Why Relevancy Matters: A Rare Email Marketing Miss from LinkedIn

When LinkedIn hit 100 million users a couple of weeks ago, they did something really interesting: They sent out “Thank You” messages to all of their early adopters. I was not among them (I was still a college student (yes, I’m younger than you think) when LinkedIn came around), but many of my colleagues in the email marketing community did. It even became a competition to see who was the “earliest adopter.”

Good stuff, right? Absolutely. And I’ve always been a fan of how LinkedIn very subtly uses email.

Which is why the message I received today from LinkedIn was very, very surprising. See below:

SUBJECT LINE: Introducing the Student Job Portal on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Email

Let’s examine this message for a minute. Here’s what’s good:

  • The product being announced can and likely will be very useful.
  • The social sharing buttons at the top.
  • A very simple call to action.
  • The “know what you’re looking for? Jump right to it” section.
  • The headline and supporting copy gets straight to the point. Nice job.

Here’s what’s not so good about this email:

  • First and foremost: I’m not a student or an entry-level grad. And LinkedIn knows that. The message is for these people, not “Hey, if you’re looking for interns, we have this new portal.”
  • The guy is clearly too old to be in the demographic they’re looking for.
  • The blueprints of the cars, while cool, doesn’t really match the “start blazing your trail” meme in this email. Imagery that speaks to trailblazing and paths would be much more effective, in my opinion.
  • A clear-cut CAN-SPAM violation, with no mailing address to be found in the message.

But let’s speak to the larger picture, and why I think this is a miss: LinkedIn has all of the tools to be relevant in their messages, and they forgot that. They have my job history, the types of companies I’ve worked for, the searches I’ve done in the past. All of those could have been used in this message.

At the least, LinkedIn could have sent two versions of this message: one to those in the market, and one to those who might be offering those internships and entry-level jobs.

Those “Know what you’re looking for?” Those could have been targeted to the occupations that the individual was most interested in.

Why does relevancy matter? Because the power of email marketing resides in your ability to provide your recipients with the information they want (and need). Your email program should be about what those wants and needs, and your messaging needs to at least try to hit the right tone each and every time.

The chief takeaway here: Utilize your data and resources to make your messages strike the correct chord with your subscribers.

For a company that usually utilizes email very efficiently (in my opinion), it’s surprising to see this kind of miss. Particularly for a new product that could be very beneficial to many individuals and companies.

– Scott Cohen
VP, Managed Services
Inbox Group (a new eec sponsor!)