Entries from Category Email Marketing
Citrix Gets Email Marketing Right, Then Wrong
Last month I received a message from Citrix about the renewal of my GoToMyPC account.
After having success with GoToMeeting at Three Deep, I signed up for their GoToMyPC service in order to be able to remotely access my home computer while at work or traveling.
The service is very slick and easy to use, but I haven’t really used it nearly as much as I intended while signing up. In fact, I can’t remember the last time that I actually used the service.
When I received a renewal email from them last month mentioning about how I could save money, I was intrigued. Maybe I could actually save money on this service that I rarely use if I switch plans.
I was appreciative the gesture, but not really motivated to re-up for another year of the service at any price if I wasn’t going to use it.
That’s why I was stunned when I read down further in the email and noticed that if I did not log into my account in the next few weeks, they would cancel my account for me automatically!
While this may not sound convenient to some, I was amazed by the honesty deployed Citrix in this situation. They were more than willing to sacrifice their own revenue in order to make me happy. That is extremely rare these days.
Believe it or not, without this email, they would have likely had a sale from me for another year, because I keep GoToMyPC around simply as a safety net and a guard against the unknown. It appears that this is not necessary, because I should be able to renew my account quickly in the event that I need to access my PC while away from home.
How many companies have you ever seen do this?
It’s a rarity these days to see such refreshing honesty. The only other company that I have seen make this kind of concession to a customer is actually my colleagues at Three Deep. There have been times where we have sacrificed our own revenue in order to do the right thing for our clients. Citrix appears to be one of those companies as well.
Then They Went Back on Their Word
It didn’t take me long to get confused by the Citrix/GoToMyPC gang. The next day I received an email from them telling me that plan was going to renew on March 6th (the same day as before).
So what does that mean? Am I renewing or am I leaving?
It turns out that Citrix actually did renew my account for another year, in spite of their well crafted and thoughtful email the day before. So, I had to pay for another year of renewal for a service that I don’t use, even though their well crafted email said otherwise.
This is Much Worse Than No Email Marketing at All
I would argue that Citrix would have been much better off sending me no email at all. Not only have they given me false hope, their system flat out lied to me. They said if I do nothing, I will not be charged. Then they told me I would be charged the next day.
And charge they did.
What would you do in this situation? I actually started writing this blog post out of praise for Citrix, but now I am venting my frustration. Next step is emailing them a link to this article!
Amazon uses Animated GIFs in their email marketing
Last night I received an email from Amazon that I viewed on my smartphone showcasing their upcoming Black Friday deals. It looked fairly standard in presentation, with a television, a computer and a tablet showcased in the email. Being in marketing, we see hundreds of presentations, blog posts and emails that have similar pictures. We are in a multi-device world, blah blah. But what made Amazon’s email different was that the image on all 3 of the screens displayed in their email were animated GIFs! These images rendered beautifully on my phone, with the animations seamlessly working with little noticeable effect on download time. When I got home, I noticed the same thing in my Mac mail client. Beautiful animation. Even though the email is simply an enticement for me to go to Amazon’s website and purchase, I have kept it in my inbox so that I can constantly refer back to it as a good example of inviting emails. That is something that almost never happens for email marketing campaigns.
Are Animated GIFs the future of Email Marketing?
This remains to be seen. While both animated GIFs and Email Marketing are more than 15 years old, I rarely recall seeing them working in harmony in email marketing campaigns. I am guessing this is for a few reasons:
- Not all email clients can render animated GIFs – it may even be that the majority of email clients do not render them properly (we’re talking about you, Outlook)
- It takes much more time to create them – While many marketers work off an editorial calendar, rarely do you have the time needed to plan out, animate and code an individual emails
- Creative, strategy and delivery teams are not coordinated – Creative may be in a different department (or different agency) than strategy and delivery, and they may not talk to each other during the email creation process
- Fear of Change – Maybe companies are just afraid to implement something so radical?
Because the cycle of planning and sending emails is often date driven and under the gun to get out on time, it becomes very difficult to add extra frills to the campaign. Animated GIFs add extra time that many people simply do not have available. Amazon is able to do this because they likely have a tightly integrated team who is able to plan out these executions. As is the case with most E-commerce innovation, Amazon is clearly a leader in email marketing for e-commerce as well.
How do I get Animated GIFS in my Email Marketing?
Try starting with a full service agency that has creative, strategy and delivery services under one roof. Three Deep has developed all of these core competencies into our email marketing team, our teams sit right next to each other, and we would love the opportunity to take on your groundbreaking and challenging email marketing campaigns!
I attended the 10th Annual MIMA Summit last week and a lot has changed since the last time I attended in 2009. Mainly, the number of presenters and attendees has steadily increased though one thing remained constant: the presenters did not divulge their top secrets. After going to close to 2-4 conferences and workshops a year for the past 4-5 years I have learned that the people presenting will rarely offer their specific marketing formulas to success. Which is fine, because I also would not give away my secret tips and tricks unless there was an opportunity to work together, so I look for presenters to offer different ways to approach basic themes and topics… bottom line, I enjoy the thought provoking presenters. If the presenter can make me re-think something I previously had a firm opinion on, I appreciate it.
Re-Thinking Email with Dela Quist
That is the main reason I enjoyed Dela Quist’s presentation at the MIMA Summit. Dela is the founder and CEO of Alchemy Worx in London which, according to its website, is the only digital marketing agency with a 100% focus on email marketing. Like most presenters, he did not give specific details on what his agency does to drive results for their clients; however he did present the theory of the Nudge Effect, which is the influence of subject lines in unopened emails on recipients.
The Nudge Effect
Since most emails go unopened, subject lines should be viewed as opportunities to influence future consumer behavior through on and offline channels. The challenge in optimizing the subject line for future behavior is to provide enough information that the subscriber retains in and acts on in. Some examples are: “Best deals in store all week” and “Huge savings this weekend only online”. The recipient may not open the email but knows to go to the store or online for savings, promoting future engagement in both off and online channels… and what I particularly like the most, you can attribute the email back to an increase in online and in-store sales.
Another example of subject lines influencing future behavior is to include a certain phrase or word in every subject line. For example, if you are promoting recipes, why not include, “Best recipes – …” at the beginning of every subject line? The point is that even though the recipient does not open the email, they continually see Best recipes next to your brand name in the from-address and will think of your brand when they need a recipe in the future. I have to be honest that initially I was a little skeptic on the idea because the repetition lacks any creativity; however I warmed up to the idea after thinking about it and applying to a testing scenario. Why not apply it to a historically less engaged segment? It may not necessarily spark opens and clicks on that email, but it may drive traffic to the website or store?
Reflection on Dela Quist’s Presentation
So how did this provoke thought in me? Like I mentioned above, perhaps incorporating a repetitive phrase in the subject line in less engaged segments will generate interaction, but more specifically it could be another testing or segmentation strategy. The bottom line is that the Nudge Effect is not a silver bullet for email strategy; however it is something to take it into consideration when developing email tactics.
Did you attend Dela Quist’s presentation at the MIMA Summit? We’d love to know your thoughts! Feel free to share in the comments below.
View more MIMA Summit posts.
Welcome to the tenth edition of The Search, a weekly recap of all the interesting posts from the areas we deal with most: paid search, project management, social media, SEO, email, and mobile marketing. Check back each week to stay on top of the latest and greatest techniques in online marketing so that you can improve your skills and better serve your clients. Enjoy!
Except for Microsoft trying it hardest to take us back to the dark ages of email with Outlook rendering, I believe email IS slowly creeping forward in technology advancement. Maybe even at the perfect pace.
The fact is that email marketing is still ranking second behind SEO in ROI (Return on Investment) for digital marketing tactics… NOT Social Media. NOT Direct Mail.
This strong ROI can be attributed to the sustainability of the medium because it allows for all generations to participate and not feel “awkward.” This can be contrasted by the awkwardness is shown by those people new to Twitter and Facebook (for reference, just pay attention to posts from new users of these services). Since email is used by all generations of people and is the predominant form of electronic written communication, it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
Perhaps it’s difficult to remember how much email has evolved over the years. Back in 1993, we had UNIX based email systems, and very simple POP clients that made for fairly basic email layouts of mostly text. As time went on, we incorporated graphics to the point of emails becoming 100% images. Then came the day of image blocking and email marketers everywhere were forced to look for other methods to maintain or improve open and click rates while images were hidden. For the past few years, most marketers have settled into their own mixture of text and images within their emails.
But change is once again imminent and we are on the cusp of moving forward into the future with the following innovations in email.
Continue Reading Email Marketing is Antiquated? Think Again! →
I fly several times a month for business and personal travel, and nearly all of my flights are with Delta Airlines (previously Northwest Airlines). With miles accrued via flights, credit cards, special offers, hotels, dining, etc. I had hundreds of thousands of miles that were burning a hole in my pocket.
I decided to use these miles this January to secure two round trip tickets to Santiago, Chile (one for me and one for my dad). My trip to Chile and Argentina was epic in scope and ambition (2400 miles in 7 days, crossed the Andes twice, took hundreds of pictures and even managed to catch the Minnesota Vikings playoff game en Español). It was also an epic drain on my miles balance; to the tune of draining my mileage balance down towards 0 miles.
Continue Reading Delta Airlines Email Marketing Had Me and Lost Me →
I read a very interesting article the other day on the Marketing Sherpa blog highlighting how social media and email work together. Some of the takeaways that stuck with me are statistics that were found in Merkle’s study “View from the Social Inbox 2010”:
- 42% of social media users check their email four times a day or more as opposed to 27% of those that do not use social media
- 63% indicated that their email address for social media is the same for opt-in permission based email
What does this mean and how do they relate to each other?
First the obvious: social media users are two times more likely to be checking their email at least four times per day, disproving the long standing notion that email deployment should only occur Monday – Friday and in the morning.
Since social media users are regularly checking their inbox, email campaigns can be deployed at non-traditional times (evenings and weekends), with greater confidence that they will be viewed, and even better, acted upon.
For example, if a restaurant would like to offer a special for the weekend, they can deploy an email Friday afternoon knowing customers on their distribution lists will view their email.
Given this information, experimenting with non-traditional email send times can dramatically increase the ROI of certain campaigns.
Continue Reading Making Social Media and Email Work Together →