More and more web wholesalers and retailers are using photos in their email campaigns to show off their hottest product lines. That is the good news. The bad news is that a growing number of email accounts at the major ISPs do not automatically render images.
What can marketers do to get their image laden messages into inboxes? There is no silver bullet, but here are a few tips picked up from the recent Authentication and Online Trust Alliance summit in Boston, what marketers can do to maximize email campaigns with imagery.
"You can test and test, but you do not know exactly how each image will render in each inbox," said Jared Blank, VP of Client Solutions at Epsilon, Dallas, TX. "Email is not about looking beautiful. It is about getting read."
Blank and others offered the following advice:
Order Tracking at Moosejaw.com
- From the moment people sign up, educate them about how you will send images and what they need to do to receive them. Tell them how to add your domain name to their address book.
- Design campaigns for image blocking accounts. Use descriptive copy around where the images are supposed to give the recipient a good reason to click the display button.
- Make sure your offer is above the fold, which might give them another reason to enable images. This should cut down on deletes (and complaints, too).
- Let recipients sign up for text only messages.
- Include marketing and IT people together in meetings so everyone is on the same page. Greg Tseng, CEO of Tagged Inc. in San Francisco, CA, allocates three to five weekly man hours for deliverability issues, including a weekly one hour teleconference with his ESP vendor.
Already a pioneer in eretailing areas like online communities, mobile commerce and social networking, Moosejaw.com is again blazing a new trail. The multichannel marketer has debuted a component of its ordering system, which lets customers opt to have tracking information sent to their mobile phones in real time.
The outdoors apparel and gear merchant, which uses text messaging functionality in part as a marketing tool to attract shoppers who enjoy the convenience of data communication via mobile phones, said that the option will play a significant role in the overall future of ecommerce and mobile commerce. Within hours of launching the option, the firm had more than 100 customers sign up for the service.
"Text messaging allows us to interact with our young customer base on a very personal level," explained Robert Wolfe, Moosejaw's president and CEO. Added Indy Bishop, marketing manager, for the firm, "We want to be the first retailer to form a relationship with our customers via text messaging, and we have spent more than a year integrating text messaging technology into every facet of our business."
Racy Email/TV Combo
Fashion ecommerce site Bluefly Inc. created an interactive campaign that uses television and email to take on the provocative subject: risking a fashion faux pas at work the day after an overnight fling.
In the TV and email campaign dubbed, "The Catch," the audience is invited to consider what to wear to the office following a weeknight sleepover with a date. Bluefly sent out an email survey to customers about what to do in a similar situation. Customers on the email list and visitors to www.flypaper.bluefly.com can voice opinions on the campaign.
"People have told us that it is a fun campaign," said Bradford Matson, CMO at Bluefly in New York. "When we asked them what they would do, 54 percent said that they would rush home and grab something, anything, while surprisingly 27 percent said that they always have something stashed away in their cubicle for such occasions."
Bluefly is an ecommerce site that mixes high-end fashion brands with closeout prices of Off Sacks and Nordstrom's Rack. Vera Wang dresses, Fendi handbags and Jimmy Choo shoes can be found for up to 40 percent off the retail price. The TV promo aspect was aimed at directing consumers straight to the website, as opposed to a branding effort that would target the idea of driving store traffic.
"The nation is watching TV with their laptop open," Matson explained. "It is not so much about explaining who we are in the ad; people will search it out if they are interested. All we need is to run a provocative ad and traffic will spike on our site."
The ads are part of a campaign aimed at building visibility for the Bluefly brand and retaining existing customers. The campaign began in the spring of 2005 when the ecommerce division found that its awareness was low. Only 14 percent of the demographic recognized the brand. Matson added that he was looking for a way to communicate the brand identity without directly defining it.
"If we say that we are designer or off-price, then we are categorized," he said. "We believe that buying clothes is an emotional decision, so we created a series of ads that come from an emotional point of view."
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