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.
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.
Landing in my inbox recently was an email from Flybe about a new aircraft deal. The subject line was “Flybe announces a deal for up to 140 new jet aircraft”.
This got my attention for the wrong reasons. I found the subject line surprising as it didn’t offer me any reason to read further or any obvious benefit. Something I would expect to see in a subject line.
I’m sure there was champagne popping in the corporate board room and Flybe were excited about this deal. However I was thinking about the typical reader and wondering if they would find this subject line exciting? Is it too much about Flybe and not enough about the customer (me)? In the few short seconds of attention the subject line gets, is it interesting enough to get the email opened and the first couple of lines of the email body read?
The body copy doesn’t initially fair much better continuing on with a headline of “Deal provides a platform for Flybe’s expansion into Continental Europe”. Most of the copy reads like a quick edit to a press release for the financial markets rather than something truly customer focused.
This news was a good opportunity for Flybe to engage their readers, which includes me. Mostly I just get flight sale and other flight offer emails from Flybe. I almost always ignore these. This was a chance to talk about something other than another flight offer.
Here is the email in full
The body copy goes on to say Flybe is spending $5billion. So what I ask? So, Flybe, you’ve lots of money? Should I be impressed? Does it help me?
How about some pictures of the type of aircraft and how they look inside? I’m no aircraft spotter and don’t know what an Embraer 175 looks like. The things I really care about are, in no particular order as follows:
Whether I can fly at the time close to my ideal flight time
If the destinations I need are available
Minimum check-in and waiting time
Speed to get onboard
Notebook seat power for flights over an hour
Environmental impact. A and B ratings mean little to me, is this better than other aircraft?
Low and competitive fares
Onboard comfort and leg room
Low cabin noise
I wonder whether the Flybe investment will help give me these things? If so Flybe could have helped tell the story to me. Could these questions have been positively answered?
The best safety record for this class of aircraft? A safety leader?
Front and rear doors for speed of disembarkation at some airports?
Lowest running costs in class to keep fare low?
Are these faster than current Flybe aircraft?
Do they have quieter than most engines?
More flights to existing destinations?
More UK airports served?
Halfway through the email does talk about legroom; ‘…allowing us to maintain our commitment to delivering a product with 30″ legroom…’. The use of language ‘delivering a product‘ is dry and clinical. Is product the typical language of the customer when thinking about onboard legroom? I´d no idea whether 30″ was good or not. I started Googling and it seems unremarkable. From this table of aircraft legroom it looks pretty much standard at best. Seemingly not a good story.
I don’t often read the Flybe flight offer emails I get, though I’m happy to keep getting them. I use Flybe a handful of times a year and I keep an eye on the emails for something of value or useful information. I very recently went on two Flybe flights – I couldn’t tell you what aircraft type I was on, but I did make my fastest time for duration from touch down to getting into my car. Now that I value.
Tim is the Operations Director at smartFOCUS. You can follow him on Twitter @tawatson for useful email marketing information.