With the hype and announcement of the iPad, Apple have been flavor of the week – so let’s take a look at some of their recent email campaigns.
There’s a lot that Apple gets right with their emails, and as a result they’re often sent around as good examples of email marketing. In particular they get bonus points for:
- Design – crisp and sexy product photography, clever copywriting and lots of white space make for a very effective combination.
- Engaging – most mailings have very strong and consistent calls to action, to either visit an apple store or shop online.
- Very strong message – Apple do a great job resisting the temptation to bloat their campaigns with excess products and information. There’s a great balance between providing enough content to inspire the recipient to click, but not too much to compromise the message.
However, whilst the brand and design are impeccable, there’s curiously a few best practices that seem to be absent – the most obvious that come to mind are:
- The omission of any type of hosted link or whitelisting copy
- No personalization or obvious customization (they presumably have a fair amount of data at their disposal, why not use it?)
- Whilst the preview pane imagery is very engaging and effective, when images are disabled the experience is often much poorer.
Apple iPad announcement email
Apple Fitness email
Apple Black Friday email
iTunes New Music Tuesday email
Apple Holiday email
For more insight into Apple’s email marketing campaigns, take a look at Dominique Hind’s excellent review.
The subscription confirmation email is the perfect chance to welcome and congratulate new recipients of your email newsletter, but it’s often neglected. We’ve signed up for a ton of mailing lists so we can provide great examples of email creative, but we’ve found that marketers either miss a trick or simply don’t send anything.
Yesterday we posted 11 great examples of engaging welcome emails – here’s our top tips to improve your welcome and confirmation emails:
Welcome your new recipients
“Thanks – you’re our hero” is what Lastminute.com told us in their great welcome email (back in 2007, and we’ve read their emails ever since). Granted, that’s a lot down to their tone of voice, but it shows that there’s better and more friendly ways to welcome your eager new readers than just saying “newsletter confirmation”.
You’ll be surprised how many subscription and welcome emails are just plain text affairs, without even a basic link to the merchant’s website. Granted, there may be deliverability concerns around sending full html to a new subscriber (although if you have a good reputation there’s nothing to worry about here), but this is a golden opportunity to introduce subscribers to your branding, and even encourage them to convert.
Give a reason to open your newsletters
Tell your new subscribers what you’ll be sending them, when, and why they should look out for your email. It’s an easy way to boost your open rates as your recipients will know to look out for your newsletter.
At the very least you now know your new recipient’s email address – custom publish it in somewhere to confirm you have the right address. The chances are you also know more of their data, so greet them by name. If you’re running any kind of membership club users are likely to archive the welcome email as it’ll contain useful information (username, password, preferences etc.).
If you have a preference centre then link to that so your recipients can tell you what they want to hear about.
Now’s the perfect time to ask your new subscribers to add your send address to their address book, contacts or safe list. This marks your mailings as safe and helps you avoid the spam folder. For any given webmail client, the aggregate of how many users do this will also boost your reputation across the whole service (ie. If enough people do this, it’ll improve your reputation even for people who don’t whitelist you).
If you’ve incentivized people to subscribe to your list with a discount offer, here’s where you should tell them about it and encourage them to engage with your site. Don’t go overboard, but there’s probably even scope to include a small sales piece.
Links to previous newsletters
Filling up your welcome email with products and offers probably isn’t the best way to go, but if someone’s just subscribed to your list the chances are they’re pretty engaged and want to know more. A quick link to your most recent emails will help them find out more, and might even help them convert.
Take a look at some of the examples we picked out yesterday for more inspiration!
A quick look at some single message solus mailings from the fashion/streetwear industry.
This mailing dropped into my inbox at 8.55am – literally the last minute, as it contains offers for quick selling event tickets that go on sale at 9am. A risky strategy, but a clever one as it’s right at the top of the inbox when London’s workers check into the office.
In terms of design there’s some minor areas of improvement (where’s the hosted link and whitelabel stuff?) but it’s pretty much on the money. Lastminute has such a strong ownership of the pink colour and their company font that it is less reliant on the lastminute.com logo – this strong branding allows them to push the key offers right up to the top of the preview pane. Throughout the mailing there’s a good balance of web text vs. branded image copy, and a slight changes to the layout of each module helps differentiate each area.
This short New Years Solus email from boutique hotel site Splendia is a great example of how social media activity can be combined with email in a non intrusive way.
The “Share on Twitter” links are high profile and above the fold, but their understated design doesn’t detract from the overall creative. Selecting the three most prominent social networks and skipping the rest can be a brave move, but will probably play off given their popularity. The ability to “Share on Linkedin” is increasingly appearing in the Share With Your Network section of mailings – as Splendia typically caters to the professional and business market it seems a good fit with Linkedin.
Underneath the main offer in secondary modules are also links to Splendia’s activity on Facebook and Twitter. The modules are clear, easy to follow and explain why users should connect with them on a social network – these days simply saying “join us on Facebook” just won’t do.
Aside from social media implementation, there’s plenty that could be built upon here in terms of overall best practice – particularly the main offer and call to action, which are all held in one large image, and would result in a less interesting experience for viewers with images disabled.