Slime Bracket Hero

An Email Oozing with Engagement

From: Michaels
Date: 3/28/17
Subject Line: 1 Day Only! 20% Off Your ENTIRE Purchase
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Michaels large crop  Michaels Slime Bracket

While sports fans are glued to their basketball brackets, Michaels has started a bracket of their own — for SLIME! If you’re a parent, you’re probably aware of the latest craze sweeping the kid nation: homemade slime. One of the key ingredients is Elmer’s glue and it has been flying off the shelves like hot cakes.

Michaels jumped at the opportunity to announce that their 1 Gallon bottle is back in stock and to call attention to their “slime bracket” where you can vote on your favorite DIY blobby creation! Are you more of a shimmery mermaid fan or a gooey zombie brain type? The email encourages you to hop over to Michaels’ Facebook page where you’ll find images of the different varieties teamed up against each other. Vote for your favorite and see if it makes it to the next round. What a great way to spark interest and get people involved with your social network! The email includes product images of the googly eyes, beads and pom-poms needed to create a few of the slimes from the bracket. All the gooey options are sure to inspire new ideas and encourage you to shop where you know ingredients will be available.

Michaels did, however, miss an opportunity by not linking the products. I (along with other Facebook commenters) would have liked to see full ingredient lists for each creation along with measurements. Finally, I wish the email didn’t go on to cover Morph and Easter products; it felt like too much crammed into one email. If they were mentioned as a small sub-message it wouldn’t be so bad, but they took up half of the email.

Overall, this strategy is a fun way to inspire people to shop while encouraging social engagement.

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Easter Hunt Hero

This Easter: Hunt for Savings!

From: Mark & Graham
Date: 3/27/17
Subject Line: New eggs have been hidden! Join the hunt for special treats!

Mark and Graham

Mark & Graham came up with a clever way to get into the Easter spirit while encouraging people to browse their website. Here’s the deal: Any product with an Easter egg graphic by it is 20% off! The play on words are just too fun — like the holiday, you must go “hunting for eggs” and place them in your “basket” to claim your reward! Even businesses that don’t sell Easter products can use this concept to celebrate the season.

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Targeted Hero

Product Targeting: Tips & Types

Who wouldn’t like their own personal shopper? By utilizing link tracking and shopping history, you can send messages about products that are relevant to each customer’s interests. This is referred to in the industry as an Event Triggered Email. There are many ways you can utilize this information (from birthday discounts to product ratings), but for now I’m focusing on product triggered messages. Below are six types of messages you can be sending and some helpful takeaways.

Cliff-notes:
Do: Include a picture of the product(s)
Do: Get creative with layout
Do: Be clever with wording
Do: Cross promote (product suggestions)
Do: Give a reason to buy: Customer service, price match service, urgency, sale, etc.
Do: Add a personal touch (make it less generated feeling)
Do: Run tests

Let’s dive in with six types of emails you can product target with…

1) Product Recommendations
Based on your browsing/shopping history, we thought you might be interested in these items. (Or, other customers who shopped for [product] also liked…) 

From: Crate and Barrel
Date: 11/14/15
Subject Line: You may also like…

I like how this email feels personalized and less like a template. The images are a nice size and fit together without a bunch of dead space. The wording, “Our experts have hand-picked these items just for you” feels so much more personal than “we thought you might like….”

Crate and Barrel

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 11/10/15
Subject Line: We did a little personal shopping

This email is similar to the last example, but with more products. It’s well made, (and this is just my humble option) but I’m not a fan of the wording chosen for the CTAs (show me more). Show me more, what? Products? Something like, “shop now” or “check it out” sounds a little more product specific. I might recommend running some tests on a few options. Testing is always a good idea in general — get the most out of your messages by seeing what customers respond to best.

Uncommon Goods

From: OshKosh B’gosh
Date: 10/01/15
Subject Line: We picked these just for you!

I love that this email shows a product you’ve viewed, along with corresponding suggestions. Sometimes your suggestions feel out of left field and you’re left wondering — why on earth would they think I would like that? This email clearly answers that question. The variety of image sizes also makes the design more appealing. They also included a secondary message for “favorites,” which is a nice addition.

Oshkosh Bgosh

2) Exclusive Discount
Still thinking about this item? Use this code for X% OFF!

From: Express
Date: 10/30/15
Subject Line: Style you love + free shipping = no regrets

Express pulls out all the stops with this email. They offer a one-day only discount for free shipping. They also include corresponding products and a few best sellers. Sometimes an incentive like a personal discount is what the customer needs to get them ready to buy!

Express

From: Shutterfly
Date: 8/20/15
Subject Line: WOW. 40% off to finish your photo book.

Shutterfly also offers a great incentive to order — 40% off! I like the image choice and the bold CTA, but the headline is a bit long.

Shutterfly

3) Abandoned Cart
Don’t forget– you left this in your shopping cart.

From: American Eagle Outfitters
Date: 11/03/15
Subject Line: Did you forget something?

The copy in this email is straight forward and scannable. My biggest gripe — I would have preferred it if they included the product image or name in the email.

American Eagle

From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 10/14/15
Subject Line: Come back soon – items remain in your cart!

Williams-Sonoma adds some urgency by placing a time limit on how long the product will remain in the shopping cart. If you’re not ready to bring down the price as an incentive, this is an easy way to add motivation without hurting your bottom line. I also like the inclusion of the product image, the offering of product support, and the recommendations.

Williams-Sonoma Home

From: Crazy 8
Date: 10/18/15
Subject Line: Going, going, gone! Don’t let the items in your Shopping Bag sell out.

I am really impressed with how specific this email is! Rather than just telling me that I left items in my cart, the email shows me my entire shopping cart with products and current prices! They also finish it off with a few recommendations at the bottom. Nicely done.

Crazy 8

4) Browse
We saw you eyeing this, take another look.

From: Crate and Barrel
Date: 10/26/15
Subject Line: Thinking about it? It’s still waiting for you.

I like the customer support angle that this email took. They make reaching them effortless while keeping the email personable.

Crate and Barrel

From: Express
Date: 10/19/15
Subject Line: These are definitely worth a second look…

I loved the wording Express chose for this email. My favorite is actually easy to overlook; in the preheader, “It’s called retail therapy for a reason.” Followed by the body copy, “Not to make you feel guilty, but your closet is getting pretty lonely.” It’s clever and fun, making the email feel less generated. They also include related products without calling them out as being such, continuing the natural flow. The varied image sizes add to the design. Finally, they include best sellers.

Express

From: Best Buy
Date: 9/09/15
Subject Line: ⚠ Friendly reminder | Amy, thanks for checking us out:

I like how Best Buy mentions their price match guarantee. It’s important to remind your customers why they should chose to shop with you over your competitors. This email also includes my name, which is a nice touch. Although, both of these things aren’t very prominent in the email. I might suggest testing the name in the body copy and make the guarantee part of the main message. What if they headline was, “We’ll Match Any Price!”

Best Buy

5) Back In Stock
This item is now available!

From: Pottery Barn Kids
Date: 9/25/15
Subject Line: This item’s back in stock and we wanted you to be the first to know!

What a helpful and unique way to use target messaging! By reminding a customer that a product they viewed in back in stock, it may light a fire to order it before it goes out of stock again.

Pottery Barn Kids

From: Forever 21
Date: 12/09/15
Subject Line: They’re Back! Your Waitlist Items Have Arrived!

Here is a similar email from Forever 21. Their copy includes more urgency, “Snag them now before they’re gone (again!).” They also include additional must haves.

Forever 21

6) Sale
That item you’ve been eyeing is on clearance!

From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 12/18/15
Subject Line: Now On Sale: Williams-Sonoma Giant Snowflake Cookie Cutter With Cutouts

Similar to the emails that offer an exclusive discount, this email makes the customer aware that the item is on sale. I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist a deal, so I would LOVE to know when a product I’m interested in is available at a lower price.

Crate and Barrel

And a final note — something I would love to see included in all product targeting messages:
Not interested in this item anymore?

Half of the time my targeted messages are based on items I bought for someone else, food for a cat I no longer own, or because I clicked on a product by mistake. This link could help save customers from the annoyance of a message that “missed it’s target.”

If they do click that link, turn a negative experience into a positive one. Allow the customer to select categories that they ARE interested in so you can better understand and target them in the future. Maybe even offer a discount or other incentive for filling out their preferences!

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Cards Against Humanity

Black Friday at its Best

Cards Against Humanity is known for their outrageous, dare I say, insulting humor. While retail emails poured in on Black Friday about lightning must-have deals, CAH presented this, “Dear horrible friends… The deal is simple. You give us $5. We give you nothing.” The email was simple and straight forward. There was no catch. The over-sized call-to-action read, “Give us $5.” Clicking on it took you to a page to give money, for nothing in return.

From: Cards Against Humanity
Date: 11/27/15
Subject Line: Nothing.

Cards Against Humanity

So how did fans respond? By giving away their money of course! They raised over $71K on Black Friday. Cards Against Humanity responded in kind by letting fans know how they spent the money. “There’s been a lot of speculation about how we would spend the money from Black Friday, and we’re happy to announce that this time, we kept it all. Here’s what we bought.” The page goes into detail about what each employee purchased, each item as absurd as you would expect. Purchases included items such as 760 lbs of cat litter, a Lord of the Rings Legolas long bow, a 24-karat gold vibrator, even payment for a divorce attorney. It also included various donations to multiple causes. You’ll have to check out the page for the full list of itemizations:

https://cardsagainsthumanity.com/blackfriday/

So how could something like this happen?? Well, let me give a little history. Cards Against Humanity has been known for their generosity in the past. Last holiday season the company offered customers 10 days of mystery gifts for a flat fee of $15. Over 250K people signed up. To my understanding a similar deal has been offered for 3 consecutive years. It’s safe to say CAH was not profitable in this endeavor. Even though they lost money, it was a great way to expand their customer base and earn the loyalty of their existing fans. It’s likely that the customers who partook in these past events were the ones that donated on Black Friday. Either they expected they would receive something in return (looking past the email’s dark humor) or they simply wanted to pay it forward to a company who rewarded them in the past. So, what it comes down to is this. Give and you shall receive. Earn the love and loyalty of your customers and they will throw their money at your feet. Lol. So go forth and share the love!

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Don’t Cop-Out On Your Opt-Out

From: Old Navy
Date: 05/01/2015
Subject Line: We Can’t Buy Your Love

Old Navy Opt-Out Email

Let’s face it, opt-out emails are scary — you worked hard to get those subscribers. A bad list though, and it’s straight to the junk folder. I suggest your opt-out email remind them WHY they signed up in the first place. If it’s for your spectacular products, make them the focus. Your unique style? Show it with an amazing design. Maybe it was an added bonus they received by signing up, so throw in an offer they can’t refuse. For Old Navy, it’s their spunky attitude and great deals, so that’s what they put into their opt-out email. I love the wording they chose, both in the subject line and email — it’s right on target with their style and audience. The design, however, leaves something to be desired… but for the brand it still works.

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7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Survey Invitation Email

Ever since my teenage days reading Cosmo, Mademoiselle, and the like, I have been an avid survey taker.  I still love taking surveys, only now that we are in the digital world, the enticement usually comes in the format of an email.  Read on for a few useful tips to increase participation…

1. Use a clear and concise subject line that does not include any SPAM-y language. Most Subject Line Best Practices dictate that it should be no more than 35 characters, and with the primary message upfront. Also, avoid using all CAPS or $, as many Email Service Providers will filter your email and deliver to the SPAM folder, where its chances of being viewed are slim-to-none.
2. Provide an incentive. Be it extra miles, a chance to win a sweepstakes, or a gift card… You are asking your customers to do you a favor…show your appreciation and make it worth their while!
3. Be up front about the time needed to participate. Nobody wants to get sucked into taking a survey, only to find that the questions are seemingly never-ending! And be specific about the time… “Short” is relative, “5 minutes” is quantified.
4. Be clear about who you are. If you are using a third party to send your survey email, make sure to include your organization’s name in the subject line. If you are partnering with another organization, consider giving a brief explanation as to the reasons and benefits for the partnership.
5. Make it personal. Include the name of your respondents in the subject line and/or body of the email, and any other relevant information.
6. Give a deadline. This serves dual purposes: it provides a sense of urgency to complete the survey, and informs those survey takers who may not have time when they first open the email that they can’t procrastinate indefinitely. You may also want to consider sending a reminder message if your survey-takers have clicked on the original email, but not yet taken the survey (assuming they have not opted out from the first send).
7. Don’t forget to say Thank You! You can include language that thanks your participants in advance, and also send a follow-up Thank You email. Remember, everybody likes to feel appreciated. 🙂

A well-crafted email using the above Best Practices will ensure that you have a high participation rate in your survey.

What’s next?…Stay tuned for my follow-up blog piece: 7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Online Survey

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