Inspire Me!: Email's Ten 'Demandments'

Kelly Mooney's The Ten Demandments is an essential handbook for satisfying today's informed, empowered and demanding customer. Mooney's sharp tips for the broader business world transfer naturally to the inbox. Know your email subscribers' "demandments" and direct your messages toward meeting and exceeding them. 

The First Demandment: Earn my trust. Your emails must have integrity. This means avoiding mixed messages and ambiguity. Include all the details -- and exceptions -- of special offers so that recipients aren't left wondering what the catch is and feeling disappointed once they find out.

The Second Demandment: Inspire me. Offer your subscribers something to aspire to, whether it's a redecorated living room, a fall fashion makeover or a more enlightened reading list. Combine imagery and text to illustrate a step-by-step process or a goal fulfilled. This Pottery Barn mail presents a "welcoming fall update" in four easy pieces.



The Third Demandment: Make it easy.Life is complicated; keep your emails simple. Make your CTAs focused and clear, and create relevant, satisfying coordinated landing experiences.  This Betty Crocker newsletter and associated recipe landing pages make preparing the perfect summer outdoor dinner look easy as... apple pie!

The Fourth Demandment: Put me in charge. Give your subscribers control over how much email they receive from you. Horchow gets props for offering frequency options, though they may have gone a little too far toward actually encouraging unsubscribes.

The Fifth Demandment: Guide me. Anticipate the needs of your subscribers, packing emails with the tools users need to interact with your brand. Include customer service information and links to FAQs, supporting subscribers as they take next steps. Live Nation totally gets this with its pre-concert Fan Advisory.

The Sixth Demandment: 24/7. Consumers expect convenient, 24/7 access to pretty much everything. Check your emails -- particularly the triggered messages -- on a quarterly basis to make sure that the information they contain is up-to-date and the URLS still direct to working, relevant Web site pages.

The Seventh Demandment: Get to know me. Learn about your subscribers by gathering profile data, by conducting surveys and by tracking their responses to your messages. Keep solid records -- no one likes to have to give the same information twice. Sephora does an amazing job at this with its Beauty Insider email program. Show your subscribers how well you know them by speaking their language. Urban Outfitters does this with a youthful sense of humor, and the Land of Nod whispers right into the ears of moms with its cute copy.

The Eighth Demandment: Exceed my expectations. Give customers more attention than they expect by sending informative follow-up messages after a big purchase, like this email from REI. And when you misstep, overcompensate with apologies, special offers, and especially by fixing problems right away. Netflix sent two apology messages: the second one included a special offer and promise that the problem had been fixed.

The Ninth Demandment: Reward me. Your success is wholly dependent on your loyal customer base. Reward loyalty by recognizing who your consistent customers are and giving them special offers to show your appreciation, like this 25% off subscriber thanks email.

The Tenth Demandment: Stay with me. Make every effort to show customers that you want your relationship with them to extend beyond their first purchase. Follow up after their interactions with your brand by sending thank-you emails. If you haven't heard from them lately, send reactivation messages with offers to entice them back. And as the holidays roll around, send a non-promotional greeting card email that reinforces a relationship outside clicks and conversions.

The eleventh demandment: If you're dedicated to running a successful email program, make sure it stands up to all of Mooney's10!

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