Marketing automation tip: making your emails work

MA-MarleeThis week, we welcome a guest post from one of our Online Marketing Associates, Marlee Newman. Marlee is well-versed on our “email effectiveness” checklist. Here she uses that checklist to analyze three emails.

Think about the last time you ate at The Cheesecake Factory, or other favorite restaurant. With so many menu options, how do you choose? Most likely you are going to order the item that not only appeals to you specifically and is eye-catching, but is also easy to understand. Same goes for emails!

Starting with your subject line through the email body down to your footer, communicate value to your audience. Be specific about your offer, the benefits your reader will receive, and what you want the reader to do next. Who knows, maybe your next email will be as fulfilling as that cookies n’ cream cheesecake slice!

Effective email examples

MA---Nieman-Marcus-emailFirst up is Nieman Marcus with the subject line “Up to 65% OFF! Midday Dash”.

Why it works:

  1. Both the subject line and the giant “65%” image used in the email make it clear what is being offered. We love that the email line isn’t at all misleading. After all, no one wants to order a cheeseburger and get a side salad instead!
  2. The easy-to-read layout isn’t overwhelming and follows the “F Layout” featuring the most important information at the top, where your eyes go first.

What we wish was different:

There is no clear call to action in the email. While this email does a great job telling you what the value prop is, it doesn’t make it clear what you want the reader to do. A simple “start shopping now” would have done wonders.

MA---Ann-Taylor-emailNext we have an email from Ann Taylor with the enticing subject line “ONE NIGHT ONLY: Shop Our SURPRISE Offer…”.

Why it works:

  1. Everyone loves a little mystery. How can you resist clicking through on this email? Who knows what they could be offering! Even though this email does not immediately communicate the offer, the “call to action” is clear. You know exactly where to click and why.
  2. This layout that would be just as easy to read on a PC or mobile device.

What we wish was different:

This email is pretty awesome as is, but there is always room for improvement. The upper left-hand corner, or what shows up in the preview pane, doesn’t spell out the value prop. While the effects are probably minimized with their awesome subject line and great prehead text, they still may be losing a few folks that don’t read the entire email.

MA---Kirkland-emailOur final email is from Kirkland’s, with the compelling subject line “NEW Online Catalog – Shop Now!”.

Why it works:

  1. There’s no guessing here! The subject line is front-loaded, telling you there’s a new online catalog. Adding the “Shop Now!” call to action makes it even more persuasive.
  2. The body copy is concise and compatible with the subject line. The words “online catalog” are repeated from the subject line then expanded on with the types of items found in the catalog.

What we wish was different:

We love that the call to action is front and center at the top, but with the white text it gets lost in the background. It’s also not clear what the reader should do to shop the catalog. A brighter text color and telling the reader where to click would better highlight the call to action.

The takeaways

Before you press send on that next email remember it should communicate your value proposition. You want to grab your reader’s attention, stay concise, and communicate the benefits to the reader rather than market. Next time you mail it… nail it!