The (Email) Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...

As an email marketer, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't sit at my desk, look at my email and scratch my head in absolute bewilderment -- or amazement, depending on the day. On a good day, one of the marketing messages I get will really strike me as interesting, but I also have those days where I just have to scratch my head.

As marketers are focusing more on the strategy of their email and creating interesting elements that make people want to talk, we will see an increase in innovation. Some innovation will succeed and other attempts will sink like the Titanic, but at least, we as an industry are truly trying to evolve the email channel with the time -- and the communication channels available.

The one thing that this week's (infamous) WSJ article did not account for in its blatant statement about the end of email is the unwavering dedication and passion of industry mavens like David Baker, Lisa Harmon, Ryan Deutsch and others (me included). We love this space too much to let it go by the wayside -- but sometimes we all have to realize that it isn't just black and white, and we do have a little ways to go.



As I step off my soapbox, let me share the recent inbox moments that made my go "hmmm." For better or for worse, here they are:

Number 5: Bribing readers to open their email - (2 thumbs up)
I just love this! Who needs subject lines anymore, let's enter our readers in a sweepstakes just for opening (and rendering images) in their email. See how Southwest Airlines is driving opens for its email program.

Number 4: Not recognizing geography - (2 thumbs way down)
I am a big fan of Room and Board, but when I received a recent email about its new location in Los Angeles that finished off with  "we are looking forward to meeting you," I was left with that "you don't know me at all" feeling. I live in Chicago...

Number 3: Including bacon in email (real bacon) - (2 thumbs up)
Everything is better with bacon, and knows it! How could you resist opening and interacting with an email that is all about what you can cook with my favorite (and yours, admit it) ingredient, BACON! There just isn't enough bacon in email today (and not the 2007 definition of email BACN -- email you want, just not right now).

Number 2: Creating a sense of urgency in email (2 thumbs way up)
One thing that member-only shopping sites such as Hautelook, Ideeli and Gilt Group  have done is put some urgency back into email. When they tell you that products are available for a limited time only, or that the next Dior sale starts in 15 minutes, people listen. A tried and true tactic,  leveraged effectively.

Number 1: Keeping me on the ball (2 thumbs way, way up)
I am LUVin' Southwest these days (no, they are not a client). In advance of my trips, I receive a friendly reminder that my trip is coming, providing me opportunities to convert against an early check-in offer, check the weather in my destination and even let me read what other Southwest travelers have said about the destination.

Let's face facts -- none of these things are ground-breaking, but clearly not enough marketers are employing the basic tactics that make email marketing so amazing. Iif they were, would these things really make me go hmmmm?

3 comments about "The (Email) Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm... ".
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  1. Anne Marsden from Marsden & Associates, October 15, 2009 at 2:55 p.m.

    As long we're LOVin' some email marketers - let me add Kimpton Hotels for their INTouch members program.

    I was truly surprised and delighted to get an email from the Monaco Hotel concierge about a week before my scheduled stay. I was asked if I have any morning newspaper preference, if there were any shows or restaurants I wanted to experience and generally how they could make my visit more enjoyable - WOW what a nice touch!

    That is the type of extra effort that is so easy to implement - yet feels so personal and special. The fact that I didn't use any of the services offered is immaterial - how it made me FEEL was everything!

  2. Donna Lehman from MarketUP, LLC, October 15, 2009 at 3:32 p.m.

    Kara -

    Excellent points and examples. I'm still a fan of email myself, under the right circumstance.

    Chuckled at your No. 4: Received the same email, and had the same reaction. While I USED to live in L.A. (more than 8 yrs ago), I know live near Atlanta, GA. Sadly, they ignored my location as much as yours. Room & Board #fail.

    And while I can't fly Southwest (they don't come into Hartsfield-Jackson), Delta has very sophisticated personalization messages - reminders, pre-checkin, weather, local events at destination, etc. THAT's the kind of email I'm grateful to receive.

  3. vivian mabou, October 21, 2009 at 8:53 a.m.

    With love and trust vivianmabou1

    Hello Dear,
    I saw your profile today and i stopped to take a very good look at it.
    I want you to know that i will be interested to know you better because you sounded very sweet in your profile and i will like us to become friends and know each other the more.
    Here is my email address ( send me an email today please!(Remember that what matters alot in a real relationship is love), I am waiting for your reply now.thanks
    Your's vivian.

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