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


  • 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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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.


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



Nobody can guarantee your job, except customers

After eight beautiful nights in The Maldives, I’m very much back into Sydney life. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and provided an opportunity for me to disconnect from the digital world (no laptop but connected phone), read books (five in eight days) and have a wonderful break with my husband.

One of the books I read referred management writer, Peter Drucker, and his views on the customer, their expetations and how to manage the customer. There were a few quotes that I thought very interesting, particularly with the economic downturn noise, predictions for budget reductions and need for advertising campaigns to work harder. See quotes below:

  • ‘Nobody can guarantee your job, only customer can guarantee your job’
  • ‘The best companies don’t create customers, they create fans’
  • ‘Customers behave rationally in terms of their own realities and own situation’

My take out from these quotes is that our customers (or clients) are more important now than ever and we need to make sure we are invaluable to them. How do you make yourself invaluable? Think about what will:

  • Make your client a star in their company (through campaign success or awards)
  • Keep them from being made redundant
  • Present a proactive idea that will answer a business problem
  • Provide them research (or articles) and synopsis
  • Get your clients to their next step, role or position.


The common theme underlying them all is to ‘think about everything from the clients perspective’ and make sure you are researching to keep on top of their industry.

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PR vs email – what drives more blog traffic?

Since I started writing this blog four weeks ago, this week has been the highest trafficked week. It has been an interesting observing the traffic spikes on this blog and the reasons why. Below is the traffic summary chart as at 13 September 2008 at 10.20am.

Dominique Hind's blog traffic as at 13 September, 2008 (10.24am)

My blog traffic

Last week started to get some traction with the social networks and blog searches that I had submitted the site to. The biggest traffic drivers were Facebook (I had updated my profile message) and Stumble Upon (I added the site to the mix). The keywords that were driving traffic were around social networking, agency checklists and my name.

The blog traffic this week easily doubled. This was due to a couple of factors: internal email sent around at M&C directing traffic to this blog, my new job being announced internally to Leo’s staff, The Australian article about the move and referencing this blog and trade press.

In analysing the traffic, the highest spike in traffic was from an internal email rather than any PR (articles). So some initial thoughts about this test are:

  1. Emails drive more traffic because it is easier for the consumer to interact
  2. Endorsement (via email) helps drive traffic
  3. PR (articles) is great for branding/talkability, but unless a consumer is interested they won’t research or go online to find out more


For every campaign that goes live (most will have a campaign microsite or associated landing pages), it is important to include the link in any online communications that are sent out. This could be:


  • WOM/viral email sent to people who might be interested in the site (either marketing industry or consumers)
  • Email footers that highlight a collection of new work
  • Newsletter to subscribed people highlighting and communicating new work
  • Social bookmarking the site/critical pages – StumbleUpon, Facebook profiles, Messenger profiles, etc


  • Email sent to the customer database who have indicated they are interested in
  • Email footers (gif or link) that highlights the campaign – Wunderman do this very well for Microsoft for all of their events

There are a number of other ways to get campaign microsites, blogs, landing pages out there, but this is a start.

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The impact of word of mouth

In an internal meeting yesterday, I expressed how excited I was that my blog traffic hit 92 earlier in the week. It was so exciting for me because not only am I a frustrated accountant who loves numbers, but I love web stats and understanding what drives people to sites. After this meeting, Greg Beazley sent an email to group of internal M&C people asking them to view and bookmark my site to see if there was any impact on the blog traffic.

The impact has been huge. Shortly after the email was sent, traffic spiked to just under 200 and overnight it peaked at just over 310 (see graphs below). The average views I was getting on the blog, before this email, was around 20 – 40 views a day, with a few spikes in traffic due to an AIMIA speaking engagement and an article. The ’email’ experiment shows that internal emails sent advising of new campaigns do help to spike traffic, but something I’m interested in is seeing if the traffic continues or if it returns to the average levels (ie. how relevant was the content to the people who read it)

Blog traffic to this blog at 3.30pm, Tuesday 9 August

Blog traffic to this blog at 3.30pm, Tuesday 9 August

Blog traffic to this blog at 7.15am, Wednesday 10 August 2008

Blog traffic to this blog at 7.15am, Wednesday 10 August 2008

Over the weekend, I am going to try a few things to see if I can keep traffic above the average views:

Thanks for helping build the learnings and stay tuned for more updates on traffic.

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