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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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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