Search Email Moxie Posts – Email Done Right

One of my favorite websites in the world is The site is fun, offers free (and super quick) shipping, and almost everything under the sun that a parent could possibly want or need for their child and parenting needs. Their slogan is “We deliver everything but the baby.” Indeed they do.

I am also a fan of their email. Here is a recent email I received from

They do everything right in this email

  • They have a view online link in the header text.
  • The header image has useful links, the company name, slogan, and a shop link.
  • The main body image has my name dynamically populated, has a shop now button, and has links to six products. These products are based on the age of my child. This data, I assume, was collected when I signed up for email with and when I purchased various age specific products.
  • The footer image is also complimentary to the email. Once I have seen all the cool toys I can get, I am gently reminded NOT TO FORGET THE DIAPERS! - Thanks, I almost forgot :)
  • The footer text is also well done. There are social media links, a forward to a friend option, a clear disclaimer, a notification of who sent the email, a message making sure the email is age-appropriate for my child (this is a super big plus!!), and the standard unsubscribe and CAN-SPAM content.

Also, in this email, I discovered the has a new twist on a common email feature. The HTML and TEXT version of their emails have the common "This message contains graphics. If you do not see the graphics, click here to view." feature which opens a hosted version of the HTML email.

Most email marketing programs simply display the hosted version of the email and stop here when this link is clicked. Not The hosted version then contains this message in the header: "If you are still having problems viewing this message, please click here for additional help."

When this link is selected a web page displays. This helpful site helps the subscriber understand and troubleshoot common image rendering issues. This is nice for those subscribers who for whatever reason cannot figure out how to display images. did not give up on these subscribers once the hosted version displayed.

Nice job Keep up the good work.

When Email Fails - Letter Writing Is In

I came across an interesting article about how some U.S. troops in Afghanistan are utilizing good old letter writing instead of email and phones to keep in touch with loved ones back home. Because of the remote locations some of these soldiers find themselves in, email and phone access is non-existent.

Some soldiers enjoy letter writing while others do not.

"There are things that we say on paper that we are not so quick to speak, if at all," said one soldier. "There's the handwriting and the perfume that you can't get through the phone or e-mail, so the letters were precious."

Not having access to email and phone “was worse than I imagine prison in some respects. Men in prison know that they deserve to lose their freedom. They have telephones, television and green grass outside that they can be with for a time each day," said another.

How Obvious Is Your Registration Link?

We all know how important it is to have a captivating e-mail registration page. However, it is even more important to allow your potential subscribers to easily find where they can register for e-mail on your site. Below are some e-mail sign-up icons from well known and not-so-well-know marketers.

- Which ones grab your attention?
- Which ones do you prefer?
You can find out who is who by clicking the image.

Three Email "Oops" Moments and How to Avoid Them

It's our job as email marketers to avoid simple mistakes that can ruin the effectiveness of otherwise well thought-out campaigns. Below you'll find three real-life examples where fundamental email marketing elements – personalization, dynamic content, and captivating subject lines – have been used incorrectly. Sometimes even the best of us let errors slip through the cracks, so I thought I'd share some of these common pitfalls with you.

Inaccurate personalization
In the first example the subscriber's name is replaced by an obvious piece of placeholder text – "Mr. Soandso." (That's email-speak for Mr. So-And-So, for those of you scoring at home.)

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 In this case there was a follow-up apology email in just under two hours.

Questions to consider:
- Was the damage already done with an incorrect, and possibly offensive, first name?
- Should a follow-up email have been sent?

Missing dynamic content
In this second example we see what can happen when dynamic content does not populate correctly. In this case there should have been a list of recipients and gifts they received. Instead, this part of the email is blank.

Misspelled, poorly punctuated subject lines
The last example concerns a subject line with missing punctuation. The subject line received was "Hurry Sale Starts Today – New Items Just Reduced!" What exactly is a "Hurry Sale?" How about a comma? The subject line should have been "Hurry, Sale Starts Today – New Items Just Reduced!"

Avoiding these mistakes is really quite simple – test dynamic content, test personalization, and proofread subject lines. If you can, get a second set of eyes to help you proofread and test everything before it goes out.

Do you have any examples of email mistakes? How do these errors reflect on the email sender? How do these mistakes make the recipient feel? Let me know your opinion!

Walking a Fine Line With Web Analytics Data

Sending email based on web analytics data is not a new concept in the email marketing space. As most email marketers know by now, web analytics data can be used in abandoned shopping cart campaigns (ReMarketing), browser behavior campaigns, and other targeted campaigns. But to me, the most important aspect of these campaigns is how the data is being used and what the net effect is on the subscriber base.

Here's my real-life example that illustrates the issues surrounding web analytics/email integration:

I am a frequent shopper of the online retailer, where I have purchased books, electronics, and baby items exclusively. Last week, however, I received an extremely targeted and somewhat perplexing email promoting’s variety of gourmet and specialty meat selections. Wild Boar 10 Rib Rack anyone?, asked the email. The first line of the message was “As someone who has shown an interest in gourmet meat…”

What? Gourmet meat? Me? From Huh?

Kudos to Staples Center, AEG, and Jackson Family For A Well Run Ticket Process

It is becoming more and more apparent that email contests and online drawings must be thought-out completely before being executed. This is especially true nowadays with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, whose word-of-mouth capabilities expand the reach of such campaigns drastically and quickly, while also serving as a potentially treacherous criticism forum. Earlier this year KFC demonstrated how NOT to run an online giveaway. The chicken establishment’s free meal offer not only brought down the website hosting the coupon but contributed to restaurant sit-ins, chicken riots, and overall negative feelings and press towards KFC.

Recently the Staples Center, AEG, and Michael Jackson’s family tackled the huge task of how to distribute Michael Jackson Memorial tickets fairly, quickly, and error free. Unlike KFC - the Staples Center, AEG and the Jackson family created an easy to follow, seemingly error free, and clear process in the Michael Jackson Memorial ticket giveaway. They did everything right! Hopefully this model process will start a new standard in large online giveaways.

The memorial, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7th, is gigantic. If there was an error in the process the results would be 100,000,000 times worse than any chicken sit-in. In the first 90 minutes of the lottery registration Web servers counted a half-billion hits. This is 12,000 ticket hopefuls a second! Seven hours into the lottery's announcement, more than half a million people had registered via email vying for free tickets. When the dust settled and the lottery site closed, over 1.6 million email addresses registered for 8,750 tickets. The odds of winning tickets were long - just one of every 182 entries were chosen. This equates into a very few extremely ecstatic winners and a whole world of disappointed losers. These losers were locked out of getting tickets to arguably one of the biggest events in the history of music. It would be catastrophic if there was a KFC type glitch in this system. Luckily, there was not.

Here is the process that the Staples Center, AEG, and Jackson Family created to run their efficient and effective online ticket giveaway. Way to go!

Step 1: A Clear Website and Registration Process Was Created.

The Staples Center web site made it clear where interested visitors needed to go to register for tickets. The one-step form was also simple and clear. All that was required was an Email Address, First Name, Last Name, Zip Code and Date of Birth.

The event information, including when the registration ended, who was eligible, the rules, and how to get more information, were all available and clear.

Step 2: Winners and Losers Were Notified

Both the winners and losers were notified via email if they did or did not win tickets.

Here is the losers email. I, unfortunately, did not receive a winning email :(

The winners email told these lucky few to contact Ticketmaster for information on how to claim their tickets.

Winners were provided a secret code and instructions to appear at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday (the day before the memorial event) to claim their tickets. These winners needed a picture ID and will have a wristband placed on their arms to prevent them from reselling the tickets. It was seemingly impossible to resell or scalp ones tickets unless the information provided by Ticketmaster was sold to someone with the same name as a winner prior to the tickets and wristbands being distributed at Dodger Stadium.

Each winner received two tickets, bringing the number awarded in the lottery to 17,500. Just 11,000 of those are for seats inside the Staples Center, while the other 6,500 are for viewing the memorial telecast across the street at the Nokia Theater.

Step 3: The Day of the Event

Police presence was extremely heavy in and around the Staples Center. Police have said they will close off the area near the Staples Center to all those without a ticket and asked fans to watch the event on television. "Fans attending the memorial service must have both a valid ticket AND a wristband," a Jackson family statement said. "Wristbands that have been ripped, taped or otherwise mutilated will be void." The Jackson family will provide a free live video feed to networks so the memorial service would be televised everywhere.

A few of the takeaways from this promotion are:

- Make a clear start and end date for any promotion.
- Allow only one entry per email address when applicable.
- Be sure to notify winners and losers.
- Map out the promotion process from start to finish looking for any errors, mistakes, or missteps.
- Always anticipate that the promotion will reach the entire world. A Tweet can go a long way. Be prepared to deal with increased web traffic, email traffic, questions, and responses.