Michael Kors Gets in Front of Gmail Change

GmailUsers

Michael Kors smartly addressed the recent changes Gmail made to its email platform, because as the question above relayed some people are so busy they may not have even noticed. What did Gmail do?

GmailTabs

Gmail divided all your incoming emails into three categories:

  •  Primary: Emails from known contacts (friends, family, work)
  •  Social: Emails and notifications from all social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  • Promotions: Emails from online retailers, travel sites, etc.

While this does unclutter my desktop inbox, I often forget to even look at the other tabs. While browsing Gmail on my mobile, all messages flow into one feed, so when I get home and check my messages again on my desktop — I get confused.

“Didn’t I see an email for a $50 spa day earlier? Where did it go?”

I’m also more likely to make an online purchase on my desktop when I get home. And if that Michael Kors email is not in my Primary tab, but in Promotions — it’s forgotten.

PromotionalEmails

This is obviously affecting retailers’ email open rates and conversion, such as Michael Kors, who decided to get in front of the challenge with this email sent to its users. They wisely illustrate how to move ALL Michael Kors emails to Primary going forward with 2 simple steps — Drag and Confirm:

MichaelKorsEmail

Michael Kors clearly demonstrates an email best practice — communicating changes to your subscribers, and provides a solution in 2 Easy Steps. Michael Kors, you’ve made my DigiDay! And yes, I will move you to “Primary”.

Rainbow

Advertisements

8 Tips to Successfully Market Your Event Online

Everyone loves a good party and every advertiser loves a good event. It all sounds great in theory, but it’s the execution that ensures the success of future events. So how does one go about successfully marketing an event online when there are dozens of evites sent out daily? Here are some tips using Time Out New York as an example.

#1: Think About User Behavior Before You Hit Send

As an email marketer, you need to get inside your reader’s head. Fortunately, there is plenty of data to back up open rate metrics, but common sense applies, especially when it comes to food and beer. For example, at 5:41PM today I saw this message in my inbox from Time Out New York:

BattleofTheBugerSubjectlIne

While I may have dismissed this email earlier in the day, they hit me right where it matters — the stomach! After 5pm, a burger and Amstel Light are two keywords that are more likely to make me salivate. Use this behavioral reasoning when choosing your “send” time. If you’re hosting a networking breakfast event a month from now, send the invitation in the morning when coffee and eggs are on the brain. It’s a simple strategy and it works.

#2: Create An Event Logo and Use It As Primary Branding

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression. A logo quickly brands your event and pops out from a bevy of text. If I read nothing past the first two inches from Time Out New York, I know BATTLE of the BURGER is the event. The logo establishes authenticity, trust, and the event name is memorable, telling you what it is. The imagery is also simple — straight to the stomach. Score another point.

TimeOutNYemail

#3: Have One Primary Call-to-Action

Time Out New York is inviting you to “VOTE NOW!”  In the copy, they tease with “score your ticket,” so there’s more reasons to click.  But the primary call-to-action is in bold red and pushes you to proceed.

#4: Create a Natural Sponsor Tie-in

What goes better with burgers than beer? Amstel Light’s sponsorship doesn’t feel forced or artificial, like having this event sponsored by say Ford, when burgers and cars don’t mix and often make a mess.  The email states the event is “Presented by Amstel Light” and as a potential attendee that will only make me happier because it means there will be plenty of BEER!

#5: Make the Landing Page Consistent with the Email

A bad user experience occurs when you click on something and are taken somewhere completely different than expected. This promotion is seamless because the same branding that appeared in the email flowed to the landing page. The page skin is visually stimulating (if you’re hungry), and in the browser tab you’ll see the page is hosted on TimeOut.com/NewYork. They didn’t dupe readers and send them to Amstel Light or a random burger microsite.

Battle-of-the-Burger

#6: Make the Voting Process EASY

If there are too many fields and the user has to click “next page”, they’ll be gone and at Burger King faster than the page loads. Beware of the abandonment rate when posting online voting and/or surveys. You can always reduce the number of questions/fields if the bounce rate is high.  In this promotion, Time Out used Survey Monkey, which is easy to implement and FREE if under 10 questions.

Vote-NY-Best-Burgers

They could have made it easier to scan by ordering it alphabetically by restaurant — even though users are voting for “best burger.” What’s interesting is you have to submit your email to vote, but then you will also be receiving emails from Time Out. That’s a flaw! There should be an opt-in box underneath where users have the choice if they want to receive emails.

The positive on the voting element is making the user feel part of the event experience and in-book coverage. They will be contributing to who gets crowned “Best Burger.”  (The finalists had already chosen through reader polls.)

#7: Drive Ticket Sales and Attendance

At the top of the landing page is a clear “Click Here to Buy Tickets” with the Time Out New York logo prominently displayed. Again this stresses the trust factor and builds off the reputation of their existing events. The link drives to “Time Out Offers” which is their version of Google Offers.

TimeOutNYOffer

This makes sense for a property such as Time Out whose platform is promoting local events. This doesn’t make sense for others, so I wouldn’t suggest running  an “Offers” program for any brand. But creating a sense of urgency to get tickets is key!

If your event is FREE, you still need to stress the sense of urgency — limited space, limited seats, limited giveaways, etc. People are more likely to show up when they have paid, even if it’s just $5, so perhaps it’s offering a special premium item at your event for $5.

#8: Hold Your Event at a Desirable Location

Battle of the Burger is being held at Hudson Hotel’s new beer garden, Hudson Common. COOL EVENT, HOT SPOT. That’s a one-two killer event punch. Not only do you get all the beer and burgers you can eat for $35, you get access into a venue that everyone (well at least on the West Side) is trying to get into.

Congrats, TimeOut NY and Amstel Light, you made my DigiDay! And yes, I am ordering my tickets right now!!

Rainbow

EMAIL MARKETING: DON’T BE THRIFTY!

Don’t be Thrifty, and I mean that literally. This morning, I received an email from Thrifty Car Rental offering me a free day. A born and bred New Yorker, I was instantly skeptical. Besides, I have a Zipcar account and the name Thrifty suggests I may be driving a deathtrap, especially if they’re offering me a FREE ride. So I deleted it a few seconds after scanning it.

A few minutes ago, I received this email message in my INBOX:

OopsThrifty

Seeing the “mistake” part, I opened immediately to read this LAME email:

THRIFTYEMAIL

So Thrifty, you offered me a “free rental” by MISTAKE, it’s not valid and I should accept your apology? How about, I’ve never used your rental car service and never will. Great first impression. You spam me (or your incompetent email marketing manager did), and then you offer me nothing, but your apology. Understandably if 10,000 people took you up on the free rental you might go out of business. But how about $10 off? Or some other incentive. That may have introduced 500 new customers.

Thrifty, you have gotten my attention, but in a negative way, and now I’m writing about it and sharing this story with my friends. I’m what you didn’t want to happen. I’m the annoyed, non-customer who has a blog and a social media following spreading news of your blunder.

Email marketers, learn from Thrifty, be EXTRA CAUTIOUS before you hit SEND. If you do make a mistake, offer a consolation prize besides your apology.

THRIFTY, you did not make my digiday! Take a lesson from Zipcar, they send great emails.

Rainbow

Digital Fail of the Day: LinkedIn Birthday Reminders!

Digital Fail #1: LinkedIn “Birthday Announcements” delivered via email. LinkedIn is for professional networking. Birthday reminders are annoying enough on Facebook. I don’t need to receive an email every day listing a random contact’s birthday. It has nothing to do with their career, their company or their personal achievements — except living another year longer. Let Facebook keep that one. If I begin to see 80 “Happy Birthday Mate!” posts in my LinkedIn newsfeed, I will check it less, not more. They have made some very wise content moves lately — this is not one of them.

LinkedIn_Birthday

Digital Fail #2: Someone sent me a link to an article on HuffPo that’s gone viral (the always popular premarital sex debate). But when the article loaded, all I could think was “Ugh, L’Oreal’s creative threw up all over the page.” This is one of the worst “skins” I’ve ever seen. There’s way too much copy, too many faces and too many call-to-action buttons. The only excuse would be if this were for a pharma product, they legally need all that copy!

Loreal_huffPo

A digital Skin should have one main image on the left and copy on the right, that’s how a human eye scans the page. The creative images should not be repeated in the banner ads, but synched in the messaging. Would you want to flip through a magazine and see the same ad four places in a row. The same logic that applies in print works online. And there should be ONE “Find us on Facebook” — not three! It’s obvious that this creative was designed without thinking about the page takeover on a whole. FAIL!

UPDATE: Apparently someone else agrees, because 20 minutes later and I can’t find the skin anywhere else on the site.

C’mon LinkedIn and L’Oreal — don’t just do it to do it, have a digital strategy in place. You both ruined my DigiDay!

Rainbow

Emails That Make Me Shop!

In an attempt to restrict my online shopping addiction, I unsubscribed myself from all flash sale type emails over a year ago. Goodbye Gilt Groupe, Living Social, Google Daily Deals, Bloomspot, etc. Since then only one has won me back —  Rue La La.

In an inbox inundated with offers and junk, their subject lines continually attract me. Here’s today’s:

RuelalaSubjectLine

This email subject line has all the key components to click success:

  • Alliteration
  • A number (countdown) providing a sense of urgency
  • And quirkiness — “ship (and shop) with abandon.”

Just when I thought I couldn’t stuff one more thing into my suitcase for Memorial Day, they had me reconsidering…and I CLICKED right into all of today’s sales. The big bonus is when you sign up for Rue La La, they offer 30 days of Free Shipping, hence the 7 day countdown and personalized email for me. I’m sure my email address was pulled out of a very organized database for today’s offer. Big data works and they’re doing a great job.

Ruelalaemail

They also provide multiple boutiques to visit daily, “Today’s Fix” and the opportunity to sign up for flash sale reminders (text or email alerts) — genius! “Cole Haan starts at 11am!”

RueLaLaReminders

Rue La La, you’ve made my DigiDay!

Rainbow

Email Marketing: Don’t Hit Unsubscribe!

At around 3am every morning, I am awoken by a vibrating stir on my nightstand. And that’s when I know it’s started — the daily onslaught of email marketing. I confess to checking my iPhone while half-conscious, not for these messages, but always for the hope of that one magical email that will change the trajectory of my life…still waiting.

By 9am, I’m in mass-delete mode, and on more aggressive days “unsubscribe”/”spam” mode. Email marketing is extremely subjective, what makes one person open and click makes someone else blind.  Let’s take a look inside my inbox to see who made the cut.

3:55am: From Victoria’s Secret (as if my real mailbox isn’t already inundated with three identical catalogs a week)

Subject Line: Final hours for free shipping on $25 /Victoria’s Secret

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.12.35 PM

Impression: Is this email for me or my boyfriend? Maybe they sent this at 3:55am because they knew I’d be half asleep and delirious enough to think that if I purchased this white bikini, New York City will suddenly become the Caribbean and I will be transformed into a tan, blonde, size 0 whose only worry is keeping my bikini bottom tied.

Layout: Bold, clean, beautiful, and yes, aspirational (I really do want to be somewhere with turquoise water and hot sand). The call-to-actions are in different colors and sales-oriented — FREE SHIPPING ON $25, SPRING ON SALE, FREE SECRET REWARD CARD. I also like that the email is laid out like their web site, when you click on any link you are taken to the real version.

Grade: B+

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7:11am: From LinkedIn

Subject Line: Jack Welch: What It Really Takes to Succeed/LinkedIn Influencers

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Impression:  Jack Welch rings a bell…and admittedly only because of that Competitive Strategy class I took last semester. Was it GE he ran?  I am a fan of the Influencers series, a really smart move by LinkedIn in creating original content — and content that is valuable.

Layout: Clean, lots of white space, simple headshots and titles of other “CEOs” I may want to follow. This resembles the emails Twitter immediately sends after you follow someone.

Grade: A  (LinkedIn is employing an algorithm to recommend CEOs in the industries I search)

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8:36am: From Mediabistro

Subject Line: Morning Media Newsfeed

Mediabistro

Impression: While not pretty, this email serves its purpose — its headlines are easily “scannable” and the summaries are compiled well enough that I don’t have to click more just to get an overview of a story. I read this EVERY day without fail, usually on the subway. Unfortunately, the news has slanted more to layoffs in the past 24  months, but is does offers an aggregate summary of what’s what in publishing, broadcast media, public relations and digital.

Layout: The bigger media stories of the day are posted in order of prominence. There are no images, just text, and hyperlinks if you want to read more. Their summaries are pretty thorough in giving you the jist of the story, as opposed to other newsletters like Business Insider who provide five words to get you to click for more.

Grade: B+  (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it)

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3:06pm: From NYC & Company

Subject Line: This is New York City: Spring 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.37.01 PM

Impression: I don’t remember when i signed up for this e-newsletter, probably when I was more motivated to “explore” the city. Every time I think of unsubscribing, something in the copy catches my eye, and I figure, hey you never know, they may have something I want to do later. It’s more tourist-focused than insider-based Timeout NY, but sometimes you want to be a tourist in your own city. When was the last time you visited the Statue of Liberty? Uh-huh, when you were in camp. That’s what I thought.

Layout: I love the bright yellow accents, it pops and it works. Also the images speak for themselves and lighten the copy.

Grade: A

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5:18PM: From Zipcar

Subject Line:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.47.30 PM

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Impression: This email is personalized because I’m a registered Zipcar member. They smartly sent it out after 5pm when I’m more likely to think of renting one of their vehicles to get out of Dodge! Zipcar only makes $$ when I reserve a car and take a spin on the town, so it’s important that they keep reminding me that they’re my “get of town” card.

Layout: It’s clean on a white background, with bold orange headlines and call-outs. I like their language usage/play on words, “staycation all I ever wanted” adapted from an 80s song…the Go-Gos. Do they know I was a child of the 80s??

Grade: B+

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12:25am: From YELP

Subject Line: Spring Forward, Tip One Back!

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Impression: Why send this at 12:25am? Maybe they want to be first in someone’s inbox in the morning…or even late at night, but neither slot is when I’m thinking, “Ah, need to make restaurant reservations!”  I think a mid-afternoon send out would make more sense, but maybe the analytics prove midnight is their sweet spot.

Layout: Overall, it’s very cluttered, and speaking for someone who has a short attention span, my eyes glazed over at the scrolling paragraphs. I do like how they highlight a chosen restaurant from multiple neighborhoods, so that no matter where your friends are pushing to meet — you have a spot. Making use of their user-generated content is a given, and further promotes their authenticity. The Kia banner ad isn’t a contextual fit, but everyone’s got to make money, so whatever keeps Yelp alive.

Grade: C

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You can learn a lot about yourself from your inbox. These companies aren’t blindly spamming, they have paid thousands of dollars to gather insight on your psychographics, buying patterns and click behavior, so indulge…just a little bit. To them, it’s not about having the “prettiest” email, it all comes down to click-thru and conversion. Click and keep an email marketer employed!

LinkedIn, your continual product innovation and tailored email deployment is paving the way. Thank you, you’ve made my DigiDay!

Rainbow