When I was working at the Email Experience Council, I worked with some industry friends to come up with a number of email dares that we felt were worth testing -- or at least worth talking about. Most of them were pretty out there -- even radical -- so we figured we'd have to double-dog dare folks to consider them. The dares included:
Nearly two years later, some of these dares seem a bit less radical than they were at the time. After all, Abercrombie & Fitch sent more than a dozen side-scrollers last year. 1-800-Flowers.com, Norm Thompson and PC Connection all have opt-out links at the top of their emails. Chadwick's has added a "rate this email" module to the bottom of all of their emails. And SWYN usage was at 12% last summer and is surely over 20% by now
In light of that, it appears that we need some new dares. So here we go. I dare you -- no, I double-dog dare you! -- to...
Add a secondary navigation bar to your emails. Nav bars can be very powerful, sometimes garnering more clicks that the primary call-to-action of an email. A secondary nav bar -- like the one REI did in this Mar. 5 email or the holiday nav bars used by Bloomingdale's, Home Depot, and Sephora last holiday season-- could attract even more clicks.
Ask outgoing email subscribers to join your Facebook fan base or Twitter following. Just because customers are opting out of your email channel doesn't mean that they aren't open to connecting with your brand on Facebook or Twitter. Yet only 2% of major retailers used their opt-out confirmation pages to pitch their Facebook pages, and only 1% to pitch their Twitter feeds.
Add tweets to your emails. Product reviews are huge, so why not add comments about your brand or products from Twitter? So far, NikeStore is the only major retailer I've seen pull a tweet into an email. They did it in this Dec. 3 email.
Include your discount code in your subject line. Wanting to lower the barriers to taking action, a handful of retailers -- including Ann Taylor, JCPenney and Sears -- experimented with including discount codes directly in their subject lines late last year. That way, if subscribers were interested, they wouldn't even have to open the email to take advantage of the promotion. For the less daring, consider highlighting discount codes in your preheader message instead.
Have a double-dog dare of your own? Add it to the comments below.