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

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.



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)


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.


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



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)


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


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)


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)



  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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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?



What questions to ask consumers to tailor email communications?

While I was mucking around on the IKEA Obama Inauguration site (see blog post), I clicked through to the IKEA website and subscribed for ongoing email communications. When going through the registration process, they asked a few questions about my interests (see details below).

Fingers crossed IKEA will actually use these details and send me personalised communications.

IKEA Customisation - Tailoring questions

IKEA Customisation - Tailoring questions

IKEA Personalisation - Tailoring question

IKEA Personalisation - Tailoring question


From these questions, IKEA can use the information to send information about the following:

  • IKEA experience – if you haven’t been to IKEA, there might be an introduction to the store, what to expect or special offer to get you to the store. If you have been there, there might be an offer to get you back.
  • Interior design interest – if you are interested in interior design, then communications about design services or special trade offers to use IKEA’s services
  • Number of people in the house – updates and information about storage or other products that might be useful in a shared house or in a house dependent on your answer
  • Children in the house – updates and information about children’s products or special offers, children services over the holiday period (free child minding)
  • Business based information – business furniture specials and new products, tax time specials
  • Location based information – specials or offers only available at the local store, opening hours over holidays or special trading periods, unique products available at the local store


While having this much data about consumers is great, if you don’t use it you can annoy them. Based on the above six questions, there are so many different combinations of the information you can receive. If you are a client, you need to make sure you have a email deployment engine that can personalise content on the fly.

How do you do this?

  • Template – create an email template that can be used for all emails
  • Content – create all content combinations
  • Technology – ensure that your content can be sucked seamlessly into the email template
  • Test – create a generic newsletter (no personalisation) and test this against the personalised messages
  • Measurement – set up benchmarks over three months.



  • What would you consider the optimum level of personalisation?
  • Would you use as your base level of personalisation?
  • What is over the top?
  • Who is doing it well?



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How many emails is too many? Qantas Frequent Flyer, Air NZ & Apple

After being consumed by work for the last few weeks, I’m spending the weekend cleaning out my Gmail account. I’d forgotten how many marketing related emails I receive on a weekly basis. There are a few corporate emails/newsletters I keep so I can learn more about their communication strategies. There are three that I find really interesting: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Air New Zealand and Apple. Each of them a little different:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer – I’m on the mailing list because it is a program I’ve been a member of for 8 years and a service that I use about once a month. They have a lot of information on me and my flying habits.
  • Air New Zealand – I’m on the mailing list because I entered a competition about 12 months ago.
  • Apple – I’m on the mailing list because I have a number of their products.

Below is an overview of their email send patterns.



Qantas Frequent Flyer send on average an email a week, which for a service I only use once a month seems a little excessive. Rather than sending me so many emails, it would be great if Qantas know that I am loyal to their service and only send me emails that are relevant. I’m a Frequent Flyer, a Qantas loyalist and majority of my flights (domestic and international) are with Qantas, they have a lot of information about me, so they can make some simple assumptions and predictions about my travel behaviour. I’m more than willing to give them more information so they can tailor offers or remind me of seasonal travel that are specifically about my travel.

Qantas Frequent Flyer emails - Jan - April 2009

Qantas Frequent Flyer emails - Jan - April 2009

Qantas Frequent Flyer Points emails - Jan - April 2009

Qantas Frequent Flyer Points emails - Jan - April 2009


  • Between 1 January – 4 April 2009, Qantas have sent me 16 emails.
  • There are three types of emails: points balance, offers and press releases. Points balance sent out monthly, offers sent out a weekly and press releases sent out occasionally.
  • The lag time between emails is around a week. Only once have there been two emails sent on the same day.
  • Points balances are usually send out mid month, ranging between 16 – 21
  • The subject lines are inconsistent for offer based emails and quite lengthy. Points balance seems to have a formular, as to press releases.
  • Majority of emails are sent in the late afternoon or evening and it’s only been the last 3 sends that have been delivered in the morning.


  • Be relevant: Qantas knows me and my habits, so give me information you think I want. Find out more about me and what I want from Qantas.



The competition I entered, and gave my details to Air New Zealand, was for a domestic competition for flights within New Zealand. Majority of the emails sent to me are for domestic travel. It seems that Air New Zealand don’t have any strategy to the email sends and they are all offer based. In January 2009, they sent 3 emails about a week a part. In February 2009, there were only 2 emails sent, spaced evenly throughout the month and in March 2009, there was only one.

Air New Zealand emails - Jan - April 2009

Air New Zealand emails - Jan - April 2009


  • Between 1 January – 4 April 2009, Air New Zealand have sent me 6 emails (10 less than Qantas).
  • There are two types of offer emails: domestic offers and international offers. Each email is very focused and only tries to communicate one message.
  • The subject lines are inconsistent, but quite short. Most subject lines include a time based message: 48hrs or 72hrs.
  • Majority of emails are sent outside work hours. I’m not sure if this is because I am Sydney based rather than in NZ.


  • Push me: I’m not a member of Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer program, so why aren’t Air New Zealand giving me free membership, offering me an incentive to join or ask me why I’m not a member.



I have countless iPods, an iPhone, a laptop, Mac mini and an iMac, however, Apple rarely remeber this in their communications to me. They do a great job in keeping the emails single minded or product focused.

Apple emails - Jan - April 2009

Apple emails - Jan - April 2009


  • Between 1 January – 4 April 2009, Apple have sent me 8 emails.
  • There are two types of emails: new product launches and event reminders (Valentine’s Day, starting uni). There is no structure to the email sends, they are sent when ready or relevant.
  • In January 2009, there were 3 emails sent all after mid way through the month. In February 2009, there was only one email sent in the latter part of the month. In March 2009, there were 4 emails sent, fairly evenly split over the month.
  • The subject lines are inconsistent and occasionally lengthy. The new product emails seems to have a formular, either ‘introducing …’ or ‘The new …’.
  • Majority of emails during work time, usually in the early afternoon between 1 – 3pm.


  • Remember me: I’m a customer, a very loyal one with multiple products, so why aren’t you being relevant to me and sending me upgrade messages. Stop pretending not to know who I am.



Email is such a powerful communications channel and there are so few companies using it for more than just a collection of stories the companies want to push out to consumers. There is little focus on the customer and what they want from the communications. If it is relevant, consumers are more inclined to read and get involved (buy, upgrade, provide info). There is so much potential for companies to show that they truely know their consumers through email, so why isn’t anyone doing it.

What are some thought starters for emails?

  • Know your subscribers: understand why people have signed up to your newsletter. Put some thought into what might be of interest to them and help move them down the purchase funnel based on relevant content.
  • Ask your subscribers questions: subscribers are more than happy to give companies more information if it is going to be used to give them information they want. Before asking questions, think about where the information will be stored (is it in the legacy database or a specific email database), how often you want to refine the database (half yearly, yearly) and what is the optimum number of versions for the newsletter you can afford to create.



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iSchool – Digital training for advertising agencies

The more people you can educate about your discipline, the more people you can encourage to do the selling for you.

My core discipline is digital and I love trying to teach as many people as possible about it. However, there are a lot of people within digital/online/interactive who think it is best to keep up the barriers and ensure digital is the mysterious black box it use to be.

While I was at Y&R Brands, I put together an 10 week digital training course to try and educate all traditional account service, creative and production people about digital – making sure that everything was easy to understand and translatable to traditional advertising speak.

Below is an overview of the 10 week course and the homework for each week.

iSchool loging screen

iSchool login screen

Week 1: Introduction to Digital Strategy

Learn the how’s and whys of the internet and how you can use various tools for branding, lead generation, acquisition, promotions, retention, distribution and customer service.

1. Find at least one interesting advertising/ interactive blog & subscribe to a blog aggregator. Submit links & comments to our blog.
2. Find a blog that might be relevant to your client’s industry & subscribe to it.

Week 2: The Internet Consumer
Who is the Australian digital consumer? What are people doing online and when? What does the global digital consumer look like? How does online compare to other forms of media consumption?

Learn the online demographics and segmentation and the different interactive environments and the marketing, media and targeting opportunities they present.

1. Find at least one article on Forrester’s Technographics and identify which segment you belong to.
2. Start thinking about how current campaigns can be segmented into smaller, tailored groups to communicate a more relevant message.

Week 3: The Digital Marketing Toolbox
What sites can I use to make me look like I understand online? What are the tricks to the statistics? Where do I find the “next big thing”?

New digital tools are becoming available all the time, and the secret is knowing how to use them.

Learn what you could do with tools like digital television, online sponsorship, rich media, classifieds, games, viral, blogging and podcasting. Then, how to integrate digital channels with other media and reap the benefits.

1. Set up your own blog & experiment with vlog, moblog & photolog techniques. Submit comments and the link to your blog on the iSchool blog below.
2. Start thinking about what online tools & applications could be relevant for your clients Upload ideas to the blog (reward for best ideas)
3. Log in to The Loop & After The Click. Investigate!

Week 4: Internet Campaign and Media Strategy
What is the process? How do I include interactive? How much does it cost? Understand all you need to integrate online into an overall strategy. What sort of planning tools and key metrics are used? What do they mean?

Learn to evaluate campaign effectiveness, return on investment and budget requirements and optimise campaign conversion. Explanation of After the Click®

1a. Have a look on an online advertising aggregate site & find your favourite rich media execution.
1b. Find an online advertising execution that has got it wrong. Submit links & comments to our blog.
2. Think about upcoming campaigns you have & where you could potentially be using a tailored & segmented email or online advertising campaign.

Week 5: Search Marketing
What is a keyword? What is search engine optimisation vs search engine marketing? Why did Google grow so quickly?

Search engine marketing is both an art and a science, and understanding it is crucial.

Discover how to optimise a site for better positioning in search databases and how to deploy, track and optimise search engine marketing campaigns. Understand the current and future trends in search marketing.

1. Pick one of our clients:
a) Think about 5 keywords that might be important to them.
b) Go to Google, Yahoo! & Sensis and do a search on all five words.
c) Note where our client appears on the blog & any observations about competitors or the client’s search engine activity. (paid vs natural) (brand vs keyword)
2. Ask your clients if they have registered their company details with Google.

Week 6: Creative Strategy: Being Creative Online
How can I push the boundary online? What is the latest and greatest creative? Did it actually work and deliver against the objectives?

Online offers even more creative opportunities to talk to the audience. Learn how to develop an internet strategy and how to integrate creative ideas on and offline.

1. Look at your clients’ microsites & see if there is anything you can improve from a usability perspective.
2. Review an email you received. What was good, bad & could be improved?

Week 7: Web 2.0
What is web 2.0? Why has there been a change from web 1.0? Learn more about new digital tools and social networking sites. Discuss how these can be relevant for your client and leverage business objectives.

1. Find a website that is using web 2.0 principles: What do you like about the website? What don’t you like about the website? How would you improve it?
2. Think about a client campaign & where some of the web 2.0 principles would be relevant. Customer communication & feedback
3. Sign up to Twitter & submit 4 posts.
4. Find a social network site & apply the honeycomb rule Outline what area you think it is focusing on

Week 8: Email Marketing
What can I track in an email? When is the best time of day to send an email? How do we segment an email? Understand when, how and who to deliver emails to, ensuring you have the right message for the right person at the right time – with extremely measurable success.

This lecture will detail eMarketing best practices as well as mandatory processes to follow when developing websites.

1. Go to Google & sit through the Google analytics video. Provide examples for your clients of where you could use it.
2. Identify where a website could be used for your client. Run through the 7 steps.
3. Subscribe to a number of different emails (retail, newsletters, product launches, etc) Write some common themes, your thoughts about messages, subject lines & offers.

Week 9: Mobile Marketing
How can mobile marketing build brand equity? What are the different types of mobile marketing? Is SMS all I can use? What is WAP?

Understand a brief history of mobile marketing and how we use it in the agency. Explore the future of mobile marketing and the possibilities for emerging technologies.

Revise everything!

Week 10: Pitch

Synopsis: Pitch to show understanding of the the last 9 weeks. There will be three guest judges (clients) who will award the winning team.


Summary of Obama’s marketing material

In 2008, the year belonged to Obama. Every country was touched by something Obama was doing online. He was everywhere, using a variety of online tactics – everything from smear campaigns to ongoing email campaigns that encouraged donation to rallying support on a number of social networks. His campaign was exhaustive.

Examples of his marketing efforts are captured in this presentation.


  1. Leverage communities & networks – majority of Obama’s campaign was focused on friend get friend (FGF) and encouraging others to show their support whether through donation or rallying others.
  2. Consistent presence – the ongoing one-to-one communications didn’t let up. There was (and still is) a constant flow of emails from everyone in the Obama camp. Emails came from Michelle Obama to Joe Biden to Al Gore.
  3. Lack of Obama involvement – there weren’t many times when Obama was involved. It was obvious that a ghost writer was controlling the campaign. It would have been nice to recieve more from Obama. The only thing he was involved in was producing the videos.
  4. Candidate usage – no marketing collateral was produced that didn’t have direct reference to Joe or Obama. Candidates images were constantly used to ensure people had a connection.


  1. Who is Ben Self? Obama’s social marketing guy
  2. How retailers are getting in on the Obama bandwagon?
  3. US Political Campaigns – Social Networks
  4. What can Australian Politicans learn from the US?
  5. Australian Policitian’s – where are you online?
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What & when retailers send emails? Tesco, Coles & Aldi

After looking through my blog stats, I found that two of the most popular posts have been about the Tesco and Coles emails. So I thought I would look at the other retailers emails I receive and see if there is anything else of interest.

When looking at my archive of retailers emails (Aldi, Coles, Tesco), it was interesting looking at the summary of the emails and when they had been sent, the collective subject lines and the file size.


  1. Subject lines: ALDI have only recently updated their subject lines to be more meaningful – rather than being ‘upcoming ALDI special buys’ they include the email focus and the date they were sent.
  2. Timings: ALDI always send their emails on a Friday. They are not sent at a consistent hour, but they are sent between 12 – 5pm.
  3. Email size: The file size of the emails are between 41 – 52Kb, which is a reasonable file size.
ALDI Email Overview

ALDI Email Overview (AU)

It seems that ALDI are starting to pay more attention to the emails they send out to consumer (opted-in base). The focus is more on the subject lines than the creative. Unfortunately the emails are still extremely long, don’t have any personalisation, include too many different categorise and no segmentation (see example below).

ALDI Email - September 2008

ALDI Email - 18 September 2008


  1. Subject lines: Coles don’t have any consistency with their subject lines. They don’t include Coles or a common theme between them.
  2. Timings: Coles doesn’t have a strategy around their email send times.  There is no consistent day or time that their emails are sent meaning that they are a surprise when they arrive in consumers inbox.
  3. Email size: The file size of the emails are between 25 – 50Kb, which is a huge variation. The latest emails are reducing in file size (high 20s), which is great because it means they are quick to download (not including images).
Coles Email Overview

Coles Email Overview (AU)

Coles have two different email databases. One for promoting their weekly specials and the other for promoting their special feature newsletters and sections: Pets and seasonality (spring).

Coles eNews Overview - Special Interest Newsletters

Coles eNews Overview - Special Interest Newsletters


  1. Subject lines: Very consistent and always include Tesco in the subject line.  Most subject lines are quite short (under 50 characters), no matter what the email is.
  2. Timings: Tesco doesn’t have a strategy around their email send times. Tesco have so many different emails they send out. There may be some thought around each email, but it doesn’t look that way.
  3. Email size: The file size of the emails vary between 19 – 62Kb, which is a huge variation. The ‘Top Offers of the Week from Tesco.com’ are the biggest emails.
Tesco Email Overview (UK)

Tesco Email Overview (UK)


There are a few things that need to be considered before you send out emails/newsletters on random days and at random times.

  • Think about the subject line. Anything with less than 50 characters gets a higher click through rate than those with long subject lines.
  • Think about when the emails are sent. Is the key to be focused on a time, day or date? Whatever is decided it must be maintained and enforced no matter what.
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