iPhone 4 welcome email – I’m in shock!


DISCLAIMER: I’ve been meaning to write this post since I received this email in August 2010.

I got my iPhone 4 when it first came out and registered it immediately, but I was shocked when I actually received an email from Apple about how to use the phone and the new features. For all of the Apple products I’ve purchased (there have been a few….), this was the first product and related welcome email that I’ve received about enhancing my experience with the iPhone. I didn’t even get one when I purchased their server product – which is definitely more involved and tricky than the iPhone.

So you could imagine how happy I was when I received this. I clicked straight through to look at what was different and expore the landing page. See the email and the landing page below.

Apple iPhone4 - Welcome email - August 2010

Apple iPhone4 - Welcome email - August 2010

Apple iPhone4 - Welcome landing page - August 2010

Apple iPhone4 - Welcome landing page - August 2010

LEARNINGS:
There are a few learnings that can be taken away from this Apple example:

  1. WELCOME EVERYONE – the best experience anyone can have is to be welcomed to a brand, service or product they have just purchased and taken the time to register. If you are selling anything, you should ensure that you are sending an email that will provide the user or your new customer with some information about how they can get the most of their recent purchase. You already have all of the information for the selling, it is just completing the process and reusing it so you are continuing the sales process in the iniital few weeks of their purchase.
  2. CHECK IN – an enhancement to what Apple are doing would have been to send a survey a month after purchase to see how I was doing with the phone, specifically looking at how I’m using it, what I’m using the phone for, the good, areas for improvement and any other enhancements. This is the perfect testing ground for future new product development and a cheap market research for the company.
  3. ONGOING UPDATES – Apple are starting to get better at this, but there are still areas they can improve. Any updates to the software should be communicated via email rather than just via iTunes. For the bigger updates, Apple are communicating with there consumers, but the smaller ones are a self discovery.

 

Overall, I was very happy that Apple sent this email. Let’s just ensure that they continue on this process and welcome new people/customers to all of their products moving forward.

 

ASSOCIATED APPLE & EMAIL MARKETING POSTS I’VE WRITTEN:

Apple does Local Area Marketing (LAM) – OMG!


In a world where there is constant debate around the relevance of email due to the introduction of social networks, Apple has started to target local consumers with local area updates (or more specifically local area marketing LAM).

Apple has always been great at their email design, but there has never been any smarts to any of the emails they send, ie no proper data work before their email sends, they don’t recognise what products/software you own or have registered with them and they constantly repackage global emails and deliver them locally.

However, over the past month, Apple have sent out two emails both focusing on the Australian or, more specifically, the Sydney market. They are actually using their database for local area marketing (LAM). The two emails were to announce the following:

  1. New Apple store opening in Castle Hill
  2. Filmmakers camp for kids during school holidays.

As expected from Apple, both emails are beautifully designed and have very strong headlines and calls to action.

My only question about these emails is: Is this a new start for Apple emails or is it a once only?

NEW APPLE STORE – CASTLE HILL

Apple email - new store opening - Castle Hill - sent 16th August 2010

Apple email - new store opening - Castle Hill - sent 16th August 2010

Apple email headline - new store opening - Castle Hill - sent 16th August 2010

Apple email headline - new store opening - Castle Hill - sent 16th August 2010

FILMMAKERS CAMP EMAIL

Apple kids Filmmaker Camp email - 10 September 2010

Apple kids Filmmaker Camp email - 10 September 2010

Apple kids Filmmaker Camp email headline - 10 September 2010

Apple kids Filmmaker Camp email headline - 10 September 2010

WHY THIS IS GREAT?

  • Apple are starting to look at their database. They have only sent out blanket communications for such a long time. There was no smart data work done prior to any email send.
  • Apple are starting to use their database properly.

WHY THIS ISN’T GREAT?

  • Even though Apple are starting to use their database properly, they still don’t know that I don’t have kids. A simple data capture exercise or incentivised survey would have helped them know and understand this.
  • My expectations have been lifted and I am now expecting local emails from Apple. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get them (but it won’t stop me loving Apple – sad).

ASSOCIATED APPLE & EMAIL MARKETING POSTS I’VE WRITTEN:

Air NZ email update – simple, but love it


I’m a big fan of the Air NZ email templates. They constantly amaze me how they can turn a simple email template into something that looks great. Their themes and header graphics really help to do that.

I just received an email last week and found that they have updated the top of their email to include the logo, subscription preference and social links (see screen grabs below). I really like that they have included their logo in this top section, even though there is a double logo top left. Perfect to handle any image blockers and frustrating image restricting email clients.

Air NZ email example header - 2 August 2010

Air NZ email example header - 2 August 2010

Air NZ email example header - 2 August 2010 (details)

Air NZ email example header - 2 August 2010 (details)

OPPORTUNITY

There really is only one thing missing from this revised email header. It is a link to ‘viewing on mobile device’, which if the stats were looked at I’m sure it’s on the rise.

RELATED AIR NZ EMAIL POSTS:

T2 – the best tea, but the worst newsletter program (email)


I’m not a coffee drinker, so I love drinking a great cup of tea – herbal or other. My favourite tea is T2 because they have so much variety and great complimentary products.

After making a number of T2 purchases online, I subscribed to their newsletter specifically for the exclusive offers and knowing about the new teas were launching. When I subscribed, I can actually remeber looking forward to recieving the email.

That was until the email actually arrived, see below:

T2 January 2010 newsletter

T2 January 2010 newsletter

All I can say is boring. There is nothing I really want to know, it is just pushing me to buy more tea. Typical company who doesn’t really have an ongoing strategy for value creation with their customers.

I have received three emails from T2, all very similar.

T2 Email Overview

T2 Email Overview

November 2009 email – update with a focus on getting ready for the holiday season

T2 November 2009 - Email newsletter

T2 November 2009 - Email newsletter

December 2009 email – thank you email without an incentive

T2 December 2009 - Email newsletter

T2 December 2009 - Email newsletter

KEY LEARNINGS:

  • Purpose: Make sure that every communication you send to a consumer has a purpose. The only purpose for T2 emails is self serving for the company. Most companies send emails to try and sell more products, but they don’t need to be so overt.
  • Value: Give your subscribers value. There isn’t anything there for the valued consumers. No incentives or offers. Give the subscribers something they won’t get else where. It doesn’t have to be financial incentives, but they do help.
  • Loyalty program: T2 tea isn’t cheap and if you are buying a few bags of tea, there isn’t much change from $100. They don’t offer any loyalty or reward programs for buying a lot of tea. The only incentive is if you go instore and can sample the tea of the day.

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How companies are recognising customer’s birthday? Sephora email


Ok, so it’s been a while, but I’m back and inspired about email marketing and a few other digital marketing things.

February is one of the best months because it’s my birthday and I can see which companies I subscribe (newsletters) remember my birthday and what they offer me. My birthday is under two weeks away and I’ve only received one email targeting my birthday. The thoughtful email was from Sephora, a US cosmetic and beauty company doing some great stuff online.

Below is the email I received:

Sephora - My birthday email sent on 6 Feb 2010

Sephora - My birthday email sent on 6 Feb 2010

This email details are:

  • Send date: Saturday, 6th February 2010 – exactly two weeks before my birthday
  • Send time: 8.59pm (Sydney time)
  • Subject line: It’s almost your birthday! Open your gift early.
  • Offer: Beautiful Eyes Kit redeemable instore or online
  • Small print: The offer is valid for one month (two weeks before and two weeks after my birthday)

When I clicked through to the site from the email, this is the journey I went on.

1. Signed in page (personalised Sephora page)

Sephora Login - Birthday message

Sephora Login - Birthday message

2. Birthday offer highlighted as the first message

Sephora Login - Birthday message details

Sephora Login - Birthday message details

3. Automatic offer included in checkout

Sephora Login - Checkout with birthday message

Sephora Login - Checkout with birthday message

KEY LEARNINGS:

  • Subject lines: Subject line invites you to open the email because there is a mention of a gift. I opened this email instantly to see what my present was.
  • Customer journey: Ensure the customer journey is seamless. If you make it easy for a consumer, they have a great experience and will return.

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How to make an email look great but work from a template – Air NZ


One of my previous post (Who has the best designed emails? Air NZ) focused on why Air New Zealand have the best designed emails, this one looks at the different elements that are reused or templated between the emails (ie the consistencies).

How often are Air NZ sending emails?

This is a really important question when you are using templates. If emails are sent daily (eick), then the email template needs to be very similar with just minor changes being made prior to sends. Unlike the other airlines (particularly Qantas and JetStar), Air NZ doesn’t spam their base (well not me anyway). Below is an overview of the amount of emails they have sent since December 2008 (total of 14 over 6 months – just over two per month). This means that at least Air NZ don’t need to compromise the design for frequency.

Air NZ emails sent

Air NZ emails sent - 15 December 2008 - 7 June 2009

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WHAT ELEMENTS ARE THE SAME?

Air NZ’s emails are divided into four sections:

  1. Header – each individually designed dependent on the offer/email theme (UNIQUE)
  2. Body – follows a similar format across all emails, but designed dependent on the email theme (PART TEMPLATED)
  3. CTA – exactly the same across all emails (TEMPLATED)
  4. Base (email preferences) – exactly the same across all emails (TEMPLATED)

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Body – below are two examples of the email body and the similarities between them. The two examples show an international email (Aussie Airfares) vs a domestic email (Domestic Airfares). This section is divided into two key parts:

  • offer information
  • functional area where the subscriber can start their airfare search within the email.
Air NZ offers template (email body)

Air NZ offers template (email body) - International

Air NZ offers template (email body) - version 2

Air NZ offers template (email body) - Domestic

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CTA – each of Air NZ’s emails have a really strong call to action and it is consistent across all emails. There are four options for the subscriber (see below) giveing them the option to be directed to the different business areas within Air NZ (holidays and airfares), as well as communication channels (web or phone).

Air NZ calls to action (CTA)

Air NZ calls to action (CTA)

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Base (email preferences) – at the bottom of each of the Air NZ emails, your email preferences are displayed. I really like this feature because you can see which email address you have subscibed with (very beneficial if you have multiple addresses) and also can update the email format easily.

Air NZ email options (bottom of email)

Air NZ email options (bottom of email)

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LEARNINGS

  1. Templates don’t need to mean matching luggage – you can make elements of an email the same without it looking boring.
  2. The design of the header (preview panel) is key – this is the most important part of the email and must be different and appealing to get the cut through. This shouldn’t be templated too much. Some elements should be the same (email not visible, safe list, mobile device, navigation), but there is leverage to be creative and push the design.
  3. Consistent CTA is madatory – rather than try and teach your subscriber how to use the email every time, keep some things consistent. Particularly the CTA element.
  4. Highlight email preferences – don’t hide the subscribers preferences, highlight them and show them what else they can be doing. It adds value.

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Who is winning the webmail war? Yahoo! followed by AOL (US stats)


This is a really short post, but I really like this graph showing who is winning the US webmail war. It looks at the average visits per visitors, the average minutes per visitor and the total unique visitors. The information comes from ComScore via The New York Times.

Based on the total unique visitorsYahoo! is winning hands down. Hotmal/Live and AOL are neck and neck with Google coming forth.

Based on the average visits per visitor, Yahoo! and AOL are neck and neck.

Based on the average minutes per visitor, Yahoo! is a clear leader followed by AOL.

Webmail statistics - US based (May 2009)

Webmail statistics - US based (May 2009)

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What’s working in emails? MailerMailer email marketing report (June 2009)


I’ve just found a great email marketing report from MailerMailer (published June 2009) that provides an overview of what is happening with email stats for emails sent through their system. I’d recommend a quick skim over the report, but if you don’t have time I’ve done it for you (see summary and key stats below).

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WHAT DOES THE REPORT SAY?

Most people will open their emails in the first 24hrs, but only a small percentage will click through to the content (less than 3%). It’s best to send emails on a weekend or Monday with a subject line under 35 characters. Personalisation needs to be more than just the subject line.

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WHAT ARE THE STATS?

As a top line summary, here are the key findings:

1. How Soon Do People Open Their Email?
74.5% of opens occur within the first 24 hours and 84.3% occur within the first 48 hours.

2. Open Rates
The overall unique open rates stand at 12.52% which is a marginal decline from the 13.20% open rate experienced in the first half of 2008.

3. Click Through Rates
Click rates held steady. Subscriber clicks in the second half of 2008 were comparable to those in the previous six months, rising a mere 0.08%.

4. Best Days to Send
Though weekends and the beginning of the week outperform the other days, Monday is the clear winner having both the highest open rate and click rate.

5. Subject Lines
Yet again, emails with subject lines shorter than 35 characters were opened more than emails with subject lines longer than 35 characters.

6 .Personalization
Personalization can be good. Data shows when only the message is personalized, there are more opens and clicks. However, emails with only the subject line personalized garnered the least amount of opens and clicks.

7. Deliverability
For the second year now, deliverability continues to increase and bounces continue to decrease. This means more messages are reaching recipients’ inbox.

8. Number of Recipients
Messages delivered to small and medium lists have far greater open and click rates than messages delivered to lists containing 1000 or more subscribers. A smaller list does not directly affect open and click rates, but mailings to smaller lists may be targeted better, contain more relevant content or have more recent subscribers.

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WHO HAS THE BEST OPEN & CLICK THROUGH RATES?
Here are the trends in open rates and click through rates by day, you can see that Sunday and Monday are the most popular.

Email Open & Click Through Rates

Email Open & Click Through Rates

In previous reports, it has been recommended to send emails on Tuesday at around 11am. Obviously this trend has changed.

Having a look at the click through rates by industry shows that religious and spiritual emails have the highest click through and travel related emails are next.

Email Click Through Rates by Industry

Email Click Through Rates by Industry

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WHAT WORKS IN SUBJECT LINES?
Below is a word cloud of the most popular subject lines. They centre around news, party, free, holiday, weekend and night.

Popular Subject Lines in Emails

Popular Subject Lines in Emails

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DOES PERSONALISATION MATTER?
It’s interesting to look at personalisation and how it effects open rates and click through rates.

Email Open & Click Through Rates based on Personalisation

Email Open & Click Through Rates based on Personalisation

Key take out is that you need to do more than just personalise the subject line.

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HOW MANY LINKS MATTERS?
The more links in an email that subscribers can click through to, the more likely they are to click through. I know it sounds pretty straight forward, but not sure if I would want over 20 links in an email just to encourage me to click through.

Email Click Through Rates based on number of Links

Email Click Through Rates based on number of Links

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Who has the best designed emails? Air NZ


I hate to say it but airline newsletters are boring. All they focus on are pushing deals and deals with little or no personality included. This is true for all airlines except Air New Zealand.

It doesn’t matter if it is a domestic or international email/offer, every piece of communication has been designed really well. There are elements of every email that are the same, but each have their own idea and design, all represented in the email header (see screens below).

Air NZ Domestic Sale Take Off email

Air NZ Domestic Sale Take Off email

Air NZ Domestic Deals email

Air NZ Domestic Deals email

Air NZ Gotta Go Domestic Deals email

Air NZ Gotta Go Domestic Deals email

Air NZ Gotta Go Domestic Deals email 2

Air NZ Gotta Go Domestic Deals email 2

Air NZ Get Packing email

Air NZ Get Packing email (holiday deals)

Air NZ Great Aussie Deals emails

Air NZ Great Aussie Deals emails

Air NZ Best of the West email

Air NZ Best of the West email

Air NZ Quick Aussie Escapes email

Air NZ Quick Aussie Escapes email

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OBSERVATIONS:

  • Email header: all emails provide the ability to view the email online or to manage your email preferences.
  • Preview pane: the most important part of the email is what is visable in the preview panel. This is what will encourage consumers to click through. The preview panel of each of the above emails is very engaging and encourages opens.
  • Logo: the Air NZ logo appears on the top left-hand side of every email. The only exception is for the holiday deals email (see above Get Packing example).
  • Headline driven: each of the email is headline driven. All of the headlines relates to the offer or element that is being promoted in the email.

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Stay tuned for more Air NZ email review posts. They are coming through soon.

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Do you need a welcome? J.Crew thinks you do


As part of most email or newsletter programs, there is a confirmation or activation email that is sent after you subscribe online. The next email you receive after that is the first newsletter from the company.

I subscribed to the J.Crew newsletter in mid-April and was shocked to see a Welcome email from them in my inbox the following day (see screens below).

JCrew Welcome to The Club email

JCrew Welcome to The Club email

Even though there is not much in this email, I like that it welcomes me to The Club. It’s a positive experience.

The other positive thing about J.Crew is that they don’t spam like other retailers. Since signing up to the program in mid-April, I have only received 16 emails – which is about one every few days (see emails received below). With Bluefly, I receive at least one a day pushing me to buy something.

JCrew Emails received - 12 April - 6 June 2009

JCrew Emails received - 12 April - 6 June 2009

There are a few common themes with the email details sent by J.Crew:

  • Time: all emails are sent in the morning (or in the afternoon US time), usually between 3.30am – 7.00am. There was only one sent later, but majority are within that timeframe.
  • Subject lines: there is no consistency in the treatment of subject lines – some are in CAPS, others are normal text, some promote sales, others promote products. The common element is that majority are reasonably short and aren’t consistent.
  • Frequency: the first and last 10 days of the month are the most active. Within this period, there is an email sent every other day.

Stay tuned for some more J.Crew email learnings.

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Overview of Apple’s email marketing


OK, so I have become a little obsessed with Apple’s email marketing and understanding what they are doing and not doing.

Below is a presentation showing Apple’s email marketing or a collection of all the images used in the previous posts, as well as a screen grab of the email visable in the preview panel. It’s an interesting journey and has definitely helped me understand more about their ongoing communications and why clients love Apple so much.

QUESTION:

Are there any other company emails/newsletters that you think are doing a great job? Would be really interested to read anything else?

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What else could Apple be doing in their emails?


As a summary to my review of Apple’s email marketing, there is really only one thing to look at: what else should Apple be doing with their email communications? Overall, like everything Apple does, it works. It is clean, simple and effective.

There really aren’t too many other things they should be doing. I have thought of three things they could be doing more of:

  1. Bundling: Apple have got their product emails sorted, they are clean and very focused, but there is a huge opportunity for bundling. They have started this with the latest uni newsletter. However, they can be doing this with so much more.
  2. Asking questions: Apple have never sent me a survey or asked me how I want to interact with them. I’m getting a combination of messages: software, product and event. I’m happy to receive all types, but they are all dry messages. I want something more. More content or more relevance to help me expand my knowledge.
  3. Tailor content: They know what products I have, but the messaging isn’t relevant to this, ie upgrade messaging rather than buy. Where is the accessories push or up-sell in all of these emails?

The common theme throughout these additions is the data smarts and intelligence. There really aren’t many companies getting that right within this space. Victoria Secret‘s and the other US retailers (Bluefly, GAP) are really pioneering the way. They are able to determine your site activity and marry it back to your data and actions, ie if you leave something in the shopping cart on their site, you get an email letting you know it is still there for a limited time.

Most companies think a blanket email (one email for all customers) is enough. With email being so cheap it means you can test things and really understand what works for consumers. The ideal would be to use email as a test bed before any of the above the line communications goes out. Similar to search, it gives you the opportunity to test real-time what is working with your customers before rolling it out with a bigger budget.

Due to the financial opportunity, I wonder if companies will start to realise this and place more importance on communicating to the customers they already have and using them as a test case before spending millions and millions of dollars on media and creative.

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