Spreadshirt (and Durham) Rocks!


Does a personalized subject line work?

Back in my Bronto days, I blogged about personalized subject lines. I provided a generic “It depends” as my answer … followed by a more detailed explanation. Since that post more than a year ago, I’ve continued to receive emails that include personalized subject lines. However, most of those emails use my first name as the “hook” to get me to open. This never works for me. Never. I know it’s fake. I know it’s not genuine. I know it’s a “mail merge” of sorts.

Then, the other day, I received this email from Spreadshirt.

Durham Rocks!

Why This Email Rocks

First off, I love Spreadshirt. I love their emails. I love their subject lines. I love their products. I love their humor. Love. Love. Love. So what makes this email rock? Check out the subject line (Durham Rocks!). At some point, I must have entered my city of residence in a preference field. I honestly can’t recall doing so, but the folks at Spreadshirt somehow know (I moved from Durham 4 months ago. More on that later).

Spreadshirt accomplished objective #1. I opened the email. Why? Because – even though I don’t still live there – I love Durham. It does rock.

Spreadshirt accomplished objective #2. I read the email. The entire thing. Why did I read it? First off, it was short and to the point. It had a main call to action (“Create Your Hometown Shirt”) that was clear and catchy. They added a bit of spice/humor to the copy. They closed with 4 ways to follow them via various social networks.

Assuming those were really the first two objectives, they won. Now, I didn’t click. I didn’t create my own shirt. But…I did write this blog post. I did tell a few friends about it. I will continue to love Spreadshirt. And, equally as important, when the time is right, I will buy from Spreadshirt. They are definitely “top of mind.”

Some Caveats

I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer some constructive criticism for Spreashirt. I have 3 suggestions.

1. Images Off: The email is not terrible if images are not enabled, but it’s not great. Here’s why – the main call to action “Create Your Hometown Shirt” – is a button and therefore is not visible unless images are turned on. It should be a bulletproof button (Ask Lisa Harmon).

2. I Don’t Live in Durham Anymore: This is not really Spreadshirt’s fault. I mean, how would they know I moved 4 months ago? That being said, don’t forget to send the occasional email that asks subscribers to update their preferences. Make sure you tell them why and what’s in it for them.

3. Follow Spreadshirt On…: I love this concept. They have buttons/images and links. They describe briefly what I’ll get (set expectations). They cover the main “social networks”  – Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr. However, Spreadshirt may want to consider moving these “follow” options up a bit. Mabye put them on the right or left navigation? They may get lost a little on the bottom of the email.


So what do you think? Does Spreadshirt rock? For those that live or have lived in Durham, does Durham rock? (I think so).

DJ Waldow, Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
DJ Waldow is the Director of Community at Blue Sky Factory, an ESP and an eec Silver Sponsor based in Baltimore. With over 4 years of experience in email marketing, DJ is active in the twittersphere (@djwaldow), on blogs (blog.blueskyfactory.com), and in the social media space. He’s an administrator and a regular contributor to the Email Marketers Club and other email-related social networks. DJ resides in Salt Lake City, Utah where he can be found thinking, eating, and breathing email.