I Love You, But Please Slow Down

Amiestreet.com is a great music site I discovered through TechCrunch. But they send too many emails. I love them but I need them to slow down and it’s a pity their email only highlights an unsubscribe option when what I really want is an option that lets me reduce emails to once a month. Now I’m sure I could visit their website, login, go to my account and make those changes (may be) but I am far too busy and far too lazy to do that.

AmieStreet Email

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The Right Message For The Right Audience At The Right Time

I got an email from Amazon this morning promoting the TomTom GPS system. This was not a blast email but a very well calculated strategy. Amazon has probably noticed I’ve looked at several GPS systems over the year but never managed to pull the trigger. They know I am not a compulsive shopper. In the context on what they know about me I’d say this email will have a solid conversion rate.

I believe ‘relevant context’ is the secret sauce of successful email marketing.

Notice the content of the message, you’ll see Amazon has taken raw clickstream data and massaged it with good marketing practices. Instead of saying ‘Rishi, you looked at 12 GPS models and read 34 customer comments this year‘ which would creep me out they sent a generic marketing message giving me the illusion of an epiphany.

amazon email

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Email sign-ups — How To’s

Daily Candy sends image heavy emails so they need to make sure customers add them to their address books. And so Daily Candy (unlike other etailers) tells customers how to ‘add to address book’ on the sign-up page. Great great idea. Observe section in blue……

Daily Candy

This other example comes from daleandthomaspopcorn.com who, I believe, are the smartest food eTailers in the world. One would assume a shallow product-line like popcorn isn’t too exciting but boy did Dale and Thomas prove us wrong. Anyway, they have a neat little feature on their email signup page that allows customers to set the frequency of emails. It’s a very obvious idea but I cannot tell you how many retailers don’t bother asking…

dale-and-thomas-email-signup.png

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Solving Shopping Cart Abandonment Problem

Reviews influence shoppers…. 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. Additionally, consumers are willing to pay significantly more for services that are highly rated.

But what if a customer gets to a page with no reviews? My hunch is that this might have a negative effect… Here is one possible solution to that scenario….

Jane is a registered user and while on your site she adds an item (with no reviews) to her shopping cart… Now lets assume that for some unknown reason she abandons her shopping cart. A few days later Bill buys that same product and gives it a 5/5 rating. Conceivably seeing this favorable review might have prevented Jane from abandoning her shopping cart…

So we send her an email saying “Hey Jane, last week you were looking at *item* but did not buy it. At the time no customer had reviewed it. Since then *item* has had its first review and because you are a registered user we wanted to share the review with you. Product review is below…

Do you think this could reverse an abandoned shopping cart?

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Your Return has been Received

The same work colleague I referred to earlier got another email for a return confirmation. We both find this interesting because neither of us ever received a return confirmation before, please leave me a comment and let me know if you ever received such a notification from an eTailer.

Bill had an excellent idea: He believes the retailer could have added a line like “people who returned this ended up buying…”. I agree.

Steep and Cheap

Related article: The difference between good and great

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(Don’t) Mail To A Friend

Tiffany has a great website, great product-line and loyal customers. I can’t afford to shop there but was looking at Tiffany Mark Quartz resonator watch which retails for $11,650! Just for fun, I emailed the item to myself. For all their greatness someone in the company needs to update the ‘email this item’ interface. This is the email I received:

Tiffany

It should at least mention the name of the person who mailed this out.

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Email Marketing Open Rates Down, Down, Down

This year email open rates slipped another 3% and now stand (temporarily) at 16.11%.

I think marketers need to be cognizant of the fact that the amount of media people consume is going up while the hours in a day are not. Last month I started (finally) using the Google reader; as a result I now have access to more targeted blogs. Thanks to better targeting technologies we have less free time to idyllically read email promos from hardcore commercial retailers.

Retailers need to rethink their entire email marketing strategy. This drop in open rates is, without a doubt, a secular trend.

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Toward Higher Response Rates

Quantity centric attempts to improve email marketing effectiveness is far too scattered a strategy to ever have metric level dependability. However, it is true that people shop (more) when happy and this is an element marketers could consider when developing email marketing programs. And, it turns out, over a relatively large, related, sample size group behavior is astonishingly predictable. I call these events ‘Departure Trends‘.

For example, Ross-Simons Jewelers might realize that sending out emails promoting high ticket items to men in Chicago who are overjoyed by the Cubs entry into baseball championships has better response rates. Or that sending out emails when the weather is unexpectedly pleasant might lead to higher click-throughs; and conversely, local tragedies might make people respond sub-optimally.

Another idea would be to use market events as triggers. No one wants to buy when the markets are hitting new lows but this morning I heard the best market news all month and suddenly felt better. If I got an email announcing a sale I might just have bought the watch I’ve been saving for.

Most eCommerce sites are sophisticated enough to automatically send out an email reminders when customers abandon shopping carts. My suggestion is that they should hold onto the email till one of the events described above takes place.

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