1. Subject Line Contains the Word "Free"
The email subject was the the following: "Free $10 Shoppers Drug Mart Coupon!".
Typically email recipients will block anything with the word "free". This is an email no no. Magically the email arrived in my inbox - I may have whitelisted the "from address".
2. The Email Looks Like This:
Do I need to say more? Ok, I will.
If the "from line" and "subject line" did not say "Shoppers", I would have deleted the email right away. However, I did open it and I see this black box. What is this?? Emails today should not be all images for this reason. Email clients like Hotmail or Outlook (B2B and B2C recipients) will automatically block images. It's a necessity that the email contains text that is visible when the email is opened. An unsuspecting recipient may have thought this was a scam and quickly clicked on the "this is spam" link.
Including images in an email is actually a good idea depending on the email and the target audience. Besides blending in text, adding in ALT tags to the images could have outlined what the images were about. For example, the ALT text could have been "Shoppers is offering a $10 off coupon for this weekend". This unfortunately was not done and I have a grey box staring back at me. It gets worse - much worse.
3. Do I Look Like a Woman? Seriously.
Here is the email once I enabled the images:
If you notice, the products being advertised are women's beauty products. Thanks Shoppers, just what I wanted and it only takes 42 days for a "nuyu"- great (heavy sarcasm here)! In 2009, you need to ensure that emails are highly personalized. That means that every part of the email should have relevant information that I'm interested in. I'm part of the Shoppers Optimum Points program - I'm sure I provided my gender when I'm signed up. The products that I should see could be something like shaving gel. Let me be specific MEN'S shaving gel. In fact they should know my previous purchases and use that data to promote relevant products.
Ok, that may be pushing things but they could have used my age for improved segmentation.
If for some reason you may not have all of the relevant data for improved segmentation, look for ways to collect that information over time. I would have gladly updated my profile to get the coupon or to have downloaded some relevant information (if we're looking for a B2B example).
We are bombarded by too many emails and messages today. The emails need to be sent at the right time and with the right message.
Now, you may have noticed that Shoppers did include my Shoppers Optimum points balance - which is a personalized piece of information. A few notes here on how a good thing went wrong:
- It's too bad that I never saw this until I scrolled down. This information should have been near the top.
- I have 30 million points - so what? What can I do with those points? If you're going to include my points balance, make it actionable - if it doesn't add anything, don't include it. This information wastes space and takes away from the main purpose of the email.
4. How do I get the Coupon?
So I get over the fact that I first see a grey black box and that they think I need a makeover with women's facial cream. Yes, I'm insulted but I would like the coupon because I've run out of Shampoo and I have a Shoppers across the street from me (they're everywhere in Canada). I click on the image of the coupon. I click on it again. NOTHING HAPPENS. I click on the image of the women's' beauty products - that link works! The last tip I can give Shoppers is that you need to test your email campaigns and ensure that all images are clickable. While you can't tell from the grey image above, it's actually two images and they just forgot to add the correct link.
I hope that you and Shoppers have learned something from this campaign. Companies will waste precious marketing dollars if simple email best practices are not followed.
PS - If you live up here in the North, you can go here for the coupon
PPS - Here are some additional email tips:
- Email Tips for the New Year Part I
- Email Marketing 101: Tips and Best Practices
- 10 Tips for Using Twitter And Email Marketing for B2B