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E-mail Marketing - Chinese New Year Clean Up

  |  February 1, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Are you guilty of these bad email practices?

It's a tradition before Chinese New Year that you clean things up and generally put your house in order; this is true for email marketing, too. So I approached our agency team to better understand what are some of those client bad habits that can bring disorder and disharmony. The things we would like to clean up as we approach the Year of the Rabbit.

Huge Single JPEG E-mails

We still get them! And are told to slice them up and send them out, sometimes little more than print ads. Many email clients and service providers still default to block images, so our reader sees precisely nothing - maybe just a subject line. The great thing about HTML is we can do all that stuff like copy, links, formatting, and, yes, images. Let's use it.

Sexy Web Technologies

JavaScript, Flash Page Flips, forms... these are all really cool on the Web and we love them. But email clients and corporate security people hate them in equal measure. At best, elements will not render or appear; at worst, you get blocked and our IP address white listing takes a hammering. Sorry guys, we won't send them! We have HTML5 for that sort of thing.

A Call to Action

Please let us put a call to action in there for you. This is the direct business and we live by results. We were once asked to send out stuff with nothing in the way of a response - a click-through, anything to engage the customer and the relationship. At least we insist on putting the unsubscribe link on the bottom.

Those Fancy Corporate Fonts

Our good friends in the glamorous, above-the-line advertising world love to produce copy in fantastic fonts, with equally fantastic names. Problem is, being non-system, they are not on everyone's (anyone's) PC and they render all wrong. One pig ugly email. "Send it as an image they say." There are lots of great fonts on Windows, we can find one for you that is pretty close to your corporate font; honestly, nobody will notice.

Dubious Performance Expectations

A client took away a broadcast from us once, because they had another agency that was able to send it, not only cheaper, but their reporting verified that an entire and fairly large broadcast had generated zero, yes zero, bounce backs. Hard, soft, whatever... possibly they didn't even send it! We are all for clean data and good performance, let's use the reporting and the data to understand how we can continuously improve upon it.

Monster Downloads

We had a client that wanted to have a monster-sized animated GIF on the email. We warned them, but they insisted. Since the tracking pixel is the last one to download, they achieved some notoriety with a 'technically' zero opening rate. Everyone gave up on the email. Let's keep it light, fluffy, and quick to load. We don't all have fiber in our homes. Put the heavy stuff on a landing page.

War and Peace in One E-mail

Sometimes they just pile it in, pages and pages of it. All good content but way too much of it. All the tests make it absolutely clear that attention span is evaporating wildly as we page down, if we bother at all. E-mail is about relevancy and timeliness, if we have that much great content, we should be versioning and targeting. It will get better results.

All this, of course, hits results. And for all of us, email is about working hard, being effective, being considerate, and getting results...whilst always being true to the brand values. One of the more successful emails we manage has travel agents printing it out and faxing it to their clients; we like that, cross media integration or something!

We love our clients, even when we argue about all of the above with them. Perhaps some email marketing workshops to kick off the Year of the Rabbit are in order. Here's wishing you a prosperous new year and a hope that your email marketing is as productive as our friend - Mr Rabbit. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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Stephen Hay

Stephen Hay is Asia Pacific regional director for ICLP, the award-winning global loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM) agency. Stephen came into loyalty at Cathay Pacific when e-mail was still something that people in research labs used to send to each other and direct mail was still king.

ICLP works with some of the world's leading customer-focused brands, including Cathay Pacific, Mandarin Oriental, and Juniper Networks; looking to bring brands and customers closer together into a more mutually beneficial and more profitable relationship. Stephen takes a customer point of view on almost everything, not always universally popular, but proven time and again to be the basis for a sustainable, profitable, long-term relationship.

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