A tale of two opensThere’s a reason email marketing gurus, consultants and thought leaders exist.  It’s because email marketing is very easy to get wrong.  It can really go wrong once the reader opens the email,

The challenge lies in identifying the campaigns that nailed it, and those which completely missed the mark. Your stats might paint the picture nicely, but they don’t tell the story of what happened from the recipient’s perspective.

That means we need to use our imaginations a little. So, let’s consider two tales of email marketing, and meet Steve and Louise…

You got it wrong… so wrong

Steve had enjoyed a fantastic day at work. He’d ticked off every to-do item, avoided all unnecessary water cooler chats and had even managed to persuade Dan in accounts that he really did need that second glass of wine on expenses during his last outing.

Then, just as he’s about to leave, a new mail drops into his inbox. Still in work mode, Steve glances at the subject line, which reads nothing more than “FAO: Steve”. The sender doesn’t look familiar, but this is clearly an email intended for him, so he opens it.

On the wall, Steve’s office clock silently ticks past the time he’d normally be entering his car, ready for the journey home.

Upon opening the email, it’s clear the message isn’t actually for him. From the looks of it… wait; who is this for, exactly? Having expected a request to join an important meeting tomorrow or a forwarded report from a colleague, Steve is instead met with what looks like a web page from 1998, complete with flashing gifs and colours that wouldn’t look out of place on an episode of In The Night Garden.

And that’s not surprising, because upon further investigation (Steve would have been ten minutes from home by now), it’s clear that this email is from a toy retailer.

Steve doesn’t have kids, and he’s never so much as visited the retailer in question.

He’s also late for dinner.

A swift click of the ‘report as spam’ button follows, before a swift, grumpy exit to the car park.

You nailed it!

Louise’s day had been terrible. She hadn’t got anywhere near her list of to-dos, thanks to countless, inane chats with people about far-flung holidays and last night’s episode of Love Island.  To add insult to injury, her last expense submission had been flatly refused.

She needed some good news, but the last place Louise expected to find it was in her email inbox.

Only, that’s exactly what happened, because just as she was about to leave for the day, the familiar ‘ping’ alerted her to a new message. “Louise – this offer will make your evening,” exclaimed the subject line.

Upon entering the email, Louise was met with a simple title that appeared to speak directly to her needs; “Want a night off cooking duty?” it asked.

That’s all Louise wanted.  Therefore, after a quick skim of the opening paragraph, her attention was swiftly focused on the mouth-watering photo of a meat feast pizza and the glorious “50% off all deliveries tonight for your favourite pizza” sticker beneath.

What did Louise do next?

We’ll let your imagination run wild, but she’ll almost definitely have interacted with that pizza email, and won’t have forgotten the experience.

Which conclusion would you like to provide for someone’s day?

You wouldn’t think email could have such a powerful effect on people, would you?

It really, really can. Just make sure you get it right!