Monday, August 11, 2014

your email sucks: pictures of cats make it all better

by kirk r gray

we've talked before about testing, the oops email, and what to do. but this one takes the cake - in a good way. it's the best mistakenly sent email i have seen - ever! and actually has me thinking about contingency plans for when you send a test email to a production list by accident.
fab, an internet retailer, recently sent a test email, and guessing by the subject line they were doing some testing of their tracking system or perhaps google analytics. we've all tested new things, and usually to an internal test list... but a forward-thinking marketer at fab was in obviously at the helm of this one.

they developed this test message and mistakenly sent it out to a production list. but unlike normal test messages that are just poorly formatted and contain lorem ipsum this one contained a picture of a kitten. which only goes to show what the internet already knows - pictures of kittens really do make everything better.

what's great about this email is that the team at fab actually used a live template - meaning that the links in it all work; you can actually click on the about us and other links and get to the site. you can even click on the kitten and go directly fab. and honestly, if you can resist clicking on that adorable kitten your heart is made of stone. look at him, he looks so timid looking, he just begs to be clicked on! seriously, the only thing missing from this email is a sarah mclachlan song.

because the links work, and the image is engaging, i started thinking...perhaps it's worth the extra work when building a test email to go the extra mile and use a template that works (especially since they were just looking at tracking functionality), and plan to limit the amount of brand impact an accidental send may have. for the purposes of this blog, yes this "email sucks" because it was send that happened in error, but it really doesn't suck because the marketing team at fab took steps to minimize brand damage...using a picture of that kitten that engaged me enough to click and get to fab (mental note: contribute to the aspca...).

kuddos to the team at fab for having the fore thought to build out a functional email, even when testing.

in general i smile when i see an email i can use in the "your email sucks" section of this blog, but i smiled even more when i saw that kitten. i plan on using a similar tactic when building test emails in the future in case someone sends it to the wrong list. this was a brilliant tactic to jazz up the mundane testing that we all do on occasion. so remember this next time you're asked to test out a new tracking parameter or something...and to spay or neuter your pets.

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