This week, we have a love letter with straightforward instructions on how to deliver - and receive - more love in the inbox.
Dear Brand That I Care Enough About to Tell You How Much I Love You,
Last week, I wasn't reserved in pointing out faults and areas of improvement for many email marketers. This week it is time for my love letter. I love email and I love when brands do email right - or at least try to. So here are some things that make me (and other smart email subscribers) love you. (Marketers, keep working hard for inbox love.)
Jay Jhun, vice president at BrightWave and owner of the best email handle on Twitter, loves Pandora emails where a link to a specific playlist or song opens up the app automatically. "Want to get some ROI on that app you built? Implement URL schemes (iOS), Intent (Android), and URI (Windows)," he suggests.
Preference centers are often one of the great mysteries of the digital world. Well-intended and strategic in origin, they often tend to be the place where data goes to die. Big or small data doesn't matter. It matters what you do with it, and we tend to ask for preferences and then ignore them. The best email programs and those we adore offer plenty of choices and then...drumroll...honor them.
For bonus points, Julia Bray of BrightWave is not alone in wanting to control the frequency of the brands she invites to her inbox. She loves being able to turn up or down the email noise. How could anyone argue with that sentiment? Now let's hope more brands follow Ms. Bray's hopeful wish.
As I previously mentioned, BlueHornet and Forrester's research found 70 percent of consumers delete a mobile email when it doesn't look good and 18 percent unsubscribe. That means almost nine out of every 10 subscribers are having some kind of negative reaction based on an appearance. A strong majority of people I talk to from a consumer lens say they are reading a large percentage of their emails on their smartphones. They, of course, are checking multiple times a day (if not in outright persistent checking mode) and if the email doesn't look good on their mobile device, they likely will ignore it.
Nearly everyone looks for a simple, crisp, and easy way to determine the value of an email within a few seconds. Determining this is harder than it looks, and too many companies are focused on pleasing their internal stakeholders rather than delivering awesomeness to their subscribers' inbox.
Appearance matters. We all know that.
Laura Giles of BrightWave loves the following: Animated GIFs, awesome imagery, proper white space, and not too many options or navigational choices to select from. The best email marketers sweat the details and know incremental improvements and touches can be the difference between a conversion and someone you let slip away. Several people commended retailers J. Crew and Crate and Barrel as two brands that that stand out for their striking emails that match well with their brands.
We all have so many choices for media consumption. Too many if you ask me, but hey, I just turned 40 so I am a digital old-timer. I love a brand that is not only consistent in its voice across all channels but demonstrates its unique personality across these as well. It doesn't have to mean the brand says the same thing on Facebook as it does on the radio, but it should tailor a great message befitting each channel.
The best email programs are those that deliver personality to the inbox, not just offers and content. When an email newsletter creates its own unique and well-received voice that is similar but separate from the main brand, you know you have something special going on.
And oh yeah,
Like any commercial relationship, we all have choices. Sometimes we pick things based on price and convenience. Other times, we pick because we like the product or want to be associated with something like this offering. Email programs that consumers look forward to every time they surface in their inbox are the unicorns of emails. They don't happen often for a lot of reasons (hmm, sounds like a future column). I humbly defer to The New York Times to tell you about some email newsletters that could fit the email unicorn description on a few fronts.
Feel the love? Leave some examples of what you love when it comes to your inbox and the brands that compete for your time, attention, and money.
Image via Shutterstock.
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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 EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, 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.
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