19 Jun, 2015eCommerce Email Marketing Newsletter Best Practices
Would you buy or not? Newsletter is the new newspaper
This article is about eCommerce Email Marketing Newsletter Best Practices. In this eCommerce Email Marketing weekly spotlight, we review examples of email campaigns from Shoppers Drug Mart, Club Monaco and Buy Buy Baby.
Here are some of the statistical facts about email marketing newsletter performance:
-18.7% Decrease in click rates when the subject lines contain the word ‘newsletter’. (http://blog.getvero.com/email-marketing-statistics)
Only one in five (19%) of consumers said they read every email newsletter they receive just to see if something’s on offer. – Forrester Research “North American Technographics survey” (2014)
People always had short attention spans. Now the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted is shorter than ever. With the introduction of Twitter and other social media the way we consume information has changed. We do not type full sentences or words. Instead, we are using icons and abbreviations in constant pursuit of a time crunch.
We like to receive small but relevant information. We may like to obtain information more often than once a week, but traditional newsletters are a way of the past.
Newsletters conventionally were more about the company versus the consumer. Just like traditional newspapers are fast disappearing, the old newsletters have to reshape or vanish.
The new paradigm of regular short but targeted communications is what consumers want. Do not just include all the products you have on sale that week but rather choose a few products for each target group.
Do not send Rogaine offers to the wrong audience! That is just insulting.
THIS WEEK WE ARE REVIEWING ECOMMERCE EMAILS FROM THE FOLLOWING RETAIL BRANDS: SHOPPERS DRUG MART, CLUB MONACO AND BUY BUY BABY.
All emails will be rated from 1* to 5*, where 1 means poor and 5 is great.
We review on a weekly basis:
- Colors – colors have good contrast, consistent
- Typography – fonts have readable size, clear titles
- Images – clear, visible, easy to understand
- Formatting – blocks follow each other in an easy to navigate pattern
- Mobile Optimized – all elements are visible and formatted correctly on the mobile phone
- Subject line – signals urgency and clear main offer that will be found inside the email
- Clear offer – one main offer with clear call to action
- Urgency to purchase – time, stock, shipping that motivates the buyer to purchase
- Product highlights – clear description of the products to evoke the interest of the reader
Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is Canada’s largest retail pharmacy chain, and has its headquarters in North York, Toronto, Ontario. It has more than 1,253 stores operating under the names Shoppers Drug Mart in nine provinces and two territories and Pharmaprix in Quebec.Founded by Murray Koffler, the Koffler family still retains ownership of the Super-Pharm pharmacy which is in Israel, Poland, and China. Super-Pharm uses the same logo as Shoppers Drug Mart. It also uses some of the same private-label brands, such as Life Brand and Quo. In 2014 Loblaw Companies acquired Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation for $12.4 billion in cash and stock.
Founded by Murray Koffler, the Koffler family still retains ownership of the Super-Pharm pharmacy which is in Israel, Poland, and China. Super-Pharm uses the same logo as Shoppers Drug Mart. It also uses some of the same private-label brands, such as Life Brand and Quo. In 2014 Loblaw Companies acquired Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation for $12.4 billion in cash and stock.
Email 1: Shoppers Drug Mart
Subject Line: Get 18,500 points — ONE DAY ONLY
- Colors: 3*– There seems to be no connection between the colors featured in the email – just bright colors thrown together
- Fonts: 3* – The fonts are inconsistent between the banners and the content blocks
- Images: 2*– There is no uniformity between the pictures. Some are photographs, and some are banners and some are just product images
- Formatting: 3* – The blocks appear not to be aligned, there seem to be empty spaces as places holders. The email does not have unified structure
- Mobile Optimized: 3*– The blocks appear in a proper format, but the bright and dark colors are too much for the mobile screen and make the message look overwhelming.
- Subject line: 3* -The subject line is very specific and is targeted towards consumers who are very familiar with the points system.
- Clear offer: 2* – There is too many offers in the email. The reader will be overwhelmed with the amount of information found in this email. It is better to have a more specific call to action
- Urgency to purchase: 3* – There is urgency due to the statement “one day only“ in the subject line but there is no specific purchase that the email is encouraging. Those types of emails are extremely hard to correlate ROI.
- Product highlights: 3* – There are few products featured, but there is not enough information on each one of them. Because some blocks contain product information, and others do not, it is hard to focus the reader attention to a specific product line as it is unclear what to expect from clicking on the image.
Overall rating: 2.7*
Conclusion – BUYING FACTOR: NO
For emails to be effective, they need to talk and relate to the consumer. Successful emails can communicate the brand message but in a way the user feels that they are talking to them. Putting everything in one email and hoping something will stick in the email is completely not acceptable. The best promotions find a direct connection with the reader and generate great results. The marketing approach from ten years ago does not work anymore, times have changed and so should the communications.
In 1985, Canadian Joe Mimran and Alfred Sung opened the first store in Toronto on Queen Street West. This store, which still exists today, originally included a cafe below the sales floor. The first US store opened in Santa Monica in 1989. Until 1999, Club Monaco was a Canadian company and was based at Avenue Road and Bloor Street West along the Mink Mile in Toronto. It is now owned and operated by Polo Ralph Lauren, which acquired Club Monaco in 1999. Polo has allowed Club Monaco to exist as an independent entity within the group and has downplayed its ownership of the brand.
Recently, Club Monaco has transitioned itself into an international lifestyle brand that offers “affordable luxury with modern sensibility”. Each store has its own unique concept and design as well as a mix of different products. Third-party brands carried in stores include Ray-Ban sunglasses, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Mackage leather goods and can include a variety of vintage goods from high-end designers such as Chanel and Hermès. Club Monaco also contracts with outside designers to create an exclusive line of products such as jewelry designed by Erickson Beamon and handbags from Jane Mayle.
Club Monaco relies heavily on social media to market itself, using sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr to present its lookbooks or inspirations which can also be viewed on their website through their “Culture Club” page.
Email 2: Club Monaco
Subject Line: The colors of summer
- Colors: 2*- Red and gray are not the colors of summer. Yellow, orange, green are more appropriate for this type of communication. The subject line and the content of the email do not speak to each other.
- Fonts: 3*– There are not many places where fonts are used in the email to highlight information
- Images: 3*– the red color together with random summer products create a nonappealing look. The model featured in the image seems extremely uncomfortable and is not conveying the message of fun summer
- Formatting: 2*– The random images placed with lots of wasted white space.
- Mobile Optimized: 1* – The email is not viable on the mobile phone ( see screen shot)
- Subject line: 3*- Relevant to the current season, too bad it does not correspond to the images inside. I think if it was called “dresses of summer” it would have been more relevant.
- Clear offer: 3* –the offer is to view the new collection for the summer.
- The urgency to purchase: 1* -there is no sales pitch to drive sales, just to check new arrivals when you ever the reader gets a chance. There is zero motivation to click unless you like 1 of the images featured in the email.
- Product highlights: 1* –there is no information regarding the products featured in the image.
Overall rating: 2.1*
Conclusion-BUYING FACTOR: NO
This email has one of the lowest scores in our reviews for such a promising subject line. Not sure if the person creating this email knows what summer is.
Summer is one of the greatest seasons for marketers. Since summer evokes a lot of positive emotions sending summer promotions is usually effortless and does not require much planning but not for this brand. This email looks like a depressing email you would send in the fall with unhappy models and red colors. Connecting the offering to the message is vital for the success of the messaging. Summer colors are not gray and red paired with unhappy models, summer is fun, bright and cheerful.
Buy Buy Baby
Buy Buy Baby, Inc. (stylized: buybuy BABY) is a chain of stores that sell clothing, strollers and other items for use with infants and young children. It operates 90 stores across the United States.
The chain was founded in 1996 by Richard and Jeffrey Feinstein. It comprised 8 stores when it was acquired by Bed Bath & Beyond in 2007. Its primary competitor is Babies “R” Us.
Email 3: Buy Buy Baby
Subject Line: Hit the road with these travel items!
- Colors: 4*- Colors are upbeat and branded
- Fonts: 4* – Easy to read and stand out well against the white background
- Images: 4* – Clear and sharp images that show the products extremely well
- Formatting: 4* -Each product has its own area clearly defined with unique colors and spacing
- Mobile Optimized: 4* – Products align nicely on the phone into a single column. The offer areas are easy to read and click given the proper spacing allocated to each area
- Subject line: 4* – Very specific and relevant to the time of the year, corresponds well with the content inside.
- Clear offer: 3* – The email contains a group of travel products but there is no actionable and immediate action to be taken by the recipient. The shoppers need to be directly interested in the products showcased in the email.
- Urgency to purchase: 2*-There is no urgency; this email is more of an information email about products someone might need for travel.
- Product highlights: 4* – Good inviting pictures with clear information, pricing and a link to the product page.
Overall rating: 3.6*
Conclusion- BUYING FACTOR: MAYBE
This email could be classified as a `newsletter` under the old terms bit it is a much better example of new age communication. It is has a single topic, few but relevant blocks of information that are easy to follow and understand. The only thing that this is missing is a clear action to be taken by the user and urgency to make a purchase.
Just for Fun
When advertising a product always, make sure that it is the same product in the action shot or secondary images. You cannot just find a similar product and hope people will not notice.
These two product images are from the email I have received this week from Lowes. The product does look similar but at a closer look it is a completely different product.
See if you can spot 5 differences?
Effective techniques for regular communications (old term: newsletters)
- Short messages not more than 3 blocks of information
- Relevant, change weekly to keep the communication current and fresh
- Avoid repeating information on regular basis as people will know what to expect and will just delete the email
- Do not call it a newsletter
- Have at least two types of offers for different audiences on weekly basis
- Try and reach your customer at least 1-2 times per week to keep on top of mind
- Have regular reviews of your data to adjust your content based on results
The most important thing is to get your audience to want to receive your communication. Keeping newsletter content and offers relevant and fresh is a sure way to engage your audience.