The Best & Worst Emails in my Inbox: Volume 1

As an Email Marketer, I subscribe to EVERYTHING because I like to see what others are doing with their email marketing. I even have a special inbox completely dedicated to receive all of the emails I subscribe to. Even though I get hundreds of emails a day to this inbox (don’t even get me started on how many I got during Black Friday/Cyber Monday) I spend about 20 minutes a day scrolling through this inbox to see what others are up to with their email marketing.

While I do this, I come across some amazing emails and also some really, really bad ones. So, I figured why not use these emails as an opportunity to teach my audience what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do, when it comes to email marketing.

I encourage you to start doing this as well. It's crazy how much you can learn through "How have others?" research. Create a special Gmail email address that you'll use specifically for subscribing to various mailing lists and spend 10-20 minutes a day sifting through this inbox. Flag emails you really like and learn from the ones you really hate. Simply use these emails as inspiration for your own email marketing but DO NOT copy others emails, that shit ain't cool.

Alright, let's dive in. 

The Best Email in my Inbox

This week I'm taking a close look at an awesome email I received from Spotify. It's jam packed full of great email marketing tactics that you can learn from and start incorporating into your own emails. Be sure to watch the clip of the email below so you know what the heck I'm talking about. Oh, and don't judge my choice of music alright? ;)


FROM: Spotify

SUBJECT LINE: Your 2016 in music: personalised stats and playlist

What I LOVE About This Email:

1. It's all about me!

For once I received an email from a company that was ALL about me and not them. There were no sales, discounts, limited time offers...nothing of the sort. Just me, me, me. After reading this email, it was evident that Spotify truly values their customers and recognizes that every single one of their customers is different. By personalizing this email to the degree that they did, it was clear that they are paying attention to what it is their customers like so they can continue to provide true value to their users. 

TAKE ACTION: What data do you have on your subscribers that you can incorporate into your emails, beyond just their first name? Doing this will show them that you're taking the extra step to understand exactly what it is they like so that you can provide them with what they truly want from you.

2. There's a CTA at the Top + Bottom of the Email

It’s very evident that the main call-to-action for this email is to click on the "Listen Now" button to get into the Spotify app and start listening to the 2016 playlist they curated for me. I know that this is the main action they want me to take as a result of receiving this email because it's the only section of the email that includes a call-to-action button. Notice how they include this button at the top and bottom of the email? That's brilliant. There's a button at the very top of the email for those who don’t care to scroll through the stats because they're intrigued by their curated playlist enough to click right away. However, they've also included a call-to-action button at the bottom of the email to catch those who decide to scroll through the entire email and read all of their stats (like me!). Having a call-to-action button at both the top and the bottom of the email ensures you're capturing as many clicks as you can, while still being mindful of your subscribers behaviour.

TAKE ACTION: Include your main call-to-action at the top and the bottom of your emails to capture more clicks. When doing so, be sure to find a way to include both calls-to-action in a way that flows nicely with the rest of the email and doesn't look completely random. Note the different ways they used copy to introduce the playlist at the top and bottom of the email.

3. Everything is Clickable

Even though the main call-to-action of this email is to start listening to the curated 2016 playlist, Spotify also made other aspects of the email clickable as well. The favourite songs, artists and genres sections were all clickable and brought you to the corresponding part of the app so you could start listening right away. This is a great way to maximize the number of clicks by catering to those who will scroll past the first call-to-action but might not necessarily make it all the way to the end of the email. Although someone who clicks on one of these sections didn't actually click-through to their curated playlist (main goal of the email) at least they were still able to get them into the Spotify app by making the middle sections clickable as well.

TAKE ACTION: It’s okay to have more than one call to action in your emails but if you do, make sure that the main call-to-action is designed in a way that stands out compared to the other clickable sections of your email. 

4. The Email is Very Timely & Relevant

I love how Spotify took advantage of the time of year to make this email incredibly relevant. The New Year typically comes along with New Years Resolutions marketing themes from most companies but Spotify decided to set themselves apart and do something a little bit different. Spotify could easily start promoting New Year resolution playlists (which I'm sure they will) but instead they used this time of year as an opportunity to come up with a campaign that is all about their users (instead of them) but is still crafted in a way to get them using the app.

TAKE ACTION: Do some brainstorming on how you can make different holidays and times of year work for your business and create a timely and relevant email marketing campaign for your subscribers.

5. Clean Design + Succinct Copy for the Win!

The design of this email really caught my attention. I don’t know if they did this on purpose, I doubt they did, but they used my 2 favourite colours: turquoise and pink! No but really, the bright colours mixed with some red is the perfect combination of Christmas + NYE. You’ll also notice the copy used in this email is super short and to the point. But even with such little copy used, they were able to get their message across very successfully.

TAKE ACTION: Keep the design of your emails as clean as possible. You don’t want to overwhelm or distract your reader with too many images and design elements. Same goes with copy. Keep it short and to the point. Get in and get out. People don’t actually read emails anymore, well very rarely, so to get the most out of your emails, make them skimmable and easy to digest. 

What I Would Do Differently:

1. Include the Ability to Share on Social

After reading this email, I REALLY wanted to share my stats on my social media pages but there wasn’t a quick and easy way to do this. If I were them, I would have included a “share” button at the end of the email so their users could easily share their stats with their networks. Doing so would have gotten their brand in front of many more people than just their subscribers and likely would have resulted in new user signups.

2. Deliver This Email on Their Favourite Day to Listen

In the email itself, they show you your favourite day of the week to listen to Spotify. I think it would have been SO cool if they sent this email to me on the day that I’m most likely to be in the app anyways and added a cute little line of text in the "Favourite Day to Listen" section saying something like “Hey, that’s today!”. This extra little piece of personalization would have been the cherry on top for me. 

The Worst Email in my Inbox

This week I'm taking a look at Real Estate email marketing gone wrong. Let me set the stage for you really quick: A couple days ago, I saw a Facebook Ad for a nice looking house for sale in my area. I'm in the market for a new house so I wanted to know how much this house was selling for. Of course, in order to find out the price and get more pictures of the home, I had to provide my email address. Fine. Since entering my email address the Real Estate company has sent me 4 EMAILS IN LESS THAN TWO DAYS! Here are the 4 emails they sent over the past 2 days and why each one was so, so wrong.


Email #1: Let Your Subscribers Take Action, Don't Force it on Them


This email is so odd. What is with the first sentence? "We're just tied up at the moment." This isn't a voicemail machine...

Also, I entered my email address because I was interested in the price of a house for sale, not because I want one of their reps to call me. They should know where their email subscribers are coming from and craft their emails in a way that are relevant to the subscription source. For example, a simple email saying something like:

"Hi there,

I see you're interested in 123 Fake Street in Fakeville. What a great house! If you'd like to work with the Peggy Hill team and schedule a showing simply reply to this email and one of our reps will get back to you as soon as possible."

This leaves it up to the subscriber to action if they're interested versus assuming your new subscriber wants to work with you and overwhelming them by immediately asking for their phone number and telling them one of your agents will be contacting them. Yuck!

Email #2: Don't Make Assumptions About Your Subscribers


So now I have some woman named Lenore emailing me trying to work with me when in fact I already have a real estate agent and still have no interest in working with the Peggy Hill Team. Not only that, but the way the email is worded seems like I sent in a request to work with someone on their team when I absolutely didn't. Again, all I wanted to know was how much that house in the Facebook add cost. That's a fair thing to want to know don't you think? I don't love that I even had to submit my email address just to get, what should be, basic information about the house. But hey, I'll let that one slide. 

Email #3: Don't Overwhelm Your Subscribers with Too Many Emails


Email #3 came less than 3 hours after email #2. The subject line of this email "More homes you'll love" makes you think that maybe she's going to show you some similar homes to the one you clicked in the Facebook ad, that'd be nice huh? But nope. More questions and she's still assuming that I want to hire the Peggy Hill team to help me find a new home. 

Email #4: Don't Show Content To Your Subscribers That's Not Relevant to Them


This final email I've received from the Peggy Hill Team (so far at least) does in fact show me more homes (what I was hoping for from email #3) but the homes that it shows me are nothing like the one I was interested in from the Facebook ad. The home I was interested in was $300,000 and the houses in this email are anywhere from 2x-5x that amount or are condos which again, is not something I've expressed interest in. This email leaves me feeling misunderstood and frustrated.

What they should have done with this email is send me a curated list of homes that are similar to the one I was originally interested in. This shows me that as a potential client, they're paying close to attention to my interests and are making their best effort to understand me as a buyer.

Alright, that's it for this week! I hope you learned a thing or two from my dissection of these emails. Also, just sayin' Spotify is AMAZING and you should totally start using it if you aren't already. 

If you'd like to hear more from me, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get all of the email marketing tips you could have ever imagined. 

Bye for now!

-- Nicole