Thursday, March 21, 2013

your email sucks - when to send the recovery email?

recently a colleague forwarded me this email, overall stylistically it's not bad, but let's break down
when good emails go bad - and when do you
send the "oops my bad email"?
the unfortunate mistakes that happened with this one.

it's obviously a mistake and if it came to one person on the list, then more than likely it went to the whole list the marketer intended it to be delivered to for the promotion.

but let's skip the blaring mistakes and look at the marketer's work flow and how to minimize the negative impact that this communication may have on subscribers.

if this marketer is like me, they build their emails in dreamweaver or another html authoring tool. that's not a bad thing because it gives email marketers the flexibility to build great non-templated emails. but it's not without it's risks.

the potential downfall of this is that you can insert the images in the code, without putting them on the server, and those images will show up on your machine when you view the email. any testing that you do might actually render those images on your computer and you think everything is fine - especially if you're the only one who tests your emails. the lesson is to always load the images on the server and insert those urls in your html file instead of using the html authoring tool to "include" those images when you're coding.

another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't rely on "wysiwyg" - every email marketer should know how to code to some degree. i'm not saying that i don't use "table  >> merge cells" on occasion, but i know how to structure my emails by hand and "scratch", that way i'm not relying on dreamweaver - which can add extra code and increase the size of your emails -  to build my emails. knowing how to read code makes it easier to avoid mistakes like your images not being delivered by the server and coming from your desktop instead. and know this too, coding an email is different from coding a webpage, if you have designers doing work for you, make sure they understand this!

so what else is wrong with this email? the vendor didn't follow this up with an "oops" email.

in a case like this, where the images didn't render and the subject line said "test" it's clear that the marketer didn't mean for this to go out. the easy recovery for this email, because it was an event announcement, could be as simple as sending it again, with a notice above the actual email that said something like "we were so excited to announce this that we sent it unfinished".

the downfall of the oops email is that you can't send it every time there is a mistake. sometimes you have to weigh the good and bad and just move on. the power of the oops email is that sometimes the open rate, click-thru and engagement is even hire on the oops one.