ASOS.com is a large online clothing store and their strategy involves sending a high frequency of emails.  This can be a bit of a tightrope as you don’t want to bog down your recipients with too many irrelevant messages as they will lose interest quickly.

ASOS have moved away from this problem by having different “send-from” names to coincide with their differently themed campaigns.  This to me works around the subject line length issue, giving the recipient insight into the contents of the email.  Some people may not even pay attention to the subject line and instead look at the “send-from”, using that as an indicator for whether they think it will be relevant.  It also breaks up their campaigns in a person’s inbox and doesn’t feel like a relentless barrage of ASOS emails.

I’ve always been a big fan of being able to see  a company’s personality and a soulless brand.  ASOS have always managed to give their brand that extra bit of warmth;  from their very active social media accounts, right through to their transactional emails.  In the current world where advocacy of a brand/product/service is a rare thing, I believe company personality plays a big part in achieving that with customers.

Another aspect of their campaigns that has impressed me is the “VIP” emails.  Whilst initially I thought everyone received these, but when speaking with a friend who hadn’t received them, it would seem ASOS reward more receptive recipients.

The first reason I really like it, is the fact that I’m on it and get some pretty good offers.  The first reason, relevant to email marketing, is their use of passive segmentation.  Passively segmenting your lists is a great way to send relevant promotions and products to subscribers, without requiring them to do anything.  As anyone who has carried out any kind of survey or active segmentation tasks before, you can be relatively sure that the majority of your list will probably not respond.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t want more relevant emails though, it just means they can’t be bothered to ask for it.

The second thing that impresses me about the VIP messages is that it they reward their more active subscribers.  As I mentioned earlier, advocacy is a tough thing to gain, but this is a great way to achieve it.

If you are considering doing this yourself, it can be off-putting to actually continue to reward the good subscribers in monetary terms; you do still want to make a decent profit from it.  Try to think about other aspects of your service that you can give this segment of your list as a privilege. ASOS have gifted their VIP list with offers and opportunities such as a “sneak view” of their sale prior to general launch.

Of course I can’t just sing their praises – we know that no one is perfect….

Criticism

Renting their lists to other senders – 

Okay, so most of the time, they can get away with this as it is a competition from a clothing company but sometimes the odd “win laser eye surgery” comes in and it’s slightly annoying.  This is a place that would be more suited to the social media channels as there’s never a need to email list rent.

I found it a bit strange that a company such as this has no preference centre when unsubscribing. The one-click unsubscribe link does mean that it is a quick process and does avoid any potential spam complaints by having long-winded mechanisms to remove yourself. Unfortunately, this link only unsubscribes you from one of the mails (or all of the mails).  In a company that has a complex email strategy like this, it’s simply wasteful.  People may just want to remove themselves from one or two parts of the email marketing mix (such as the ‘win free laser eye surgery’) and could be losing good subscribers.

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