Open Letter to Facebook (Per Your Email Program)

  |  May 5, 2011   |  Comments

Your email marketing stinks. Here are five ways to fix it.

Dear Facebook,

We get it that you may be worth $100 billion and that your future looks bright. Well, so does email marketing. I know you are busy, but I wanted to share a few metrics to convince you to properly invest in your email marketing efforts:

  • Email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74 percent of all online adults. Source: Merkle
  • Nearly two-thirds of companies will increase spending on email marketing, and 57 percent will put more dollars toward social media marketing in 2011. Source: StrongMail
  • Facebook is the most commonly used social media site to be integrated into email campaigns, with 80 percent of North American online marketers having used it. Source: Lyris
  • Nearly half of daily deal subscribers were excited enough about them that they said they "can't wait" to see the latest deals in the messages. Sources: Yahoo Mail and Ipsos OTX MediaCT
  • The vast majority of responding companies (72 percent) rate email as "excellent" or "good" for return on investment. Source: Econsultancy
  • Email marketing generated an ROI of $ 42.08 in 2010. Source: DMA
  • 63 percent of mobile email users check the account a minimum of once per day. Source: Merkle
  • 94 percent of daily email users subscribed to marketing messages. Source: ExactTarget

I can let your COO's comment about email dying pass. I can also acknowledge that email is changing and that your Messages platform is evolving with it. However, email is a huge part of what your 500 million plus members do on your network. You can do better.

You slowly embraced email with a weekly Facebook page update and that was a decent start. Now, that you have launched Deals and are diving into the daily deals space, you really get it that email will be the way for local advertisers to reach your members' inboxes. But guess what? To put it kindly, your email marketing stinks.

In the interest of constructive criticism, I have offered up some advice (Free - ends today!) below on how to get with the program and leverage this most powerful channel, not just use it as a necessary evil.

Creative needs some oomph. Your brand is a global and powerful one. Heck, you had a movie made essentially about it. The emails, though, scream for more and in my humble opinion look like they were developed by a couple of high school dudes in Word doc with an image (clip art of astroturf!) thrown in. Surely, you have the resources and assets to take it to the next level and beyond).


Calls to action. Okay, old school email practices aren't your thing. But these emails cry for more calls to action, maybe another button, and something visually compelling that get people to learn more and take advantage of these offers. Remember, links above the fold will be seen more.

Target. This is necessary for better, more relevant offers. Wait, a minute. Facebook, you know my birthday, where I work, and even what my kids look like. Surely, you can deliver to me some more targeted and customized offers based on this treasure trove of data you keep on me and others, right? Let's use that for good use not just conversations with Congress.

Give some love to the copy and messaging. Not sure how the email, below, would be sharable for sports fans. It also appears you are reusing the same pre-header for very different offers. "Buy a deal, invite your friends, and have new adventures" is pretty lame for a Keith Urban concert, Falcons game, and a local café offer tease.


Add secondary and/or local content. This could be the way to show that you have some skin in the game. This is a localized marketing effort and these emails (Atlanta deals, at least) sure scream that they were created on the left coast without boots (and care) on the ground in Georgia. Rival Scoutmob uses its quirky brand persona to demonstrate its local prowess while LivingSocial provides additional deals as opposed to just one in the event they miss the mark.



I could go on. But let's see what my loyal readers have to offer, too, and see where you take these ideas. Please know I will continue to read these - at least for another week or two as most of the offers prove to be off-target to me and I know you know a lot about me. You have a lot of competition and I want you to realize you have to be good at email marketing for this to work, regardless of your strengths in building community and offering cool functionality.

Yours truly,

Simms Jenkins

Deals subscriber



Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of and, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at and

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