One to One ‘Best Practices for E-Newsletters


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Over 30 companies joined us at The Design Council in London on 13th December for our Seminar: ‘Best Practices for e-newsletters from Sign-Up to Delivery’.

Dr Philip Rhodes, Director of One to One Insight, one of the UK’s leading human experience research consultancies, opened the seminar with a review of the top 20 retailers’ e-newsletters. Our independent research surprisingly revealed that some of the most well known UK retailers such as and Argos make it very difficult for customers to sign up for their e-newsletters. In both these cases users are forced to open a customer account merely to receive the e-newsletter, which includes entering payment information, home address, telephone number etc. Perhaps, even more surprising, almost half of the e-newsletters had no social media links. Meanwhile, John Lewis, one of the UK’s most renowned department stores, dropped points in failing to allow users to personalize the e-newsletter. If you sign up for the John Lewis e-newsletter be prepared to receive information on everything from hats to lawnmowers.

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  • Key criteria used in the analysis:Is the sign-up available from the homepageIs it possible to enter ‘sign-up’ details on the homepageNo additional information required to sign-up e.g. postal address, annual income, etc.Can the user customise the newsletter to their areas of interestIs there is a clear confirmation pageIs the user informed what will happen nextIs the user given access to the latest newsletter or an archive of newsletters
  • Key criteria used in the analysis:Is the sign-up available from the homepageIs it possible to enter ‘sign-up’ details on the homepageNo additional information required to sign-up e.g. postal address, annual income, etc.Can the user customise the newsletter to their areas of interestIs there is a clear confirmation pageIs the user informed what will happen nextIs the user given access to the latest newsletter or an archive of newsletters
  • Less than half of the retailers (7/20) display the sign-up link above the fold.5 retailers display their sign-up link on the left column. The sign-up link is usually in a box or accompanied by a ‘email’ logo. The links can easily be spotted.3/20 retailers have their sign-up link buried at the footer of the page and within text. Users have to intentionally look for the and do not provide a sign-up link on the homepage.
  • 14/20 retailers used standard and dull links River island provides the most engaging ‘up front’ experience, inviting user to ‘Get their fashion fix’. ‘Get your fashion fix online’ is sharp, attractive and direct.Link accompanied by image can always attracts attention. When users are scanning through the site, it is important to catch their attention, make them stop and sign up your newsletter.
  • Key criteria used in the analysis:Are links to the site provided and are they clear Are links provided to social networking sitesIs the e-mail personalisedIs there a specific and catchy subject lineIs there an option to unsubscribeIs a real address, phone number or other similar details about the sender providedIs there consistency with the e-newsletter and the websiteUse information to tailor e-newsletterGood mix of text and imagesNext steps / Guidance on what to do next
  • Following page provides a visualisation of the 8 email newsletters received:The blue line indicates the average length of newsletters.Debenhams, John Lewis and LoveFilm’s newsletters are excessively long. Although they probably included more information and offers, OTOinsights user research has shown that excessively long email newsletters are not appreciated by users.
  • Social media is a very important aspect of an email newsletter, so how did the newsletter we receive stack up when considering their use of social media:3/8 newsletters did not have social media links5/8 newsletters provided social media linksOnly 1 newsletter: M&S had social media links at the top of the page; better visibility of social media links will increase visibility and popularity of newsletter.4/8 newsletters place their social media links below the fold or at the bottom of the page; this makes it harder for users to share the newsletters.
  • Users must be able to quickly and efficiently unsubscribe to an email newsletter if they desire, so how did the email newsletter we received measure up:All provided unsubscribe link is found at the bottom of the newsletters.Topshop – unsubscribe link in red, clearly visible. LoveFilm and River Island provide ‘one-click’ link to make unsubscribing process easy.Thomson – unsubscribe link is ‘buried’ within the text.Tesco - Very unexpectedly, the link takes users to sign-up page.
  • 4/8 newsletters provide a primary menu that is consistent with their website. These newsletters provide an obvious and easy way to go to particular section of their website.Topshop, Mark & Spencer and River Island provide a primary menu in their newsletter. However, the primary menu is inconsistent with their website. Not only users are likely to lose orientation, but also likely to get confused by 2 different menus.
  • One to One ‘Best Practices for E-Newsletters

    1. 1. E-Mail Workshop<br />Best Practices from Sign Up To Delivery<br />
    2. 2. Human | Brand Lifecycle Solutions<br />
    3. 3. Locations<br />Global Coverage in Americas, Europe, Asia<br />
    4. 4. Clients<br />
    5. 5. Agenda<br /><br />5<br />
    6. 6. Site | E-newsletter Review<br />Part 1<br /><br />6<br />
    7. 7. Methodology<br />Expert Approach/Customer Interviews<br /><ul><li>2 experienced customer experienced consultants
    8. 8. Independently reviewed top 20 UK retail sites and e-newsletters
    9. 9. Interviews with 20 consumers (in October 2010)</li></ul>Focus<br /><ul><li>Ease of finding link to sign-up
    10. 10. Information required to sign-up
    11. 11. Timeliness of email response
    12. 12. Quality of e-newsletter</li></ul><br />7<br />
    13. 13.
    14. 14. Results | Summary<br /><ul><li>The numbers</li></ul>18/20 sites had a link to sign-up on the homepage<br />2/20 had links on deeper pages<br />12 sites sent immediate email confirmation<br />No newsletters received within 24 hours<br />8/20 newsletters received (within 3 weeks of sign-up<br /><br />9<br />
    15. 15. Sign-Up Process<br />Part 1<br />
    16. 16. Sign-up| Score<br />7<br />6<br />5<br />Criteria for analysis<br />4<br />3<br />2<br />1<br />0<br />3<br />0<br />1<br />2<br />Number of sign-up issues<br />
    17. 17. Sign-up| Score<br />1st<br /><ul><li>Meets 6/7 key criteria – had 1 sign-up issue
    18. 18. Issues with unsubscribe: Users are informed that they can unsubscribe from a link in the confirmation email, but there is no unsubscribe link in the email.
    19. 19. gives users the worst sign-up experience
    20. 20. Only meets 1 key criteria – and included 3 sign-up issues.
    21. 21. Forces users to create an account before they can sign-up for newsletter.
    22. 22. Many retailers provide a good sign-up experience, but not excellent due to some minor sign-up issues. Typical issues found:
    23. 23. Unnecessary information required e.g. address and postcode
    24. 24. Asked to confirm their details via email
    25. 25. No confirmation email received
    26. 26. Confirmation message not clearly presented e.g. below the fold of the page
    27. 27. Link in the confirmation email not clickable</li></ul>20th<br />
    28. 28. Location of the sign-up link<br />Not on homepage<br />Below the fold on 1024 x 1060 <br />screen resolution<br />
    29. 29. Engagement in sign-up link<br />With content,<br />Not personalised<br />Simple<br />With content,<br />Personalised<br />Image and with content<br />With content, image and personalised <br />
    30. 30. Sign up | the best<br />Part 1<br /><br />15<br />
    31. 31. Sign-up | The Best<br />1<br />2<br />2b<br /><ul><li>Step 1: Newsletter sign up link can be easily found on the homepage, includes catchy title ‘Get your fashion fix online’.
    32. 32. Combines newsletter preferences and email entry field in one step.
    33. 33. Step 2, a confirmation message is returned and it also tells the user that they will receive an email soon.
    34. 34. Step 2b, user is informed that they can unsubscribe from a link in the email, however, no unsubscribe link is included in the email.</li></li></ul><li>Sign-up | The Best<br />1<br />3<br />3b<br />2<br /><ul><li>User needs to give their newsletter preferences on Step 2.
    35. 35. Step 3, clear ‘thank you’ page informing users they have signed up successfully.
    36. 36. Step 3b, confirmation email is received immediately (lack of branding).
    37. 37. Step 1, Newsletter sign up link is at foot of the page.
    38. 38. Text field does not indicate an email address should be entered into the field.</li></li></ul><li>Sign up | the Worst<br />Part 1<br /><br />18<br />
    39. 39. Sign-up | The Worst<br />1<br />3<br />3b<br />2<br /><ul><li>Step 1, Sign-up is shown on the side of the homepage. However, not possible to enter ‘sign-up’ details on the homepage
    40. 40. Step 2, Unnecessary information (town/city/postcode) are mandatory fields. Captcha verification can potentially annoy users
    41. 41. Users are not able to select their interests in order to customise the email newsletter.
    42. 42. Step 3, Confirmation page has a clear indication that their subscription was successful.
    43. 43. Step 3b, Confirmation email received immediately.</li></li></ul><li>Sign-up | The Worst<br />1<br />3<br />4<br />2<br /><ul><li>Step 3,‘sign-up’ newsletter section is hidden, users have to look for it under ‘my account’
    44. 44. Users are not able to personalise newsletter by choosing area of interest.
    45. 45. Step 4, Clear confirmation screen.
    46. 46. There is no confirmation email received after signing up.
    47. 47. Step 1, No sign-up shown on homepage.
    48. 48. Users are not informed of the benefits of subscribing.
    49. 49. Step 2, Users have to open an account in order to subscribe newsletter. This mean going through a long process. </li></li></ul><li>E-mail newsletters<br />Part 1<br />
    50. 50. E-mail Newsletter | Score<br />10<br />8<br />6<br />Total<br />Score<br />4<br />2<br />0<br />0<br />2<br />3<br />4<br />1<br />Number of negative issues<br />
    51. 51. E-mail Newsletter | Score<br />Only 8/20 newsletters received (27th September – 15th October)<br />
    52. 52. E-mail Newsletter | Score<br />1st<br />Topshop meets 8/10 key criteria and only has 2 newsletter issues<br /><ul><li>No social network logos, the links could be overlooked. No newsletter received within 24 hours.</li></ul>M&S and John Lewis give users the worst newsletter experience. They have 3 and 4 newsletter issues respectively. <br /><ul><li>Unsubscribe page is not straightforward as there are 3 options: Continue receiving newsletter, receive newsletter less frequent and do not want to receive newsletter.</li></ul>Many retailers provide quality newsletters, but some small issues were identified. Typical issues:<br />No contact information is provided<br />The newsletter is inconsistent with site e.g. Christmas on site not in newsletter (John Lewis)<br />Newsletter does not allow user to customise to their preferences<br />Large section of text covering term and conditions<br />There are no links to social media channels.<br />Lengthy newsletter e.g. LoveFilms<br />8th<br />
    53. 53. E-mail Newsletter | Content and Length<br />Above the fold<br />(1024 x 1060)<br />Average Length<br />
    54. 54. E-mail Newsletter | Visibility of Social Media Links<br />
    55. 55. E-mail Newsletter | Ability to Unsubscribe<br />
    56. 56. E-mail newsletter | Consistency and Provision of Primary Menu<br />
    57. 57. Newsletter | The Best<br />Part 1<br /><br />29<br />
    58. 58. Email Newsletter<br /><ul><li>Logo is clear and obvious, and it takes users back to the main site.
    59. 59. Look and feel of the newsletter is consistent with the main website.
    60. 60. Social media links are displayed at the bottom of the page.
    61. 61. No logos are included, so the links could be easily overlooked by users
    62. 62. Contact information is clearly provided.
    63. 63. However, no customer service telephone number provided.</li></li></ul><li>Email Newsletter<br /><ul><li>There is a unsubscribe link in red clearly visible.
    64. 64. The newsletter is not personalised or customised to users’ tastes.
    65. 65. The newsletter has a good balance of text and images.</li></li></ul><li>Newsletter | The Worst<br />Part 1<br /><br />32<br />
    66. 66. Email Newsletter<br /><ul><li>Although newsletter and navigation are consistent with the site
    67. 67. Newsletter appears outdated, as the website has another tab in main navigation: Christmas
    68. 68. Users can not personalise the newsletter, therefore may be too many types of products.
    69. 69. There are no social media links.
    70. 70. The unsubscribe link takes users to email, but there is no 'what to do next' guidance
    71. 71. Newsletter is not personalised.</li></li></ul><li>Insights & conclusions<br />Part 2<br /><br />34<br />
    72. 72. Conclusions<br />Best Practice Sign Up:<br /><ul><li>Include Sign-up on the homepage
    73. 73. Sign up should be located towards the top of the page (at least above the fold)
    74. 74. Should be accompanied by an image or icon e.g. an envelope to draw attention
    75. 75. Ensure sign-up requires minimal data entry e.g. name and email address
    76. 76. Include a short sentence stating the benefits of signing up e.g. promotions, stay up to date with news and events etc</li></ul><br />35<br />
    77. 77. Conclusions<br />Best Practice Sign Up:<br /><ul><li>Do not require any unnecessary information to be entered (such as postal address, income, etc.)
    78. 78. Do not require users to ‘create an account’ or ‘become a member’ of the site</li></ul><br />36<br />
    79. 79. Conclusions<br />Best Practice Sign Up:<br /><ul><li>Consider including a short second step/page allowing users to customise the newsletter by selecting specific areas of interest
    80. 80. Provide a ‘select all’ tick box or ‘general newsletter’ opt in
    81. 81. Provide a link to the latest newsletter so that users know what to expect before subscribing
    82. 82. Do not require users to re-enter information e.g. do not request name / email address a second time</li></ul><br />37<br />
    83. 83. Conclusions<br />Best Practice Sign Up:<br /><ul><li>Include a clear indication on the website that the subscription process is complete and has been successful
    84. 84. Ideally include a clear, separate confirmation page with different content
    85. 85. Include a clear thank you message on this page
    86. 86. Provide an indication of what the user can expect next i.e. email confirmation</li></ul><br />38<br />
    87. 87. Conclusions<br />Best Practice Sign Up:<br /><ul><li>Send email confirmation immediately
    88. 88. User should not need to ‘reconfirm’ the subscription
    89. 89. Ensure consistency with site i.e. branding and logo, etc.
    90. 90. Include information about newsletters e.g. frequency and type of content
    91. 91. Include a link back to the website
    92. 92. Include a link to unsubscribe
    93. 93. Include contact details</li></ul><br />39<br />
    94. 94. Conclusions<br />Best Practice E-Newsletter:<br /><ul><li>Include a clear and catchy subject line so that the user immediately recognises the email
    95. 95. Ensure consistency with the site in terms of branding e.g. logo, layout, etc.
    96. 96. Include links to the site and ensure that they are clear e.g. logo and url address
    97. 97. Do not include hidden links e.g. decorative images or plain text</li></ul><br />40<br />
    98. 98. Conclusions<br />Best Practice E-Newsletter:<br /><ul><li>Include links to social networking sites
    99. 99. To share the e-newsletter
    100. 100. Links to the social network site e.g. Facebook page
    101. 101. Ensure that the e-mail is personalised – use of first name, etc.
    102. 102. There must be a clear option to ‘unsubscribe’
    103. 103. This must not be hidden within text
    104. 104. Do not use terms such as ‘remove’ or ‘opt out’</li></ul><br />41<br />
    105. 105. Conclusions<br />Best Practice E-Newsletter:<br /><ul><li>Provide a real address, phone number or other similar contact details about the sender
    106. 106. Do not include excessive amount of text
    107. 107. Limit the length of the e-newsletter, do not cause the user to vertically scroll excessively</li></ul><br />42<br />
    108. 108. Delivery | Live Demo<br />Part 3<br /><br />43<br />
    109. 109. Introduction<br /><ul><li>MessageMaker is an enterprise messaging and content delivery tool that provides deployment, management and measurement in a single SaaS platform
    110. 110. Drives deeper engagement by delivering measurable content and messages across a broad spectrum of permission marketing channels including email, social and branded apps (desktop, mobile and web)
    111. 111. Can integrate with existing CRM, content management, data mining and other proprietary systems empowering marketers to quickly and easily build sophisticated retention/acquisition campaigns
    112. 112. MessageMaker maximises lifetime customer value by cultivating meaningful brand relationships</li></li></ul><li>MessageMaker<br /><ul><li>SaaS Management platform enables optimised multi-channel messaging
    113. 113. Universal contact management
    114. 114. Multi-channel metrics
    115. 115. Preference centers and subscription management
    116. 116. Engages users across a diverse network of social media sites
    117. 117. Delivers branded content directly to a users mobile device
    118. 118. Fully-hosted enterprise email marketing solution available either as full-service or self-service modes
    119. 119. Enables marketers to easily manage multiple content channels across a network of branded apps (Desktop, Mobile, “TV”)
    120. 120. Strategy: Crafting a smart approach to relationship marketing
    121. 121. E-Mail Program Management: Managing e-mail programs since 1998
    122. 122. Apps Development: Building branded applications since 1998
    123. 123. Creative Services: For e-mail, social, and branded applications
    124. 124. Data Integration: For e-mail, social, and branded applications</li></ul>Supporting Services<br />
    125. 125. Ease of use<br />Three initial steps of email marketing<br />Get your data set [Groups and Lists, import data]<br />Edit/Create email<br />Report on success<br />Demo 1<br />
    126. 126. Some Advanced Features…<br />Sharing is the new viral/refer a friend<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />Feeds<br />RSS<br />Split testing<br />Body content and subject line<br />Segmentation<br />Wizard makes it easy to set up and run<br />
    127. 127. Socialise your emails<br />Facebook share url <br /><br />Google “One to One Interactive”<br />HTML page Title<br />HTML meta tag description<br />Demo 2<br />
    128. 128. Feeds<br />Using the BCC’s excellent RSS feed resource<br /><br />Demo 3<br />
    129. 129. Split Testing<br />Demo 4<br />
    130. 130. Conclusion<br />Use share to have a conversation with your subscribers friends (3rd party engagement) and boost sales through viral content<br />Use feeds to keep the information in your emails up to date – sales, offers, vouchers<br />Use Split testing to verify you are sending your very best email<br />
    131. 131. Q&A<br />For copies of the presentation or further info on One to One services please email:<br /><br />52<br />