Third-Party Email Sign-Up Done Right

I'm not a fan of partner and third-party emails. It's not that I don't believe they can be effective; it's just that most marketers go about it all wrong. Many marketers:


  •       Don't ask, they assume.
  •       Don't provide options.
  •       Don't make the sign-up process clear.
  •       Don't set expectations.


    I have some good news. I recently opted in to receive emails from CafePress after purchasing a T-shirt on their site. After hitting submit, I was redirected to this landing page [click image to enlarge]:

    Cafe Press

    Right out of the gate, I love it. Thinking about what most marketers do wrong, CafePress got nearly all of it "right."



    1.     They didn't assume I wanted all third-party emails. They didn't automatically opt me in. They didn't pre-check boxes. They asked. They gave me the choice. I'm going to make the assumption (dangerous, right?) that since I did not check any of the boxes, I will not be sent email from any of these third parties. Time will tell, but CafePress has earned my trust.

    2.     They provided options. Maybe I want to receive the Groupon emails but not the FragranceX ones. It's possible that I want to subscribe to all four. (Note: They could have provided a "select all" feature). Again, they gave me a choice.

    3.     CafePress make the sign-up process very clear. They didn't try and deceive me by including it in the initial CafePress sign-up page. They were smart. First, sign up for their emails, and then have the option for third party opt-in. Can you see the difference? Also, the landing page was simple, neat and clean. The header says, "Your Free Offers From CafePress" and the sub-header reads, "Check the box next to each offer you like and press 'Sign Up' below." Nearly dummy-proof! They don't clutter the page with a bunch of other offers -- the two at the bottom are subtle. They don't try to push CafePress product. Simple. Clean. Choice.

    4.     It's very clear what I will receive if I opt in for their free offers. No surprises. Sure, some of the copy could be better. Each of the four companies could set expectations around what the email will look like and how often I will receive it. But, giving them all the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to assume they'll share that information with me when I click "sign up" (fingers crossed). The bottom line here is I pretty much know what to expect when I check the box and click "sign up."

    I think there is definitely a place for third-party emails, if done correctly. If companies like CafePress are doing it right, they are offering me sign-up options for other companies that will fit my profile. The only one on the list I've heard of is Groupon, but I'm not aware of the others. (Side note: Has Groupon come out of nowhere or what? Kudos to my friend and colleague Andrew Kordek for running the email marketing for Groupon).

    What do you think? Is CafePress effectively promoting third-party email sign-up? Do you have suggestions for how they can improve?

  • 3 comments about "Third-Party Email Sign-Up Done Right".
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    1. Georgia Garrett from Valassis, Inc., August 17, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.

      Amen to that, Cafepress! Lots of companies can learn from this example.

    2. Craig Swerdloff from LeadSpend, Inc., August 18, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.

      This particular execution was done in conjunction with Pontiflex. I am proud of both CafePress and Pontiflex for subjugating revenue to consumer experience as the number one goal. It is never easy to do, and these guys nailed it. Well done!

    3. Dj Waldow from Blue Sky Factory, August 20, 2010 at 8:25 a.m.

      Georgia and Craig: Agreed! Well done by CafePress (and Pontiflex), right? Very very impressive.

      DJ Waldow
      Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

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