How Are We Doing?

Much has been written in the category of “the best” when it comes to email marketing. For example:

*Best day to send
*Best time to send
*Best subject line
*Best copy, design, call to action

Best. Best. Best. There certainly are email marketing best practices and guidelines to follow; however, “best” is often relative to your company’s situation. It depends on your audience (subscribers, readers, lurkers), the industry you are in (b2b vs b2c, retail vs government, etc), and many many other factors. At the end of the day, what matters most is did the email campaign reach or exceed expectations? Did you achieve the open/click/conversion numbers you had intended?

Below is an example of an email I received recently from Egencia. (Egencia , formerly Expedia Corporate Travel, is the “fifth largest travel management company in the world.” Bronto uses it to book corporate travel). Let’s break it down into the “best” categories outlines above. How did they do?

1. Best day to send: The email was sent on Thursday. It was sent to my company email address, so sending during the middle of the week makes sense. If they had sent this email to me over the weekend, it may have been buried in my inbox until Monday morning.

2. Best time to send: I received the email at 11:02 PM. Many people are not awake at that time, and if they are, they’re probably not checking their work email (well…wink, wink). However, based on the time sent, the email was near the top of my inbox on Friday morning. Also, sending during off-peak times *can* result in better deliverability.

3. Best subject line: Determining the best subject line can certainly be subjective. If possible, I’d recommend performing some form of A|B subject line test on every single email you send. Most email service providers (ESPs) offer this option. Take advantage of it. In this case, I thought the subject line was so-so. It certainly caught my attention as it was asking a seemingly personal question, “How are we doing?”; however, without sender recognition (I knew who Egencia was), I may have deemed this email spammy. Egencia could have offered some incentive for completing the survey and/or added a deadline or sense of urgency into the subject line. But…I opened it. So, the objective of the subject line was met – for me.

4. Best copy, design, call to action:

Copy: The copy here was short and to the point – exactly how it should have been. After all, the message is simple: Fill out the survey. Sometimes marketers clutter these emails with sales pitches, partner offers, and other items that distract from the intent of the email. I like Egencia’s KISS approach.

Design: I am usually a big fan of an email that balances text and images; however, as mentioned above in the “copy” section, this email was intentionally image-light. They could have included a few images to spice up the email a bit, images that would have added and not detracted from the message. No harm either way.

Call to action: This is one area where I would’ve like to see a stronger call to action. “Just click this link to begin” followed by the full URL “https://expedia.qualtrics.com” is pretty weak. Give me reason, an incentive, to complete the survey. Just like they preach in sales training, WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?” Provide several options to get to the survey. Perhaps a bullet-proof button or a “Take Survey Now” link.

Overall, I really like this email from Egencia. I opened the email, clicked on the link, and even spent the 3 minutes to fill out the survey. Well done Expedia team.

What do you think? Would you have opened, clicked and/or completed the survey? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

– DJ Waldow, Director of Best Practices & Deliverability at Bronto