Category Archives: Conversion

You’re beautiful

Believe it or not, “you’re beautiful” were the words that I uttered when I was doing some last minute online Christmas shopping for my wife. Not because she is (although for clarity she certainly is), but because when I was buying some beauty products for her from online beauty retailer I had some beautiful email experiences.

This is clearly a company that sees the value in email, so let me share some of the experiences that made me gush out loud.

They understand the importance of data collection

When you first arrive on the site you’re presented with a well-crafted home page. Centre stage above the fold is a clear call to action to subscribe, reading “STAY IN TOUCH for beauty news and offers”. At this stage I simply wanted to move on and buy, so searched for the Kardashian product range that was top of my wife’s gift list. Each page thereafter, not only showed me the products, but included the call to action to subscribe, which is so often a missed opportunity.

The experience then got even better when I discovered the product was out of stock! Why? Because they used this as an opportunity to collect my email address, so they could notify me when it came back into stock. Customer experience and data collection rolled into one… and I was that impressed I still bought something else from the collection (or should that be Kollection for all you Kardashian fans?).

They use email to enhance the customer experience

The good email experience wasn’t just limited to data collection though, when have your email address they know exactly how to use it. I quickly selected the products that I wanted and went through to the checkout to pay. As well as entering my payment details I could confirm whether I wanted to receive email reminders when my product was likely to run out and, once the transaction was complete, I was prompted to share details of my purchase with my friends via social media sites and email. Not appropriate for my Christmas gift, but a nice touch none the less.

But now I’ve become a customer, is just getting started. I immediately received an email confirming my order, showing me exactly what I’d bought and where it was going to be delivered to. Customer service was top of mind here as they clearly highlighted how to get in touch if I had any questions. My next email was just as impressive; letting me know the exact time my product had been delivered. Of course, this also included details of how to get in touch if I had any problems and a call to action to start buying again. Customer experience and revenue generation all nicely tied up together!

They use email to sell me more

Now I’m officially a customer, are using email to help me buy even more. And much to my wife’s delight they’re doing it rather well. I’ve received emails telling me that the first product I’d wanted is now back in stock and I’ve just received a reminder that I should think about replenishing the lip gloss I bought in the first place, all perfectly times to tie in with my original purchase. As well as this, I’ve I’ve received a beauty diary and some exclusive special offers. I’ve also noticed that the brand provides a subscription service enabling you to set the frequency of the reminders you receive to replenish your products- this sounds like a great tactic to me, especially if you’re a regular user of the products they sell.

The DMA’s own National Client Email Report 2013 ( shows that on average businesses see a return of £21.48 for every £1 they spend on email marketing. With my own experience in mind, I suspect that is generating a significantly high ROI for their email marketing efforts; even higher than £21.48 I think! No wonder they continue to be one of the UK’s fastest growing companies and are winning awards for their ecommerce site, product range and customer service – they’ve a really beautiful email programme and are reaping the benefits (clearly, so is my wife!) And much to her delight, I now quite look forward to being able to go back to to top up her makeup and my desire for seeing innovative email marketing!


Goodbye “channels” – Welcome the marketing “channel of one”

The practice of creating a seamless customer experience across digital channels has been a common marketing challenge for a long while now, and integration of some offline and online channels through campaign segmentation is the norm. However, for most of us it is difficult to get a grip on every part of the customer experience.

To put this into perspective, there are typically more channels or touch points throughout a customer experience that are entirely generic and not personalised at all, versus those that are. They are not personalised by name, proposition or offer, call to action, location. None of that. This is diluting the effectiveness of a CRM strategy because we don’t have a clear understanding of what every individual experiences through every single channel. But this is changing.

Take a look at this:

Technology is beginning to bridge some of the knowledge gaps to identify non-converting prospects who visit their retail stores. Some brands have tried to patch over this marketing need with solutions such as in-store wifi, but this newer technology is incredibly powerful to marketers. The customer experience in the video above could have resulted in a simple browse and no sale. The marketing opportunities created from understanding that experience through the data collected, will help us to follow-up appropriately with the right content, at the right frequency at the right time – all with an enriched profile of that customer.

The marketing challenge is beginning to shift towards a desire to converse “sequentially” with prospects and customers through any channel at any time. Sequential messaging across multiple devices, locations and mediums. All of these could be personalised, tailored and in a defined, tested and optimised sequence:

  • In-store offers and personalised greetings
  • In-product messaging (some cars are already enabled in this way)
  • In-app messaging
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Website
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Delivery messaging

What would this list look like for your brand?

Algorithms could be developed, to enable CRM platforms to intelligently learn and adapt to the best performing sequence of proposition, content and timing. Automatically.

What does all of this mean for Marketers?

Marketers will soon be spending much less time thinking about which message to send through which channel, but more time deciding on the right sequence of messages with the channel serving as a distribution channel. I like to think of this as ‘the channel of one’.


Don’t just aim for an open with your subject line

CoinksdealsEver heard someone say the purpose of the subject line is to get the open? This is short sighted and the purpose and impact of the subject line goes much deeper. The thinking behind a subject line should be more than “what will make someone read this email?”

A case in point is some work I’ve recently completed for Coinks Deals. I’d like to share with you what was learnt about subject lines and how to best communicate with a large dormant database.

Coinks Points introduced a new deals service for their members and wished to provide these deal emails to members who responded to an introduction email about them. Coinks have millions of members, including hundreds of thousands of who had been suppressed from contact for over 12 months. The challenge was how to message to their entire member database, including the dormant members.

The messaging strategy I developed was a four email sequence using a high degree of personalisation to make connection and re-establish trust with members. Several tests were developed to optimise each step of the sequence, testing a variety of elements, including of course subject lines.

As always with testing, the results were insightful and I’m going to focus on one of the subject line tests and what you can learn from it.

For the third email in the sequence to the dormant segment, one of the tests was of these two subject lines:

  • Subject A: Are we still welcome in our inbox?
  • Subject B: Was it something we said?

The email itself was a short mostly plain email with a few links and a couple of central buttons shown belowcoinksbuttons

The subject line B gave a 67% higher open rate. However, what was interesting to show the impact of the subject line beyond the open was the ratio of clicks on the above two buttons.

For subject line ‘A’ the ratio of clicks on the first button to second button was 6.5 whereas for subject line ‘B’ it was 2.8. Customers with subject line ‘A’ were more inclined to click the first button. The test cell sample size was 12,000 and the difference in clicks was statistically significant.

The difference in ratio was due to the different subject lines, it changed how customers read the message and what they did as a result. In this case “Are we still welcome in your inbox?” prompted the customer to consider this very question and whether their answer is yes or no. Whereas “Was it something we said?” does not prompt the direct question and the more conciliatory tone creates more interest in deals.

In the many tests I’ve run over many clients I’ve time and time again seen that what happens in the email is skewed and changed by the subject line. The subject line should be designed to get the right people to open not the most people, the right people means those most likely to take the action you want. Plus the subject line should frame their thoughts correctly.

The subject line is used by customers to self-qualify, if the subject line does not accurately qualify the right people then customers who might have taken action do not open and conversely some open only to find it’s not the right message for them. In this case the risk is customers become less inclined to open again since they found they wasted their time previously.

Summarising two key learning’s:

  • When testing subject lines don’t stop evaluation at the open rate, get more insight by looking deeper at which individual links were clicked and the call to action of each, to learn why the subject line created a particular result.
  • Create subject lines with the call to action in mind. The power and impact of the subject line goes further than getting the read, it’s about getting the action and not just the read.

This was just one test out of many over a series of four emails. The compounded gain across the whole email sequence was an impressive 190%.

Next time you think about subject lines don’t focus on just getting the open but setting up the right thought sequence for the call action.

Acknowledgements: My thanks to Coinks Deals and Emailvision for permission to publish the results from this work.

No Hang-Ups Here: How to Avoid Landing Page Disconnection

If your digital marketing campaigns aren’t giving you the results you want, don’t be too quick to blame your banner, retargeted display ad, paid search ad or email message.

Look one step down the line instead, to the landing page you set up for everyone who clicks on your link. Does it pay off what you promised or match the criteria you used to design your campaign? If it doesn’t, a lot of potential customers will get lost along the way.

I’m not just talking about ads that strand prospects on your homepage and force them to root around for what they wanted, although that’s certainly a common problem.

Here are three scenarios I’ve encountered recently:

“One Size Fits All”:  Here, the offer on the page doesn’t reflect the unique value proposition promised in the ad or email. This can happen if you use a common landing page for a series of email messages or display ads with different calls to action or PPC banners optimized for different sets of search terms.

You’ll likely attract a large population of visitors whose interests don’t match up with the content on the landing page, which results in a large bounce rate off the page

“These Are Not the Droids You Seek”: The content on the page doesn’t reflect your search keywords, whether they’re paid or organic.

If you optimize a paid search ad to rank high when customers type in “Cuisinart replacement work bowl,” Then send them directly to a page which features this product – don’t be tempted to send them to a general landing page where they then have to search for the product.

“Take It or Leave It”: The page doesn’t give your prospects anything else to do if they don’t want to act on your offer.

Not everyone who searches for something is ready to act. Many are just researching prices, models and features, or they’re just curious to see what’s out there. This is particularly so with email – where you’re pushing a promotion to them rather than them searching. So understand that they may not be in a position to act as they weren’t actively searching for this solution/product.

A “buy now” landing page doesn’t give them the information they want, so they’ll be more likely to bounce away fast. If you’re wondering why you have a high page bounce rate, maybe that’s the reason why.

Alignment: It Isn’t Just for Cars

How can an otherwise well-designed landing page end up being a dead end? Maybe one member of your creative team worked on your ads or emails, and someone else did the landing page, but nobody lined up the two side by side to see whether the ad and the landing page are aligned.

Aligning your landing pages with your ads is one of the most crucial steps in your creative workflow.

If you use Pay-Per-Click ads to drive customer acquisition and you have a landing page disconnect, you risk  wasting a big chunk of your ad budget on leads that go nowhere, not to mention the lost customers and then  you may possibly have to pay again for that same lead at a later time.

Plus, misleading or confusing landing pages make landing pages make you look untrustworthy – not the best impression you want to make, especially on first-time visitors!

How to Make Better Connections

Luckily, it’s not hard to make sure your offers align with your landing page. Here are three suggestions:

1. Use keywords and other written copy on your landing page that repeat or echo the terms in your banner, display ad, text message, email newsletter or banner ad.

Let’s say you use a Pay-Per-Click ad to drive email subscriptions (separate from links you add to your email messages or to trans-promo messages for customers who aren’t in your email database yet.

Your ad should not map to your standard opt-in page, because you probably will be talking to people who are not already familiar with your company or website.

Instead, create a landing page that provides more about your email program, such as topics, your privacy policy and sample issues. Go ahead and provide your opt-in data fields; you just have to sell a little more than you might to people who find you from your homepage or a product page.

2. Create a unique landing page for each ad instead of repurposing one landing page for all of your test ads or all the ads in a particular campaign.

You probably use different copy, keywords or images from one ad to the next; so, you’ll probably attract prospects with different needs and interests. Aligning each ad with its own landing page reduces your disconnection potential.

3. Offer multiple opportunities to connect on each landing page to appeal to people who don’t find what they want in your main offer.

No matter how well you structure your ad and landing page, not everyone who comes to your page from your text ad, paid link or email is going to snap on your offer. But they don’t have to leave empty-handed.

Add value-driven content, such as links to more product information, related or similar products, articles, contact information or a benefit-drive invitation to join your email program. Not only does this help you connect and increases the chance that they’ll convert the next time they come to your website, but you are also making the most of your budget, so you aren’t paying yet again for them to find you You now can be there in their inbox ready and waiting for when they’re ready!

One last tip: Add a quality-assurance step to your workflow process to double-check the language in the ad against the copy on your landing page, along with proofreading copy, making sure you have the correct images and – the final, absolutely most critical step – making sure the link actually works.

Join us at the International Email Marketing Summit on May 16, 2012

Register now for this virtual summit and learn all about the latest trends and best practices in email marketing without leaving your desk!

And it won’t cost you a penny/eurocent/dollarcent/… 

The DMA is proud to be a sponsor of this, the very first edition of the International Email Marketing Summit.

Not only will you be inspired by the latest tactics that work but you’ll also take away a list of action items you can implement immediately.

Featured speakers

  • Dela Quist, Alchemy Worx
  • Dave Chaffey, Smart Insights
  • Tamara Gielen, Plan to Engage
  • Denise Cox, Newsweaver
  • Riaz Kanani, Alchemy Worx
  • Kath Pay, Plan to Engage
  • Arianna Galante, ContactLab
  • Tom Bailey, eCircle
  • James Bunting, Communicator
#IEMS speakers

What’s on the agenda?

  • Beyond just selling: engaging with your subscribers
  • 7 reasons why your subscribers don’t respond
  • Tips & tricks for designing emails for a mobile audience
  • Inactive Subscribers: Prospects or Problem?
  • Creating a successful content strategy for email marketing: 8 Easy Steps
  • and lots more…

LinkedIn drive revenue with optimised email

In the last quarter LinkedIn earned $33.3 million from Premium membership subscriptions. That’s 20% of LinkedIn revenues and its grown 87% in the last year.

Persuading more of the 90% of free members to upgrade is a major revenue opportunity for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn are using email to convert members, sending a free one month trial offer. I am a LinkedIn member and after many years still on the free package. As an early adopter of LinkedIn this makes me a target for Premium membership upgrade.

Just as I was putting the finishing touches to a new email copy & creative training deck of 87 slides a LinkedIn upgrade offer dropped into my inbox. It demonstrates several of the principles I’d just covered in the slide deck.

LinkedIn have optimised

What happened next was even better. I found a copy of the same offer from last November in one of my email folders (LinkedIn have tried a few times to convert me).

The difference between the email now and from last November is an excellent case study in email optimisation, so let me share the key elements of what changed and why.


LinkedIn Premium Upgrade Offer 2011



LinkedIn Premium upgrade email - What works and Why

Another smart move

Not only is LinkedIn (a social network) smart enough to use email to drive revenue but they also send an urgency based reminder email shortly before the offer is due to expire. A second urgency based email to follow-up on an original offer always improves conversion.