The perfect email

It’s not often that I get the perfect email – one that beautifully illustrates all of the various different points we go on (and on) about in designing effective emails that sell.  But I got one this morning!  And here it is.

So let’s look at this from the top…

  1. SpigenSubject line.  Arguably the most important part of the email, the subject line should entice the recipient to engage with the message and, if you are not viewing the content in your preview pane, to open the message. Fail.
  2. Sender name.  Different commentators argue that the sender name is now more important than the subject line in getting engagement.  At least this sender has included an alias but just the company name???  Surely something a bit more personal…  And take a look at the email address.  I don’t know about you, but that does not look to me like someone I know or would want to trust.
  3. Sent to.  I’ve not got the first clue who =?utf-8?Q??= is, but I don’t know how to pronounce it and I certainly don’t answer to it.  Is this personalisation gone wrong?  Who knows.  big fail.
  4. Content.  Finally!  Lets have a look at the message… Oh well.

Careful how you segment your database

crewI received promational emails from Crew Clothing today.  I’ve bought from them regularly, so straight into my inbox – great let’s have a look.

But for some reason I’m on their mailing list twice and to one email address they are offering me 15% off and the next 20% off PLUS free delivery.  Just makes them look a bit foolish…

So, before you test messages to different parts of your mailing list, check that you have de-duplicated on something other than email address – mailing address or phone number would be good.

Who are you?

An email has a couple of seconds at best to catch the readers attention before it is deleted or ignored.  Conventional wisdom was that recipients checked the email in this order:

  1. Subject line
  2. Sender
  3. Email body in preview

But I would argue that the first thing most people now check is the sender.  We all get so many emails that the sender name tells us more than anything else about the email.  So when I receive and email from this sender, what do I think:





Clearly not a “listening business”!  Delete.

So, be creative when sending your emails, don’t just put a name in the “from” box, give a hint of the benefits of reading more or use some special characters – within reason…

What does a typical campaign schedule look like?

We plan client campaigns 3 months ahead in detail and 6 months forward in outline.  This requires a structure and careful control to make sure that nothing gets lost.  This is a typical schedule we may use:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Month 1 Knowledge share email sent Follow up email sent to contacts that engage with email in week 1 Telephone follow up with best engaged contacts from both campaigns
Month 2 Knowledge share email sent

Call back contacts from last month

Telephone follow up from last week’s email Direct, single issue email sent to all contacts

Telephone follow up 20 minutes after contact clicks on key link

Month 3 Knowledge share email sent Follow up email sent to contacts that engage with email in week 1 Telephone follow up with best engaged contacts from both campaigns
Month 4 Knowledge share email sent

Telephone follow up 20 minutes after contact clicks on key link

Follow up email sent to all contacts engaged to date Telephone call backs for all previously called contacts
Month 5 Knowledge share email sent Telephone follow up with lapsed leads Direct, single issue email sent to all contacts

Telephone follow up 20 minutes after contact clicks on key link

Month 6 Knowledge share email sent Qualification email to non-respondents Telephone follow up with best engaged contacts to date

As you will see from this schedule, each month has key activities with a different focus depending on the month in question.  In this case, the client identified external events in their market to reference in the campaign that would make contacts more likely to engage at that point, so the campaign and phone activity in those months was skewed accordingly.

Should the DMA know better?

We’re all human and make mistakes, but if you set yourself up as the arbiter of correct behaviour in a market, should you not live up to some sort of minimum standard?  Or am I just being a grumpy git? 🙂

Got this email from the Direct Marketing Association today:


So it looks pretty reasonable without images loaded, although I do think that they could use a wider template.  I suspect they are trying a “one size fits all” to work on mobile devices as well as email clients – responsive design guys??


So the primary link is clearly the blue URL right at the top of the email.  That’s what they want me to click on as it’s at the top of the email – right?  erm no…  This is where the link takes me:


Ok so they’ve put in a bad link.  I’ve done the same (more than once) so can forgive them that.  But the story looks interesting so I read on and click the link in the body of the email and it works – I get to the DMA’s website.

Excited to read the content, I’m frustrated to find I now have to register with the site to view the content.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ve registered before, so I eventually have to register again as I can’t find the login.  I get sent an email that needs me to click on a link (yes, double opt-in, good practice in action).  So now to view the content I’ve tried so hard to get to…


What!!  I’ve just registered.  Now I’m told that the registration I was offered was not enough to give me the content I was offered in the email they sent me.  I give up…

However there is an important message here.  If you have content to share with a segment of your newsletter audience, create a segmented list and only send articles that the recipients can access to them – or risk royally upsetting them.




Someone at Sainsburys pressed the send button early!

Ouch!  We all know the feeling – you hit the send button them instantly regret it.  But what if you are sending on behalf of one of the UKs largest retailers?  Double ouch!

So I get a message from Alchemy Worx this morning and open it expecting it to be their regular newsletter.  It’s got an odd subject line, but maybe they are trying something different.  What I saw in my email is this:


But when I open the email I get this:



  1. The yellow highlighting is me.  But the rest is very much down to Sainsburys and their email sender.
  2. The subject line must be an internal reference.
  3. The sending email address is the default one for Alchemy Worx, who I assume are the sending agent for Sainsburys.
  4. The second worst bit for me is the mailmerge failure in salutation.

The worst bit took some hard work to capture for you, but see if you can see what is wrong with the email if you finally get to the bottom…


Bit too long maybe???

Just to add insult to… well, more insult, I replied to the email saying maybe they had let a test loose into the wild – gone feral 🙂  but the email bounced straight back to me.  wonder how the conversation with the Alchemy Worx account manager and the Sainsburys Marketing Director will go…!


Who’s reading your email?

ThiefWithLaptopThere has been a major shift over the last few years away from local ISP based email towards the likes of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.  These services give easy access to your email wherever you are, on your phone, at work and at home.

We certainly notice with our email marketing campaigns that there are lots more email addresses ending, etc…

And there are many companies taking advantage of Googlemail’s ability to assign their own domain name to a group of gmail accounts and effectively use googlemail as their corporate email server.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, since the NSA came clean about Prism last week, it’s now clear that the US Government and possibly the UK Government too has been snooping on email from all these main Internet Service Providers with pretty much unfettered access to our email.

I don’t know how you feel, but I’d prefer that my business email remains unread by anyone but the recipient and myself.  As soon as open access is offered, it inevitably gets abused way beyond the initial remit.  In this case the fight against global terrorism.

So, what to do?  For a business, either set up your own email server, or far better use a specialist email hosting provider based in the UK and using a UK data centre, although you can find other hosting options online, at sites as Armchair Empire that give you the best options for hosting your websites.  For an individual, find a UK based ISP and use their email – are pretty good, but others work well too.

Engaging telephone conversations in channel sales, not just telemarketing!

We have all been there, when we need more sales and hot leads.  What most of us do is pick up the phone book and start calling potential customers telling them how good we are and how amazing our products are.

What is the usual outcome? You will sit there listening to answer phone messages for half of the day, or get hung up on as the customer doesn’t know who you are and are not interested in what you are selling at the moment.

What do you do then? Exhaust all contacts in the phone book? Is there are simpler way? – Yes.

Nett Sales has developed a system for you to share knowledge, build relationships and get more sales.  See the Process in Action here. We believe in building relationships with potential customers by writing to them about products they may be interested in.  We will continue to communicate with customers, so they will begin to trust you and when they are ready to buy your products, you will be the first company they think of. (Building trust)

You may think why don’t we call the potential customers once we know that they have read the email and/or clicked through to the link? There are many different reasons why customer’s may read the information we send them. They are actually interested in the products you can offer, they are interested but not at the moment, or they are not interested at all and have clicked through to the link out of boredom. Nett Sales will ask the potential customers some qualifying questions to ensure that only hot leads are passed to your sales team to turn into sales. Read more about this here.

When it is time to call potential customers, what is the best approach? To tell them how great you are and what you can offer to them, or to have a conversation with them.

We have found that customers are more responsive to someone who calls to ask them some questions about what we have sent them and how interesting they found the information. This will help you build trust with the customer and learn more about them and their needs. Customer’s will appreciate this and think ‘this company is different to the others; they care about me and not just about getting another sale’. By getting this type of response from the customer, you would have gained a long-term and loyal customer.

We all know that generating sales have become increasingly more difficult in the current economic climate. From experience it is proven that email marketing is one of the most effective periods of generating leads and turning these into sales. See this example if you aren’t convinced. If you want to know more get in touch.


Building trust – 5 top ideas for how to get it right

In our recent post we discussed the need to build trust in order to boost sales. With no trust between you and your prospects, chances are they will make all the right noises but, when it comes to the crunch, will still fail to complete a purchase.

You’ll already be aware that at Nett Sales we recommend approaching this issue using three simple steps:

  • Know – Who are your prospects? Have you organised them into an orderly database? Are you able to quickly and easily communicate with them on a regular basis?
  • Trust – Building trust means making yourself useful to your prospects without even mentioning your products or services. Answering questions, offering useful information and sharing your experiences can all help to add value to the relationship without asking them to purchase. This is trust building.
  • Buy – Once you have your prospects actively engaging with you regularly, it should be straightforward to identify buying signals in your contacts, and to be on hand with the perfect solution to their needs, when they need it. And they’ll buy from you, because they trust you.

Of these three steps, probably the most difficult one to master is step two. Anyone can build a database of contacts, and anyone can sell to some red hot leads who already have a level of trust. Building that trust is often the place many will fall down.

5 top ideas for building trust


  1. Website – Customers expect this of businesses. But it is not enough to simply have a website for your business, you also need to ensure it is a good website, full of trust building signals such as testimonials from previous clients, examples of past projects and details of any awards or key successes you have had.
  2. Newsletters – An easy way to reach out to your prospects in one hit is to develop a well put together, informative newsletter that you can send out monthly. Include success stories or feedback from clients to add to your credibility.
  3. Case studies – Develop a few case studies of successful past projects. These will be trustworthy gold dust on your website, blog or in hard copy format.
  4. Discussion groups – Get involved in industry specific forums or discussion groups on social networks to demonstrate your expertise. Offer advice and opinion with the angle of “well, this is what worked for our customer…” and you’ll come across as expert and humble at the same time.
  5. Blog posts – Well written blog posts on topical industry issues is a great way to demonstrate your depth of knowledge and understanding in your sector. Allow comments to be posted and be ready to respond to them in a timely fashion.

In addition to this, there are many other methods for trust building that may work better for your business. From direct mail and advertising to webinars and press releases, get in touch and we’ll help you decide where the focus of your attention should lie.

Why the RAC failed in this email

I receive a well laid out, well written email from The RAC today.  So why is it a total fail?

There are two problems:

1) The RAC don’t have my permission to email me on my personal email account.  So this is not only SPAM, but it’s also against the law!  Oops…

2) There is also a requirement for the Unsubscribe function to work.  So, even if they did have my permission to send me this email, it would still not be compliant with UK email law as the unsubscribe link highlighted in yellow above simply takes me to a landing page on their website that tries to sell me RAC breakdown.  Nice 🙂

Looks like the RAC have had a breakdown!