I don’t normally name names, but recent emails I received from Ann Taylor, the specialty apparel retailer, reminded me of an email marketing best practice that is too often overlooked:
- Tell recipients WHY they are receiving your email.
Since last Tuesday, I have received an email newsletter from Ann Taylor EVERY DAY. Why? I have no idea. I’ve never purchased from Ann Taylor, LOFT, or what I can tell are its affiliate brands. I don’t visit the Ann Taylor website. And, while I appreciate a pretty email (they do have beautiful images), I do not take kindly to receiving unsolicited commercial email.
The problem? Nowhere in the welcome email (right) did I get a why. Not even in the tiny print at the bottom. Nada. The most I got was “Now that you’re on our email list…”
A brief intro goes a long way.
It really only takes a little snippet of text, preferably above the main body of the message, that says “You are receiving this message because…” or something similar to introduce yourself, your brand, and explain why you, the sender, feel the message is relevant to the recipient.
The when for the why: Any time you are sending to a list of new recipients, an introduction is a good idea. Also, if you are mailing to an older list, be mindful that recipients may not remember who you are or that they opted to receive email from you.
Ultimately, a little explanation of why an initial email is being sent will:
- Demonstrate that you’re a responsible sender, showing respect for your recipients’ time and interests. Brownie points for transparency and valuing your relationship with the recipient!
- Build trust for your brand and lessen the likelihood of spam complaints and unsubscribes. Spam complaints are brutal, and depending on your ESP, they can damage your sender reputation and possibly result in your ESP threatening to ditch you as a client.
Also, although it should go without saying, be sure the list you are emailing has been acquired in a legitimate manner. List renting or buying is generally frowned upon and can do more damage than good to your brand and sender reputation. Really… think of the puppies!
Got any email marketing horror stories to share, either as a sender or a recipient? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.
In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for an example of a good intro to share. Sign up for email notifications or like Blue Tomato Creative on Facebook to receive instant updates!
A seagull eating a starfish smells like: “Tidelands, driftwood, downy bird musk, and the gingery spike of starfish terror.”
Thanks to ZOMGsmells.com, I am now aware of this… and the fact that seagulls really do eat starfish. This unfortunate seagull snacking preference and the suggestion of its associated fragrance got my attention. Quirky worked to draw me in. I quickly found myself lingering on the ZOMGsmells.com website, looking around for the next odd thing to catch my eye, and I didn’t have to look far…
ZOMGsmells.com sells unique fragrance blends, each curiously named. Aside from the alluring scent of Seagull Eating a Starfish, I found gems such as: Coronal Mass Ejection, Kudzu Doom, Spacebat, Candy Mechanic, Baby Gorgon Birthday Party, and many more. Each name just begged to be clicked to figure out what the heck that could possibly smell like.
Upon clicking through on each name, I was rewarded with a humorous little backstory and image, along with a very specific description of the scent (the oils included, etc.). Win! Quirky worked to keep me browsing, increasing the time I stayed on the site.
Now, the big question: Will quirky work to make me buy? Quite possibly… we shall see. I could at least sample a “squee” or three. (But, even though it got my attention, I probably won’t go with Seagull Eating a Starfish. I wouldn’t want to wander around my coastal home smelling of starfish terror. I might get swarmed.)
And, on that note, I leave you with a bit of my YouTube research:
And, I’m not just saying this because it’s one of my favorite brands.
(Okay, that might have a little something to do with it.)
Raven’s Brew coffee has been a favorite brand of mine for 5+ years now, never letting me down… not once. I discovered them while googling for Christmas gifts one holiday season. I’ve placed numerous orders with them and am a true Raven’s Brew brand evangelist. What makes this brand so special? I’m so glad you asked.
- They’re real people with a story and a passion for coffee.
These folks eat, sleep, and breathe coffee roasting perfection andpromoting positive relationships with the regions from which their coffee is harvested. And, they do a beautiful job of educating their customers to emphasize their focus on quality, sustainability, andculture.
- They’re creative, spirited, and just plain fun.
The precisely right combination of artwork and prose can be found on each bag of Raven’s Brew signature coffee. Not only can you ooh and aah over these masterpieces on the bags, but there are full-sized posters (among other merch) available for purchase. I personally find it hard to throw away these bags even if I have dupes… that’s how much I REALLY like the artwork.
- They deliver a superb product and have excellent customer service.
When ordering, I always get exactly what I pay for – fine, quality-roasted coffee beans with an unparalleled flavor. Blissful, indeed! And, if I contact customer service, I literally feel as if I’m conversing with a friend, not a company. I mean, the sympathy expressed when I panicked because they ran out of Cherry Karma (my favorite, and a very very limited offering) was enough to make me a lifetime customer.
So there you have it. Whether small or large, brands should be able to understand the very powerful basics to blissful branding. Again, they are:
- Demonstrating a real passion for the product being sold
- Taking a brand-appropriate, creative and personable approach to marketing
- Delivering a quality product with excellent customer service backing.
I truly hope to see more businesses focus on these fundamentals as our economy recovers from its current state. Also, I’ve not been solicited in any way to add this information, however, I’m going to go ahead and throw it out there because it is timely. The Valentine’s Elixir is now available on the RavensBrew.com website. Yum! And, thank you, Raven’s Brew, for giving me a full brand experience to “glow” about!
Anti-relevance. And, I know it’s not just me who thinks this!
I’ve long stressed the importance of relevance to the budding eCommerce designers, developers, and marketers I’ve managed. It’s what most online marketers now think of as common sense, especially with the advent of paid search and getting folks to what they are searching for at all costs.
One area where so many websites still drop the ball is once the customer gets to the site, regardless of how or why, they must even be taken to relevant pages WITHIN the site when clicking around. Seems like that would make sense, yes? However, so often, the homepage of a website will show a picture of a flashy, attention-getting product, but with NO WAY TO GET TO THAT PRODUCT. As a consumer, if I see a picture that catches my eye, and that picture is clickable, I expect to end up at a page that contains that item, explains more about it, and/or allows its purchase.
If I were to click on the flaming pink guitar, you’d think I’d see it on the resulting page… but no. It’s nowhere to be found.
So, food for thought when designers are putting together the page. Just because an item is flashy and attention getting doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice for a teaser. If it’s nowhere to be found for sale, it’s likely to generate more customer frustration than interest!