More Email Marketing Double-Dog Dares

Since email is a fast-moving, fast-evolving channel, marketers must be experimenters to succeed at a high level. With that in mind, I dare you — no, I double-dog dare you — to test these out-of-the-box, bleeding-edge, and fun/weird ideas:

Bring transparency and rewards to email activity. Especially now that ISPs are factoring engagement into their delivery algorithms, you want your subscribers to open and click your emails — and perhaps share them with their networks and take other positive, trackable actions. Why not be upfront about it?

Launch an annual, biannual, or quarterly activity email that details the opens, clicks, and other activities of each individual subscriber and rewards good behavior. It would be like a loyalty program for your email program. Have badges and a tiered reward system. Make it clear how to move up the ladder. For low-engagement subscribers, have secondary messaging about preferences or progressive profiling that helps you engage these subscribers better.



Emails from brands like OpenTable and Fitbit provide direction on what these emails could look like.

Re-engage disinterested mobile subscribers. Your subscribers may have given up on trying to read your emails on their mobile devices because of your desktop-centric designs. So if you’ve recently launched a responsive email template, try to regain the attention of these subscribers by having the desktop version of an email tell subscribers to open the email on their smartphone to receive a special discount. That will expose them to your new mobile-friendly design and let them know they can read your emails while they’re on the go.

Use responsive design to create Easter Eggs. One of the great things about responsive email design is that you can create mobile-targeted content — that is, serve up content that’s dramatically different depending on the device used to open the email. So how about using responsive design to target a very specific portion of your mobile readership like… phablet owners? Target those readers with highly relevant offers on the latest phablets and phablet accessories, while everyone else that opens your email on a desktop or smartphone sees a different message.

“Reply to this email to get your coupon.” Flip the script on “donotreply” email addresses by asking subscribers to reply in order to get something special. Take down that awful “we don’t monitor this mailbox” message, and replace it with a message thanking them for replying and offering up a special coupon or offer. Or, in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, ask subscribers to reply in order to get a sneak peek at your planned deals.

ISPs pay attention to replies when measuring email engagement, so this tactic would demonstrate additional engagement, in addition to being novel and interesting. And while you’re at it, start monitoring replies to your marketing emails. Technology makes it much easier to do that now.

Let subscribers snooze their subscription. During high-volume seasons like the holiday season, give subscribers the option to pause their subscription temporarily. Boden USA gave folks this option in some of its December emails last year. The idea is to reduce email fatigue and annoyance during these periods to avoid unsubscribes and spam complaints.

Make your unsubscribe links and buttons mobile-friendly. You want subscribers to be able to easily find and click your unsubscribe button, because the alternative is much more painful: spam complaints. Just as mobile is requiring images, text and buttons to get bigger, your unsubscribe links and buttons need to be bigger, too. Marriott provides a good model for this in its responsive emails.

If you want even more dares, check out my double-dog dares from 2013, 2010, and 2008.

Good luck!

1 comment about "More Email Marketing Double-Dog Dares ".
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  1. Todd Wilson from Salesforce , June 4, 2014 at 5:59 p.m.

    Really great post - I can't tell you how fond I am of being transparent with email activity in particular.

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