email marketing

Origins Tax Day Email | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on April 17, 2018

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

Short one today, because I had to share this email from Origins that made me chuckle.

It’s Tax Day, and the subject line of this email is “Tax Day Is Here! Have You Checked Your Balances?” The email is a big promotional piece on their Checks & Balances face wash. This is so cute and smart and I am all for anything that takes a boring/slightly negative thing and turn it into an opportunity to tie it in with a product promotion. (Please see this blog post about what not to do with sad things like celebrity deaths.)

Good job, Origins!

 

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Fathom Events Email Issues | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on October 18, 2017

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Another week, another email to analyze. This one was really odd, so let’s get into it.

Subject Line

“Welcome to Fathom Events” is a strange choice, because I’ve been signed up for emails from them for ages.

Fathom Events Logo in Header

This logo isn’t a link! This irritates me every time. If you’re going to put a logo in the upper left corner of anything, make it a link.

Messaging re: Customizing Account

This is a great option, especially for Fathom Events, which is a company that schedules special broadcasts in movie theatres. I could certainly dial in my preferences for events that I want to know about, and so I appreciate the heads up.

Follow Us on Social Media Callout

That there aren’t links to said social channels built in to the email right where it suggests that we connect on social channels is a miss.

Coming Soon

This is where it goes really downhill. All 4 of those events took place in July. I was genuinely excited to see the Angels in America listing, only to find out that it happened months ago. I then clicked the others to find out that they are all from the past.

Design

It seems disjointed, to be honest. The “Fathom Events is original programming” in the center seems weirdly placed to me.

——

Overall, I am confused about the timing of when I’m receiving this email, unhappy about the content issues, and unimpressed by the design. I highly recommend that the folks at Fathom Events take a look at this, especially if it is automated, and create a better experience. I think the Fathom Events service is a wonderful idea and I am very much looking forward to attending more of their events in the future, so hopefully their communications improve in the future.

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Ulta Password Change Email | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on October 12, 2017

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Another email today, but I want to talk about both the email itself, and the action that Ulta has taken here. Take a look at the email and let’s discuss.

OK, here we go.

Design

I love this email’s design. I love a good combination of fonts and recognize the ability to do that is a skill that not everyone has. The color scheme is very on-brand for Ulta, and I find the email to have the perfect balance of images paired with what is approaching too much text. I’ll give them a pass because it is an important message.

Content

I have not received too many “we are forcing a password change on you” emails, and the feeling I have is a mixture of “thanks” and also “wait, is there a reason for this that you aren’t telling me?”

This is certainly a  good way for an e-commerce site that stores credit card data to proactively try and prevent themselves from being involved in any password scandals that can result from people using the same password for everything.

I am naturally suspicious though, so my first thought was that something already happened and they came up with a brilliant way to spin that they changed everyone’s passwords.

Have you received a forced password change from any other e-commerce sites you shop on? Tweet me about it.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

Tone-deafness in promotional emails isn’t new. I was reminded recently that it isn’t just about making tone considerations when you’re composing new emails, but to be mindful of previously created or scheduled content that may suddenly become either very strange or just not appropriate for a certain time frame.

Case in point, I got this email from Sonesta on Friday, September 8th. This was not a day after we were bombarded with news and images regarding absolute devastation on the island of St. Maarten.

I absolutely understand the concept of scheduled email content, as I create it myself, but whoever is in charge of said content also needs to be aware of major events in the world, particularly those that are impacting your business. Scheduling content is great, but the price you pay is having content go out at inappropriate times. There are many unfortunate news events in the world that take place, where brands sending out happy emails about sales and whatnot just feels wrong to me as a consumer, so I have a process in which I check my plan for scheduled content as soon as I think something relevant has happened.

It’s a question of appropriateness and tone once again, and seems to be especially ridiculous when this message is from the company that owns a property in a place that has been destroyed. I have been to St Maarten and it was so beautiful. I hope that the islanders are able to recover and flourish once again, as quickly as is possible.

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Today’s email topic is one that I’ve wanted to talk about for some time, and a recent email that I received from Peter Thomas Roth was the perfect jumping off point.

Let’s take a look:

It is a nice message, apologizing for website issues, and offering a special free gift with any purchase to make amends.

Here’s where I get into the email marketing conspiracy theory. Did the website really have issues? I have received enough of these emails that I don’t necessarily think that these are real issues every time.

I absolutely understand the struggle of increasing engagement with promotional emails, with seeing your emails getting lost in inboxes, never to be opened or clicked on. In response to the current online environment of people (unfortunately) looking to pounce on anything that someone has done “wrong,” perhaps the open rates on emails admitting fault are impressive and worth the potential risk of someone thinking you should not have had an issue in the first place.

I see a few different scenarios in which people open this email:

  • “Ooh, what did they screw up?” (see above)
  • “Ooh, they’re sorry about something, will I get something out of it?”
  • A genuine responder who had an issue related to the content of the email
  • The rare individual who opens all emails from a specific company

Is the “sorry” email a sad development in the evolution of email marketing? I’d love to know what you think. Let’s chat on Twitter.

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