Less is More: Feedly Email Review

Email marketing is simple. Don’t over-think it.

Today’s proof comes with the ridiculously simple email that I got from Edwin, CEO of Feedly. The email is short and sweet, welcoming me to the service. See it here (click to view it larger):

When Google announced the impending shuttering of Google Reader, a service people have come to know and love, Feedly became the go-to replacement. It seems that they have every intention of making the most out of this fortunate situation they find themselves in – going so far as to solicit feedback from new users and preparing a tutorial specifically for people switching from Google Reader.

This is an example of communicating a simple message effectively, and gaining satisfied and loyal customers because of it.

Thanks Edwin!

Email Review: Unsubscribe FAIL

Email marketing can be as simple or as complex as you make it. The experts in the field take complex ideas and simplify them.

But no matter how simple you think it is, there is one mistake you can’t afford to make. You have to make it simple for your subscribers to take action, even when that action is unsubscribing from your list.

The other day I went to unsubscribe from one email and I got this:

There it is. My email address in big letters across the top. The next thing I expect to see is a brief statement telling me I’ve been removed from the list.

But that’s not it. It asks me to enter my email address to verify that I want to be removed. What?

You know my email address. I just clicked the unsubscribe link in MY email.

Don’t force an extra step. Unsubscribing, just like purchasing or signing up, should be simplified. After I entered my email address and unsubscribed, I went ahead and marked the message as spam because of this process.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Simplicity Wins! Squarespace Email Review

For those of you who don’t know Squarespace, you might be more familiar than you think. Squarespace is a blogging and website platform…the very one this blog is hosted on. And it’s not free. In fact, there are several layers of membership that you can sign up for.

Often those kinds of “tiered” membership options can be complex and confusing. And Squarespace clearly saw that, and decided to make a change. What a great opportunity to promote simplicity with an email to Squarespace users!

Check out the email below:

Here’s what I like: The subject line is simple and informative. It tells me that as a Squarespace user, I am going to want to find out how they changed their pricing and how it affects me. And the layout of the email is perfect. The big, bold headlines and coloring steer my eyes down the body of the email to a big “Started at $8 per month”, the primary focus of the message.

Here’s what I don’t like: $8 a month is cheaper than the previous low pricing. What a missed opportunity to promote the tool is “cheaper” or “more affordable” rather than simpler. And the one problem I have with the subject line is the lowercase wording. To me, a subject line should follow the same rules as a Title or Headline, in that all words should begin with a capital letter. If it’s not done like that, it reminds me of spam.

Overall Grade = B

Simple is Successful: iContact Email Review

In email marketing, simplicity goes a long way. Short emails, containing easy to view and read information are some of the most successful emails you can send. And I was reminded of that when I got iContact’s recent monthly newsletter.

Take a look:

I guess if anyone should know about sending successful emails it’s a company that sells email marketing software. But good for them for practicing what they preach.

If you look at the email above, they do many of the things that I prescribe for marketers who are looking to improve, or start an email newsletter. The subject line is clear and direct, the layout is simple and easy to look at, the content is solid, and there are numerous ways to consume and share the content provided.

We can all take a cue from the simplicity of this newsletter.

Overall Grade = A.

Bonus: Get your Free Trial of iContact today!

Don’t Turn Me Off: Metro Email Review

I’ve been asked the question many times. What’s the worst thing you can do as an email marketer?

I don’t know what would be the worst possible thing you could do in email marketing is. I do know that there are a lot of companies doing very poorly. I do know that there a lot of things you can do that are very negative. Probably the worst thing you can do is avoid it.

But Metro attempted to prove that theory wrong with a recent email they sent me. It needs no introduction or lead up. Here is the email I saw when I clicked to open it:

If I don’t allow images, this is what I see. This is what everyone on their list sees first, unless they’ve agreed to see images before. Sure, Gmail is a pain in the ass when it comes to email marketing, because you are forced to accept all images. But that means marketers need to include text based information in their emails so it does not look THIS BAD.

And you know what makes it worse? It’s the way the email looks after I accept images:

It’s great. It’s a powerful, meaningful email that I am interested in. Why risk losing me at first sight?

Come on, Metro.

Grade = F, for Fix it.