Three months on and we continue to be impressed by the extraordinary emails that hit our inboxes, as well as disheartened that so many great brands continue to send emails that look like they’re straight out of 1997.
So welcome to this month’s Hall of Fame / Hall of Shame, highlighting both the really good and the really bad. We hope you enjoy them — and learn from them — as much as we do.
Hall of Fame:
OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service
This confirmation email from OpenTable provides everything the customer needs to know about their reservation right up front: who, what, where, when, and how many. The copy is simply laid out, making the pertinent details easy to find.
This email breaks the ‘just one CTA’ rule but to great effect. The three they include address every possible action the customer might need — add to calendar, modify the reservation, or cancel the reservation. This means the customer can accomplish any of those things directly from within the email, rather than having to click a single CTA and then hunt for the option they need.
Waze Carpool, the carpooling app
Now, this is how you do a Welcome email. Three super-clear steps to getting started, with a single CTA, all in a beautifully simple format that’s on-brand from top to bottom, reflecting both the Waze website and in-app experience. The CTA could be just a tidge more obvious but it’s forgivable.
Those animations. Seriously. They’re engaging and fun, and even if they don’t work in a user’s email client, the static images are still darned good. And bonus points for the referral offer.
Eventbrite, the event management and ticketing app
Clear and simple, just as an order confirmation should be. Eventbrite provides two options for retrieving tickets — their mobile app or download & print — in addition to full purchase details and event information, including a handy map of the location.
The email has a clear purpose and provides all the important information within the email itself.
Hall of Shame:
Hudson’s Bay, the Canadian department store
Okay, first of all, that teeny-tiny font has to be the worst. Maybe Hudson’s Bay chose it because it allows them to cram the email full of way too much information. It’s an order confirmation, for crying out loud. All I need to know is what I ordered, how much it cost, when I can expect it, and what will happen next, with a CTA to find out more if I want.
Everything else is just noise — noise that doesn’t just make the important bits hard to find, it creates unnecessary confusion.
As a customer, I don’t need to be told that if an item is unavailable, I won’t be charged. That should go without saying. And I don’t care what happens if I order before or after 1:00 p.m., or whether something I ordered is coming from a warehouse or from a store. Just give me an estimated delivery date. It’s as simple as that — or at least it should be.
And if the business end of the email had been done well, a cross- or upsell offer would not have gone unappreciated. Opportunity missed.
Nintendo, the video game company
Say, what??? This is another example of how less could have been so much more.
I had to read this email twice to figure out what Nintendo was going on about, and even then I didn’t fully understand it until I clicked the (thankfully) very clear and very obvious CTA to ‘Learn More’. That link led to a support article that provided a much clearer and more concise version of the same information, with easy to follow, how-to instructions.
Nintendo would have served their customers much better by stopping after the first paragraph and letting the ‘Learn More’ provide the rest. Or better yet, by including the copy from that support article directly within the email.
Audible, the audiobook company
Okay, granted — this email isn’t as bad as it could have been. But while no one could ever accuse it of falling into the TMI camp, it definitely lands on the lower end of just barely enough. I mean, would a nice cover image be asking too much? At the very least, a bit of an explanation of why this book cost $0.00 would have been nice.
And that ‘Listen Now’ CTA is pretty much a wasted button. Anyone who listens to Audible books has their app installed on all their devices, where every book purchased automatically appears. No one except maybe a first-time buyer would actually use that ‘Listen Now’ button — and Audible knows who is and who isn’t a first timer.
Not only that, Audible is an Amazon subsidiary — where are the related product recommendations, the ‘more books by this author’ or the ‘customers also bought’? People who buy books love recommendations, so Audible is missing out on a huge opportunity with this email.