I think it goes without saying that the key to any successful email program is offering something that is unique and interesting to the subscriber. When programs piggyback creativity with triggered email tied to purchases, interactions and other types of behavior, the likelihood of success grows. In fact, there has been research that says that the return on such emails is so high ($1 – $15 RPE) that not doing them is like throwing money out of the window. I have been a part of many programs both client and agency side that the use of triggered email tied to behavior is often a hit, but sometimes a miss. However one common thing that they all share is timing, content, offer and ability to measure the effectiveness.
Surprise, Delight and Reward
I recently bought a pair of Brooks Running shoes from their site, which is a first for me. I have never bought a pair of shoes online because I have very flat feet and am a severe overpronator which requires some pretty heavy duty motion control for running and walking. I am the type of guy that likes to go in and try things on and test them out. That said, I have had a pair of Brooks before and absolutely love the brand and the quality of the shoe. Given that I workout almost daily, good shoes are essential.
After going through the usual cast of welcome, order, shipping and a few promotional emails this unbirthday email arrived (below) in my inbox about 20 days after purchase. It seems as if I did not enter my birthday during checkout and Brooks is wanting me to go back to fill in some preferences (below) so they can better target me. To my knowledge, Brooks never asked for my preferences during the checkout or sign up process and to be honest, I am ok with that. Most of you who read my writings or have heard me speak know that I am not a big fan of preference centers for a variety of reasons so you can imagine (cue) my eye roll when I clicked through on the email.
Preference center debate aside, I want to acknowledge and applaud Brooks Running for the Unbirthday email. It was well timed, funny, on-brand and was pretty intuitive on what they wanted me to do and what they are looking to collect. While I did not fill out my preferences or give them my birthday, I am wondering what I would get in terms of a reward if I did give them what they are looking for.
The email itself serves a good purpose and despite the changes I would make in copy or design, I believe that the email works pretty well for them.
One of the most overused statements in email is “send the right email at the right time” but no matter how many times you hear it, you cannot deny or dispute its truthfulness. That said, here would be my list of questions to the Brooks Running marketing department:
- Have you tested the number of days from purchase to sending this email to gauge its ROI?
- Can you tie back revenue to this email?
- Is it a one time thing or have you tested this messaging in other parts of your program?
- Are you using site abandonment behavior to your advantage in deploying any other triggers as a result of this email?
- Have you tested copy and personalization?
And on and on and on.
Brooks Running is doing it right. They are sending me emails like this to see if they can profile me to better target my future emails with them and this is good. The email has purpose and got me to open (SL alone) and click (just to see what they want) and this is 65% of the battle. I am wondering if they are missing other revenue opportunities which are linked to this email as well as others. The key takeaway in all of this is to not stop at just this one email. Can a little bit of investigation into other sorts of emails give greater revenue and engagement opportunities to a program? To me, Brooks is not just selling me shoes, they are selling me on a lifestyle. People love it when a brand engages in lifestyle email marketing rather than a discount heavy email program.
I welcome your thoughts..