write a love letter – to your favorite customers.
It has long been said that timing and relevancy to the inbox will win long term in the revenue game of email marketing. As the Superbowl concluded and The Ravens were celebrating, the email marketing geek in me went to his inbox to see what sorts of retailers were going to fire off emails right after the game. Within 5 minutes of The Ravens winning, Fathead sent the following email (broken up into 2 pieces) congratulating the winner.
Fathead was first to my inbox with this and I want to congratulate them for doing so. Some might argue that it was too quick given that the most of The Ravens fans were likely celebrating in mass and they should have waited to push the button, but I am proponent for speed and the mere fact that people could have been checking their phones or emails during this time as well.
I am sure that there are quite a few people that can poke holes in this strategy by Fathead, but I am wanted to congratulate them for being first to my inbox. It would be great to see if Fathead will continue to send this email as the days leading up to the parade as well as other celebrations continue to occur.
This Thursday, I will be attending and speaking at the All About Email Live master class in Atlanta and I am super excited. The venue is supposed to be uber cool and from what I am told, it will be a packed house. I had the honor of speaking at this very same event last year in NYC where digital marketers from a variety of companies attended and it was awesome. The agenda is jammed packed with great speakers, awesome roundtables and some really killer sponsors.
Whenever I attend a conference, I am normally pretty good at tweeting what is happening, but I have never been able to blog live from the event as well. This week, that will change as I will attempt to push a few posts from the event giving you what I believe is some of the key takeaways from a couple of sessions.
As in conferences past, I have my deck submitted and have been taking some dry runs through my material and am super fired up to present as well as learn from other speakers and attendees.
If you live in Atlanta and still have not had a chance to register, I encourage you to do so. Here is the link. If you can’t make it, I hope you can follow the twitter stream at #eLive13.
See you on Thursday.