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 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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