Amazon UK are taking an interesting approach introducing a Black Friday campaign to the UK market this year – Traditionally the UK has never really had such an event, perhaps an equivalent is the January sales. It’ll be interesting to see how successful it is for them, and if indeed the concept of ‘Black Friday’ is successful as a sales driver with the British public.
It’s been a while since we posted up some picks from other email marketing blogs – here’s some recent articles we like!
Really good insight from someone outside the industry – by Chris Donald
Lots of really good points about email vs. social, and how people are dropping the ball in email, by Lisa Barone.
Nice campaign review by Remy Bergsma
Really good pointers here from Campaign Monitor, around learnings you can make when a user unsubscribes.
Follow @iamelliot on twitter for more email marketing updates!
Boden do consistently great emails. Whilst there’s probably a few best practice email tweaks to make, the concept and artworking is always spot on. If you don’t already receive them, I recommend signing up.
Here’s five stand out emails from the last few months:
Gmail’s recently announced Priority Inbox feature uses an algorithm to automatically sort busy inboxes into ‘Priority’, ‘Starred’ and ‘Everything Else’. Criteria for sorting into the priority inbox include keywords, people the user emails most and general user behavior (e.g. previous open rates). Rules can also be set up by the user to automatically filter certain emails into the priority folder, and the algorithm is adaptive, so it will learn more about the user’s behavior and preferences with time.
What does it mean for email marketing?
There are two main things for email marketers to consider: first, how do you get marketing emails into the priority inbox? and secondly, do you want to be in the priority inbox in the first place?
The key to getting into the priority inbox is relevance. The user is now actively teaching filters what they want to read, so every mailing should be as useful and engaging as possible. This means segregating your lists, following design and HTML best practice and cutting out irrelevant ‘blanket blasts’ to everyone. It might even mean mailing people less sometimes.
Lets look at some of the filter criteria:
A good way to get relevant keywords into an email is to include lots of html web text and avoid trapping your text as all-image builds. It also means you should pay attention to your copy as its now bring scrutinized more than ever. I’m sure a side effect of this will be to add ‘important’ to every email. That won’t get you very far. (see also keyword stuffing on the web)
The chances are the user won’t send many emails to your sending address, but having them add it to their address book will help mark it out as a trusted source. Perhaps you could get them to use the send address for feedback – it means investing in a response management team to handle replys and not using email@example.com. Your ESP should be able to help with this.
Admittedly this is a bit of a catch all heading at the moment, but really it means you should aim for higher open rates by optimising subject lines, and encourage lots of repeat openings by having a consistent sending schedule and always providing compelling content.
It’s worth also considering how your audience will use the priority inbox and how this will affect the content and tone of voice of your campaigns. For example, if your campaign’s aim is to communicate one message quickly and drive clicks online, it should be optimized so the user can easily scan and act upon it. If you find your users prefer to take longer to properly read your emails (for example it may contain lots of editorial content), then you may wish to add a “star this email to read it later” call to action to your preheader. (Having a history of being ‘starred’ may also be a factor for getting into the Priority inbox in the first place)
Bear in mind that whilst the user will check the priority email first, in this folder they will be scanning things quickly and looking for things to act upon. The users mind state once they come to read the regular inbox afterwards may be easier to engage with for some marketers.
So really, preparing for Gmail’s priority inbox is actually an exercise in being a better email marketer. Smarter inboxes like this are becoming more common, and most of the major webmail players have made noises about this recently, so it’s something that’s not going away. Granted, it does raise the bar in terms of relevance and optimisation, but the only real losers here are ‘batch and blast’ marketers sending one message to everyone they can find in the hope that it’ll convert someone – and getting those guys out of the picture is good for everyone, right?
A co-branded marketing email from UCAS (the UK’s higher education admissions authority) and Hewlett Packard has caused a bit of controversy over the last few days. The mailing, with subject line “You have been accepted to receive big discounts on HP laptops!”, was sent before A-level results were announced yesterday, causing some students to mis-interpret it as a university acceptance letter.
In UCAS/HP’s defense, most A-level students should be intelligent enough to know their results are sent out by post, not email, and should really be savvy enough to recognize a marketing message, however it does go to show that marketers should ensure they never lose sight of the customer’s experience.
More in this Evening Standard article.